The (golden) apple was and is highly symbolic in many cultures: be it as a symbol for eternal youth, eternal life, for love, fertility, paradise and the fall of man, and most recently as an “item” in the popular game Minecraft. The word “Avalon” has many meanings, but here it refers to the island of Avalon (Gallic-Indo-Germanic abal = apple) from Celtic mythology, which was regarded as paradise.
In an indeterminate room under a blue sky, we circle around two faceless avatars with a golden apple in the middle. Like in a surreal dream, we find ourselves in an endless loop in which the figures display a strange behaviour. Everything seems to revolve around this apple, which in the end remains out of reach for everyone.
1+2: Both videos show the same scene, but from different angles.
This video installation is modified site-specifically. The idea is that the virtual space shows the immediate exhibition environment.
“(…) It is difficult to define the spatial dimensions of memory. It is there, the room of my childhood, which I am still tidying and which is still dying, at the same time as its inhabitants, – their mortal shell.. (…)” Tadeusz Kantor
Many of our efforts are aimed at overcoming death, whether for medical, scientific, philosophical or religious motives. What is not yet possible in reality is explored all the more in artistic fiction. What-if scenarios are thought through to the end and make us realise that nothing good would come of it. In the style of Tadeusz Kantor’s “Dead Class” and his theatre of death, here I bring a school class back to life post mortem. I sit between them as a link between yesterday and today. The children’s song “When and where will we meet again and be happy?” must remain painfully unanswered.
This work refers to its exhibition site in terms of content and thus creates a link between reality and fiction.
The tempting offer of AI-supported applications is increasing. With their help, memory photos are brought “to life”.
Does this bring us closer to the person we remember? Or are we creating something else – something new? Something uncanny?
“Anna” really did exist once. A caption on the back of this photograph tells us that it was addressed to someone who was supposed to remember his “little friend Hela”.
The (golden) apple was and is highly symbolic in many cultures: be it as a symbol for eternal youth, eternal life, for love, fertility, paradise and the fall of man, and most recently as an “item” in the popular game Minecraft.
In this installation, a golden apple floats through the air. Its shiny surface reflects the immediate surroundings.
Floating with it are two-dimensional portraits in the style of a vanitas motif. Who are these people? They never existed, but are outputs of an artificial intelligence. We live in a time full of upheavals. New technologies give us the feeling of increasingly losing control over truth and lies, over good and evil.
Is this paradise on earth?
Site-specific installation (here, for example, in the “House of New Realities”, Augsburg 2023).
Sandbox is on the one hand a sandy playground for children, on the other hand a term originating from software development for an “isolated area within which any action has no effect on the external environment”. (Wikipedia)
We are sitting in a large virtual sandbox that is anything but isolated. There are many toys in it that we don’t know what they are for. And new ones are added every day. We explore them playfully and in the process we come up with ideas – good or bad….
One such toy is Dall-e 2, one of the most celebrated AIs of 2022, which can create realistic images and even artwork from a text-based description in natural language. This creative act is new and unique, and must be judged as the next stage of evolution.
The works Dall-e generates are almost perfect, and yet she generates strangely disturbing outputs in response to seemingly innocuous keywords. It begs the question, is this the toy we would give our children?
“People take photos of each other to prove that they really exist” sang the Goldene Zitronen (German Punk band) in 1994. Today, photos have lost credibility because they can be manipulated very easily.
And yet – our relationship to our own image is ambivalent: selfies bear witness to the fact that we were at grandma’s birthday, and at the same time we can manipulate our portrait photo beyond recognition with a single click. The technical possibilities are endless and are becoming more and more perfect thanks to AI-supported applications.
In this work, we are confronted with an old photo that has been animated with the help of artificial intelligence. The girl in the photo seems alive. Do we feel closer to her? What becomes of faulty memory when it gives way to artificial vividness? Doesn’t this illusion rather contribute to forgetting the last vestige of the real human being? And would “Paula” have liked what we do with her memory?
A survey is part of this work:
Would you consider bringing a photo of a deceased loved one to “life” using an AI application? Yes? / No?
“Paula’s” real portrait photo can be found in the work Below the Surface (Book Object).
Following on from the work Conditio Humana I, the question of what the conditio humana is is continued here. Another aspect, in my opinion, is the ability of absolute body control. As distinct from artificial intelligence, it is physicality in combination with emotion and elegance.
In this work, complex human movements in the form of a dance are contrasted with the humanoid robot HRP-4C, as it was presented to the world public in 2010.
Dancer: Dominik Feistmantl
It sounds like the short form of mother, but this is Google’s new AI Multitask Unified Model – “MUM” for short – which has been consistently learning since 2021 what the intentions are behind our questions, no matter what language we speak. This enables it to answer even faster and more precisely. MUM knows what we want. We can ask her anything.
An organic something, similar to an eye, scans the surroundings like a surveillance camera. It is MUM. A surveillance monitor is reflected in her “eye”. It is footage of me and with me as a mother who accompanies her children with the camera – or better: monitors them? Are we similar?
With every search query, MUM learns to understand us better. Will she soon know more about us than we know about ourselves? What is she? Mother or monster?
“Secretly, we are all just looking for a higher authority.
Someone to tell us what the hell to do.”
The basis of this work are 25 photographs in long exposure, which were taken during a dance rehearsal. Like modules, they are rearranged and repeated by me. This creates an artificial, seemingly endless dance that no longer has anything to do with the original choreography.
Following the Baroque model, beauty and death are metaphorically juxtaposed here – a vanitas dance to the transience of life. Here, the flow of time or the passing of lifetime is embodied by water, whether through the acoustic, rhythmic dripping like the ticking of a clock, or visually through the artificially slowed flow of a river.
The video is accompanied by the excerpt The Burial of the Dead from the poem The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot (1922).
Dancer: Dominik Feistmantl