Ryan Hoover


Painterbot critically examines the merging of psychology and marketing. It reflects on on how psychographic marketing profiles are constructed and how they are mapped back onto the individual. Contemporary marketing strategies are focused on developing "narrow-cast" tactics that draw upon detailed customer profiles. The means by which these profiles are constructed are often covert, and the ways that they are employed are often unknown to the individual who is targeted. These profiles can influence consumers' purchases, politicians' agendas, employers' hiring decisions, and psychologists' understanding of human beings.

Painterbot.com is a site where visitors can take a personality test and "Painterbot" generates a work of art that matches their personality. This can be done from the Painterbot Kiosk or any computer connected to the internet. While this experience is fun and novel as marketed, it actually serve as a ruse for data mining. Visitors are categorized and their data is stored in Painterbot's database. Approximately one week later, visitors begin to receive emails from the version of themselves that exists in the database. The result is often unsettling, but it raises awareness of our many data dopplegangers, and some people seize the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with this version of themselves.