Pupa Status
2015 | Miles Peyton

In pupa status, twenty robots surround a spherical greenhouse. The camera pans through foliage to reveal an embedded video, which appears to the robots as a vision of life beyond algorithmic control.

In medieval Europe, goats were used as instruments of tickle torture. A prisoner’s feet would be dipped in salt solution, and a goat would lick off the solution. The YouTube video embedded in pupa status -- “witch tickled by a goat” -- reenacts and parodies this form of torture with a live goat, costumes, and dialogue. The account that uploaded the original video has since been deleted, but there is a mirror of the video on a channel called "The Ticking", which hosts 267 foot-related videos. Though feet lack the dexterity of hands, they are highly sensitive to touch, and ticklish as a result. An evolutionary explanation of tickling posits that it leads to the acquisition of combat skills. In a social context, tickling can be seen as an act of affection or a means of control, or a means of control disguised as an act of affection. A robot might understand tickling as a way to make a person glitch out.