What ties ties, ties

A collection of essays by Mariah Blue, Kathrin Graf, Lana Murdochy, Younwon Sohn, Amy Winstanley

What ties ties, ties is a book created by five artists of different nationalities, backgrounds, ages, and gender identity. This book is tied by 'Doubt', a short story about questioning perceptions of the world by Scottish painter Amy Winstanley (b.1983), 'Call Us by Our Names', poems that are a collaboration between Mariah Blue (b.1977) and a machine learning algorithm, 'Housewarming, Dear Ghost Ants', an invitation essay about house, creature, and future scenery by Korean artist Younwon Sohn (b.1990), 'Tadpoles', a short coming of age story exploring friendship and imagination of young women by Scottish-Kurdish artist Lana Murdochy (b.1995), and 'Moving Matter', an essay on exploring the relationship between feelings and the design of surfaces by German sculptor Kathrin Graf (b.1984).

What ties ties, ties

18.5 x 10.5 cm, 136 pages, soft cover with riso print, 500 copies
Designed by Alex Walker
Published by Print Art Research Center, Seoul, South Korea
Printing & Binding by Printon Trükikoda
ISBN 979 -11-956458-7-9
€ 12

Call Us by Our Names is collaborative poetry written by a text predicting algorithm and curated by myself. The content for these poems is sourced from a trained dataset of eight million web pages. 

Book launch What ties ties, ties at NEVERNEVERLAND, Amsterdam, 7 March 2020

Kathrin Graf - what ties ties, ties

Sonic Meditation: Vibrational Bodies

In a collaborative sound performance with artist Tina Reden, we discovered the sonic possibilities of ceramic coil pots as natural speakers — think of the sound produced by a sea shell when held to the ear. The varying shapes and sizes of the hand built coiled pots create varied tonalities depending on how they are interacted with. These ceramic coil pots were made using similar techniques to those used since the stone age. We imagine alternative uses for technologies and play with the distinctions between hi and low tech by plugging in these stone age pottery vessels and using them as musical instruments.

Sonic Meditation and Vibrational Bodies, 2019

A collaborative performance with Tina Reden, Zone2Source, Amsterdam 


SleepeelS is a Youtube persona. In her performances and videos, she uses Youtube’s Creator interface as a medium. SleepeelS lives mostly in virtual space but creates a physical form for herself by co-opting the digital devices of her audience through the Youtube platform. A cacophony of echoes can be heard in the room as  phones play back her live streamed performance at differing stream rates. These echos are fed back into her computer mic and broadcasted again creating a sonic feedback loop. Eventually all speech is drowned out by the intensifying reverb. The Youtube algorithm is designed to selectively choose extreme content in order to captivate the attention of its audience. A feedback loop occurs between viewer and algorithm where ideologies become polarized in a self-fulfilling echo chamber of ideas. SleepeelS hopes to someday be an influencer of the Youtube algorithm

SleepeelS youtube channel livestream performance, broadcasted on multiple handheld devices during Torpor/A Bliss/A Slump, Staircase exhibition May 2019.

You Are The Future, 2019, Livestream Youtube video, 2:28 min

Calling all Homo Sapiens Sapiens, 2019

Sleepeels Youtube video playlist screened for Festival of Choices, Zone2Source, Amsterdam


In order to escape ambiguities, technology allows us to imagine and prepare for future scenarios. As an artifact of human thinking, technology serves in the ordering and shaping of our natural world. Human thought is the code from which technologies are written. When a machine is used for complex decision making that is normally done by humans, contradictions become apparent. A machine is not capable of all forms of logic. When algorithms make these kind of decisions, human prejudice is looped back on itself exacerbating a cy­cle that criminalizes minority groups, poor people and other vulnerable populations in society.

Paradoxical Mountain, 2019, 3:23 min

My friend and colleague Younwon Sohn shot the original footage for this video.

RT/ActivTrak, 2019, 3:21 min

In this video, a worker surveillance algorithm mines SleepeelS' employee data, takes random screenshots of her online activity, and tracks her digital activities. 

Fugue State, 2018, Looped videos on Asus tablets, 2:5×4:5×5:5 min


These are screen recordings of Philosophical conversations with Siri. 

Siri's inability to improvise a response to my philosophical questions led to frustrating circular conversations between us.  

Domestic Work Algorithm

These works examine the exploitative relationships between labor and digital platforms. I use my employee work data to create digital tapestries.This data is collected from my “day job” with the domestic labor platform Helpling, a digital platform described as “Uber for housekeepers.” The tapestries are created by a similarly exploitative online platform which outsources weaving to the lowest bidder. 

Digital weaving of work data from contracted cleaning work with Helpling™ domestic help platform

Tapeworms Mosaic (hand embroidery detail), 2018, 50 x 150 cm, digital weaving

Domestic Work Algorithm and Tapeworms Mosaic, 2018, 50 x 150 cm, digital weaving

Helpling Grrrl, 2018, video, 0:34 min

The Helpling house cleaners platform logo has been manipulated in video editing software and gains her own voice.  

Algorithmic Drawings

Digital drawings can be made using the language of code. Anything can be used as data and therefor programmed into a drawing.

Symbols are hand drawn in repetitions following an algorithmic equation. The equation is created using dice. The dice choose which symbols will be used within the drawings, how many times they will be repeated, what order, and the colors which are used. The drawings can be hand replicated once an equation is formulated. 


Kraken, Digital representation of cryptocurrency trading from October 2017 to January 2018, Dimensions variable

Kraken and Domestic Work, 2018, Dimensions variable

Digital representations of cryptocurrency trading and Helpling labour programmed in Java 

Domestic Work Algorithm Java Code, 2018, Dimensions Variable

Java program using data from my work with the online house cleaners platform Helpling.  

Algorithmic Drawing, 2017, colored pencil on paper 150 x 125 cm

Part of a series of drawings created using imaginary symbols drawn in repetitions according to an equation created by dice throwing.

Performed Algorithmic Drawings,  2017, Dimensions variable

Documentation of Performance at De Punt, Amsterdam

VR Bodies

What bodies might look like if downloaded into a virtual space. The evolutionary process scrambles and bodies morph into various biological forms. Sometimes limbs are added or subtracted and there can be the addition of feathers and tails as well as the presentation of multiple genders. 

VR Goddess, 2017, dimensions variable

still from virtual reality drawing

Vr Bodies, 2017, still from virtual reality drawing,  dimensions variable

Vr Bodies, 2017, still from virtual reality drawing, dimensions variable

Sleep Paralysis 

A sound composition and animation that explores the auditory hallucinations that can be experienced during episodes of sleep paralysis.

Sleep Paralysis, 2015, 3:37 min 

Using Format