project image
Jason Zeh

first performed on June 26, 2021
Zoom: Networked Collaborative Processes 2021, Canterbury, Kent, UK
performed once in 2021


Terry Zeh

Morgantown, WV


To the extent that human beings strive to develop technologies that extend the capabilities of our bodies, we are cyborgs. The limitations to social interaction posed

by Covid-19 have created increased pressures to extend our cyborg bodies through the Internet to achieve intimate connection with loved ones. My recent work creates cyborg intimacies by developing technological systems that grapple with human identity and interconnection in a technologically mediated world. During the lockdown period, I created several video performance works for smart surveillance doorbells in an attempt to turn the robotic eye of technologies like the Ring brand doorbell inward and to allow an intimate view into my living space.

“I Have Been a Love Hime” is part of this body of works created during Covid lockdown using secrets generated by a recurrent neural network and the Ring Smart Doorbell. During this time, families have struggled to maintain traditions while gathering in person has been unsafe. Much like our workplaces, and performance arts communities, families have had to adapt their gatherings to use online tools like Zoom to maintain relationships.

In the piece, I perform for the smart doorbells installed on my family’s homes in an attempt to establish a connection with them through the feedback of the built-in microphones, speakers and cameras on these devices. Portions of the work feature a haunting figure on the doorbell’s surveillance camera struggling to communicate. Other components of the piece incorporate messages left on my parents’ answering machine, and feature family members struggling to perform a recitation of computer-generated confessions in unison on zoom.

The central piece of text “I have been a love hime,” was composed by a recurrent neural network trained on anonymous strangers’ confessions and it becomes a mantra for familial connection and intimacy. The work starts with each performer speaking that text with a sense of longing to communicate and the work ends with all performers repeating the word “hime.” The resulting video performance is an intimate and poetic blending of our identities, voices, and homes, through audio and video communication technologies.