Computer Vision Art Gallery

ICCV 2019, Seoul, Korea

Brett Wallace

Mechanical Turk Workers, (2018)

Website

Mechanical Turk Workstation, 2019, is comprised of two monitors installed on an office desk furnished with typical office supplies and a few distinct accoutrements, such as a custom flag, photographs of workspaces, artificial plants, and a half-filled coffee mug. On one monitor, Mechanical Turk workers, an invisible labor force on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform, answer questions about why they work on the platform and the ups and downs of the work itself. Many appreciate the flexibility to work from home, but they are also visibly frustrated about their lack of voice, hidden management decisions, and the low pay rates on the platform. A second monitor plays a screen recording of the work tasks as seen by a worker, such as identifying and tagging images an artificial intelligence program could not identify without assistance from a human being. Turkers were paid $2.00 for a 2-minute video testimonial.

Mechanical Turk Workers, is comprised of two monitors installed on a typical office desk among paperwork and office supplies. One monitor plays interview testimonials of workers who earn extra cash in their spare time by performing micro-work tasks at piece-work rates on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform. A second monitor plays a video of a typical task, identifying and tagging images an artificial intelligence program could not identify without assistance from a human being.

Turkers were paid $2.00 for short video testimonials about what they like and do not like about Turking.

Brett Wallace, Mechanical Turk Workers, video, 2 hrs., 36 mins., 07 sec., 2018. Sourced 2-minute videos from Amazon Mechanical Turk Workers for $2.00 each.

Brett Wallace, Mechanical Turk HITs, video, 18 min., 27 sec., 2018. A screen recording of Human Intelligent Tasks (HITs) on Amazon Mechanical Turk by an Amazon Turk worker.


This interview and review about the work and a recent exhibition it was in (Working Conditions in New York, March 2019) provides more information.