c a c o p h o n y.

May 22, 2018

W e want to turn this space into one of conversation. Think less self-promotion, more self-reflexive.As a beginning, we offer you words that are not our own. These are the words that provoke us, prompt us, calm and anger us, inspire us, position us, challenge us, and most importantly, hold us accountable. These are the voices we look to.Click for sources.

Technology isn't inherently progressive. Its uses are fused with culture in a positive feedback loop that makes linear sequencing, prediction, and absolute caution impossible. Technoscientific innovation must be linked to a collective theoretical and political thinking. The moment one is tempted to call Echo or Home a “she,” a battle has already been lost. This, too, is why we don’t need more androids, and films about androids, that drag themselves in plots about the soul and humanity. What we do need are more androids, and android stories, in drag. [We’re] talking about black robotics, native androids, queer AI. Other humanities. A nagging question since the beginning was ‘What if you had things that were intelligent in the sense of being effective, but not like us in the sense of not empathizing with what we are?’ The economic revolution driven by information technologies without any doubt needs to be fueled by a constant production of meanings and semantic discourses; in other words, our expressive capacities need to be kept in constant activity. Whether it is suggested that the machine architecture of algorithms and data is another form of ideological design (imbued with human decisions) or that machines are ultimately mindless and can thus act empirically (simply as data checkers), what seems to be missing here is a speculative critique of machine learning that envisions machines as something more than mere instances of instrumental reasoning. So perhaps we should reconsider the hard logic behind most machine intelligence for dialogue. There is something quintessentially human about nonsensical conversations. And if we want know what it’s like to be a bot, we’ll have to learn to communicate in new ways and believe them when they tell us about their lives.

Human: What do people ask you?
Siri: The universe is filled with strange and endless questions. And I get asked all of them.

There are intriguing parallels between the ways that value is constructed in digital economies and in art markets, and not just on a philosophical, "this is worth what we agree it's worth" level. Given the tools we have at the moment, it's really hard for people to identify when they're in an art environment or when they're just in a content environment (e.g., a commercial website). Looking at Tumblr, Pinterest, and the strangely historical collection of funny GIF lists that used to populate the internet is almost identical to taking in net art exhibitions online. If in the past art was one of the few channels where it was possible to observe an image, today we are at the point where an image without an author, with entertaining purpose, replicated indefinitely with slight variations, has a power so great as to start a competition with authorial contemporary art images. When artworks are digital, sharing is of course made much easier, but how to track these copies and their ownership does introduce quite the challenge. (Explain the concept of digital copy to your collector. Most do not understand that an original file is identical to a copy.) The internet is as real as the artists who sit in front of their computers executing concepts on it. All of the information on the web is stored on physical servers, and relies on physical infrastructure to get from any one point to any other. Artists designate whether original versions of their work could be installed, performed, interactive, reproduced, duplicated, encoded or networked. They also indicate whether future versions could be stored, migrated, emulated or re-created. Every software session is like a play, with a beginning, middle, and end. Just as a play exists as both a script and a performance, software has both a static existence as code and a fluid expression in every user session. The constant obsession with the “real” says more about the audience than it does about the producers ... people are uncomfortable with things they cannot touch, with things they cannot co-exist directly alongside. It requires them to reconsider space, time, and reality in ways that most are simply unprepared to.

[We] can now reboot.

If you are interested in using this platform to show or share your work, please reach out to lleblanc@eqbank.ca.