Lion & Unicorn with Dasha Nasonova and Dimitry Vesnin, In the Same Bot, 2020
The chatbot game, modelled after a popular instant messaging service, simulates exhibition creation within a Biennial Pavilion. Players observe the process from three perspectives: through the eyes of a commissioner, a curator and an intern. In the mini-quests that combine real and imaginary scenarios, the player makes moral choices and faces the political, financial and psychological implications of large-scale cultural events.
Originally created for the 2020 Architecture Biennial, In the Same Bot suggests an answer to the question How will we live together? The game urges the Russian Pavilion to form a novel and more meaningful institutional structure along with its physical transformation.
For the 2021 edition, the chatbot is located in the newly-built lavatory of the Russian Pavilion. It becomes a commentary on the fact that the world has turned into a set of nationalised public lavatories where issues of personal hygiene attract a great deal of public interest.
Moreover, the Russian intellectual tradition - from The Heart of a Dog, where Mikhail Bulgakov claims that “ruin in the heads” is the cause of “ruin in the toilets,” to the measurement of Russia’s backwardness on the basis of the number of people living with “amenities outside” (30 mln in 2019)- links the toilet to reflections on cultural and economic developments. Hence, today there is no better place to think about institutional design than in a clean, warm and sovereign toilet.