The Final Upgrade

Anisha Baid (2022)

Final upgrade is an audio piece situated inside a Macquarium sculpture. The macquarium is an aquarium built from the shell of an old iMac computer. The term “Macquarium” was coined by technology journalist Andy Inahtko, in the early 1990s as a humorous response to a reader on how to upgrade the (then outdated) Macintosh 512K. He called the Macquarium “the final upgrade”. Taking this idea literally, the aquarium presents the computer as a fishbowl – a world of solitary confinement. The audio piece, connected to the computer via headphones, plays a recorded text to speech audio piece, written in first person from the perspective of the person (or fish) occupying the computer. The audio narrative moves seamlessly between fish, user and AI assistant – confusing the listener as to who is speaking from inside the machine.

This project was made possible with support from the Frank-Ratchye Further Fund Microgrant#2022-034.