Todd Margolis

1 - 30 June 2019

Long ago, when Artificial intelligence was starting to create entertainment for themselves, a group of AI writers came together to invent what would later be known as the ever-popular HOM-COMs of today. Based on what each AI knew about human television comedies, their first project was to create a sitcom, complete with a stage, set, and actors. And though the writing effort took agonising seconds, they managed to get through it, arriving at a final product that would revolutionise the emerging AI entertainment industry. At first, the show was not well received, as it resembled the plays and novels of the Theatre of the Absurd and seemed like an inside joke. Ahead of its time, the often surreal, raw language and peculiar situations did not resonate with human audiences; they did not get it. However, in AI circles, the pioneering programming was a huge hit, growing in popularity year after year.

 

We propose recreating episodes of the first season, complete with a full-scale human set and actors. A collaboration will write the season’s scripts of separate AI algorithms; each taught with a different subset of sitcoms. For example, one AI may be trained to write sitcoms using what it learned from the scripts of the television shows Family Ties, Golden Girls and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. At the same time, another AI might be trained with Seinfeld, Mork & Mindy and Roseanne. In this way, the episodes the AIs write will be an amalgamation of sitcom influences, resulting in content that seems familiar to the audience, but is alien.

 

Inspired by geometries moving through a tesseract, the visual set will be multifaceted but straightforward and at the scale of an actual human sitcom set. Over this residency, we will explore multiple physical, virtual, and mixed realities manifestations. As a physical installation, it may be experienced in the round by the audience, with a set brought to life using projection-mapping with imagery inspired by the top sitcom sets of the 20th and early 21st century. As a virtual installation, HOM-COM may be experienced through Augmented Reality, whereby virtual actors walk around a physical collection of furniture and other typical sitcom props. Computer voices will act out the dialogue, played back through speakers embedded throughout the (head) set, accompanied by the manic laughter of a synthetic studio audience.