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Newsticker, link list, time machine: HOLO.mg/stream logs emerging trajectories in art, science, technology, and culture––every day
“We may one day possess tools that keep us plugged in all the time, yet trick us into believing we’re not. The beauty of these ugly goggles is that they show what’s really going on.”
– Tech reporter Molly Roberts, on Apple’s newly announced Vision Pro mixed-reality goggles. “We will be able to be not present while also being present—to fail to pay full attention to what’s around us without technically having to look away from it,” Roberts writes. “Welcome to the future.” [quote edited]
“Thus far, this has been an extractivist discussion. Instead of only focusing what we festival makers need, maybe we should also ask ourselves what we can give.”
– Naomi Johnson, Executive Director of imagineNATIVE Toronto, the world’s largest indigenous film and media arts festival, during the first Future Festivals Lab at NEW NOW in Essen (DE). Over the next 18 months, the MUTEK-led think tank brings together seven organisations from Canada, Germany, and Mexico to prototype festival futures.

“Broken Machines & Wild Imaginings” opens at Akademie der Künste, Berlin, concluding JUNGE AKADEMIE’s AI Anarchies fellowship program with an evocative exhibition. Ten fellows including Sarah Ciston, Petja Ivanova, Sahej Rahal, SONDER, Aarti Sunder, and Natasha Tontey present new works that counter extractivist logic, algorithmic violence, and techno-solutionism. In Rahal’s video installation Anhad (2023, image), for example, an audio-reactive AI program interacts with the cacophony of the outside world—and falters.

“The result is a fantasy—or nightmare—of computers as both preternatural agents of their own histories and autocratic engines of meaning.”
– Art historian and Buffalo AKG Art Museum curator Tina Rivers Ryan, on Lowell Nesbitt’s 1965 painting I.B.M. Disc Pack. The piece is part of a series of “deadpan enlargements of IBM materials” and currently on view at the Leslie Jones-curated LACMA exhibition “Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age”—a “necessary survey” that “argues that early computer art is art,” as Ryan writes in her review.

NEW NOW Festival returns to the industrial world heritage site of Zeche Zollverein in Essen (DE), once the world’s largest colliery, to conjure “Hypernatural Forces” in a major exhibition. Ten resident artists including AATB, Cinzia Campolese, Daniel Franke, Ali Phi, Sabrina Ratté, and Pinar Yoldas created new works that ponder the site’s political and environmental legacy. As visitors wander the caverns of the Mixing Plant, they encounter roaming robot packs and AI-generated eco-systems.

“Extinction would directly affect the elite, which is why they care about mitigating risks. ‘Sub-extinction’ risks from AI that harm marginalized peoples don’t get signatures like this.”
– Journalist and philosopher Émile P. Torres, on the Center for AI Safety (CAIS) open letter signed by prominent international thinkers. “If AGI kills everyone, then marginalized groups lose along with everyone else,” Torres argues on Twitter. “If resources are poured into preventing hypothetical AGI dystopias, marginalized groups ALSO lose, because they’ll continue to be ignored.” [quote edited]

Danish interaction designer Bjørn Karmann premieres Paragraphica (2023), a camera that ‘captures’ images with location data (address, weather, time of day, etc.) and AI. Three dials control the data and Stable Diffusion parameters while the viewfinder displays a real-time text description of the place you’re at. Upon pressing the trigger, the AI will generate a ‘photo’ from that prompt. The project exists both as a physical, star-nosed mole-inspired prototype and a virtual camera for you to try.

“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks, such as pandemics and nuclear war.”
– 350+ AI executives, researchers, and engineers from, for example, OpenAI, Google DeepMind, and Anthropic, in a one-sentence open letter released by the Center for AI Safety (CAIS). The brevity of the statement—a “coming-out” for some industry leaders who thus far had only expressed concerns in private—was to unite experts who might disagree on specifics, CAIS director Dan Hendrycks tells the New York Times.
“We’ve been fixing the airplane while flying it for twenty years now—we’re really trying to make it more sustainable for the people involved.”
– Processing co-founder Casey Reas, summarizing two decades of open source software development. In conversation with kenconsumer, Reas and Raphaël de Courville reflect on the state of generative art, why NFTs took off during the pandemic, and recent Processing Foundation initiatives.
Festivals are vital nodes in the cultural nervous system. But running them is a constant struggle. How can festival makers simultaneously build resilience, expand accessibility and inclusion, while minimizing the environmental cost of cultural production? A MUTEK-led think tank is trying to find out.
“History is not on rails—it’s got a steering wheel. And we can grab it, and we can yank it.”
– Writer Cory Doctorow, praising sci-fi that shows “human agency matters,” and the march of progress does not lead to pre-ordained outcomes. In a broad conversation about capitalism and technology, the Canadian thinker explains how scams and cryptography intersect in Red Team Blues (2023), his first novel in a new series about a legendary forensic accountant.

Australian architect and filmmaker Liam Young premieres a new docu-fiction installation, The Great Endeavor (2023), at this year’s Venice Biennale. The piece offers glimpses of a longer forthcoming film that approaches planetary-scale carbon sequestration with radical optimism. Young and consulting scientist Holly Jean Buck turn humanity’s largest engineering project into an infrastructural imaginary, “chronicling the coordinated action to decolonise the atmosphere in our last great act of planetary transformation.”

Carla Gannis’ solo exhibition “wwwunderkammer” opens at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art (HICA) in Charleston (US), aiming to decolonize the wunderkammer and, by extension, the museum. A real-world manifestation of her ongoing social VR project (2019–), the show invites visitors to explore a series of ‘chambers,’ each focusing on a different aspect of life in the internet age. In line with the American transmedia artist’s penchant for illusionism, the gallery uses AR to obfuscate what’s real and what’s not.

“ChatGPT is an advertisement for Microsoft. It’s an advertisement for studio heads, the military, and others who might want to actually license this technology via Microsoft’s cloud services.”
– Signal Foundation president and AI Now Institute co-founder Meredith Whittaker, on the strategy behind releasing generative AI to the public. “It costs billions of dollars to create and maintain these systems head-to-tail,” Whittaker says. “There isn’t a business model in simply making ChatGPT available for everyone equally. The technology is going to follow the current matrix of inequality.”
“It underscores the idea of the private space sector as a plaything for the ultra-rich.”
Art in America Associate Editor Emily Watlington, critiquing Jeff Koons’ Moon Phases (2023, image), which will send 125 sculptures by the American artist to the Moon on a SpaceX rocket
“This is our generation’s moon landing, a mobilization of workers and resources on a planetary scale that would only be possible through international cooperation to an extent never achieved.”
– Australian architect and filmmaker Liam Young, on humanity meeting the ultimate challenge of atmospheric carbon sequestration in his and consulting scientist Holly Jean Buck’s forthcoming docu-fiction The Great Endeavor (2023)

With an impressive 259 pieces on display, the Leopold-Hoesch-Museum survey “Blank. Raw. Illegible… Artists’ Books as Statements (1960-2022)” in Düren (DE) celebrates the corruption of the printed page. Curator Moritz Küng assembles “hermetic, dysfunctional, and mysterious” exploits by Irma Blank, Olafur Eliasson, Dora Garcia, Olaf Nicolai, Ilan Manouach, David C. Stairs (image: Boundless, 1983), and many others that refuse legibility and create meaning with the absence of content instead.

“A lot of people have just been kind of really mad at the existence of this. They think that it’s the end of humanity.”
– Influencer Caryn Marjorie, on the backlash to CarynAI, a GPT-4 chatbot trained on her YouTube footage. “I wanted to cure loneliness in my fan base,” Marjorie says of her motivations. While thousands have signed up for the $1 per minute ‘virtual girlfriend’ Telegram bot through Forever Voices, threats forced her to hire security and go into hiding.

“Game Society,” an exhibition that explores “how the grammar and aesthetics of video games have influenced contemporary art and visual culture,” opens at Seoul’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA). Artists including Cory Arcangel & Paper Rad, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Harun Farocki, and Lawrence Lek contribute 30 game-based works. Notably, LuYang presents 10 works, in a dedicated room full of arcade cabinets, adorned with murals featuring her signature demented characters (image).

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