Zero Sum was created and commissioned for the exhibition Control Mode Feedback / Kontrollmodus Feedback at Halle 14, Leipzig, Germany (12 September - 8 November 2015).
It consisted of an instructional video with an on screen avatar / instructor, which was part of a role-playing installation comprising of a single channel video with five simultaneous audio channels streamed through headphones and 3D printed game pieces.
The artwork uses a mix of audio testimony from workers in automated environments such as call centres and distribution centres alongside a classic game theory dilemma: The Volunteer’s Dilemma (often referred to as The Free Rider Problem).
Zero Sum investigated contemporary automated work environments which are driven by software systems and explored their emotional impact on the workforce via primary research (interviews) and by connecting their experience with the legacy of early computational theory manifest in Von Neuman’s game theory dilemma.
Zero Sum used an innovative staging where the audience, seated at a table, are placed audibly and visually in the game theory dilemma, and also immersed in the audio testimony of individual workers.
The limited choices that characterise the game theory dilemma are also mirrored in many of the audio testimonies of the workers, where their day to day experiences regulated by software, are also highly restricted, or programmed.
Zero Sum was included by invitation in the exhibition ‘Under Pressure – On Forms of Authority and Decision-Making Power’ at Q21 Freiraum, Museumsquarter, Vienna (28 September 2018- 25 November 2018) which included artists Daniela Ortiz (PER) and Superflux (GBR). The exhibition had 10,000 visitors. Zero Sum was also presented as part of the Automation Anxiety AHRC Network workshop at Sussex University (8-9 June 2017) alongside other researchers such as Ryan Bishop (WSA/Southampton), Benjamin Noys (Chichester) and Louise Amoore (Durham)
Dickinson, R. (2015). Zero sum, Halle 14: Control Mode Feedback / Kontrollmodus Feedback at Halle 14, Leipzig, Germany 12 September - 8 November 2015. [Single Channel Video, 5 Channel Audio]