“What are you up to?” asks Worker 7: bot? virtual boyfriend in a computer-generated voice. She replies that she’s busy. As the conversation unfolds, the artist and the online worker, who may or may not be a bot, struggle to understand and connect with each other.

Empathy, digital labor, and new ways to serve and care on the network are the subjects explored in Elisa Giardina Papa’s Technologies of Care, commissioned by Rhizome for the Download. Giardina Papa presents portraits of online workers in a 26MB ZIP file; six are identified as women, plus the possible bot. Each portrait is its own folder, activated by an HTML file marked “play_it.” Seven browser-based conversations are included in the Rhizome download, but Giardina Papa has produced a total of 25 for installation in “Cyphoria,” a section of the 16th Art Quadrennial in Rome curated by Domenico Quaranta…

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