ART IN THE ERA OF ARTIFICIAL INTELIGENCE


MEIAC (Extremadura and Ibero-American Museum of Contemporary Art)
Badajoz, Spain. Opening: February 19th, 2021

The MEIAC opened its doors in 1995, the year in which the WWW also began to become known. The museum's 25th anniversary invites us to evaluate the important technological changes that have occurred since then and to reflect mainly on the preponderant role taken by algorithms, social networks and artificial intelligence, and how these have drastically transformed society and, therefore, have impacted the field of art.
On a social level, the main changes were brought about by the acceleration of the digitalization process that began in the 1970s with the creation of the Internet, which deepened significantly with the emergence of the web and, later, with cell phones and social networks. This phenomenon was mainly due to the preponderant role played by algorithms and artificial intelligence in all exchange processes and the consequent emergence of new human-technological agencies. Omnipresent algorithms are nowadays shaping our environment and, to a great extent, our behaviors, our consumption habits or the way we access information.

As for artistic production, and within this new technological context, we can affirm that, beyond the support chosen by artists, all current art should be considered post-Internet art. Technology can no longer be taken as just another production tool -something new that helps the artist to make his work-, but as the architect of this new environment or social machine within which the work is produced, and at the same time distributed, consumed and experienced.

This exhibition includes the new additions to NETescopio, the MEIAC's digital art archive, made in 2020. The exhibition is completed with other digital works that already belonged to the archive and with physical works from the MEIAC's collection.

LIST OF ARTISTS:

Alessandro Ludovico, André Sier, Antoni Muntadas, César Escudero Andaluz, Christian Oyarzún, Ciro Museres, Constant Dullaart, Demian Schopf, Disnovation.org, Eva y Franco Mattes, Giselle Beiguelman, Joan Leandre, John F. Simon, Jonas Lund, Kim Yong Hun, Mark Napier, Martin Nadal, Martina Menegon, Matthew Plummer Fernández, Michaël Borras a.k.a SYSTAIME, Paolo Cirio, Scott Draves, Shin Seung Back, Ubermorgen.


CURATOR:

Gustavo Romano

 



           Works on exhibition:

Predictive Art Bot
Predictive Art Bot
NLP, website, installation
2015–2018

Disnovation.org

Predictive Art Bot is an algorithm that converts the latest media headlines into artistic concepts. An artificial intelligence system continuously tracks what is trending among the most influential news sources, in fields as heterogeneous as politics, environment, innovation, culture, activism or health. On this basis, it identifies and combines keywords to generate artwork concepts in a fully automated way, ranging from the unreasonable to the prophetic and the absurd. The work, which is presented as a website and also as an installation, caricatures the predictability of media-influenced artistic concepts, automating and circumventing the human creative process. But beyond mere automation, it aims to stimulate unbridled, counter-intuitive and even disconcerting associations of ideas.
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Cloud Face
Cloud Face
Photographs, facial recognition algorithm
2012

Shinseungback Kimyonghun

Cloud Face is a collection of cloud images that have been recognized as human faces by a facial recognition algorithm. Humans often lose our gaze in clouds, marble, wet spots or coffee grounds, which incites our imagination to find all kinds of figures, whether they are faces, animals or objects. A method also used by various artists, such as Salvador Dalí, who developed his critical-paranoid method from this effect. In the case of Cloud Face, the error in the communication, the glitch in the system, causes this unexpected effect, this serendipity in the "mind" of the machine.
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The Internet . Express
The Internet . Express
Website
2017

Jonas Lund

“Browsing often feels like you’re on a high speed express train, surrounded by companies that want to capture your clicks, show you ads and monetize your behaviour, so theinternet.express puts you to the test, can you avoid the big five, racing against you, or will you crash into them and be subjected to even more ads?” Jonas Lund
Although, in its beginnings, the web seemed to be a horizontal space in which differences were neutralized and there were no big or small fish, today, the logic of accumulation, of the viral, of the multitudes - in their role as prosumers, consumers-producers of information - has prevailed over the mirage of participation. The new ecosystem, in which the five big fish move at will, establishes in turn a fractal dynamic towards the smaller ones: a new economy based on the "like", on followers and influencers, on the surplus value of the intimate.

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Guadiana
Guadiana
Vídeo
2017

Antoni Muntadas

Guadiana, together with Dérive Veneziane and Finisterre, make up a trilogy of videos that describe actions linked to displacement. In the case of Guadiana, a work produced by the MEIAC, Muntadas takes a journey along the river using images taken from Google Maps. What appears to be an enigmatic visual journey, however, becomes a profound analysis of notions such as territorialization and deterritorialization, drift and control, as we move through a landscape traversed by flows, accumulations, appearances and disappearances. The use of satellite images, and the corresponding shift from the horizontal landscape to the zenithal landscape, increases this tension between the visual and the analytical, between map and territory, between nature and code.
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Máquina Cóndor
Máquina Cóndor
Poetry machine
2006 -in progess

Demian Schopf

Máquina Cóndor (Condor Machine) consists -in its most recent version, version 4.0, of 2016- of a relational model composed of three consecutive operations that are replicated recursively: A) Real-time search in 12 newspapers for 333 keywords related to war and economy. B) Online consultation of the purchase and sale values of the dominant currencies, those of former African colonies, the Middle East and the countries where Operation Condor took place, and of those natural resources that are important for the Chilean economy (copper, gold, lithium and water). C) Interspersion of 9 words - coming from the lexicon of surgery, anatomy and forensic medicine - in the first stanza of a "memento mori" by Luis de Góngora (De la Ambición Humana, 1623). The arrangement of these words depends on the results of A and B. These mortuary poems respond to cause and effect relationships where war and economy, bios and pólis and logos are combined. As the artist himself makes clear, the poem is not just one of the resulting stanzas, but all the data synchronized in unison, the relational structure of this poetic machine, desiring machine and war machine, which constantly feeds back on the information it receives from the world.
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Customers who also bought
Customers who also bought
Images produced by custom software, Amazon website
2017

Matthew Plummer Fernández

Customers who also bought is a series of computer-generated portraits generated by software that collects data on other products that customers have purchased on Amazon's website according to their role as recommended items-those customers who have bought A, have also bought B, C and D. The images of these grouped items make visible how each type of consumer is algorithmically profiled and categorized. But at the same time, it reminds us that our data streams, the information we leave on the network, is used in the design of new products and then transformed into commodity flows - which will continue to produce data. Data-driven products - products designed from data - have already begun to flood the market. And these are not only technological gadgets but also cultural products, books, movies or even political speeches.
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Trash Facebook
Trash Facebook
Web page intervened
2019

Michaël Borras a.k.a SYSTAIME

Systaime is one of the artists who initiated the "Facebook art" through the account ʞooqǝɔɐɟ. In this work, the artist generates a chaotic version of this social network in which much of the navigation is simulated and automated. While we can still interact by clicking, our intervention only seems to generate even more disorder, and result in a cascade of small windows that open frantically and with a will of their own. The work makes us reflect on our own participation in networks and their projection into a dystopian future. Systems that seem to have their own rules -that we do not even know-, with algorithms that lead us where we do not necessarily want to go -but that we end up accepting as a result of our decisions- and in which our interactions are just formalisms so that, hypnotically, we continue to feed Big Data collecting systems.
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Hack hustle historicize
Hack hustle historicize
Website
2019

Constant Dullaart

This website is part of the "dull.life™" series. In it, the artist immerses us in the aesthetics of companies or entrepreneurs who aspire to have an "Internet presence" that is always in line with the fashion dictated by marketing trends, generally aspiring to be elegant and at the same time boring - the artist here makes a play on words with his own last name: dull, boring, in English. Using post-Internet strategies, he extracts from the screen, images and "objects" that he displaces to the physical exhibition space, to stage a networking space that he offers "as a project incubator in a strategic location in Amsterdam", forming a disturbing landscape, a non-place of crossover between the physical and the digital. A non-place that seems to coincide more and more with our aseptic contemporary everyday life.
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Amazon Noir
Amazon Noir (Hacking Monopolism Trilogy)
Actions on the Internet
2006

Ubermorgen, Paolo Cirio Y Alessandro Ludovico

This trilogy of algorithm-works exploited the technical and economic vulnerabilities of three major Internet companies, Facebook, Amazon and Google, reconfiguring the way they concentrate, misappropriate and monetize a vast amount of user information and interactions. The Hacking Monopolism Trilogy includes the three pieces, Face to Facebook, Amazon Noir and Google Will Eat Itself. These interventions aimed to destabilize their economic and marketing models by making visible some of the economic implications of the Internet, such as invasive advertising, user data mining, and the commercialization of intellectual goods. Flowcharts are shown as central components, describing the main processes and algorithms used to execute the concepts of the artworks.
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The Next Coin
The Next Coin
Cryptocurrency generator
2018

Martin Nadal

The Next Coin is constantly creating new cryptocurrencies. In the installation format, if the viewer presses a button, they will become the owner of that new coin, receiving a receipt with information that will allow them to manage their capital through a web page. Each crypto coin is fully functional, based on ERC-20 tokens, the Ethereum blockchain standard. The Next Coin explores the cryptocurrency fever and proposes a reflection on the true value of money and how it is generated. After all, isn't all money generated from nothing? If, when the dollar abandoned the gold standard, the economy was immersed in a spiral of virtuality, with the appearance of electronic money and later cryptocurrencies, we have now entered the phase of total dematerialization.
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I looked around for you
I looked around for you, but I could only find myself
WebVR Installation
2018

Martina Menegon

Clones of the artist's face, scanned in 3D, occupy the virtual space. Immobile and lifeless, some lie on the "ground", others float in the "air". The visitor can teleport and travel through this dimension without architectural boundaries, in which these faces are the only environment to explore. This virtual environment, in which users have the option of becoming part of the work by using the same face as their avatar, presents us with the digital as a mirror. We enter the web to relate to the other, to what is outside, to what is different, and yet what we see is reduced to reflections of ourselves. In the pages of Internet 2.0, algorithms only show us what we "like", what we "follow", what we consume or what we "search for". The network gives us back a virtual universe molded in our image and likeness.
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Mattes
Perpetual Self Dis/Infecting Machine
Hand-assembled computer, Biennale.py virus, Windows 2000, anti virus software, plexiglass
2001

Eva and Franco Mattes

Conceived and compiled as an invitation to the 49th Venice Biennale, Biennale.py is both a work of art and an active computer virus, reproducing to infinity its source code, which is the text that determines and programs its action. The virus became public and spread on the opening day at the Pavilion of the Republic of Slovenia, where it was possible to read the Biennale.py code and check its action on an infected computer. Thousands of T-shirts with the code printed on them were distributed, viralizing the work within the biennale. The virus was totally harmless, of outdated viral technology, so providing information to Symantec on how to deactivate the virus, in order to get the alert published, was only part of a publicity stunt. The work in object format, a computer that infects and disinfects itself indefinitely, presents us with a machinic Sisyphus, whose blindness prevents him from seeing the futility of his work, inexorably obeying the commands written in his memory.
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Happy Deep Love
Happy Deep Love
Online video
2019

Michaël Borras a.k.a SYSTAIME

In "Happy Deep Love", Systaime offers incessant combinations of Internet Aesthetics, thanks to a remix of information, images and sounds that form an iconic landscape of today's digital pop culture, with an air of nihilism and nostalgia for the near technological past, for the "dawn" of the digital. The artist remixes web images, uses their graphics and ornamentation, and builds with them a scenario in which, in contrast to what the title of the work announces, all depth is annulled and what we see is enclosed strictly in the plane of its surface. A surface of abundance, of desires, of pleasure, that only has entity within the limits of the screen.
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So much for self control
So much for self control
Animated GIF (limited edition)
2019

Martina Menegon

So much for self control is an animation in which virtual clones of the artist's 3D scanned body are crammed together and restricted in their movements as a result of an algorithmic anomaly. The emergence of cyberspace has implied a need to redefine the new role of the subject, its limits, its "physicality" as a virtual entity. How is the space of the self negotiated in a machinic agency? What happens when it does not respond to the function assigned to it as a gear? The work makes visible what this error in the system generates: the perpetual negotiation, the resistance, the line of flight, the sabotage to self-control.
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Gustavo Romano
F.U.C.K.- ID. Free Universal Cut Kit for Internet Dissidence
3D model for printing
2017

César Escudero Andaluz

Free Universal Cut Kit for Internet Dissidence is a stand-alone device capable of cutting undersea Internet cables. It is available for free download in .stl files, for subsequent 3D printing. Once attached and installed on the submarine cable, the paddle located at the top will make the necessary resistance to drive the pendulum that holds the saw. In an estimated time of weeks, the gentle movement of the sea could cut a 60 mm thick cable. The work allows us to visualize the fact that the Internet is a vulnerable medium, the result of political and power alliances that, in their current state, tend to favor mass surveillance, the interception of "Big Data" and the monopolies of large corporations. In this dystopian present, Free Universal Cut Kit for Internet Dissidence serves as a trigger to imagine other ways to escape this situation of control, and to give back to users the ability to decide about their data and their privacy.
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Untitledocument
Untitledocument
Website
2017

Ciro Múseres

The work proposes, in principle, a blind navigation with no horizon in sight. It immerses us in a landscape conformed only by signs that as humans mean nothing to us, by commands or machine codes, articulated in an architecture also defined by the very "geographical accidents" of the medium within which we move: the Internet browser. Pop-up windows, scroll bars, pull downs, nested frames, hyperlinks, give shape to a flat, black and white, non-representative, assigning and untitled universe. A universe that turns our navigation into an aimless journey where the only possible interaction is with the interface itself.
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Code_UP
//**Code_UP
Online project
2004

Giselle Beiguelman

In her project Code Up, Giselle Beiguelman reminds us that digital images are the product of language. Of a strictly programmed language. Starting from Antonioni's film, the artist experiments with the different parameters that "describe" the digital image -the pixel, the decomposition of color between red, green and blue, or the scanning system of the screens-, altering them radically. Beyond the difference between the status of photography and that of the digital, beyond the differences between information and data, Beiguelman places us in a trap similar to the one set by Antonioni. Like the photographer in Blow Up, we finally find that documentary evidence does not seem to account for any reality.
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Retro You R/C
Retro You R/C
Video game intervened
2001

Joan Leandre

In RetroYou R/C Joan Leandre intervenes the program of a remote control automobile videogame by modifying, among other parameters, the gravity force. Despite these variations, in the first versions in which Leandre has intervened the game, it is still recognizable but the user interaction is drastically limited. The virtual reality experience becomes a purely digital experience. In later versions of RetroYou R/C, not only the physical emulation parameters have been modified, but also the visual and sound ones. Little by little, the game has stopped simulating a ride in a radio-controlled toy car, to become a narcotic-digital experience, a visual-sound kaleidoscope.
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Every Icon
Every Icon
Software art
2001

John F. Simon

Every Icon shows every possible combination of pixels in a 32 by 32 grid, systematically going through every conceivable icon. The work, which was launched in 1997, will sooner or later display every image, every sign, every logo we can imagine. The time we should wait for the last icon to appear is, however, practically unimaginable: it is over hundreds of billions of years. The work reminds us of Borges' Aleph, "that point in space that contains all points", where infinity and eternity converge. A machinic Aleph that becomes an unattainable attempt to prove whether or not reality is computable, whether or not every action, every entity is reducible to code.
Economy, Knowledge and Surveillance in the Age of the Cryptocene
Economy, Knowledge and Surveillance in the Age of the Cryptocene
Infographics
2019

César Escudero Andaluz y Martín Nadal

Today, knowledge has been put at the service of production. Big Data is the great source of resources for technology companies, the gold of the 21st century. This infographic, as a conceptual map, spatializes the connections, tensions, struggles and negotiations between the various actors promoting developments such as behavioral algorithms, cryptocurrency markets, electronic surveillance, which are contrasted with the actions of cultural movements and communities that defend an open society, propose free access to information and speculate on non-monetary futures.
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The Flame Algorithm
The Flame Algorithm
Software
2019

Scott Draves

Draves is the creator of the Fractal Flames algorithm, which has been used in numerous projects, the most prominent being Electric Sheep, generated by the artist himself. This consists of a distributed computing project, through a free downloadable screensaver that generates animations using the idle time of all the "sleeping" machines connected to this network. Thus, when a computer goes to sleep, it sends a portion of data to the system server, which the server uses to create a new fractal animation and send it back to the computer.
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PAM Standing
PAM Standing
Internet action, videos
2008

Mark Napier

Napier takes here an icon of "constructed" beauty - the globalized beauty of consumption and artificial youth - and attempts her digital reconstruction from the traces that her body has spread throughout the web. We are referring to Pamela Anderson, the woman whose photographs had been most reproduced in history up to that moment, thanks to the advent of the Internet. Starting from these fetish images Napier attempts to reconstruct a 3D body of Pamela and recreates an abstract and machinic image, but of a radical artificiality and without the aesthetic pretensions or eternal youth that are usually cultivated on Instagram. Instead of the eye and the skin, the algorithm and the screen.
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k
k
Videogame
2007

André Sier

"k" is a free adaptation of the imaginary experienced by K. in Franz Kafka's The Castle, which immerses the user in a dizzying journey through infinite navigable random spaces, in a labyrinth of 3D visual interactive spaces. K, the main character of the book, must arrive at the Castle to request the necessary authorizations for the fulfillment of his work, but is forced to wander indefinitely through the bureaucratic labyrinths and social networks of the place. The castle is a play about alienation, bureaucracy and also the endless frustrations of man's attempt to confront or adapt to the system. The play brings these tensions to a 21st century setting, where the struggle takes place on a battlefield where the rules are imposed by the computer code itself, within a labyrinthine black and white binary landscape of absolute machinic abstraction.
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anemicCover
anemicCover
Software art
2005

Christian Oyarzún

The Voodoochild project has resulted in a collection of software pieces among which we find animations, interactive, generative pieces that work on different optical and kinetic approaches developed for performative presentations. The references to Duchamp's optical works, especially the Precision Optics, lead us to see these experiences gathered in some of Voodoochild's pieces from the new approaches allowed by the digital field: interactivity, feedback, animations reactive to their own audio or to sounds incorporated by the user. Oyarzún presents us with a digital universe in which algorithms become pure visual forms.
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577Rhea
577Rhea
Videogame
2005

André Sier

"You are your planet's last hope. Your corrupted planet explodes. You have to time travel through white holes with primordial essences to prevent the inevitable collapse of your home." 577 Rhea is a planetoid in our solar system, belonging to the asteroid belt. Sier takes its name and develops a stochastic space exploration game, with soft gravity physics. With a high degree of abstraction and a visual minimalism in which the binary and the algorithmic are exposed without "skins" or disguises, the game confronts us to handle concepts that mean nothing in the digital domain, such as time travel or space displacements. Playing with the pure code, with its rules, getting into its coordinates, its "physics", its own logic, will you manage to guide 577 Rhea to her home?
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NETESCOPIO | MEIAC 2021