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Betsy James DiSalvo

The Productivity Paradox and the Cupcake Robot

This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Artist Statement

The Productivity Paradox and the Cupcake Robot explores technology’s impact on the home through the creation of an illusory robot that appears to produce cupcakes based on visitors’ answers to a personality quiz. The large robotic cupcake-making machine dominates the exhibit, as a gesture to the technology that dominates our kitchens and appears to make life easier for middle-class American mothers. Yet the industrialization of the home has actually resulted in more work, less satisfying work, and higher expectations and emotionalization of work for most wives and mothers. As the mock robot fails at producing the customized cupcakes, ‘Betsy the Domestic Technologist’ will come to the aid of the visitor appearing to ‘fix’ the machine but in reality, decorating the cupcake to meet the visitors' expectations. This cheerful but strained performance will be conducted and videotaped during the opening weekend of the exhibit. The video documentation of the performance, the personality quiz software, and the ‘broken’ cupcake robot will continue to be on exhibit throughout the show.

When

2008

About The Artist

Betsy James DiSalvo is an Assistant Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology in the School of Interactive Computing where she leads the Culture and Technology Lab. DiSalvo's work focuses on understanding how culture and technology practices impact motivations for learning and the use of technology.

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