Nobody feels bad about doing horrible things to roaches, because they’re roaches. We’re pretty sure that even the most hardcore PETAphile would hesitate before whining about roach abuse.
Unless, of course, there’s something you’re doing that’s incredibly creepy, like making that roach a slave to a social network, as artist Brittany Ransom just did for an exhibition in a piece called, appropriately, RoboRoach.
Here’s video of the project:
The roach is actually just wearing a backpack that stimulates its antennae, which is — believe it or not — way more humane than the original research into projects like this, which involved ripping out a roach’s entire nervous system and replacing it with a microchip. And in fact, work like this is heavily studied in academic circles, since breeding cockroaches is a lot cheaper than building tiny robots.
Still, nobody has yet had the idea of unleashing a social network on a dumb animal. So what was Ransom thinking, precisely?
“At what point does its intelligence and ability take over? How much does it take before we are all desensitized to overstimulation? As we, as human beings, grow more cyborgian and interconnected through social media, this project helps us participate in discovering the answer.”
In other words, she’s trying to figure out the exact point that we start ignoring social media stimuli and start doing things with our own free will.
We suspect she could start by putting a candy bar in that enclosure. Or maybe just observing some of the darker takes on The Sims.
I want more like this!
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