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“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.”
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.”
“History is not on rails—it’s got a steering wheel. And we can grab it, and we can yank it.”
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.
“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.”
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.”
“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).
An exhibition for the post-truth era, Trevor Paglen’s “You’ve Just Been Fucked by PSYOPS” opens at Pace New York. In it, the American artist charts the “enduring effects of military and CIA influence operations on American culture” through several new works. These include an unknown orbital object photo series, and Because Physical Wounds Heal… (2022, image right), a mixed media—steel, bullets, resin—sculpture that mythologizes the iconography, sloganeering, and abject horror of U.S. psychological warfare.
“Fire isn’t going away. We’re going to be burning for this entire century. We’re going through a global regime change and a whole bunch of things are going to catch on fire, and catch on fire again.”
Copenhagen Contemporary opens “Yet, It Moves!,” a city-wide exhibition of art-science encounters that explore the universe’s only constant: movement. Eleven artists including Cecilia Bengolea, Ryoji Ikeda, Black Quantum Futurism, Jakob Kudsk Steensen (image: Tongues of Verglas, 2023), and Jenna Sutela worked with leading researchers through Arts at CERN, ModLab, DARK, and the IMC to express phenomena like black holes, star formation, and gravitational waves as 3D animations, VR, AR, sound, and immersive installations.
“If, like Palantir, your hands appear dirty or at least your image seems tarnished, one redeeming way to attract public attention would be to sponsor an art exhibition. The principle, epitomized by the gas company Gazprom or the pharmaceutical company Sackler, is also known as ‘Art Washing.’”
Old Tree, a sculptural intervention into New York City’s urban fabric by Pamela Rosenkranz, takes root on the High Line. By constructing the primordial symbol of life and knowledge out of man-made materials (the 7.5 m sculpture is a steel armature layered with foam and resin), and coating in a hot pink and red paint job that starkly contrasts the surrounding monochromatic skyscrapers, the Swiss artist acknowledges both a romanticized ecology and a world “in which the synthetic has become nature.”
Jan Robert Leegte’s solo exhibition ”No Content: Contemplations on Software” opens at Upstream Gallery in Amsterdam, examining digital media through “the carrier and reality that holds it.” JPEG (2023), for example, is a series of algorithmic images that fully express the signature compression; Broken Images (2023) foregrounds the volatility of digital assets by minting broken links as NFTs, and Scrollbars (image)—a Leegte classic—presents obsolete interface elements as sculptural and cultural debris.
“The sculptural interventions are like looking glasses. You bring to it what you see. There isn’t an image. It’s not an object. It basically is a relational perceptual device. As you move around, it collapses the environment.”
Navigating the gap between veteran digital artists and next generation upstarts, “Machine Violence” opens at Postmasters Gallery in New York City. Twelve artists including Damjanski, Huntrezz Janos, Eva & Franco Mattes, and Jennifer & Kevin McCoy present works spanning machinima to painting. Of note: the show includes Biennale.py (2001, image), the Mattes’ 49th Venice Biennale contribution, in which a connected virus-laden and ‘clean’ computer “infect and disinfect each other in an endless cycle.“
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