©︎ 2021 Shin Hanagata

25th Art Division New Face Award

Uber Existence

Media performance

HANAGATA Shin[Japan]


This work offers a “substitution service” that sends a substitute body to “be there.” By accessing the website, users can choose a substitute (“actor”) suited for a place and appearance they want. They then manipulate the actor’s body by giving instructions through the app so that they can be “present” at a specific place. The artist experimented with this system and lived as an actor for a while. This work, a meta-performance artwork, seamlessly infiltrates society with the fully functional service enabled by living actors. It poses a question of self-identity and free will in the era in which the control of algorithmic analysis threatens our lives.

Reason for Award

Inspired by the experience as an Uber Eats delivery person, the artist drew up the service that lends a sense of existence itself as a robotic body to see what happens to the actors and users when such a service is implemented. It is very interesting that he put together this experiment in an art form. If such a service were to be implemented, it would face ethical disputes, yet that is why this work is outstanding. It provides opportunities for contemplation: how it differs from the food delivery service that is available now, to what extent one feels acceptable as an actor, and to what extent a type of labor that doesn’t require self-consciousness can be accepted by society. (HACHIYA Kazuhiko)