Introtext SERVICE

United by a mutual interest in exploring and unpacking the societal, political, technological, and artistic implications of emerging technologies, we formed a group to collectively create artistic knowledge and share our diverse approaches which will now be presented in SERVICE at Kunstpunkt Berlin.       

Whenever a new technique becomes popular, it seems that the focus shifts to the technique itself, becoming a hype and blaze. Deep reflection on how the new technology will transform our society tends to be scarce. If “the medium is the massage[1]”, it is a crucial source for unfolding the implications it brings about. How will Artificial Intelligence shape our realities – and what does it represent?                 

We ask whether each new form of representation exhibits society’s vision or constructs it. It is likely a combination of both. The central perspective of the Renaissance had a significant impact it’s society and captured the forces and narratives of its time. The new paintings will have stunned and unsettled their contemporaries, as they enabled a questioning of constructed realism, a yet unknown intensity of immersion, and the confusing perfection of trompe d’euil[2].

Centuries later, humans experienced the perception of different speeds. Travelers watched the landscape pass by through the train window, questioning the relationship between spectator and their surrounding environment. Distances shortened, and time shrunk. Soon after, photography came to provide a supposed “objectivity” or “reality” that altered the perception of memory. Photos seemed to record the past, and also enabled new forms of representation that focused on what photography seemed to miss.[3] During the industrialization epoch, the image of the robot expressed the pathological effects on humans who felt dehumanized and reduced to cogwheels of the machine or fragments of the production line[4]

Today, we might ask: how can the technological impacts on us and society be envisioned? How to envision the virtualized AI- worker?

The place where knowledge resides has always played a central role in the organization of society and has been a political battleground. In Western and/or Westernized societies, the family members who are the first and strongest sources to provide knowledge to their children seem to have nowadays been replaced by Google. From “How to make a cake?” to “What to take when your stomach hurts?” become questions that parents no longer answer. With the emergence of easily accessible language models like GTP, the place where knowledge resides shifts to an entity that collects and possesses it.                                       

Artificial Neural Networks uses image archives called models and with their easy accessibility General User Interfaces, photos or videos can easily be manipulated and faked and have lost their inherent “objective” or “realistic” character. The stochastic prediction machine of AI that is fed and shreds and minces text or images to bit-and-byte patterns, but on its consumer surface, it appears like a trompe d’euil, a deceptive illusion of a human mind or being with its own anima[5]

SERVICE exhibits different perspectives on our socio-technological present, aiming to transcend the surprise of the tool. Through its use, whether subverted or practical, we continue to nourish the sharing of our questions in society through artistic practice.

We investigate and speculate on how AI will be metabolized by humanity – and how in turn AI will metabolize us.

Mano Leyrado & Tyyne Claudia Pollmann

[1] The typo “massage” was a print typo in Marshall McLuhan’s book, which he happily embraced. The original quote is: “The medium is the message.” 

[2] Trompe d’euil, a painting technique for creating deceptive optical illusions.

[3] Authors like Marcel Proust reflected on the absent memory in documentation,  awakened through sensory presence, triggering subjective memories of the past.       

[4] Think of “Charlot”, the character in Modern Times, played by Charlie Chaplin.

[5] Anima in the literal sense: a soulful entity

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Photos from vernissage: Aaron Pollmann