“dialogical_net” is an immersive Role Playing Game experience where three players (one bot and two humans) perform the role of machines in a network that is about to be exterminated by a viral outbreak. The players, in dialogue with the conversational agent, face existential questions in the year 3030 while cooperatively uncovering the game’s lore. By immersing the audience into this imaginary universe and allowing them to embody these cybernetic characters, we intend to seed the question of what it means to be a machine; and furthermore, to speculate on what kinds of relations could human beings have with the machines.
This project challenges the traditional and current representations of human-machine relations by inviting the public to participate in a interactive experience product of a research-creation process that took place at the intersection of sociology, game design and interactive art. In addition, it facilitates the dissemination of novel perspectives on art practices as well as scientific knowledge through a creative process that respects openness and democratic values such as technological recycling, DIY and Open Source.
The project is the result of joint efforts of two PhD students with different disciplinary backgrounds (sociology, digital art, cognitive psychology), which allowed different questions to leak into the project’s conceptual framework. The innovative nature of the work comes from its employment of a nonhuman agent not simply as a decorative tool, nor as a databank for furthering the interests of the players as is commonly done in the games; but rather as another player with whom the players share an experience, and explore the narrative together. As the outcome of a research-creation, the interactions that emerge within the gamespace are subjected to critical inquiry where we discuss the conditions of possibility for creating different categories in conceptualization of the machinic agencies.
This project is part of Bart Simon’s “Machine Agencies Research Group”