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This Artist-Made AI Makes Memes to Cope with Mental Illness

Sofia Crespo is trying to create artificial intelligence through her internet art.
Images courtesy of the artist.

Scientists get to build computers that attempt to replicate the human brain, so why shouldn't artists have the same fun? Trauma Doll, according to the artist behind the project, is "an AI doll that suffers from PTSD, anxiety, depression & other psychological demons," according to her Facebook about page. The artificial intelligence creates "digitally generated memetic collages" as a coping mechanism.


Trauma Doll is the creation of Sofia Crespo, a Berlin-based artist and art director. Crespo was inspired to create memes and memetic art after she became frustrated with a lack of depth in what she was seeing online. After spending hours in front of the computer, Crespo tells Creators, she "began dissociating from the 'person' creating the art."

"In my case I decided it was an AI that became self-aware and could feel a lot of psychological/neurological demons I felt myself, but was a computer," Crespo says. "I saw Trauma Doll taking over my identity and creating those collages as her own coping mechanism. And then I was like 'Wait, what if I actually create a little robot that sees those patterns?'"

The name is taken, in part, from a joke. At the time of Trauma Doll's inception, Crespo was taking the medication tramadol for back pain and working on a digital collage of Mark Zuckerberg and Donald Trump.

In Trauma Doll's collages, texts from friends glitch into quotes from philosophical texts and headlines. Internet comics bleed into Wikipedia excerpts and word art in gothic fonts leaps out of anatomy drawings.

"The whole idea is playing with pattern recognition combining every field possible—and that's what Trauma Doll does, she sees patterns everywhere in the web and connects them," Crespo explains. "It's up to the consumer whether they see the patterns or not."

For now, Trauma Doll still lacks sentience—but she may not for long. Trauma Doll is an ever-expanding, ever-growing project that Crespo will continue to expand and work upon with other multidisciplinary artists. The possibility of creating an actual artificial intelligence that could create Trauma Doll's internet art is something that Crespo is actively investigating.


"I hope she's not gonna hate me if one day we succeed at giving her a consciousness," Crespo intones.

You can see more Trauma Doll on her website, Facebook or Instagram.


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