A Series of Presentations
April 18 - May 30
FAKING IT: WORLDBUILDING AND THE BODY in Alternative Fiction
May 30 @ 11am PST
In these fictional, visual narratives, bodily versions of the protagonists are being constructed, occupied and mutated within their simulated world models. The manipulation and interpolation of these bodies creates new tendencies, as well as instilling trauma within the present order of the system. The combination of new elements and fragments within the old constructs create further ramifications--these expandable, contractible, destructible, and multiplying bodies question the ways of abstraction of our agency within social and political constraints.
The artists are revealing the violence and trauma that goes into the creation of these bodies, and they will talk about their experiences within these alternative fictions.
1984 marks the midpoint of the two bookends of our research/investigation. It is the year of the seminal essay A Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway. The first bookend: 57 years prior (1927) marked the beginning of the popular depiction of the female body fused with technology in the Fritz Lang film Metropolis. The second bookend: 57 years after Haraway’s essay, we will explore the trope of the female cyborg in popular culture as well as alternative depictions. We will also pivot to more speculative iterations between the years 2020-2041.
In TEST 1: A Hybrid is born from an egg. A blue egg with a 3D isoline protocol. Out of it, springs arms (splines) that spiral and enable it to hover. It’s looking for a home and has found one. In this land, it is able to stretch and flicker its tentacles within an Enviroscape, which is, in turn, flickering as well. This Enviroscape developed within the universe of Second Life with the grafting of glitter|i| from the Cyborg Salon. This is a good match! In celebration, there is a warm welcome [in Wing Dings]. A conversation has begun between the Hybrid and its Enviroscape, enveloped within an audio mutation of a Ted Talk with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin + Love in the Future + Meet Q, The Gender-Neutral Voice Assistant.
Kink Retrograde presents a speculative allegory whose protagonists live in a world and city presided over by shocks that come to resemble the apparent retrograde motion of celestial bodies: cyclical and seemingly backwards moving. The intoxicated characters decide that the social contract between themselves and the sovereign powers has always been breached, and so they must devise a new and transparent contract aware of its own abjectness, risk, and deviance — one of total kink.
"In this project and elsewhere in my work, time-based media is accompanied by a spatial set-up of sculptural objects, heightening the experience of all the constituent parts while also allowing for different combinations of those individual parts. Within this project, I began to construct sculptural pieces with wearable ergonomic devices that are ostensibly designed to maximize the productivity of a human body or nurse it back to full health".
All Cared for by Chains and Loops
I have always seen digital space as both an extension of social contact and communication as well as an immersive playground for our own egos. Like avatars and created characters in video game platforms, digital space can reveal a lot about our aspirations, goals, and world views. The input of our own human qualities in order to simulate an outcome of our curiosities based on our own ego and narcissism is fascinatingly close to the idea of a God complex. Similarly, the creation of these avatars, or in other words facades, contain an inherent aspect of domestication, where our interactivity with them is characteristic to a form of cultivation and taming. The projection of our virtual counterparts, be it on social media or video games, also houses a selfishly romantic element, in which the lack of direct human contact, a habit that human evolution has granted us among millions of years of natural selection, enables a certain numbness from reality, leading to what theorist Marshall McLuhan stated as a narcosis of our own repeated image, resulting to us becoming servomechanisms of them.
The New Nasty: Automated Cannibalism, Unproductive Machines, & Convolutional Parabiology
Yvette Granata, Xuan Ye, and Will Lee
The fantasy of an automated future is decked with chrome, glass, and the whirring of mechanical limbs continuously assembling some thing. Productivity no longer conjures the image of countless human bodies toiling away in a factory. Rather, the bodies have vanished, as if the machines have always been here working. This paradise is governed by an artificial intelligence that is ineffable, ideal, and immaterial. As with countless gods before, it has been forgotten that it was molded by human hands. In The New Nasty, Yvette Granata, Xuan Ye, and Will Lee imagine a carnal relationship with machines--one in which the specter of AI is tethered to the remains of a corporeal reality.
May 23th @ 11am PST
Data-Slime is a journey through a surreal landscape in which an AI writes social media posts. The visitor explores an imaginary landscape constructed from various kinds of data — 3D scanned bodies, generated surfaces, and Facebook data tuned into abstract structures. It is a fictional data swamp that reorganizes data collected by social media platforms, changing it instead into a surreal space-time inhabited by an AI trained with a Recurrent Neural Network. As the viewer explores the swamp, the AI entity posts new comments trained to write based on social media posts.
The Oral Logic
Turning the gaze inward on bodily systems, the installations are conceptualized using the cannibalistic metaphor of “eating and being eaten” to contemplate on our dialectic relationships with technology. We as bio-cultural-technological amalgams have always merged our mental activities with the operations of technologies in a broader sense. For example, writing is a technology we use to make sense of ourselves and the world as it reconfigures our consciousness. Having entered the electronic landscape, we, both consumer and feeder devour and chew, digest and absorb electronic culture in all domains. From eating to speaking, from the molecular to the epistemological, our body and psyche subject to the cyborgian economy where massive networks show affective and cognitive agencies and planetary computation is mobilized by the entangled power of political ideologies, economic imbalance, and cultural disparities. It is in such a context where The Oral Logic attempts to question “to what extent would this symbiosis evolve?”
Acedia of Arcadia
My discussion of game-design and playing games is founded on two foundational premises: 1) Aesthetic experience is not ineffable and 2) Creativity as a moral good is not a given. My practice is informed by Adrono’s aesthetic theory, but I’m more interested in performing some immanent critique of my works. I’ll be focusing on showing Brain Teaser and an excerpt of Acedia of Arcadia to talk about New Machinima and what I’m trying to do with the delineation.
Acedia of Arcadia, 2018
in collaboration with Matt Ossias
Brain Teaser, 2019
In this presentation, the artists are exploring ideas related to the concepts of organic vs. inorganic. They examine the continuities and boundaries between these two notions through their own specific approaches and methodologies.
Identifying Drive System
Bochra’s research emanates from subjective thoughts that take the form of monologues and monographs which pour into archaic thoughts. The psychological, philosophical, and aesthetic axis of her approach refers to primitive forms, the origin and the identity of a common imagery. She considers the unconsciousness as a fossil, a deeper blocked area that holds an entire ecosystem.
Her presentation includes these topics:
Alternative forms of life
Monologues and monographs as a process of creation
Organic and Artifacts
Gerard will be discussing themes surrounding the idea of “Gothic Materialism”, as posited by Mark Fisher. He will be looking at the coexistence, or melding of the organic and the inorganic.
Gerard’s practice is concerned with the contingency of matter within the context of accelerated modes of technological production, ecological breakdown, and the indeterminate vectors of their effects/affects. The unknown quantities of matter become a malign force by their transformation into tools of extraction, where they permeate bodies, atmospheres, and communities. The extraction of antediluvian matter catalyzes a potent toxicity, where the fabricated technological-consumable product initiates a process of unknowing via runaway data collection, rendering the world into zones of cosmic weirdness. The effects/affects of global climate change eclipse human cognition. Aggressive data harvesting generates multiple crises, increasing the rate of epistemological murkiness. Local and global distinctions merge, creating a zone of stewed materiality and subjectivity.
Flatline Constructs: Gothic Materialism and Cybernetic Theory-Fiction: Mark Fisher
The Weird and the Eerie : Mark Fisher
Veda’s practice stems from observations of processes of decay, sedimentation, accretion, accumulation, growth and the disappearance of apparent signs of life. She works with organic found objects, papier mache, plaster of paris, glass, iron, video, and uses drawing as a means to imitate these processes - by overlaying, overdrawing, and layering. She views her practice as a rehearsal of loss that dwells on the process of dying by anticipating death and identifying signs of life after death. This preoccupation with disappearance and death emerges from a space of anxiety. Working with organic or suburban discards, and engaging the linguistic and material vocabulary of the organic or mortal world, are attempts to overcome it.
For this presentation, Veda will take you through the process of two installations, and an ongoing series of drawings.
Organicity and Material Processes
Identifying Drive System
The Human Abyss is a representation of the depths of Man. An "anthropoabysal" world that retraces the zoning of the structure of psyche, the "creatures" and the subtracts of the human subconscious through reading into the subconscious and the common imagination. I dove into a world that represents a space-time quantum with an original logic. It is a journey towards the unknown within Humans retracing everything they suppress, this mechanism of internal censoring they've blocked and lost.
I made samples of human depths with an imaginary taxonomy of species that each represent a substrate human trait where every zone holds traits unique to it; its composition, its atmosphere, its source of energy, and the creatures that live within it etc .. As well as the analyses and the creation of fauna of each zone. Every creature has its own descriptive chart in the form of a monograph that includes a nomenclature.
This journey into the depths is a surrealistic experience through drawings, animated images, sound effects and music. A total immersion in a “world model”." ...Learn More
"How do you feel when faced with a strange form or a disturbing artwork, how do you define it?
Where do these new semiotic forms come from?
These questions were asked directly to randomly selected observers during their reading of an artwork at Centre Pompidou.
Each point of view was accompanied by a dilated visual of the artwork in front of which the observer was being questioned. "
My practice is concerned with the contingency of matter within the context of accelerated modes of technological production, ecological breakdown, and the indeterminate vectors of their effects/affects. The unknown quantities of matter become a malign force by their transformation into tools of extraction, where they permeate bodies, atmospheres, and communities. The extraction of antediluvian matter catalyzes a potent toxicity, where the fabricated technological-consumable product initiates a process of unknowing via runaway data collection, rendering the world into zone of cosmic weirdness. The effects/affects of global climate change eclipse human cognition. Aggressive data harvesting generates multiples crises, increasing the rate of epistemological murkiness. Local and global distinctions merge, creating a zone of stewed materiality and subjectivity.Petronics is a blending of material temporalities, where the deep-time of lithic and organic processes mix with accelerated technological programming, whereby matter conjugates in coalitions of precarity and mutability. Objects are estranged from their exploitation as tools and resources; they are rendered into queer remixes that possess alien agencies which are perpetually turbulent.
Vaping through recesses into actual…
Toxic trauma buried deep within ancient geologies.
Creating a doom-mist that reeks of transition.
Veda Thozhur Koller
My practice stems from observations of processes of decay, sedimentation, accretion, accumulation, growth and the disappearance of apparent signs of life. I work with organic found objects, papier mache, plaster of paris, refurbished glass, iron, video, and use drawing as a means to imitate these processes - by overlaying, overdrawing; layering.
I attempt methods of preservation through collecting objects and embedding them in plaster of paris, sandwiching them between glass and papier mache, or engraving the movement of the force of water or the passage of clouds on pieces of glass - drawings that are displayed as shadows. I simultaneously express a letting go by working with dust, soil, evaporating water, and perishable organic material.
Working with organic or (sub)urban detritus, and engaging the linguistic and material vocabulary of the organic or mortal world, are attempts to overcome it. I have recently begun to use Arduino boards to control movement or life in an installation and am working towards developing one whose process can sustain itself in my absence...Learn More
Topologies of Images
Rodrigo Gutiérrez_ Aria Farajnezhad and Patrick Pelihan _ Nadim Choufi
Saturday April 25 - 11 Am PST-
Rodrigo Gutiérrez: ODE to Länadk
Aria Farajnezhad and Patrick Pelihan: Lower Upwards Horizon
Nadim Choufi: CELSS---Entangle for the Alien to Continue
In this conversation we are looking at scientific images as a location intertwining techno-scientific progress with political, economical and personal motives. They become regions where the scientific method clashes with its non-neutral production, raising questions around the (re)production and reception of scientific images as temporal and spatial portals attached to regimes of visuality.
Through three separate projects, Rodrigo Gutiérrez, Nadim Choufi, and Aria Farajnezhad & Patrick Peljhan explore the construction and production of scientific images along with the alleged objectivity behind each act. From microscopic images of bacterial species involved in the gut-brain connection, to remote-sensing, militarized technologies of 3D mapping landscapes, the artists confront the underlying purposes behind such scientific progress, and provide counter audiovisual imaginaries. Introduced bias in experimental designs and personal aesthetic representations are discussed within the ambiguity of science-meets-art entanglements.
Topics to be covered in the presentation are:
Biofeedback: Making physiological data explicit by means of interactive audiovisual content in order to elicit self-awareness, i.e., interoception.
Mapping psychophysiological measures to subjective perceptions, behaviors and philosophical theories of knowledge, i.e., epistemology.
Classification and taxomization of land, species, and ecologies through scientific methods/technologies.
The temporal role of scientific images in producing realities.
Philosophical and fictional counternarratives to visual and sonic scientific production.
The regimes of verticality and visuality accompanying current scientific and technological practices.
Information as Image: a material map of multivalent forms of marginality and belonging?
ODE (Ordinary Differential Equations) to Länadk is a life project summarized here with a multimedia representation. It explores the thresholds overlapping and differentiating philosophy, spirituality, art and science. The philosophical concept is rooted in self-reflections about human’s counterproductive behavior which brings grief upon ourselves, showing symptoms of a sick society.
Bacterial sample dying by means of electrochemichal processes. An analogy with the predator-prey mathematical model of Lotka-Volterra, for example, is made to represent this recurrent tension of the underlying ancient mind-matter problem. Furthermore, visual and auditory elements are part of an external representation of the human Nervous System functions that take place under fight or flight vs. rest and digest states ...Learn More
Aria Farajnezhad and Patrick Pelihan
Colonization has always become possible through the means and technologies that cohere the incoherent, forcing the plates of scattered landscapes to merge and collapse into one. The favorite image of the sovereign represents itself in the small models of the claimed territories that have been made by expeditionaries. Survey and cartography have been the requirement for organizing any occupation operation.
3d modeled maps introducing the third axis, the vertical measurement, the topology, create a more “accurate” representation. It suggests that the viewer is looking diagonally or even horizontally as an added feature to the traditional 2d maps, which only allow a birds-eye view. The machine is calculating the third axis and extrapolating the 3d shape. ..Learn More
Entangle for the Alien to Continue
On earth and other planets, extreme climate conditions have shifted the nature of living space. The problems of space are no longer physical; they are biological and are seen in biotech and architecture firms designing at the limits of life. Yet 100-year architectural plans for Mars colonies and bioengineered extremophiles are produced for an unsustainable survival of capitalism that seeks to overcome its own ecological limits. Entangle for the Alien to Continue is a series of 3D infrastructures that exist as sculptures and in a video essay that deals with the material trajectory of evolution through design and a reconfiguring of efficiency to eco-efficiency, where the care for entanglement replaces production as an evolutionary scheme.
Liberation of the Machine
Sahej Rahal & Kaushik Varma
April 18 - 11 Am PST-
We bring you our first series of presentations starting from this Saturday, April 18th. The first session will be centered around the theme of Artificial Intelligence and will
be featuring artists who have been working in the domain of AI & Art.
What are the limits of algorithmic thinking in comparison to human cognitive processes? Can there be a bridge between organic spontaneity and machinic repeatability? Can the machine ever be liberated from the functional?
Join Sahej Rahal and Kaushik Varma as they approach these questions and take us through their artworks addressing the possibilities of post-human sentience.
The presentations will be around 20 minutes long followed by an open-discussion.
An AI program that speculates the nature of sentience from the vantage of Artificial intelligence. Inside the simulation program, an AI-controlled blob wanders about a desert. As it moves, it finds the remains of ruined untimely architecture littered about a digital landscape. Soon this coded mind learns how to navigate this space and pick up objects in the landscape. Further, it starts to use these objects as limbs, creating new forms around itself. Each time the program is run, the AI blob begins this entire process anew...
Various thinkers of the past have addressed the quintessential role of ‘form’ in human perception. From Plato’s theory of forms to Heidegger’s Being and Time, the concept of form established itself as an essential part of being as such. It is only through the perception of forms that move into and out of being that we can talk about or experience the world in any meaningful way. That is to say, subjectivity in itself seems to be enabled by our ability to conceptualize form. But is it the case that such a subjectivity is only limited to seemingly spontaneous organic beings? Could it be that subjectivity could be attributed to an inanimate object if it were to exhibit a mechanical cognizance of form?
What Nebula, What Hyperbolic Light, What Flora and Fauna (WNWHLWFF) is the second work of an ongoing project G=A=R=D=E=N. Through multimedia installations and performances, the series speculates on the idea of “habitat” in the context of technological acceleration and urban sprawl. It uses “garden” as a metaphor for re-imagining an ideal habitat where human, natural and man-made materials coexist. WNWHLWFF is a 3D animation essay about dwelling in such accelerated future of landscapes, where silicon and carbon-based matters are hybrided, e-waste became organisms, and abandoned motherboards are enlarged into construction sites, oil rigs and building blocks...
This machinima documents the wandering gaze of a player who has satisfied every obtainable goal in various video games, left only to ruminate on the stillness that erupts from the cessation of desire. Gameplay from different dystopian cyberpunk and dark fantasy games are combined to emphasize a shared graphical affinity for realism, one-point perspective, and sublime landscapes typically used to afford an optimal perspective for strategic manipulation of the game world.