Nick Degtyarev

degtyarevBorn in 1985 and studies at the Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia. He takes part in group exhibitions in Russia and abroad and has been published in a number of foreign publications. His works are held by the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow.

Today the Internet is the most accessible source of information from a technical perspective. Information takes two main forms in this space. The first is the widely comprehensible visual form and the second is text. In order to make a machine translation — for example into Russian — easier to understand, the translation engines make use of linguistic variations that are found thanks to the indexing of texts posted on the Internet in that language. In other words they use the most frequently employed expressions and phrases. It’s a sort of never-ending poll, it is absolutely anonymous, and it doesn’t require its participants to give their permission.
I tried to use this tool to show how modern Russian-speaking communities view gender roles. I selected English phrases that do not give any indication of gender, i.e. without any context they could be uttered by a man or by a woman. However, when translating into Russian, verbs are conjugated differently depending on the gender. These are grammatical peculiarities of the language. Without specific guidance, the translation program outputs the most common variant of the Russian text. By observing the options suggested by the translator we can get a sense of how the average Russian views the family, the distribution of duties and the role of men and women in society.