reCAPTCHA tests are used to ensure the humanity of computer users attempting to access information on a website. Though the tests have quickly evolved, at one time, they were made with fragments of text from books digitized by Google that machines had been unable to “read” because of their distortion or lack of clarity. Humans completing these tests therefore assisted computers with transcribing unreadable material.
In this series of works, Dayal draws a full alphabet of those unreadable fragments of text in ink on paper, returning them to their original medium while introducing further layers of distortion through bleeding ink and imperfect renderings. The abecedary format plays with the idea of machine learning, emphasizing the pedagogical relationship of human to computer in the original tests while suggesting value in linguistic ambiguity.
Mira Dayal is an artist, writer, and editor based in New York. Her studio work is often site-specific and involves subtle but laborious applications of materials, critical reflections on changing technologies, and formal explorations of the limits of language. Her projects have been shown at lower_cavity, Parent Company, Apparatus Projects, Artspace New Haven, OCHI, Hesse Flatow, Kunstverein Dresden, Gymnasium, Lubov, NURTUREart, NARS Foundation, Abrons Art Center, and other spaces. She has participated in residencies and intensives at the Ox-Bow School of Art, Art in General, SOHO20, and A.I.R. Gallery, and has curated exhibitions at CUE Art Foundation, Cuchifritos Gallery, and other venues. Dayal is faculty at the School of Visual Arts and the International Center of Photography, and was previously Ideas Editor at Art in America and associate editor at Artforum.