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A flock of sheep roams the harshness of Black Rock City in search of meaning and joy. All they want is to mingle with the city residents, ready and lit, in their latest costumes. They bear gifts of bareback rides, songs, and good times. All they ask in return is to be treated with respect and consent.
Each sheep has a different personality, voice, and look. Explore what tickles them, what excites them, and what “makes” them.
iSheep is a Burning Man 2018 honorarium art grant recipient. This means Burning Man is funding most of the project. But we still need to raise more. And we want people to participate in creating the art, too.
A group of friends or a theme camp can adopt a sheep for $500. You then get to decide what your sheep says and in what voices (you send us recordings), design their character, name them, and decide on what they look like (accessories). Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and to receive the application.
Can a chair give consent before you sit on it? Can an orange before you eat it? Can a toy give consent before you play with it? Can a robot?
The answer to all of these questions is NO. But in the case of robots, that may change–in the next century or so. Maybe.
Most people have memories, past or recent, of taking something or doing something without another person’s consent. In current times, we are seeing the explosion of this issue and seeing how widespread it is in the context of sexual acts or verbal harassment.
Sheep are the most vulnerable, gentle and lowest in the food chain of all beings when it comes to giving consent, literally, culturally, symbolically, and mythologically. Can sheep give consent? NO. Can a robot in sheep’s clothing give consent? NO. Can a robot in sheep’s clothing acting as an art installation give consent? NO.
Can it make you think about the question? Maybe. Can it start a conversation? Maybe.
Touch, at the core of this interactive artwork, can be welcoming, encouraged, and direct the interaction towards pleasant exchanges. There is a line though. An invitation to pet and ride should not be mistaken for “anything goes.” No still means No, even if sheep and robots are the subject.
iSheep is an attempt to put all the ingredients of past and present cultural myths and realities of CONSENT into the pot and stir them into one delicious and joyous bite out of the unspoken truth of our moment in history.