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Newsticker, link list, time machine: HOLO.mg/stream logs emerging trajectories in art, science, technology, and culture––every day
OUT NOW:
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.”

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.

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]
OUT NOW:
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.
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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.

“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.

American software artist Casey Reas returns to Berlin’s DAM Projects with “Conjured Terrain,” a solo exhibition of new Untitled Film Stills and Compressed Cinema digital video works set to (and driven by) the electroacoustic soundscapes of German artist and composer Jan St. Werner. Building on a body of images ‘conjured’ from feature films fed to generative adversarial networks (GANs) in 2018, Reas revisits—and celebrates—the raw visual grammar of early machine learning experiments from that era.

London-based future connoisseurs Superflux reveal The Ecological Intelligence Agency (EIA) (2023), a speculative proposal for an autonomous inter-departmental government agency that uses localised AI models to align labour, climate and data justice for eco advocacy. Commissioned by the UK Policy Lab and Defra Futures, and shown at “Changing Course” in June, EIA gives voice to fresh water systems to aid decision-making by “making river health sense-able and situating policies within wider contextual ecosystems.”

“I’m not opposed to satellite imaging, but I’ve been in quite a few climate meetings where people suggested that if only we had more data and better images we’d finally address the crisis. That’s not true.”
– Canadian tech critic, author, and Tech Won’t Save Us host Paris Marx, pushing against the notion that better tools like Satlas, the Allen Institute for AI’s machine learning-powered forest monitor, will lead to climate action. “Our data has been getting better for decades,” Marx argues, “and emissions have kept rising that whole time.”
“These billionaires purchased 55,000 acres to build their John Galt paradise, but they won’t pay a human artist to design it for them.”
– American illustrator Michele Rosenthal, burning the California Forever initiative for using AI to render dreamy scenes of their planned urban utopia. The group of Silicon Valley CEOs and investors came under fire recently when its grab of Solano County farmland under the unsuspecting parent company name of Flannery Associates became first known.
“‘Him’ didn’t live up to his promise. Four months after these virtual lovers were brought to life, they were put to death.”
– Tech reporter Viola Zhou, on Chinese AI voice startup Timedomain retiring “Him,” a customizable chatbot offering virtual companionship with daily voice messages that proofed particularly popular with young women. “Devastated users rushed to record as many calls as they could, cloned the voices, and even reached out to investors, hoping someone would fund the app’s future operations,” Zhou writes.
“Scanning the irises of individuals in the Global South, who genuinely need the money and are unaware of potential risks, is a contemporary form of colonialism.”
– New York-based artist Burak Arikan, on the recent launch of Worldcoin. Sam Altman’s biometric cryptocurrency project that aspires to be “the world’s largest identity and financial public network” rolled out with an aggressive recruitment campaign including in the Global South. Luring people with a sign-up bonus of 25 WLD—about $50 USD—Worldcoin booths in Nairobi, Bengaluru, and Hong Kong, for example, drew massive crowds.
OUT NOW:
Artlink 43:2
After AI
Edited by Una Rey and featuring Jon Rafman cover art, the Australian and Asia-Pacific contemporary art magazine considers the cultural moment of generative AI with contributions from Gretta Louw, Cameron Hurst, Refik Anadol, Sophie Knezic, and Lily Fowler.
“By 2025, unless a radical rethink takes place in how we develop AI systems to better account for their environmental impact, the energy consumption of AI tools will be greater than that of the entire human workforce.”
– British journalist Chris Stokel-Walker, citing a 2022 Garner study in his tally of AI’s exploding ecological costs. To mitigate, he suggests to treat AI more like a cryptocurrency: “with an increased awareness of its harmful environmental impacts, alongside awe at its seemingly magical powers of deduction.”
“Perhaps compassion simply needs to be performed, the healthcare provider must be seen to be sympathetic to relieve the patient.”
– Art writer Angeria Rigamonti di Cutò, reflecting on AI’s capacity for emotional labour after encountering Sofie Layton’s Does AI Care? (2023). Inspired by how the audio piece draws on cancer patient and oncologist consultation to ‘perform’ empathy, di Cutò uses part of her review of Science Gallery London’s “AI: WHO’S LOOKING AFTER ME?” to imagine a near future where AI offers healthcare workers support to (better) tend to patients’ emotional needs.
“On the whole, despite the ‘dystopian vibez’ of staring into an orb and letting it scan deeply into your eyeballs, it does seem like specialized hardware systems can do quite a decent job of protecting privacy.”
– Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, assessing Tools for Humanity’s plan to confirm proof-of-personhood for the global populace by scanning their irises for the Worldcoin project. While he concedes it will probably be necessary to distinguish humans from AI soon, Buterin warns of the triple threat of security vulnerabilities, identity black markets, and overly-centralized hardware.

Worldcoin, a proof-of-personhood digital identity system for a future full of AI agents, launches. A Tools for Humanity (OpenAI’s Sam Altman and engineer Alex Blania) initiative, it proposes iris scanning everyone on earth to assign them an anonymized biometric identity—and a related cryptocurrency. Anticipating AI-induced cultural shifts, Altman & Blania claim Worldcoin will let users “prove you are a real and unique person online” and assist in universal basic income (UBI) disbursement.

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