AI Tag

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.

Cover Story: Leader Post

I was surprised for my exhibition To the Sooe to be featured as front-page news on January 27, 2020 in the Leader Post, the leading newspaper of Regina Saskatchewan. Inside the paper you can find an interview with exhibition curator Tak Pham and I regarding my solo show at the MacKenzie Art Gallery, To the Sooe.

““Erin’s work is very, very immersive. It’s really bringing the reaction, the chemistry, the biology within your body and really bringing it outwards and put(ting) it on display,” said Tak Pham, who curated this exhibition at the MacKenzie.”

Click here to read the full article.

 

 

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.

ASAP Journal

Happy to announce that my short article on machine learning, ASMR and sound “Automation as Echo” written with Sofian Audry is now published in ASAP/Journal 4.2 in a collection of articles assembled by Jennifer Rhee covering automation from diverse/creative/critical perspectives.

From the article:

“The echo is a metaphor that goes beyond sound, speaking to the physical and temporal gaps in human-computer interaction that open up a space of aesthetic consumption problematized by the impossibility of comprehending machine perspectives on human terms. The echo unfolds in time, but most importantly it unfolds in space: sound travels as a physical interaction between a subject and an object that seemingly “speaks back.”

The mythological nymph Echo “speaks” or “performs” her subjectivity through reflection or imitation of the voice of human Narcissus. Her (incomplete, sometimes humorous, sometimes uncannily resemblant) nonhuman voice is dependent on the human subject, who is also the progenitor of her speech. The relationship between these two mythological entities creates an apt metaphor for machine learning: its processes are not of the human, yet its “neural” functions are crafted in imitation of and in response to human thought. As machine subjectivity is crafted from human subjectivity, we cannot grasp its machined voice, nor perceive its subjective position, through analysis of its various textual, sonic, visual, and robotic outputs alone. Rather, the “voice” of machine learning is fleeting, heard through the spaces, the gaps, the movements between the machine and the human, the vibrational color of nonhuman noise.”

ABOUT ASAP JOURNAL

ASAP/Journal is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal published by John Hopkins University Press that explores new developments in post-1960s visual, media, literary, and performance arts. The scholarly publication of ASAP: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present, ASAP/Journal promotes intellectual exchange between artists and critics across the arts and humanities. The journal publishes methodologically cutting-edge, conceptually adventurous, and historically nuanced research about the arts of the present.

Printemps Numerique Montreal

Musee McCord/ McCord Museum – 690 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC H3A 1E9, Canada

Wednesday May 29 – Sunday June 2

Curated by Erandy Vergara

Artists: Sofian Audry, Mara Eagle, Erin Gee, Julia Zamboni

 

to the sooe (2018), my revocalized machine learning sound artwork inspired by ASMR made in collaboration with Sofian Audry, is featured in exhibition at the McCord Museum as part of Printemps Numèrique in Montreal.

Click here to learn more about the exhibition including details on the works by the other artists in the show.

 

 

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

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 (2018), and Machine Unlearning (2018-2019)

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

Printemps Numérique – Montreal, May 29-June 3 2019. Curated by Erandy Vergara.

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

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