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Vigil For Some Bodies
by xtine burrough

In Vigil For Some Bodies media artist xtine burrough hired virtual workers on to light a candle for somebody. Instead of the digital maneuvers the elastic workforce is often tasked with performing (sorting, labeling, captioning, or even making short videos or images), for this Human Intelligence Task burrough paid the Turkers for a moment of self-care. Thinking of others, whether acted upon or in silence, is a form of reflection. This activity required the Turker to pause from online activity to take a moment for self-reflection with a gesture towards somebody loved, lost, or remembered.

As evidence of completing the job, the worker optionally submitted the name of the person remembered, and in some cases additional, supporting text. Coincidentally, this HIT was created and executed on All Hallows’ Eve (2015). Shortly thereafter, Amazon employed seasonal associates in Amazon Fulfillment Centers (AFCs). Burrough was hired in a Dallas-area AFC where she created a candlelight vigil for many of the unknown and disembodied, virtual workers. The candles are artificial (as in, the artificial artificial intelligentsia who provided names for the artificial candlelight vigil). Specifically, the display included LED Lytes Real Wax Battery Operated Flameless Candles ~ Set of 6 - 2 inches x 2 inches available for purchase on that burrough modified with transparent labels.

installation view

This project was installed in the IDEAS Exhibit, 2016, as part of the iDMAa (International Digital Media and Arts Association) conference. Installation views and an artist statement for this version of the project are available on my website.

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