“We spend the time of our lives” Blue ocean lighting reads proper inside the doorway to Athens’ largest public park, Pedion tou Areos, the momentary dwelling of Plásmata, a digital artwork gallery of gigantic proportions.
Simply steps away from a monument to King Constantine I, the signal – courtesy of Danish artist group Superflex, harking back to flashy business billboards – seems to have a satirical really feel. We have been bombarded with such advertisements, tailor-made to us by highly effective algorithms and filled with cliched cliches, what selection do we have now however to consider it?
Commissioned and produced by Onassis Stegi and curated by Future Every thing, Plásmata is Europe’s largest outside digital artwork gallery. The present strikes on from final yr’s version, You and Synthetic Intelligence: By way of a Computational Lens, which explored how algorithms affect and reshape society and our notion of the world. This time round, the experimental exhibition seeks to analyze the thought of the physique—whether or not particular person or collective, human or non-human, or planetary—and its interplay with know-how.
Along with that means “creatures” in Greek, the phrase “plásmata” comes from the basis “plasso,” which implies to fabricate or mildew – as such, 25 new, large-scale works discover how we use information to create various kinds of objects and identities, to make and remanufacture copies of of ourselves.
One of many works that offers with the intrusion of know-how into the human physique – and appears to sound the alarm towards it – is “Happiness” by Dutch theater director and visible artist Dries Verhoeven. On this set up, a robotic runs an deserted pharmacy, telling guests about totally different medicines, antidepressants and ache relievers that may alter and enhance their emotional actuality.
“It’s a signal of our instances, in our eager for happiness, we’re more and more pinning our hopes on the unreal area, in synthetic intelligence, in medicine and different alternate options to nature,” Verhoeven instructed Euronews.
Nonetheless, different works look extra optimistic. At first look, Spanish artist SpY’s Divided seems to be speaking a couple of breakup; An enormous luminous crimson ball conjures up the earth and is split into two halves.
“By depicting the divided Earth, I attempt to recommend how variations might be understood not as a type of separation, however fairly as the standard and high quality of integration,” says SpY.
He explains that the paintings is a response to the best way “algorithms have taken over so many facets of our lives.”
“The place there was focus, we now have distraction, automated reactions fairly than pondering,” he supposes, “and most significantly, confrontation and isolation have changed empathy.”
Guests can stroll by way of the light-filled walkway between the half-domains, turn out to be a part of the paintings themselves and expertise what SpY describes as “a second to flee this new actuality,” and have interaction in a uncommon second of togetherness. “The brand new digital actuality might widen the hole between all of us, however we’re nonetheless a part of one being,” he says.
These subjects have been addressed by the Seoul-based Kimchi and Chips collective, whose “different moon” photosynthesis sees daylight collected by photo voltaic cells throughout the day, returning to the sky at evening to create a satellite tv for pc that flies 70 meters above the bottom. One other “moon”, seen one kilometer away, exhibits a focus that connects individuals in bodily area – in distinction to the separation imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, and digital options which have changed bodily interplay.
Alongside the paintings, the NOWNESS digital video channel is curating an algorithm-free show of brief movies within the park’s former amphitheater, disrupting the digital platform’s traditional observe of delivering personalized content material decided by an algorithm – returning viewers to a gaggle viewing expertise as an alternative.
This collectivity is enhanced not solely by the present being free and open to all, however by its particular location in a public park. Pedion tou Areos began as a military coaching floor and is now the biggest public park within the Greek capital.
“How will you resist assembly one another, being collectively, and experiencing the magic of a crowd? That’s why we cherish Pedion to Areos.” says Aphrodite Panagiotaku, Director of Tradition on the Onassis Basis, concerning the collection of Pedion to Areos because the exhibition website.
Plasmata’s positioning in such a public area goals not solely to create a way of connectedness, but additionally to deliver what Papadimitriou and Tsiavos describe into the general public sphere as “pressing conversations” about moral questions associated to AI, information and surveillance.
They clarify that “these instances enable individuals to ask vital questions…to develop and prolong the boundaries of public area and public discourse.”
Leaving the park, and wandering away from the illuminated blue Superflex signal, we might discover ourselves asking the query, “Are we actually having the time of our lives?”