Reject Me, State Scrounging as Means of Production

Reject Me, Special guest, reject_me.jpg

Cheating acts have a special (controversial) place in performing art history. They are acknowledged as challenging performance. Nevertheless the real troubles with the law involved put them in a critical limbo. Awarded at the latest ReadMe 100, Reject Me by an anonymous British artist nicknamed as ‘Special guest’, generates perfectly credible, but fake, letter of ‘reject’ to an employment request. The software let the user print out the letters in order to present them to a local Job Center in order to get social security benefits. The standard text used in the letters were simply obtained from an internet search, and become a tactical kind of ‘template’. Can a machine-generated fake that perfectly fits into social mechanisms, effectively obtaining a different outcome (the confirmation of social aids), be considered a crime? It’s not only a software in terms of executing code, but also in terms of an algorithm that transforms input in powerful output, if used accordingly. The reduction of a ‘document’ to its generating code can be a political act. The resulting template can be used as a symbol of individual intervention in the more and more rigid mechanisms of the bureaucracy. Finally, entering the bureaucratic domain with the simulation of reality means to broke every certainty.