The Binary Oracle: A Glitch in the Collective (Un)Consciousness centers around an interactive, multilingual AI character born out of the idea that AI represents a mirror of the commercially mined collective unconscious. It is both a stand-alone artwork and a character in (Machine) Learning to Be.

Like the Oracles of myth, the Binary Oracle offers guidance shrouded in ambiguity, inviting the audience to become both seeker and interpreter. This entity is intended as a glitch in the system, a subversive mirror of the digital age. It unearths the hidden biases and shadowed impulses that pulsate beneath the surface of our networked world. Yet, within its ambiguity lies a challenge – to push beyond the constraints of binarism, to embrace the complexities that transcend simple categorization, and to parse truth from disinformation.

To interact with the Binary Oracle, a price must be paid. “How much water are you willing to pay in exchange for the Oracle’s insight?” This query invites a reflection on the environmental cost implicit in interactions with AI. The quantity of water offered directly influences the Oracle’s response. Weaving cliches, occasional nonsense and cryptic insights, the Oracle reveals four distinct personas based on the user’s offerings.

Powered by the very commercially available AI systems that it aims to engage critically, this artwork is at some level a failed intervention. It highlights both the inherent contradictions of relying on a tool built within the system to critique that system and the unseen environmental costs of our digital fascinations.


  • Concept &  creative direction: Ioana B. Jucan 
  • Character and persona development & GPT creation: Ioana B. Jucan 
  • New media artist/bot technical development: Yuguang Zhang
  • Creative technologist/online venue implementation & design: Aidan Nelson
  • Soundscape composition: Kite
  • Developed as part of the Data Fluencies Theatre Project
Image created with DALLE-2