Key Work Selection: Karen by Blast Theory

Blast Theory’s piece Karen (2015) is seemingly a life-coaching app: Karen, a middle-aged woman starts the experience as the user’s personal life coach. But the user’s frequent one-to-one sessions (the total span of which can range from 7 days to a few months, depending on how often you use the app) take an unexpected turn, as Karen appears to be psychologically volatile, confused, and increasingly invasive. A hybrid between game and drama, the piece raises questions about privacy and control at a time when technologies increasingly permeate every aspect of our lives. Karen prompts the user to question how they use media, what information they leak through this usage, and what is at stake in doing so.

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