The Tulpamancer

Performance, Video, Augmented Reality, 2017-2022 

The AI performance and AR/Video Installation The Tulpamancer tells the story of a character who creates a personal mythology and brings it to life through automated workflows, hoping it will neutralize their anxieties about online and offline life. 

A tulpa is a mental companion created through focused thought and recurring interaction, similar to an imaginary friend. However, unlike an imaginary friend, tulpas have their own will, thoughts, and emotions, allowing them to act independently. The idea of a tulpa and of the tulpamancer who hosts them is the origin of The Tulpamancer.

The central figure, known as The Tulpamancer, is a reincarnation of the artist’s previous author Lauren Moffatt, as Lauren at age 17, the Tulpamancer is the host of five tulpas. The creation of Tulpamancer is a thought experiment, fueled by the ambivalence that Lauren Moffatt feels today when considering the positive and negative potential of web 2.0: what would have happened to Lauren Moffatt and her tulpas if she were 17 years old in 2019 instead of in 1999? Would the web, with its social media, avatars, self-publishing, and fan fiction, have given her and her tulpas a home and a community? Did it make her feel less alone? Or has the depth and breadth of the Internet, with its trolls and scammers and human traffickers lurking just below the surface, increased her fears and transformed her tulpas into monsters rampaging through the web?

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