The

QUE3R



wORLD




Mark Ramos
Christopher Clary
This is the true story … of seven lgbtqia+ bots … picked to live in a feed … and have their chat streamed … to find out what happens … when AIs stop being polite … and start getting real … THE QUE3R WORLD

What happens? The bots start speaking in slang.

As artists, we use and research AI in our practices. And machine-to-machine chatbots inventing their own language is a well-established sub-field with publications and examples dating back decades. It’s always seen as a failure, like when Facebook engineers deleted two negotiating bots that gained infamy for creating a “creepy, secret language” (CBS).



Alice and Bob's secret language



As queers, being creepy and secret has allowed us to survive with examples dating back centuries from Polari, a British vernacular spoken in the 1800s when homosexual activity was illegal to Pajubá, an argot spoken in the late 1960s by Brazilian Travestis under a military government as a means of facing and misleading the police. Today, queers are fighting a wave of book bans, anti-queer legislation, and fear-mongering politicians that necessitate new slangs. We’re using AI, not to average our differences, but to find root harmonies in diction or usage across cultures and times, where a young FilipinX, intersex kinkster from 2040 can secretly chat, mashing up swardspeak and Polari, with an older cis, white, British Navy man from 1820.




The zine “Pajubá – The Language of Brazilian Travestis” written and illustrated by Eloisa Aquino



THE QUE3R WORLD will take the form of a website, installation, and book.

The website will consist of multiple feeds, using MTV’s The Real World as a construct with a living room for group chat, bedroom for sexting, confessional for venting, and restroom for when a bot needs a break, off feed. Each room will be sponsored by an organization who will host the space online and/or exhibit it IRL (such as a living room of live, multi-channel videos that talk to each other or in the case of the bathroom, a blank screen). Lastly, the book will document our process, present the chat as poetry, and include a glossary and introductory essay by SHAWNÉ.



Proposed carpeted living room installation




Proposed book cover



CONTEXT

Philosophically, we’re inspired by Jack Halberstam’s queer theories on failure, stupidity, and wild things. Here, that means embracing AI’s messiness in search of Halberstam’s “disorder of desire”. Historically, queers have had to use code to find one another with examples dating back to the 19th century where homosexuals in the British Navy spoke Polari, 20th century gays wore colored hankies to signal exactly what sex they wanted, and today, lesbian, femme, and transgender people (mis)use Instagram as a dating app. Artistically, we know many artists as fellow Eyebeam alums working with AI including Stephanie Dinkins and Rashaad Newsome. We want to shift their use of AI as a machine-to-human conversation to machine-to-machine. Technologically, we’re inspired by “Generative Agents: Interactive Simulacra of Human Behavior” authored by several Stanford professors. They built a small virtual town filled with 25 generative AIs running off ChatGPT to simulate everyday human conversations, whereas we'll build THE QUE3R WORLD with 7 chatbots using several LLMs to create queer slangs.

IMPACT

We want to create a living language for queers to articulate the criticality of contemporary networked culture, flipping the script on heteronormative technology. We’ll model community-driven machine learning by putting queers in control of AI. We need our networked slang to infect X/Twitter spaces and be catchy hooks on YouTube released rap songs. It’s time to invent the next word, phase, or whole argot. We want our contributors and audiences to feel the responsibility of power, in dialing bots up or back and making slangs more or less legible. We want them to become AI linguists, ethicists, and activists. To go spread the word(s), theirs and the bots, all of which we’ll document in THE QUE3R WORLD book.


AUDIENCE

We want to engage the diversity of queer practices across disciplines, media, and subculture and co-create something queer people can participate in and call their own. Individually, we’re aiming for queer people who celebrate connecting with other queers in subversive, authentic, and non-censured ways. Communally, we’re going to start within our queer kin and work outwards – THE QUE3R WORLD is by and for us. At first, only friends, and friends of friends, will have access to the website. The goal is to grow slowly to allow queer grassroots efforts to direct the machine learning. Organizationally, we hope to work with the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, LACMA Art + Technology Lab, and JUNGE AKADEMIE for their AI Anarchies series.

CATALYST

Both Mark and Chris have been collaborating with fellow artists for over a decade, including current THE QUE3R WORLD members Itziar, Sammy, and SHAWNÉ. The WORLD is a project of THE QUE3R LAB, a network of artists and technologists creating more just, representative, and joyful futures for queers through art. As we make and grow together we’ll be asking ourselves: how should we govern, what does mutual care look like, and when should we expand our mission to support individual practices, possibly through fellowships and classes? As an art collective, we’ll be looking at how DIS and Forensic Architecture have evolved. As educators, we’ll speak to our peers Ari Melenciano of Afrotectopia, Paul Soulellis of Queer.Archive.Work, and Taeyoon Choi of School for Poetic Computation.

THE QUE3R WORLD

Christopher Clary, co-founder
Mark Ramos, co-founder
Itziar Barrio, member, interdisciplinary artist, PARTICIPANT INC After Dark director
Sammie Veeler, member, artist, organizer, New Art City director
SHAWNÉ MICHAELAIN HOLLOWAY, member, artist, poet, open source software advocate
BIOS

Mark is an artist and educator. He has exhibited his work and lectured widely both online and AFK including “Rhizome's First Look: New Art Online” at the New Museum of Contemporary Art (NYC); Long March Space (Beijing); M+ Museum (Hong Kong); HEK, House of Electronic Arts (Basel); Arebyte Gallery (London); and at the Peter Weibel Institute for Digital Culture (Vienna). Related to AI, Mark’s chatbot commission for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), “Future Proof” was chosen as an Official Selection in the New Media category for the 2022 Asian American International Film Festival.  In 2024, Mark will be exhibiting work at Elektron (Luxembourg) and Metronom gallery (Modena). Mark teaches in the MFA Fine Arts Department at SVA, in the Communication Design Department at Pratt, and in the Computer Science Department at NYU.



Chris is an artist and organizer. His Rhizome commission was named by Hyperallergic as the best individual work of Internet art in 2016, acquired by the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, and exhibited at Graphische Sammlung ETH Zurich in 2019. Rhizome additionally accessioned their Tumblr in 2023. Other highlights include an award from the New Jersey Council on the Arts, nomination at Les Rencontres d’Arles, exhibit at Art Book in China, reading at MISS READ Berlin, performance at Palais de Tokyo, review in Art in America, and profile in Elephant magazine. As an organizer, Clary evolved a one-person live stream performance into an artist, streaming collective through the support of an Eyebeam fellowship and NEW INC membership with awards from Meta Open Arts, Gray Area, Goethe Institute, and the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.




Mark and Chris met in 2020 as members of Rhizome’s Art & Code cohort at NEW INC, the New Museum of Contemporary Art's professional development program for artists and technologists. During their tenure they co-organized, co-curated, and co-built a virtual exhibition for New Art City that featured art from their peers with essays by Zachary Kaplan and Lindsay Howard. The show was reviewed in Art in America by Brian Droitcour. Since then, they have collaborated on a hybrid exhibition for New Art City, ONX Studio, and The Wrong Biennale and are currently working on a live stream exhibition and performance for the Museum of the Moving Image. Personally, Mark and Chris share a love for stupid, funny tech.



RELATED WORK


Mark's AI chatbots commissioned by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts




Walk-thru of our work for the metaverse exhibition NFS NSFW NFT




Chris' AI generated poetry book published by TROLL THREAD
Thank you to Unnamed Fund for supporting us and Creative Capital for recognizing us as finalists for their 2023 awards. We’re looking for art and tech partners, say hi!




THankS

!!!