MWITM (Man / Woman In The Middle)

Lauren Lee McCarthy and Kyle McDonald

In computer security a "man in the middle attack" is an attack where the attacker secretly relays and possibly alters the communication between two parties who believe they are directly communicating with each other. In this case, we set up a system to MITM attack our own relationship.

Instead of sending text messages to each other directly, all of our texts were intercepted by a server. On the server we each had an automated, scripted representation of ourselves handling the message, either the WITM or the MITM. The WITM and MITM had the ability to: modify a message as it is being sent or received, reply to a message instead of modifying or relaying it, and initiate new conversations without any actions from Lauren or Kyle. Through this process we hoped to sync our different communication styles and subvert our relationship to improve it. We used this system, updating the code for the MITM and WITM, for a period of six months. Over this period, the “authenticity” of the conversation became more ambiguous as we scripted in response to each other’s scripts.

This work was commissioned by Art Center Nabi for the Neotopia: Data and Humanity exhibition.