“The Google Street View data set is often stunning and often useful. But as a project, it was a grotesque violation of worldwide privacy norms that absolutely never should have happened.”
– American writer Joanne McNeil, reminding us that between 2007-10, Street View cars also collected emails, passwords, and other private information from WiFi networks in more than 30 countries. “We should never take a project at such a scale at face value,” McNeil warns.
“I’m worried. I could see people signing away contracts right now that could have really detrimental impacts on their future ability to make work as themselves.”
– American composer and “computer musician” Holly Herndon, on how AI complicates intellectual property. “I want people to understand how powerful these systems are and how having sovereignty over training data is really important,” Herndon says, encouraging artists to experiment with her vocal model Holly+.

After exploring “Water” in a major 2019-20 exhibition, the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) opens “Air,” a showcase with more than 30 artists including Dora Budor, Nancy Holt, and Katie Paterson that explore the cultural, ecological, and political dimensions of Earth’s atmosphere. “Air” is anchored by Tomás Saraceno’s Drift: A cosmic web of thermodynamic rhythms (2022, image), a new commission that suspends 13 partially mirrored spheres in GOMA’s central atrium space.

“I needed to train myself to cry in order to continue feeding those tiny marine ecosystems.”
– Polish artist and designer Kasia Molga, on gathering enough tears for her installation How to Make an Ocean (2021), a set of 12 miniature marine worlds that ‘bottled’ climate grief at the COP27 WHO Health Pavilion. Molga’s secret: a special “tearspoon” and her Moirologist Bot, an AI-driven video piece that serves alarming environmental news.
Jonas Lund
By Opening This Book
An edition of 100 sealed books, each key to a unique web experience. By opening the book, readers agree to contractual terms that, much like the often ignored internet fineprint, remain the Swedish artist’s secret.
“The problem is that, unlike the moon or Mars, we have no idea how to get there—and that’s a challenge that engineering fixes cannot solve.”
Joe Bak-Coleman, on why social media is harder than rocket science. The American research scientist rebukes Elon Musk’s Space X approach to Twitter and argues that despite R&D efforts that “dwarf the Apollo space program,” social networks struggle with the “dizzying feedback loops and chaotic interactions” between users that are impossible to model, let alone control.

American software artist Everest Pipkin releases The Barnacle Goose Experiment, an “abiogenesis body horror idle clicker” where you play as researcher Dr. Evergreen G. Branca locked in a biodome and tasked with generating a working world with objects, music, and living things out of her own body. The browser game is inspired by the medieval barnacle goose myth that had people, then unaware of bird migration patterns, believe that geese emerge fully-formed from barnacles.

“A premature extinction event occurs before we’ve flooded the universe with ‘value.’ We, then, shouldn’t spend money on global poverty: those resources should instead go to ensuring that we realize our ‘longterm potential.’”
– Philosopher and author Émile P. Torres, parsing the moral bankruptcy of longtermism, an ideology espoused by, for example, crypto fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried, who claimed to “get filthy rich, for charity’s sake.”
“Our land, our ocean, our culture are the most precious assets of our people and to keep them safe from harm, no matter what happens in the physical world, we will move them to the cloud.”
– Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister Simon Kofe, announcing plans for a metaverse twin of the Pacific island nation as sea levels rise. “The idea is to continue to function as a state and beyond that to preserve our culture, our knowledge, our history in a digital space,” Kofe told COP27 climate summit attandees.

Daniel Franke’s CGI short Ich sitze in der Wolke (2022) premieres at the Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival in Kassel, Germany. In his film, the German artist and researcher takes viewers deep into the digital cloud, a GAN-generated post-nature dreamscape where semiconductors, bitcoins, electricity, rare earth minerals, and crystals manifest to force questions about “environmental sin and digital evolution.”

German artist and designer Philipp Schmitt publishes Blueprints for Intelligence, a “visual history of artificial neural networks from 1943 to 2020.” Compiling 56 diagrams sourced from machine learning research papers, the web project invites visitors to trace key tendencies in AI evolution. “It draws connections between the visual representations of neural networks and the researchers’ conception of cognition,” Schmitt writes in his introduction.

“Consider how we think of AI as a black box and thus in accounting for its harms demand transparency or explainability of algorithms rather than of the institutions that create and maintain them.”
– Cultural scientist and AI researcher Maya Indira Ganesh, contemplating the “performative force of AI imaginaries” with a thorough “metaphorology” published in ACM Interactions and as part of Philipp Schmitt’s Blueprints for Intelligence visual history

Probing for human qualities that escape capture in AI training datasets, Lauren Lee McCarthy and Kyle McDonald’s new collaboration Unlearning Language (2022) opens at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan. Both an experiential performance—“a one-act play for four,” as described by McDonald—and an interactive installation, the American artists (with support from Rhizomatiks) conjure a “futuristic AI that tries to help us become more human.”

“The hermit crab is, unlike its name suggests, a social creature. They live in groups and are probably much more comfortable in the wild than in an exhibition space.”
– Art blogger and critic Régine Debatty, questioning the ethics of Aki Inomata’s Why Not Hand Over a ​“Shelter” to Hermit Crabs? (2009-) within the “Biotopia” exhibition at Le Pavillon, Namur (BE), as part of KIKK Festival. The installation features a living hermit crab, sheltering in a “fancy” 3D-printed artifact.

Swiss artist and designer Jürg Lehni celebrates the 20th anniversary of his seminal robotic drawing machine, Hektor (2002), in a commemorative Twitter thread. “Imperfect and full of character,” the hanging computer-controlled spray-paint plotter drew at transmediale, Design Museum London, and the MoMA, and remains a DIY marvel for its time: “edged circuit boards, assembly-programmed microcontrollers—we did everything by hand,” Lehni notes about making in the pre-fab era.

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