Lady Chatterley has courted controversy ever since D. H. Lawrence introduced her to readers across 1920s Europe – and now, she has attracted attention of a very different kind, on Tinder.
UK artist, Libby Heaney, programmed a ‘bot’ (a software application that runs automated tasks over the Internet) to send extracts of the famous novel in conversations with real users on the dating app as part of an artwork called Lady Chatterley’s Tinderbot.
It forms part of The Lowry’s humansbeingdigital exhibition, which opens in Salford, Greater Manchester on Sat 18 November and runs until Sun 25 February.
Heaney worked with Bernie.ai, an algorithm that automatically paired interested Tinder users’ opening gambits with lines from the novel and then judged the sentiment of Tinder users’ replies to decide how to continue the conversation.
Responses were varied, with some users seemingly determined to secure a date whatever the cost, while others quickly decide to ‘un-match’.
The conversations are displayed on a large screen in the gallery, where visitors can swipe left or right to view more encounters.
Through the work, Heaney hopes audiences will examine their views on love and relationships – specifically the inherent similarities that persevere through time and technology.
Alongside the digital presentation, Heaney has published a book containing around 300 of these conversations as a tribute to the Penguin classic.
Commenting on the work, Libby Heaney said: “Lady Chatterley’s Lover is one of the most ‘infamous’ romance novels of all time – and yet it explores topics and descriptions some would consider commonplace today. In a digital world, where anonymity is a very real and popular option, interaction between human beings – and in this case a ‘bot’ – give a fascinating view of dating.”
Julia Fawcett OBE, chief executive of The Lowry, said: “In humansbeingdigital, we hope to present work that evokes an emotional response – and I feel Libby’s work certainly does that. To see lines from the novel expressed as text message speak is witty and intriguing.”
Sat 18 November 2017 – Sun 25 February 2018
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ
Sun-Fri, 11am-5pm. Sat, 10am-5pm.
Admittance: Free. Donations welcome.