MY SOUL IS A SEARCH ENGINE by Dolly Sen
I make film, I make art, I make books, and I make trouble. One way I employ two of those things – the art & trouble-making – is by disrupting systems that produce ‘copy and paste’ identities/thoughts/perceptions/life/death, as a Trojan horse dressed as a my little pony on acid with a little sadness in their hearts. My anti-virus programme is my art and creativity, it is putting normality over my lap and smacking its naughty bum bum.
One of the ways I do that is by creating websites and infecting computer systems with human traits, so I have created a sensitive website, a website experiencing psychosis, which hears voices, thinks it is being spied upon, and thinks it is Jesus. My work is all about disruption and cultural reinvention. For the Frequency Festival, I thought I would go through the same vein to feed a mischievous body of work, by creating a website going through some existential questioning. Frequency is an international festival of digital creativity, hosted biennially in the historic city of Lincoln.
We as human beings asks questions as part of our makeup, including questions about our very existence, what if we asked google these questions instead?
We are living in times where identity politics and loss of identity fight for the space where our soul is. Who are we? And who can tell us? We look to our phones and devices for almost everything. Can it tell us anything about who we are?
I have had severe mental health problems in my life, and if I google ‘should schizophrenics…’ the search engine comes up with such suggestions such as these:
Image what that does to your sense of self. How do you think it affects well-being? In the binary world of zeros and ones, some of us are offered more zeros. I occupy the intersections of being a gay, disabled, working-class woman of colour.
If I let a search engine take over my soul for me, what does it make of me? If I ask Google: who am I? It says this:
If you ask google deep questions it comes up with results asking you to pay to find out. So that’s why I made a website having an existential crisis, like so many people have today. This search engine is searching for something deeper. Will it find it?