The Myth of Agency

work in progress


"Ultimately, nothing or almost nothing about what a person does seems to be under his control." -Thomas Nagel, Moral Luck


The Myth of Agency is an interactive installation that explores human and non-human agency, whether and how we make choices, and what implications this has in an increasingly complex technological world. Installation elements include sound, video, photography, participant interaction, moving objects, and water.

The work calls into question some basic assumptions about human agency. Machines, for example, are causal, mechanistic, bound by their programming. Yet we see ourselves as different. What forces guide our actions? As our machines become more intelligent and we ourselves become more networked, what does it mean to have agency? Is it merely a useful myth, or is there something particular - even if inscrutable - about what it means to be human?