This exhibition analysed how the communication methods of two high-profile serial killers: Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy put into play the interpersonal communication axioms of the Palo Alto school. Jeffrey Dahmer, known as the "Cannibal of Milwaukee", was an American serial killer who claimed 17 victims between 1978 and 1991. Theodore Robert Bundy, better known as Ted Bundy, is an American serial killer executed in an electric chair in Bradford County, Florida, on 24 January 1989.
For the first experiment (Jeffrey Dahmer), the students set up a workshop using three computers project to project audio and image footage. Viewing these excerpts of the series made about Dahmer enabled students to illustrate how the double bind theory worked in practice. This highlighted the contradiction between the victim's actions and words and illustrated the theory of double bind
In the second experiment (Ted Bundy), the students first showed two photos of Ted Bundy (printed photos) and gave a list of adjectives to the visitors and asked them which photo(s) they associated with this list. Viewers were able to find out if they had matched the list of adjectives with the right photo. Leveraging cybernetics, feedback was solicited from the public for feedback on our exhibition before the students revealed that the two original photos were in fact both of Ted Bundy, who was using different aspects of his personality to manipulate public opinion.
The students analysed the personality of the serial killers and illustrated how they used communication techniques to fool the public and elude capture for years. For instance, Ted Bundy mastered rhetoric devices such as ethos, pathos to pass himself off as the average American who could never have committed such murders. The notion of feedback, derived from Wiener's cybernetic theory, was also deployed by the serial killers in order to master the situation and control their image