Misinformation has become a viral art form, thanks to UK-based artist Eric Drass, aka Shardcore. Previously, he transformed people's gullibility into an interactive art experiment with , a Twitter account that posts untrue "facts" with corresponding images by way of an algorithm.
Now Drass has created another algorithm to antagonize hipsters and music fans alike with Hipsterbait. The Twitter account is run by an algorithm that purposely matches a band name with the incorrect image of another band and places it on a T-shirt.
"The way of the hipster is all about the pursuit of the non-mainstream, the maintenance of an ironic distance from popular culture, the in-joke," Drass told Crave.
"These T-shirts at first affront the cool knowledge of the hipster -- 'Hey, that's not Sonic Youth, it's The Velvet Underground!' while simultaneously offering themselves as wearable ammunition in the favorite game of the committed hipster -- out-hipstering-the-other-hipster as in 'I'm cool enough to get this joke, are you?'" Drass added.
Since creating the account in April, Drass recently expanded it to pair images of animals, celebrities and historical monuments with the wrong names.
"One of the strangest features of the hipster is the appropriation of ridicule as a badge of honor," Drass told Crave. "The same instinct that gets the hipster rolling up his trousers and growing ridiculous facial hair easily encompasses a T-shirt which says 'I love koalas' with a picture of a sheep."
Wearing such a shirt, Drass says, "simultaneously signals outsider-dom and, ironically, tribal inclusion. The fact that the entire process can be instigated by a machine, that cares not a jot about irony, makes it all the more interesting."
Ironically, instead of finding the bot insulting, many hipsters have contacted Drass to see if the mismatched band shirts are in fact for sale.
The next algo-bot by Shardcore -- BFFbot1 -- is a "best friend" Twitter bot that puts the "social" back in social media. When you follow the bot, it instantly follows back and responds with a friendly response. A BFFbot1 named Alex also favorites your tweets and will reply with energetic tweets about how clever you are.
"It initially behaves like an inane friend, who loves everything you do, but it slowly reveals its stalkerish tendencies, using more and more of your social data to creep you out," Drass told Crave.
Sometimes Alex the algo-bot will make you a card that includes hashtags you've used as art. Or it'll write you a badly written poem. Of course, if you don't tweet at it enough the bot gets rather annoyed and starts to tweet passive-aggressive tweets nagging you for attention -- just like a real, albeit needy, friend.