2020 Tag

to the sooe @ Squeaky Wheel, Buffalo, NY

Love & Sex Show: Sweet Nothings

Special Event | Friday, February 14, 7–10 pm

My work with Sofian Audry to the sooe (2018) will be featured as part of  The Love and Sex Show: Sweet Nothings at Squeaky Wheel Film and Media Arts Centre in Buffalo, NY. This edition of the annual event focuses on sound and voice, featuring my audio work on a set of wireless headphones that can be worn throughout the gallery, as well as film installations and kareoke and performance by Thirza Cuthand, Jess Dobkin, Caroline Doherty, Lauren Fournier, Erin Gee, Dina Georgis and Sharlene Bamboat, Desiree Kee, Hope Mora, Michael Robinson, and Wayne Yung.

Review: Akimblog, Canada

The first review for my solo exhibition To the Sooe at the MacKenzie Art Gallery is here!  To the Sooe is on view until April 19th in Regina, Canada.

“Gee delivers the output in ASMR style through role play and a sound performance that leave you both mesmerized and tingling to your core. The sterile white walls and scientific jargon of the exhibition texts should not deter you from this immersive and sensory experience. Gee’s complex communication configurations require your time, patience and an open mind.” -Alexa Heenan, Akimblog

Click here to read the full review

Machine Unlearning

Vision calibration from Machine Unlearning (2020). Photography by Elody Libe. Image courtesy of the artist.

Machine Unlearning is a video installation in the style of an ASMR roleplay, in which the artist offers a treatment administered through a chip she inserts at the back of the viewer’s neck. This chip allows the artist to directly administer the outputs of an LSTM algorithm through her whispered voice to the mind of the viewer as the algorithm unlearns language previously learned from the novel Wuthering Heights. This roleplay is complimented by a variety of physiological calibration routines and hypnotic hand gestures that play at visual rhythm and implied first person experience.
The combination of machine learning outputs and ASMR is intended to draw parallels to how the autonomous systems of algorithms are similar to the autonomous reactions of human sensory systems. Just as ASMRtists use specific sounds and visual patterns in their videos to “trigger” physical reactions in the user using stimuli, acting on the unconscious sensory processing of the listener as they watch the video, the algorithm also unconsciously responds to patterns perceived by its limited senses in order to develop its learning (and unlearning) processes.

Credits: Photography and videography by Elody Libe.

Production Support: Machine Unlearning video installation was produced at Perte de Signal with the support of the MacKenzie Art Gallery for the exhibition To the Sooe (2020) curated by Tak Pham.

The roleplay performance was developed during my artistic residency at Locus SonusÉcole Superieur d’art d’Aix en Provence and Laboratoire PRISM.

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The use of the word “intelligence” in the metaphor of AI focuses on higher functions of consciousness that algorithms do not possess. While algorithms have not meaningfully achieved a humanistic consciousness to date, today’s algorithms act autonomously on sensory information, processing data from its environment in unconscious, automatic ways. The human brain also responds unconsciously and automatically to sensory data in its environment, for example, even if you are not conscious of how hot a stove is, if you place your hand on a hot stove, your hand will automatically pull away. These unconscious, physiological actions in the sensory realm points to an area of common experience between algorithms and the human.  For more explanation of these ideas, take a look at the work of postmodern literary critic N. Katherine Hayles in her 2017 book Unthought: The power of the cognitive nonconscious.  In this way I wonder if the expression “autonomous intelligence” makes more sense than “artificial intelligence”, however like posthumanist feminist Rosi Braidotti I am deeply suspicious of the humanist pride that our species takes in the word “intelligence” as something that confers a special status and justification for domination of other forms of life on earth.

Live Performance

This work was first developed as a performance that debuted at Cluster Festival, Winnipeg in 2019.  During live performance, each audience member dons a pair of wireless headphones.  The performance allows the audience members to see the ASMR “result” of the performance for camera, simultaneous with the ability to see my “backstage” manipulation of props and light in real time.

Machine Unlearning (2019) Performance at Cluster Festival, Winnipeg. Photo: Leif Norman.

Machine Unlearning (2019) Performance at Cluster Festival, Winnipeg. Photo: Leif Norman.

Machine Unlearning (2019) Performance at Cluster Festival, Winnipeg. Photo: Leif Norman.

Solo Exhibition MacKenzie Art Gallery

From January 24-April 19 2020, my first major solo exhibition in a Canadian museum, To the Sooe, will be on view at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Canada.

To the Sooe is curated by Tak Pham, and features a collection of my embodied technological works to date, as well as a few brand new works made especially for this exhibition including video installation Machine Unlearning (2020) and interactive biodata sound sculpture Pinch and Soothe (2020).

The exhibition has already garnered major attention from the printed press in Regina, with front page feature stories in both the Leader Post and the Prairie Dog as well as a french language interview with Radio Canada.  As part of my exhibition activities I also gave an artist talk at the University of Regina as part of their Art for Lunch speaker series on January 24, 2020.

Cover Story: Prairie Dog Magazine

“Modernity and the Age of Reason kind of championed the brain as this really important thing that defined us as human,” she adds. “I’m interested in recent scientific studies that [show] it’s not all about the brain. Our thinking process actually happens in concert with our body beyond the brain. What I’m interested in is using technology to create a culture of the body.”

“I’m interested in making a conversation about technology that doesn’t centre on intelligence but on emotion.”

– Erin Gee, excerpts from interview with Gregory Beatty

My exhibition “To the Sooe” at the MacKenzie Art Gallery is front page news in Regina’s Prairie Dog Magazine!  The Prairie Dog is Regina’s top source for what is going on in entertainment and the arts, so it is a great honor to be featured.  I also appreciate the reporting done by Gregory Beatty on this interview.  Click here to read the full article.

As a very brief aside, I want to address to the use of the words “Sound-Shaman” on the cover of this magazine.  I have never used these terms to describe my practice, as I am not currently practicing any form of spiritual faith that would qualify me to do so. These words are not my own, but were an editorial decision that I do not identify with and strongly reject.