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, be it out of medical, scientific, philosophical or religious motivation. What is not yet possible in reality is all the more lived out in artistic fiction. What-if scenarios are thought through to the end with the growing realisation that nothing good would come of it. In the style of Tadeusz Kantor’s “Dead Class” and his theatre of death, I bring a school class back to life post mortem.
The attractive range of AI-supported applications is on the rise. Memorabilia photos are brought “to life” and you can put any sentence you want into the mouths of the depicted.
Why do we do this? Because it is possible? Because it supposedly helps us remember people better? Is that so? Or are we creating something else – something new? Something uncanny? Doesn’t this rather alienate us from the remembered person?
What ChatGPT has to say about the “Uncanny Valley”.
What or who is ChatGPT? I asked “him” this question, to which “he” replied the following:
“I am an artificial intelligence model trained by OpenAI. My answers are based on the information I recorded during my training process. During this training, I was fed an enormous amount of text from a variety of sources, including books, journal articles, news reports and scientific studies. In this way I was able to develop a broad understanding of many different topics and areas of expertise(…). However, it is important to note that I am not able to gather my own experience and that my answers may not always be complete or 100% accurate. My answers should always be used as a source of information and not as definitive expert advice.”
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 we know that photos prove nothing 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 or on the Eiffel Tower, and at the same time we can manipulate our portrait photo beyond recognition with just one click. The technical possibilities are endless and are becoming more and more perfect thanks to Deep Learning and thus AI-supported applications.
In this work, we are confronted with an old photograph that has been manipulated with the help of artificial intelligence. The girl in the photograph seems very much alive and authentic. Do we feel closer to her? Is the illusion convincing?
What becomes of our faulty memories when it gives way to an artificial liveliness? Doesn’t this illusion rather contribute to forgetting the last bit 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?
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.
This short film was made as part of my bachelor thesis on “Attention Engineering in Social Media”. It metaphorically describes the internet as a large experimental laboratory in which users are manipulated like “guinea pigs” with the help of psychological “weapons”.
Suzanne is lured into a virtual dream world by flashing buttons and the voice assistant on her computer, which promise her a solution to her sleeping problem. In fact, however, she is only part of a large scientific experiment in which the aim is to specifically manipulate her behaviour.
Similar to the “real” conversations in social networks, the main character “Suzanne” is represented by statements written in “real time” and fades into the background as a physical person. The camera thereby takes her point of view. This constellation results in three scenic levels in the film: 1.) the “virtual space”, which is at the same time the stage; 2.) the screen surface, on which Suzanne’s text messages appear; 3.) the invisible space in front of the screen, in which we sit together with Suzanne and follow the story.
In the first two parts, Suzanne is confronted with an anthropomorphic voice computer as an antagonist that can only be heard. The reversal of states, namely the dematerialisation of the human “Suzanne” and the humanisation of the robot “David” – only he has a voice – creates a discrepancy in the viewer’s expectations that is very suspenseful.
The action is accompanied by a fly. Through its presence, it repeatedly draws attention to itself and thus demonstrates “attention engineering” in a penetrating way. The fly as the physical “protagonist” in the film illustrates the absurdity of the situation, because it belongs to both the real and the virtual world, and it is both perpetrator (draws attention to itself) and victim (dies) at the same time.