Performance Art prompts more donations for Ukraine

Who: The Humanitarian Coalition, with Performance Art for strategy and creative, School Editing for post-production.

What: “A Prompt for Ukraine,” a video that uses some of the buzz surrounding ChatGPT to ask for donations to Ukraine on the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion.

When & Where: The video was released Friday (Feb. 24), and is being shared through social channels, with some paid support on LinkedIn and Instagram, all using the hashtag #APromptForUkraine. It’s also being supported through PR outreach.

Why: The Humanitarian Coalition brings together 12 aid organizations to give Canadians a simple and effective way to help during large-scale humanitarian emergencies—and Ukraine is undoubtedly in the midst of a humanitarian emergency.

To remind people of that, Performance Art came up with a unique way to illustrate the devastation visited upon the country over the past year by contrasting it with the peaceful version of the country that existed prior to the invasion.

How: The call-to-donate video uses a close-up of a chat box similar to the one for ChatGPT, the Open AI artificial intelligence system that generated all kinds of media attention in late 2022 and early this year (including here at The Message). The video does not name ChatGPT, instead referring to the world’s “most popular AI chatbot.”

The hook is that ChatGPT is trained entirely on data older than September 2021, so while there has been lots of talk about how much ChatGPT “knows” about almost anything, it knows nothing of war-torn Ukraine, only remembering the country in better days.

The prompt “[W]hat would you tell me about Mariupol?”, for example, returns a typical description of the city: “A large city located in southeastern Ukraine, known for its heavy industry, and home to a number of cultural landmarks and attractions. These include museums, theatres, galleries and historic sites.”

But the video quickly replaces that description with a photo of a bombed-out building to show what Mariupol looks like today.

“The world’s most popular AI chatbot knows nothing about the war,” says a closing super. “We prompted it to remind us all why Ukraine still needs our help.”

And we quote: “One of the world’s most popular AI chatbots is essentially unaware that there’s a major war happening in Ukraine. Working with the Humanitarian Coalition, we found a data bias that would normally be seen as a negative and are using it to reactivate a sense of hope that donations can and do still make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering.” —  Ian Mackenzie, chief creative officer, Performance Art

David Brown