As a recipient of the fifth Clark Bursary in 2004, Dane wanted to build a system for people to create a virtual representation of themselves and then use it to communicate with others in a digital landscape. The results are LoveMatch, a humorous compatibility test that uses animations as the basis for a visual questionnaire to help you find your perfect partner.
The user selects different images to construct a representation of their identity and then LoveMatch gives them a written analysis of their personality and presents compatible partners to them – which are actually arbitrary and bear no relation to what information the user inputs.
As part of his research Dane met with Jon and Caroline from www.cybersuiters.com, an on-line dating agency. They used a special formula called the Compatibility Quotient to determine compatibility between two people. They were very generous and gave Dane permission to use it as the basis for his project.
During the bursary LoveMatch was run as an experiment in Watershed Café/Bar where customers used PDAs (handheld personal digital assistants) to input their personalities via the animations to then find compatible partners.
Dane’s original intention for LoveMatch was to make a satirical comment on profiling. He assumed that the users would recognise the arbitrary nature of the imagery and object to the conclusions. But they didn’t. Perhaps because LoveMatch was run in the safe environment of Watershed Café/Bar and there was nothing negative in the suggestions.
In the experiments LoveMatch proved to be an engaging experience but it failed in its attempts to satirise profiling. If it was more satirical and openly questioning of the format it might have proved to be less enjoyable. For Dane LoveMatch become a piece about the power of suggestion rather than an exploration of wireless technology. You can still participate in LoveMatch, as Dane also created an online version of the compatibility test. (link)
LoveMatch was created as part of the 5th Clark Bursary, supported by J A Clark Charitable Trust, Watershed, Mobile Bristol, University of the West of England, and Arts Council England South West.
Ended in January 2004