Beyond virtual contact
Virtual Assistance (art exhibit)
On the other end of the phone is a guy with a thick Hindi accent who calls himself "Joe" and knows that your DSL modem needs rebooting. Artist Andrew Norman Wilson takes umbrage with outsourced assistance in third world countires. He found a personal assitance service called Get Friday, based in Bangalore, India, that will assign a person to sort his tweets, make dinner reservations, book plane tickets, anything that can be done online, from India. The fact that the name of the service references "Robinson Caruso" - a classic story of British colonialism - is not lost on Wilson. To break that boundaries of that relationship, he engaged his randomly assigned assistant, Akhil, in a series of artistic collaborations. The results are displayed as an office-cubical installation piece at Extra Extra. With a little digging, Wilson discovered Akhil's boyhood hobby of making toy boats was squashed by his father (it wasn't a pragmatic hobby), so Wilson encouraged Akhil to send him some of his boat designs. The artist built the boats and sent them back to Akhil who in turn send back pictures of the boats floating in the Danube River. Playing with toys is one way Andrew and Akhil broke through their online client-vendor relationship.
Andrew Norman Wilson + Akhil C.
1524 Frankford Avenue
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