June 2020-Jan 2021
Residency at Etopia Center for Art and Technology of Aarati Akkapedi, Sofia Crespo & Entangled Others, Mónica Rikić.
The EU_AILAB enabled the VisionarIAs residency program by funding 3 residencies, each one lasting between one and two months. The 3 resulting artworks are part of the VisionarIAs exhibition. The open call aimed for projects exploring the concepts of vision and visuality in relation to creativity, as our senses are the gateway to the physical world. We sought projects featuring machine vision and human vision and investigating how differences between the two manifest themselves when creating, or recreating, a world view.
How can we dream up new ecosystems? Can doing so help us understand the concept of existing always in relationship with others? Beneath the Neural Waves explores biodiversity through an attempt at creating (digitally) an aquatic ecosystem as a means of attempting to engage with the very abstract concept of relationship. These dioramas of artificial life, together with the various sculptural fragments, imagery, and text, reach out towards the complex entanglement of natural life, both with itself and others.
The choice of the aquatic, specifically the coral reef, was due to our belief that these reefs ecosystems are the perfect example of how the interconnectedness occurs in the natural world between life, no creature is the core component of the reef, rather it emerges from the interwoven whole of all the individual component species.
Sofia Crespo is an artist working on envisioning Artificial Life and generative lifeforms. One of her main focal points is the way organic life uses artificial mechanisms to simulate itself and evolve. This implies the idea that technologies are a biased product of the organic life that created them and not a completely separated object. On the side, she is also hugely concerned with the dynamic change in the role of the artists working with machine learning techniques, and how we can use these new technologies to connect with nature.
Berlin-based artist meditating on ecology, nature & generative arts, with a focus on giving non-human new forms of presence & life in digital space. Highly influenced by the development of new deep learning technologies, their practice orbits reshaping meditations on nature into an appreciation for the biodiversity that enriches our planet.
Aarati has worked with Goya’s collections of etchings prints to identify themes across aspects such as pose, composition, or subject matter within a visual archive and highlight explore these themes through creative machine learning experiments. Firstly, she created a body of generative works based on the archive using a DCGANS model. Overtime the neural networks become better and better at imitating the original images and you can slowly start to see details form that reflect the visual essence of the training dataset. The generated images become a dream-like blend of the originals, showing interesting details from the training dataset. She was interested in connecting details in the generated images with instances within the training dataset. She finds the in-between stages when the neural networks are still grasping at the forms to be extremely interesting as well. The final installation presents a series of prints and a video showing the transition process.
The second component of the project used a pre-trained machine learning model to reveal similarities around pose and composition with the original training dataset, through the use of machine vision overlays.
Aarati Akkapeddi is a first-generation Indian-American, cross-disciplinary artist, educator, and programmer interested in the poetics and politics of datasets. They work with both personal and institutional archives to explore how identities and histories are shaped by different methods of collecting, preserving, and presenting data. Their work has been supported by institutions such as NYC Media Lab, Beamcenter, ETOPIA Center for Art & Technology, & LES Printshop. She lives and works in Occupied Lenapehoking (New York).
Robotic Interactive installation
Futuristic fictional interactive robotic installation presenting a small intelligent machine frustrated by the impossibility of being incomputable. In an attempt to get closer to a possible future of artificial intelligence, when machines are provided with a ‘positronic’ brain and, therefore, self-consciousness, the piece represents the anguish of a machine for not being able to be unpredictable and creative like the humans.
The piece wants to move away from conventional visions and offer a radical new approach that questions the fact that perhaps creativity, reflection and everything incomputable that we seek in artificial intelligence is not the end of the machine but an imposition derived from a struggle of power between man and machine, which reproduces other moments of conquest of humanity existing throughout history. Instead of accepting the nature of someone other than ourselves, in this case the machines, we try to impose our values and similarities on him, forcing him to be the way we want him to be.
Mónica Rikić is a new media artist and creative coder from Barcelona. She focuses her practice in code, electronics and non-digital objects for creating interactive projects often framed as experimental games, which aim to go beyond the game itself.
She is interested in the social impact of technology, human-machine coexistence and the reappropriation of technological systems and devices, to manipulate and rethink them through art. From educational approaches to sociological experimentation, she wants to propose new ways of thinking and interacting with the digital environment that surrounds us.
With her projects she has participated in different festivals around the world such as Ars Electronica in Linz, Sónar in Barcelona or FILE in Brazil, among others. She has been awarded at festivals such as the Japan Media Arts Festival, AMAZE Berlin, the Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition in Atlanta and with a BBVA Foundation Leonardo grant to work on a research project about robots and social interactions. She has done artistic residencies at Technoculture, Arts and Games in Montreal, European Media Artists in Resicence Exchange (EMARE) in Australia, Medialab Prado in Madrid and Platohedro in Medellin.