Are We There Yet? 2016

Are We There Yet? 2016

Image: Highways Performance Space and Gallery, Los Angeles
Sample video: Are We There Yet, an interactive holographic installation

Are We There Yet?, an interactive holographic installation featuring an entity named The Grand Turk. It was modeled after Wolfgang Von Kempelen’s Mechanical Turk, a chess-playing automaton unveiled in 1770, at the height of Orientalism, and symbolized colonial Europe’s technological triumph. This project revisited the idea of “Western triumph” by creating a contemporary version of the Turk who engaged audiences in real time conversations. Depending on visitors’ input, these conversations shifted between varying degrees of humor, tension, confrontation, and even apathy. Ultimately, the project contemplates a future where humans, and robots build their futures together.

Much like the original, The Grand Turk is a human performer (myself) hidden behind the technology, further referencing Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, and the more recent “humanless” Amazon stores that were — much later in the year 2024 — discovered to be offshore sweatshops. The phantasmic quality of the hologram feeds into audiences’ suspension of disbelief, strengthening the illusion of artificial intelligence. Numerous emails from visitors confessed their realization of the hoax upon watching the videos they had captured on their phones. During the performance, however, they were swept away by the technological charm.

This work was performed at Highways Performance Space and Gallery in Los Angeles (2016) and Far Bazaar Festival at Cerritos College, Norwalk, California (2017).


In November of 2016, a demo version was live-broadcasted to University of Gothenburg in Sweden, from my California studio, potentially marking the first live interactive holographic performance of its kind to be remotely performed for an international audience.


conceptual, Digital, Performance