The New Turing Test
Sentinela del Norte (1985) is a Chilean rapper and literature scholar. He’s known for being part of the cult hip hop band Colectivo Etéreo and for his career in the local rap and electronic scene. For his most recent album, Parte del Paisaje (Part of the Landscape, Discos Pegaos, 2019), he created the song Mr Darcy se Somete al Test de Turing (Mr Darcy Takes the Turing Test), a critique on aspirational and vacuous social behaviors. We had a conversation about this song, its inspiration from British figures such as computer science pioneer Alan Turing and John Darcy, character by Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice. We also discussed the possibility of a new version of the Turing test that could determine degrees of humanity in individuals.
A Moronic Society
Mr Darcy Takes the Turing Test is a song about the frustration for not being a player, a ladies man. It’s like being at a party in which everyone is in the game but you’re at a corner with other nerds talking about a film. That situation happened to me and I thought that there could be a version of the Turing Test in order to know if a person is interesting or not, I wanted to create a vindication of being a weirdo.
I just like to make intertextualities, films, music, that’s my brillo, I might not be jacked but I have this childish irony that I’m proud of.
But ours is a society in which your talents are worthless. The information you manage is worthless, I might not be a Mr Darcy but I have good things inside me and I love to be able to talk about films, literature or music.
There’s a rhyme in which I say that I’m a latin lover because I love dead tongues, and that’s because I like the Latin language, I made that irony to contrast with the latin lover expectation.
-I find it very interesting that important female authors wrote about this type of masculine characters, like Mr Darcy or Heathcliff in the case of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, there’s a stereotype there…
I like the stories of Greek women from the classic era in which they wrote for a group of women and not for the public.
And you know I’ve always been critical of rap lyrics in which people is constantly engaging in logics of toxic masculinity, there’s lots of social pressure to constantly show that you have money, this narrative too of women who start paying attention to you after you’re famous.
I like finding intimacy in my lyrics, i’m inspired by referential literature and eventually reach mass media through intimacy.
What’s a human?
-Hito Steyerl says that is curious that now it is us humans who have to prove our humanity to machines through captcha systems, it’s like the opposite logic of the Turing Test in which the computer was the one tested.
For this song I thought of Blade Runner, and yes, originally the machine was meant to prove that it was not a machine to the human and now it seems to be the opposite.
One of the aspects from science fiction that interests me the most is the difficulty to distinguish fantasy from reality, or the difficulty to determine if you’re a human or not, that’s actually a central topic in Blade Runner, a film that portrays androids or Ghost in the Shell which is about cyborgs with implanted memories.
And there’s the connection to these people that give the impression of not being authentic, people who do not question reality, they seem to have really defined identities but they’re just repeating stuff and do not have interests of their own. They’re listening to the songs of the reggeaton musician who is on fashion or watching The Avengers.
People as robots, robots made out of flesh and bone, subject to the pressures of marrying, having a house, and all the things that social standards require from you.
I’m glad i decided to prioritize my artistic career and didn’t met social standards.
Mr Darcy Takes the Turing Test
It’s been a while since my head had its fuses burned
I imagine I’m a super hero because I’m invisible
With an enormous heart, too sensible
I can think of a thousand jobs where my talent is useless
It’s impossible to be as cool as a zorrón papurri
I would ask them ¿Qué te pasa? As Yuri used to sing
Perhaps they can only understand performers using autotune
Or perhaps they do not think,
I should make them take the Turing test
Maybe I will be censored, as the Calígula movie
Maybe I should question life and find it ridiculous
If your wallet is a compound, mine is a particle
Your life is amazing, it even looks like a feature film
Meanwhile my life is just a pilot episode
I’m ñoño and roto, picante as a rocoto
Since it is evident that I’m not going to win the Loto
I do not have time to get that lifting in my scrotum
I would like to be trustworthy, as if I were Danny Glover
Or steer the ship, as Marmaduque Grove
My zero-members fan club expects me to always innovate
I’m going to be a latin lover
because I love dead tongues,
yours is lacking life
The entrance is through this door but it takes you to the exit
As Pavlov’s dog, if I think about you I salivate
Now let’s listen to that band of suicidal tendencies
Chill, it was a joke, I know you dislike them
I’m using a full seasoning for this bitter load
The waiting is long, the goodbye is short
Where is the past? Well, it’s in your ass
Sorry for the filth, I do not have the expertise
Probably I’m missing a synthesizing enzyme
Tears are slipping
I look like the tower of Pisa:
and full of nooks and crannies
Everything resonates with its echo and follows this rhythm
With a touch of mysticism as in a painting by El Greco
But it is not easy at all to fall down and then uprising
because I know I’ll never be someone like Mr Darcy