2018 Tag

Book: Robotic Imaginary

My robotic artwork Swarming Emotional Pianos is featured in image and text on p 131-132 of Jennifer Rhee’s newly published book: The Robotic Imaginary: The Human and the Price of Dehumanized Labor (2018, University of Minnesota Press).  The image above is just a photo of me relaxing with a coffee as I read the first few pages…

This amazing book details AI from a perspective that is driven by emotion and humanity, while referencing the work and the influence of women and poc in a way I haven’t seen before. I found myself constantly thinking: yes, yes as I read the book!

 

From the official description of the book:

The word robot—introduced in Karel Čapek’s 1920 play R.U.R.—derives from rabota, the Czech word for servitude or forced labor. A century later, the play’s dystopian themes of dehumanization and exploited labor are being played out in factories, workplaces, and battlefields. In The Robotic Imaginary, Jennifer Rhee traces the provocative and productive connections of contemporary robots in technology, film, art, and literature. Centered around the twinned processes of anthropomorphization and dehumanization, she analyzes the coevolution of cultural and technological robots and artificial intelligence, arguing that it is through the conceptualization of the human and, more important, the dehumanized that these multiple spheres affect and transform each other.

Drawing on the writings of Alan Turing, Sara Ahmed, and Arlie Russell Hochschild; such films and novels as Her and The Stepford Wives; technologies like Kismet (the pioneering “emotional robot”); and contemporary drone art, this book explores anthropomorphic paradigms in robot design and imagery in ways that often challenge the very grounds on which those paradigms operate in robotics labs and industry. From disembodied, conversational AI and its entanglement with care labor; embodied mobile robots as they intersect with domestic labor; emotional robots impacting affective labor; and armed military drones and artistic responses to drone warfare, The Robotic Imaginary ultimately reveals how the human is made knowable through the design of and discourse on humanoid robots that are, paradoxically, dehumanized.

 

Click here to view more information on the book at University of Minnesota Press

 

New World Notes Top 12 of 2018

Wagner James Au, official blogger for Second Life, included my biosignal-controlled VR work Project H.E.A.R.T. in his New World Notes 2018 roundup of most exciting innovations in AR, VR and AI! Project H.E.A.R.T.’s innovate incorporation of emotion into gameplay was included among such exciting innovations such as MICA, Magic Leap’s Eerily Human AI Avatar Who Looks You In The Eye, an AI basketball player that “learns” how to dribble a ball, and IOS ARKit technology that allows for shadows and reflections of real objects to appear in AR spaces.

 

Click here to read what else made top 12 at New World Notes

Review: Canadian Art

Amber Berson wrote a thoughtful review on the occasion of Eastern Bloc’s 10th anniversary exhibition Amplification that features discussion and images of my first internet-artwork https://laughingweb.space

This exhibition meant a lot to me as an artist that has been supported by Eastern Bloc over the years not only by the fact that they have exhibited me and involved me in many projects…but also I have been enriched an supported by their fantastic programming.  I salute Eastern Bloc and wish them all the best in their next 10 years!

To read the article, click here.

LAUGHING WEB DOT SPACE

An interactive website and virtual laugh-in for survivors of sexual violence.

The URL: https://laughingweb.space

This website enables survivors to record and listen to the sounds of their laughter, and through the magic of the internet, laugh together. Visitors of any gender that self-identify as survivors are invited to use the website’s interface to record their laughter and join in: no questions asked. Visitors can also listen to previously recorded laughter on loop.

Why laughter? Laughter is infectious, and borne of the air we still breathe. We laugh in joy. We laugh in bitterness. We laugh awkwardly. We laugh in relief. We laugh in anxiety. We laugh because it is helpful for laugh. We laugh because it might help someone else. Laughing is good for our health: soothing stress, strengthening the immune system, and easing pain. Through laughter, we proclaim ourselves as more complex than the traumatic memories that we live with. Our voices echo, and will reverberate in the homes, public places, and headphones of whoever visits.

The site is officially launched on October 3rd, 2018!

Dedicated to Cheryl L’hirondelle

This project was commissioned by Eastern Bloc (Montreal) on the occasion of their 10th anniversary exhibition. For this exhibition, Eastern Bloc invited the exhibiting media artists to present work while thinking of linkages to Canadian media artists that inspired them when they were young. I’m extremely honored and grateful for the conversations that Cheryl L’hirondelle shared with me while I was developing this project.

When I was just beginning to dabble in media art in art school, the net-based artworks of Cheryl L’hirondelle demonstrated to me the power of combining art with sound and songwriting, community building, and other gestures of solidarity, on the internet. Exposure to her work was meaningful to me – I was looking for examples of other women using their voices with technology. Skawennati is another great artist that was creating participative web works in the late 90s and early 2000s – you can check out her cyberpowwow here.

Click here to visit Laughing Web Dot Space

Credits

Graphic Design – Laura Lalonde
Backend Programming – Sofian Audry, Conan Lai, Ismail Negm
Frontend Programming- Koumbit

Special thank you to Kai-Cheng Thom, who with wisdom, grace, and passion guided me through many stages of this work’s development.

Exhibition History/Upcoming

October 3 -23, 2018 – Eastern Bloc, Montreal. Curated by Eliane Ellbogen

February 16, 2019 –The Feminist Art Project @ CAA Conference – Trianon Ballroom, Hilton NYC.

February 2019 – Her EnvironmentYards Gallery, Chicago. Curated by Chelsea Welch and Iryne Roh.

June 26 to August 11, 2019. SESI Arte Galeria, FILE festival, São Paulo, Brazil.

Reviews/Interviews

(2019) https://chiartshub.com/2019/01/27/review-entanglements-forces-us-to-consider-our-relationship-to-technology/

Fields, Noa/h. (2019). “Dangling Wires: Artists Examine Relationship with Technology in Entanglements.” Scapi Magazine (Chicago). https://scapimag.com/2019/02/05/dangling-wires-artists-examine-relationship-with-technology-in-entanglements/

Fournier, Lauren (2018). “Our Collective Nervous System.” Canadian Art. https://canadianart.ca/interviews/our-collective-nervous-system/

Berson, Amber (2018). “Amplification” Canadian Art. REVIEWS / OCTOBER 23, 2018. https://canadianart.ca/reviews/amplification/

to the sooe

A 3D printed sound object that houses a human voice murmuring the words of a neural network trained by a deceased author.

to the sooe (SLS 3D printed object, electronics, laser-etched acrylic, audio, 2018) is the second piece in a body of work Erin Gee made in collaboration with artist Sofian Audry that explores the material and authorial agencies of a deceased author, a LSTM algorithm, and an ASMR performer.

The work in this series transmits the aesthetics of an AI “voice” that speaks through outputted text through the sounds of Gee’s softly spoken human vocals, using a human body as a relatively low-tech filter for processes of machine automation.  Other works in this series include of the soone (audio: 2018), and Machine Unlearning (Livestreamed video, 2018)

to the sooe is a sound object that features a binaural recording of Erin Gee’s voice as she re-articulates the murmurs of a machine learning algorithm learning to speak. Through this work, the artists re-embody the cognitive processes and creative voices of three agents (a deceased author, a deep learning neural net, and an ASMR performer) into a tangible device. These human and nonhuman agencies are materialized in the object through speaking and writing: a disembodied human voice, words etched onto a mirrored, acrylic surface, as well as code written into the device’s silicon memory.

The algorithmic process used in this work is a deep recurrent neural network agent known as “long short term memory” (LSTM). The algorithm “reads” Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights character by character, familiarizing itself with the syntactical universe of the text. As it reads and re-reads the book, it attempts to mimic Brontë’s style within the constraints of its own artificial “body”, hence finding its own alien voice.

 

The reading of this AI-generated text by a human speaker allows the listener to experience simultaneously the neural network agent’s linguistic journey as well as the augmentation of this speech through vocalization techniques adapted from Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). ASMR involves the use of acoustic “triggers” such as gentle whispering, fingers scratching or tapping, in an attempt to induce tingling sensations and pleasurable auditory-tactile synaesthesia in the user. Through these autonomous physiological experiences, the artists hope to reveal the autonomous nature of the listener’s own body, implying the listener as an already-cyborgian aspect of the hybrid system in place.

Exhibition History

Taking Care – Hexagram Campus Exhibition @ Ars Electronica, Linz Sept 5-11 2018

Credits

Sofian Audry – neural network programming and training

Erin Gee – vocal performer, audio recording and editing, electronics

Grégory Perrin – 3D printing design and laser etching

Eastern Bloc Montreal

Eastern Bloc

7240 Clark, Montreal

October 3-26, 2018

GALLERY HOURS

  • Wed to Fri | 16.00 – 19.00
  • Sat – Sun | 13.00 – 17.00

Curators: Martín Rodríguez (Co-Director) & Éliane Ellbogen (Former Artistic Director and Founder of Eastern Bloc)

“Amplification”, in its figurative and literal sense, is the act of making something more marked or enhanced, on the one hand, and the process of increasing the amplitude of an electrical signal, on the other. Amplification of both artists’ careers and art practices is what Eastern Bloc strives towards in its programming. It is what prompted the centre to curate a retrospective exhibit featuring the work of artists with whom we have closely collaborated over the past ten years, who are not so emerging anymore, but who inspire us to continue amplifying the work of younger, more emerging artists.

The artists exhibited in “Amplification” form an important part of the digital arts landscape in Canada. Many of them exhibited in group or solo shows for the first time at Eastern Bloc, while others were presented by the centre at a formative stage in their career. They have all, over the past decade, developed a strong bond with the centre and have contributed to strengthening and “amplifying” the community of Canadian and international digital artists.

The exhibiting artists were invited to create a work inspired by the work of ten pioneering Canadian New Media artists.

Erin Gee created work inspired by Cheryl L’hirondelle; Darsha Hewitt by Doug Back; Sofian Audry by Monty Cantsin?; Craig Fahner and Matthew Waddell by Catherine Richards; Adam Basanta by Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller; Jennifer Chan by Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby; Sabrina Ratté and Roger Tellier-Craig by Jean-Pierre Boyer; and Erin Sexton by Michael Snow. Eleven emerging and mid-career artists have, as such, created a body of work that represents a “living archive” of Eastern Bloc. The work exhibited in Amplification delves into and revises the history of New Media art in Canada, as seen through the perspective of a new generation of Canadian artists. Amplification is Eastern Bloc’s contribution to the past, present, and future of digital arts in Montreal and in Canada.

Machine Unlearning @ META MARATHON Düsseldorf

I will be performing (and live streaming) a new audio performance work that features myself in a live ASMR re-performance of deep learning text.  The work will be accessed through a streaming YouTube link via the distributed screens of audience member’s smartphones and laptops for a half hour via headphones in a quiet environment where blankets and sleeping are invited as part of the work.  This performance will take place as part of META MARATHON at NRW Forum, Düsseldorf, Germany on May 26, 2018.

NEW TECHNOLOGY FESTIVAL META MARATHON AT THE NRW-FORUM DÜSSELDORF

42 hours of non-stop talks, performances, film screenings, concerts, exhibitions, and workshops on the subject of Artificial Intelligence: the META Marathon is a new technology festival taking place from 25th to 27th May 2018 at the NRW Forum Düsseldorf. The participants design the festival themselves, switch roles between expert and amateur as well as experiment with the new format—including on-site accommodation. The Festival Director is the futurist and entrepreneur Christopher Peterka.

An innovative technology festival and a digital happening: META is an invitation to participants to collaborate in an open process and collectively develop new ideas on digital modernity and Artificial Intelligence. In doing so, META breaks away from the series of digital conferences and exhibitions that talk about phenomena more than being part of them.

META follows from the assumption that the changes made by digital technologies are so radical that they require new kinds of research and understanding. The participants are invited to work together in a 42-hour marathon packed with stimulating events—in workshops, labs, and talks with sometimes radical exploratory methods—and have the opportunity to spend the night at the NRW Forum.

Those wishing to participate must apply in advance at https://www.metamarathon.net/. The cost of taking part is 42€, which includes food and a sleeping place, and there is space for a total of 400 curious pioneers. Some of those who have already registered are creatives and thinkers from the realms of research, teaching, economics, art and culture, including artist and composer Erin Gee, professor and curator Joasia Krysa, artist and professor Hans Bernhard (Uebermorgen. com), Professor Chris Geiger, nyris founder Anna Lukasson-Herzig, and many more.

What will language look like in the future and how will we use it? How is digital media changing communication? What are the most important skills when machines and Artificial Intelligence are capable of performing human work? How do we perceive and communicate with each other in a world determined by the flow of information and data? Based on the historical agenda of the Macy Conferences, META addresses the issues of memory and storage, language, communication, and learning and perception. The Macy Conferences were ten interdisciplinary conferences that took place between 1946 and 1953 in the United States. It was a hitherto unprecedented open experimental arrangement in which scientists of various disciplines such as neurophysiology, mathematics, psychology, and sociology worked out the basics of cybernetics and cognitive science.

With its novel format, META would like to go beyond the concept of a conference and be a discursive space in which digital modernity and its radical social changes can be explored and described in a festival setting. Contributors should bring their own questions and theories and be prepared to let themes develop on the spot as well as engage in open dialogue between people, disciplines, and machines. The outcome is open and applications will be accepted immediately.

To find more detailed information about the program and to apply visit: https://www.metamarathon.net/

META Marathon
25-27.5.2018

Starts: 25.5, 21:59
Ends: 27.5, 9.30

NRW-Forum Düsseldorf | Ehrenhof 2 | 40479 Düsseldorf

Press Contakt | Irit Bahle | Phone: +49 (0)211-89266-81 | presse@nrw-forum.de

For more information, or to register for the event, visit the META MARATHON website

esse magazine spring 2018

My work Swarming Emotional Pianos is featured in an essay written by Lindsay Leblanc in esse magazine 93 – Printemps / été 2018. The essay also features two media artists that I respect very much, David Rokeby and Jean-Pierre Gauthier.

Following is an abstract:

Sketchy Machines: Propositions Around Three Robotic Artworks

With the increasing presence of machines in public and private life, we continue to find new ways of articulating our relationships with them. In this article, the author uses the sketch as a frame of analysis for machine artworks by Canadian artists David Rokeby, Jean-Pierre Gauthier, and Erin Gee, and argues that the sketch is a fundamentally interdisciplinary and material state that accounts for machines’ complex engagements with human and other-than-human agents. Highlighting the sketch’s unfinished, imperfect, and adaptable qualities, the author attempts to define a “sketchy materiality” as it occurs in robotic art.
Lindsay LeBlanc

To learn more, or to purchase this magazine as a digital PDF  –
http://esse.ca/en/sketch