Markov Chain Identities: Separate Threads

  • “Separate Threads” explores the multiplicity and hybridity of online identities. On the Internet, it is possible for one person to cultivate many identities, which may or may not be connected to each other, and which may have different degrees of anonymity. In this piece, a hypothetical person, with two separate cyber-identities-- a golfer and a chemtrail conspiracy believer-- accidentally come together in cyberspace.
    To produce the textual elements of this piece, we scraped text posts from specific forums and ran them through a Markov chain algorithm to generate text that borrows from the words of users on the forum, simulating an average-- yet somewhat garbled-- post. This abstracts away from any individual poster's identity and creates an algorithmic, ephemeral representation of the character's online identity. Each sequence embroidered on the garments was created by the Markov chain produced using the corpus that relates to the garment’s theme. A longer version of this Markov chain is projected over the models and garments.