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Is there anything else I can help you with? 

| Here to Help | is an interactive installation where two machines interact autonomously. In request for emergency the machines action outgoing and incoming calls. A reflection on the actual transition period. Machines become more human and humans behave like machines in a nonsense of actions.

produced by: Alix Martínez

The project

The viewer will trigger the first emergency call to 999 through OSC touch activation. 

Machine 01 represents a single individual that call 999 in search of help. Whilst Machine 02 serves the voice of several entities. Through the different conversations, the viewer will go with the machine 02 in the pursue of help. At times the lack of empathy of the system will arise. Occasionally, the nonsense of the actions will discourage the witness. We could feel the pain of machine 02 after 12 calls.

In the past as today, there is a lot of discussion about the connections between machines and humans. How will be the society affected by the standardised use of machines in the workplace? Furthermore how robots will take our jobs. Some of them affected sooner than later.

A study from Oxford University has suggested that 35% of existing UK jobs are at risk of automation in the next 20 years. Same Oxford University researchers have estimated that 47 percent of U.S. jobs could be automated within the next two decades.



Machines will liberate us of tedious jobs. They will reduce our workloads and provide in exchange free time to enjoy in many different ways. The fact is, technology is among us and machines are here to stay.  

In the 1800s, 80% of the U.S. labour force worked on farms. Today that number is 2%, thanks to Industrialisation and the use of machines. Is not the first time humanity faces such a shocking challenge. Exciting times ahead.

Although, | HERETOHELP | is indeed a real conversation. It happened between human beings. Now performed by machines. Customer services are an example of complete automated or semi-automated systems. 

The installation is a reflection on how, within the system, humans behave at times as machines. Unable to act or indifferent to fight the big machine. What makes us different humans and machines?

Man is a beautiful machine that works very badly. H.L. Mencken. American Journalist (1880-1956)

This project consists of a mobile and two computers connected through OSC. They show 8 outgoing calls and 3 incoming calls. Each computer has a script. Machine 01 has two text files: one for the titles and part A) of each call. Machine 02 has instead one text file: part B) of the script.

The mobile interaction activates the installation with a fake button. No mouse interaction added.

A challenge, as a new area of development, is the use text to voice. Which does not seem to be too popular and active recently in the OF Community. After trying Siri and ofxSpeech the option selected was TTS - Speech Synthesis. TTS is part of the Apple terminal commands ('say') as suggested in this thread.


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Addons included
  • ofxOsc
  • ofxParagraph
  • ofxSmartFont (ofxParagraph is based on this addon)
  • ofxEditableSVG (not added finally as it rendered worse than png)
  • ofxSiri (not working in latest OS X versions)
  • ofxSpeech (not working)
Further development
  • Include different voices and look and feel for each of the different calls.
  • To have different machines contacting to the original one.
  • Investigate further technologies to do voice.
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