Bob Bicknell-Knight


Artwork 1 Details :

Bob Bicknell-Knight’s Permadeath is a looping CGI video that depicts the grave of the defunct website ChaCha, a human-guided search engine that provided free, real-time answers to any question. The site, which functioned from September 2006 - December 2016, enabled users to interact with live human beings (dubbed guides) through a chat window. The user would ask the guide questions which the guide would then search the internet for. Searching the internet was once a complicated experience, with users having to search through multiple pages, and potentially tweaking their search questions, before eventually finding what they were looking for. ChaCha's service enabled users to bypass this investigative process through the use of guides. As search engines became increasingly sophisticated, employing complex algorithms to hone their users’ searches, ChaCha swiftly became obsolete. Permadeath is a gravestone for ChaCha, functioning as a work mourning the corporatisation of the internet, with popular search engines and social media sites continuing to exert control whilst fuelling conspiracy theories and alt-right extremism.

Artist/ Collective Bio:

Bob Bicknell-Knight is a multidisciplinary artist, curator and writer, working with digital media, painting, sculpture, video and installation. His work is influenced by surveillance capitalism and responds to the hyper consumerism of the internet, exploring ideas surrounding the automation of work, global power structures and technocratic authoritarianism, as well as critically examining contemporary technologies. Bicknell-Knight is also the founder and director of isthisit?, a platform for art that’s specialised mainly in digital art since its creation in May 2016, and has worked with hundreds of artists over the past 6 years.


No: 91

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