Despite knowing that human relationships are highly unpredictable, I often find myself being involved in risky romantic situations. I am exhausted by modern day romance that does not comply with conventional relationship rules hence difficult to understand. However, I also realized that instead of spending time internalizing sadness, I can turn my “break up” experience into something powerful. I decided to start a ritual of my own where I create an art piece at the end of every challenging romantic relationships. It will act as a way of releasing my emotional turmoil to move on to a new beginning.
During my first year at ITP, I made a project called “Baenana” who is an XL banana that whines over a man named Christian when you peel her. It was a liberating experience for me to make Baenana and it was well received in Winter Show. I realized from the show that many users were trying to converse with her which inspired me to extract essence of the project to something more responsive.
This class introduces me to voice technology which is a perfect tool to apply to my interest. For my final project, I reversed the relationship between a user and her voice assistant by turning the user into the emotional labor to her voice assistant. I created a digital representation of myself, Sad Bunny, with Google Home who shares a intimate story about a man she met online. The narrative begins as a romcom with Sad Bunny sobbing as she experiences a heartbreak and later on progresses into real life issues. As shown in the video, users have the option to ask Sad Bunny questions and give her advices but will remain as a listener for the most part. I asked Sad Bunny every intents I programmed in the demo. However, I envision a few questions to be hidden that some users might not ask when conversing with Sad Bunny. Taking the “sex” scene for example, it is highly possible that some users would went straight to questioning about what went wrong after Sad Bunny talks about her romantic date. Before concluding the conversation, users are able to tell Sad Bunny their suggestions which will lead to three different outcomes. There are variations in Sad Bunny’s response yet they will all end with her crying.
I would definitely like to extend the script and play more with break times and sound effects. I think it would also be helpful for me look at research in attention spans to better understand how to design pacing.
Blending two different realms, such as reflecting on physical experiences via virtual world, often channels a sense of uncanny which I am really interested in. It is exciting that voice technology opens up a lot of these possibilities. Sad Bunny was a great beginning and I am curious to see how she would grow.