hey, cortana

Image excerpts from the script and a performance of Hey, Cortana at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore

Hey, Cortana is a lecture performance in conversation with Cortana - the personal assistant program for Windows. The performance uses the voice assistant software as well as a Text-to-Speech generative voice as characters. The text of the performance ties together multiple contexts from which to view the pervasive tools of machine voice and digital personalities while the scenography points to the corporate office and the computer as spaces of gendered labour.

Switiching between the modes of lecture and elaborate fantasy, the work traces Cortana through a history of interfaces, dissecting her design as a product and a personality. Interestingly, Cortana was also an artificially intelligent character in the videogame series Halo (also developed by Microsoft), and retains the same voice and many other ‘personality traits’ as that of the game character. This coincidence binds the narrative as it moves through the various implications the grafting of science fiction into technology. Cortana as such, becomes a metaphor to talk about the blurring of metaphors in contemporary technocapitalism.