TDS is a computer installation using software which was developed for ELIZA, a self-generating speech program that responds to user input. ELIZA is programed according to a rhetorical logic tree that responds to a user's keywords in order to generate an appropriate response. The program has its limitations: it is purely responsive and cannot develop an inner logic of its own.
Instead of creating a closed user/computer circuit, Cotterrell chose to generate a Rogerian conversation between two computers. The work was made and exhibited in 2001, with Cotterrell reworking the original ELIZA code to create a more subversive use of the program. TDS reflects on ELIZA's artifice: able to dispense the belief that one is in conversation with an intelligent being, the illusion is quickly broken down to reveal the flaws in its script. By replacing the human user with a computer, a double rhetoric was created in which both machines attempted to analyse and question each other, resulting in the complete breakdown of conversation in favour of mutual verbal abuse. The work is a precursor to a later public project: The Debating Society.
- Dimensions: 120cm x 250cm x 60cm
- Artforms: Installation