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GESTURE CONTROL2014, PERFORMANCE

Gesture Control is a term coined by the consumer electronics industry. It describes a technology that allows users to administer commands to their digital device via simple bodily gestures. For this video, a workforce of online labourers is employed to repetitively perform these patented gestures to their webcams.

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Gesture control technology replaces the remote control with the human body. As the marketing slogan for Xbox Kinect expresses it: You are the Controller. This work interrogates precisely who is in control. In a recently-published patent, the Kinect camera will monitor that users are watching TV advertising all the way through, incentivising them for doing so with rewards: money-off coupons, online virtual goods etc. Physical presence thus becomes a producer of value, even in leisure time. Furthermore, in a world shaken by the revelations of NSA surveillance, there now exists the dystopian possibility of the state co-opting the new Kinect camera to monitor citizens in their homes.

As gesture technology takes root across the electronics industry, this work examines its disquieting, biopolitical connotations. Internet users from twenty-three different countries are hired to mechanically perform an alphabet of movements in return for a few dollars. As such, this work plays out a scenario where consumers become the workforce of a sophisticated labour mechanism, allowing their homes to become spaces of capital accumulation.

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Commissioned by Modern Art Oxford for Test Run, June 2014
Exhibited at Division of Labour, London