1,359 days, 2,169 entries ...

Newsticker, link list, time machine: HOLO.mg/stream logs emerging trajectories in art, science, technology, and culture––every day
Kashmir Hill
Your Face Belongs to Us
New York Times tech reporter Hill chronicles Clearview AI, the facial recognition company with far right ties that emerged during the Trump era and whose technology has been at the centre of numerous privacy and civil liberties controversies.
“The original Luddites did not hate technology. What they objected to were the specific ways that tech was being used to undermine their status, upend their communities and destroy their livelihoods.”
– Tech journalist Brian Merchant, on what actually drove unrest among textile workers in 19th-century England—and why it matters now. “In the age of AI and augmented reality, electric vehicles and Mars rovers, levels of inequality again rival the days of the Industrial Revolution,” Merchant warns. ”That’s why I’m a Luddite—and why you should be one, too.”
“If a human–pig chimera were brought to term, should we treat it like a pig, like a human, or like something else altogether?”
– Bioethics researcher Julian Koplin, extrapolating a moral quandary raised by embryonic stem cell research that blurs the line between human and animal. With research into synthetic embryos and lab-grown biocomputers underway, Koplin underscores that “we are creating entities that are neither one thing nor the other,” and that reflection on the moral status of these hybrids is needed.

Anicka Yi’s solo exhibition “A Shimmer Through The Quantum Foam” opens at Esther Schipper, Berlin, evolving the Korean-American artist’s notion of the “biologized machine” with new works. Visitors enter a hybrid ecosystem of fleshy landscapes created with machine learning models and suspended luminescent pods resembling Radiolaria. As the soft glow of an aqueous ooze—indicative of life’s marine origins—sprawls across the gallery floor, a custom-made scent by perfumer Barnabé Fillion fills the air.

David Golumbia
Fierce digital culture critic David Golumbia dies after a battle with cancer. Author of The Politics of Bitcoin (2016) and the forthcoming Cyberlibertarianism, the American researcher examined financialization, language, and software. Golumbia was an Associate Professor in the English Department at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Combining video, dance, and a flute quartet, Marianna Simmett‘s opera GORGON opens at Hebbel am Ufer (HAU) in Berlin. Director Simmett’s narrative weighs “distresses and transformations” brought on by AI (tech writ large) by teaming up its namesake wailing mythic creature with a bored doughnut store employee. Technologist Moisés Horta Valenzuela puts the live flautists in conversation with AI-generated sound, and Holly Herndon‘s voice model Holly+ also makes a cameo.

“Neither communities or rivers need AI ‘to speak for them.’ This promotes ‘ecological AI’ by theoretically-informed sleight of hand, gesturing to the more-than-human while materially relying on Large Language Models.”
– British AI critic Dan McQuillan, on the ventriloquism and limitations of Superflux’ aspirational Ecological Intelligence Agency (2023). Whereas the speculative governance model suggests that AI can make river health legible and aid policy, McQuillan argues that “you can’t discuss sewage without mentioning privatization and debt.” [quote edited]
Sanela Jahić
Under the Calculative Gaze
The paperback adaptation of Jahić’s artistic research shown at Aksioma in early 2023 expands on the entanglement of socially-applied technologies, systemic injustices, and creeping authoritarianism. Included: an essay by prominent AI critic Dan McQuillan.
“As U.S. et al. v. Google goes to trial, the echoes of the landmark federal suit against Microsoft, a quarter-century ago, are unmistakable.”
– Tech journalist Steve Lohr, reminiscing the last major American antitrust trial (1998). Once again “a tech giant is accused of using its overwhelming market power to unfairly cut competitors off from potential customers,” Lohr writes, noting Google is not quite as audacious though (a Microsoft exec famously planned to “cut off Netscape’s air supply”).

Berlin’s Office Impart opens “Sandbox Mode,” a group exhibition that draws parallels between free-form gameplay and digital art. Impart teamed up with JPG’s María Paula Fernández and curator Stina Gustafsson to bring together new and recent code-based works by Mitchell F. Chan, Stine Deja, Andreas Gysin, Sara Ludy, and others that emerged from radical experimentation. Ludy’s new AI video series Metamimics (2023), for example, conjures crazed carnival scenes from deep within the machine.

“The institution is drawn toward those who can leverage their racial identity into a curatorial practice, which the institution can then leverage (or co-opt) into its brand.”
– Writer and designer Simon Wu, on the catch-22 of the art world finally embracing racialized curators. Drawing on his time at MoMA, Wu observes that the desire to confront labour and ethics issues within institutions often gets trumped by the stability (“healthcare, a living wage, parental leave”) that many curators of colour have only just got access to for the first time.

“GEN/GEN: Generative Generations,” a generative art survey linking practitioners past and present, opens at Gazelli Art House London. Artists including Sougwen Chung, Licia He, Tyler Hobbs, Rhea Myers, Piter Pasma, Melissa Wiederrecht, and Stephen Willats contribute prints, plots, screen-based works, and NFTs. Multi-generational, visitors can take in 1980s paintings by Harold Cohen’s prescient AARON program in one glance and Brendan Dawes’ sculpture You, Me And The Machine (2022), the next.

“If the last-ever California tiger salamander shuffles off this mortal coil, the odds are decent that it will happen on rain-​slick blacktop one damp spring night.”
– Environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb, on how traffic accelerates extinction. “Every year American cars hit more than 1 million large animals, such as deer, elk, and moose, and as many as 340 million birds,” Goldfarb writes, with at least 21 species under direct existential threat from traffic. The poster groups for roadkill’s hidden toll: reptiles and amphibians, which are vital for local ecosystems.

“What Models Make Worlds: Critical Imaginaries of AI” opens at New York’s Ford Foundation Gallery. Curators Mashinka Firunts Hakopian and Meldia Yesayan enlist 16 artists including Algorithmic Justice League, Morehshin Allahyari, Kite, Lauren Lee McCarthy, Mimi Ọnụọha, and Caroline Sinders to counter pervasive “algorithmic worldmaking” models with “feminist, antiracist, and decolonial AI.” Allahyari’s series Moon-faced (2022, image), for example, hallucinates genderless Qajar dynasty portraits.

“Alexandra Asanova Elbakyan has strived to shatter academic publishing’s monopoly-like mechanisms in which publishers charge high prices even though authors of articles in academic journals receive no payment.”
– Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) membership advocate Christian Romero, heralding Alexandra Asanova Elbakyan as the recipient of the 2023 EFF Award for Access to Scientific Knowledge. Launched in 2011, Elbakyan’s Sci-Hub platform has opened access to more than 88 million research documents.

The Hole’s yearly thematic group show, “Fembot,” opens at the New York gallery’s Bowery location, celebrating technology and the female form. “Representations of the female body are as vast as the internet, from futuristic robots to porous, sweaty flesh,” writes gallerist Kathy Grayson about the works of Salomé Chatrior, Auriea Harvey, Jordan Homstad, Faith Holland, Nicole Ruggiero, and others that range from “cyborg goddesses” to post-human grotesques. Case in point: CGI artist Emma Stern’s 3d-printed ‘amphemme’ Brooke (2023, image).

“The beetles reached Ohio in 1869. England in 1875. France, 1922, and wherever they went, a defenceless plant got thoroughly routed.”
– Science writer Dan Samorodnitsky, on the rapid spread of the Colorado potato beetle. In his essay about a scientist battling “perhaps the most notorious agricultural pest on the planet,” Samorodnitsky provides a crash course on global potato farming, the history of pesticides, and new RNAi (RNA interference) gene-targetting formulations used against the stubbornly resilient insect.

American artist Aay Liparato‘s “Small Acts of Violence,” an exhibition surveying intimate partner violence (IPV) fallout in VR, opens at ARGOS Brussels. Co-producers C0N10UR and V2_ Lab for the Unstable Media join in presenting the immersive piece, which centres testimonials from women, nonbinary, and non-cis male IPV perpetrators from the UK and Belgium. Emotionally challenging, viewers must choose which situations to “gaze on or turn away from” and “assert their boundaries.”

Celebrating the Toronto artist-run centre’s 40th anniversary, “Remember Tomorrow: A Telidon Story” opens at InterAccess. Curator Shauna Jean Doherty present vintage works created with Telidon, a short-lived Canadian teletext and videotext service (similar to Minitel) that saw a wave of early 1980s artistic exploration. Artists including Paul Petro, Geoffrey Shea, and Nell Tenhaaf share original Telidon works (restored by John Durno) and contemporary digital artist Jerome Saint-Clair joins in.

To dive deeper into Stream, please or become a .

Daily discoveries at the nexus of art, science, technology, and culture: Get full access by becoming a HOLO Reader!
  • Perspective: research, long-form analysis, and critical commentary
  • Encounters: in-depth artist profiles and studio visits of pioneers and key innovators
  • Stream: a timeline and news archive with 1,200+ entries and counting
  • Edition: HOLO’s annual collector’s edition that captures the calendar year in print
$40 USD