Climate change and deforestation are eroding our planet, and our methods for dealing with them rely on factual argumentation that do little more than provoke debate rather than real change in the hearts of those against climate action. Chikyuchi attempts an alternative approach using an artistic intervention highlighting the human value of "caring," using the mass-appeal of a device inspired by the Tamagotchi to affect climate change on the human level rather than the physical. Chikyuchi provokes audiences to care for a physically embodied, retired and reimagined device avatar representing the Amazon forest. The character is connected to API data that determines its health, which is in bad shape due to deforestation and global warming. Although users are able to temporarily cheer up the Chikyuchis with thematically related food and games, increasing their mood status, it doesn't affect their critical health status. The Chikyuchis also periodically speak based on text generated using the transformer language model GPT-2 fine-tuned on tweets related to deforestation and global warming over a 3 day period. The use of machine learning and computable devices for interaction serves to stimulate public and artistic dialog about ecological state of our world.
Project Instagram: chikyu.chi.
Project page by Vincent Ruijters: Chikyuchi