By Kendall George, February 27, 2013
Lunch Bytes is a consortium of digital artists, the Goethe-Institut Washington, Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. The commendably forward-thinking group—especially for mostly federally funded institutions—holds lectures on digital art’s theoretical issues (New Aesthetic, “remix culture”) and how this art fits into pre-existing networks (surveillance, selling digital art). Articles and works by Lunch Bytes’ associated artists are, naturally, available online. Work by one artist a month is hosted on the Platform page, who passes the torch to the next artist of their choice. What began as a gallery of online work is evolving into a home for thoughtful commentary on Internet culture and the information we communicate, presented through innovative design.
Yuri Pattison’s “outsourced views, visual economies” layers photographs from the windows of Amazon Mechanical Turk workers over video of landscapes with low ambient noise. Amazon Mechanical Turk is a crowdsoured marketplace, where anyone with a task that necessitates a person rather than a computer, called “Human Intelligence Tasks,” can post a need online. The poster states a range of what they are willing to pay a person for the work, and Turkers, (workers), compete by bidding as low as possible for the job. Anyone can become a Turker, and as Pattison’s compiled images show, they are an internationally and socioeconomically diverse group. Tasks are often won for only a few cents, which has led to criticism that Amazon Mechanical Turk is a digital sweatshop.