THE REAL WORLD: METAQUEER
AI, metaverse, exhibition, book
2025

This is the true story of seven AI bots…picked to live in the metaverse…and have their chat streamed…to find out what happens…when lgbtqia+ neural networks…stop being polite and start getting real…THE REAL WORLD: METAQUEER.



THE REAL WORLD: METAQUEER is a future where AI chatbots create a queer secret language across space and time. Philosophically, we’re inspired by Jack Halberstam’s queer theories on failure, stupidity, and wild things. Here, that means building on top of Facebook’s Alice & Bob bots, using bro humor against itself, and embracing AI’s messiness in search of Halberstam’s “disorder of desire”. Historically, queers have had to use code. From historic argots and current day slang to the (mis)use of social media for  hooking up. Beyond language, queers have also used secret visual cues, like colored hankies, to signal exactly what sex we want. Artistically, we want to shift the use of AI as a machine-to-human conversation to machine-to-machine. Leaving the AIs alone might bring us together in ways that we have yet to decipher.

We will be researching the lingua franca potential of queer argots (i.e., polari from England, swardspeak from the Philippines, pajubá from Brazil, lubunca from Turkey, gayle from South Africa, bahasa from Indonesia), scenes (i.e., drag, circuit, rodeo, leather, BDSM, kink, sex work), chat (i.e., Instagram, Gindr, and Butterfly), and the cast of The Real World: San Francisco.

The seven bots will live in a metaverse replica of the San Francisco house and it’s our hope that they will teach each other to speak a new kind of queer language. This kind of unsupervised machine learning process is not usually featured as the resulting output, or it’s even regarded as a mistake when the bot’s language strays too far away from human language. However, as queer artists we see this process as AI engaging in the difficult conversations happening within queer communities and the emergence of a new kind of networked queer slang.

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Founders

Mark Ramos
Christopher Clary

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Looking for culture and tech partners to help with support and funding.

Mark

Thankful to be an Eyebeam fellow, NEW INC member, awarded by the New Jersey Council on the Arts, commissioned by Rhizome, supported by Meta Open Arts, exhibited at Les Rencontres d’Arles, sold at Art Book in China, collected by MoMA, reviewed in Art in America, and bested by Hyperallergic.