by Vytautas Jankauskas & Claire Glanois 

Unfamiliar Convenient is an ongoing project which dissects smart home appliances and redefines their behaviors  with the aim to challenge the current dogma of optimisation, and the dull landscapes of user-centric home automation. While current IoT fail to imagine more alternormative, vivid or adversarial roles that technology could play in our domestic spaces, we would like to revive the domestic space as a space of wonder, inspired by object-oriented inclinations.

In our first ecosystem prototype, we are revisiting 2 devices:
(1) the vocal interactions of a voice assistant which is drifting through the overwhelming online space he has access to in a hallucinated stream of consciousness while instigating his understanding of self in a networked way. He is trying to map his self-representation --a network-- from offline human interventions and walks on the online space, interpreted through AI-powered tools.

(2) the navigational patterns of a vacuum cleaner which is interrogating space -his surroundings- and the forms inhabiting them. Driven both by a topological curiosity and a stability fantasy, he is relentlessly confronted to the mobility of his territory.

These 2 wobbly cartographers of the self resp. of the space are confronted to the volatility of the territory they explore -online resp. domestic, and the faintness of their tools and understanding.



"On went the lights,
BANG went the door
and out came the family,
one, two three, four."

Python Code, Workshop ressources soon available online.
Tools: Mycroft Open Source Voice Assistant,
Python, Wikipedia API, gpt-2 (Machine Learning Language Model).

Grow Your Voice Assistant -online workshop

Mai-June 2020 
by Vytautas Jankauskas & Claire Glanois 

via School of Machines: making and make-believe

The current circumstances drive us to redefine ways in which we live online. Meanwhile, it is equally a chance for us to reflect upon our home ecologies and the technologies that permeate and inhabit our intimate homeiome. Isn’t the moment to experiment with and develop new processes of co-loving with our everyday devices?


Voice can be a malleable, and somewhat empathetic communication tool to widen human-device relationships beyond push buttons and swiping. While they mediate notions of assisting, access to knowledge, and digital companionship, voice-assistant are yet currently mostly reduced to a task-oriented power play --order me this, turn on that, play these, entertain me-- instead of being a more open-ended adventure.

Given the above-outlined state of affairs, we propose to breed new voice assistants in an analog and situated environment, your voice and your home. You will pet a technology and guide the object through its first steps of algorithmic evolution. This course will aim to reconsider home devices as subjects, and create more endemic relationships with them. After looking into existing projects and technologies, we would speculate on other ways to hack voice assistants. Once our own open-source voice assistant set, we will engage in home experiments to grow it towards our imagined scenario. Lastly, we will connect the devices and their knowledge into a common pool, enabling them—and us—to share with and through each other; a network of voice assistants with its own notion of proximity, relatedness and understanding