Machine Unlearning Tag

Now WTF online exhibition

Museums are closed. School is cancelled. The world is shut off and we’re stuck indoors. All the bread has been sold and Twitter has lost its mind. Fox News is killing off its own demographic. While everything is cancelled, why not have a show?

In spite of everything, Silicon Valet is pleased to present Well Now WTF?, an online exhibition curated by Faith Holland, Lorna Mills, and Wade Wallerstein featuring 80 artists with moving image practices opening April 4, 2020 from 8 to 10 pm EST.

Here is the facebook link for you to join in at the opening!  https://www.facebook.com/events/150877186204563/

Here is the URL for the exhibition: https://wellnowwtf.siliconvalet.org

With everything going on, we ask ourselves: Well Now WTF? We have no answer, but we do know how to make GIFs. We can come together and use the creative tools at our disposal to build a space for release outside of anxiety-inducing news cycles and banal social media feeds.

As co-curator Lorna Mills suggests, “Why masturbate alone, when we can all be wankers together?”

Well Now WTF? is as much an art show as a community gathering. Beginning with the opening on April 4 and throughout the exhibition, we will hold online events on the site itself and via Twitch where people can gather and talk as they would normally for a physical exhibition.

Well Now WTF? will be available online at wellnowwtf.siliconvalet.org. The exhibition will be free and open to the public, with a $5 suggested, pay-what-you-wish entry that gets redistributed to the artists contributing work.

The exhibition will be accompanied by essays by Wade Wallerstein and Seth Watter.

Participating artists: A Bill Miller, Ad Minoliti, Adrienne Crossman, Alex McLeod, Alice Bucknell, Alma Alloro, Andres Manniste, Anneli Goeller, Anthony Antonellis, Antonio Roberts, Ben Sang, Benjamin Gaulon, Carla Gannis, Carlos Sáez, Casey Kauffmann, Casey Reas, Cassie McQuater, Chiara Passa, Chris Collins, Cibelle Cavalli Bastos, Claudia Bitran, Claudia Hart, Clusterduck Collective, Daniel Temkin, Devin Kenny, Don Hanson, Dominic Quagliozzi, Elektra KB, Ellen.Gif, Eltons Kuns, Emilie Gervais, Erica Lapadat-Janzen, Erica Magrey, Erin Gee, Eva Papamargariti, Faith Holland, Geoffrey Pugen, Guido Segni, Hyo Myoung Kim, Ian Bruner, Jan Robert Leegte, Jenson Leonard, Jeremy Bailey, Jillian McDonald, Kamilia Kard, Laura Gillmore, Laura Hyunjhee Kim, Lauryn Siegel, Libbi Ponce, Lilly Handley, Lorna Mills, LoVid, Mara Oscar Cassiani, Mark Dorf, Mark Klink, Maurice Andresen, Maya Ben David, Molly Erin McCarthy, Molly Soda, Nicolas Sassoon, Nicole Killian, Olia Svetlanova, Olivia Ross, Pastiche Lumumba, Peter Burr, Petra Cortright, Rafia Santana, Rea Mcnamara, Rick Silva, Rita Jiménez, Ryan Kuo, Ryan Trecartin, Santa France, Sara Ludy, Sebastian Schmieg, Shawné Michaelain Holloway, Stacie Ant, Sydney Shavers, Terrell Davis, Theo Triantafyllidis, Tiare Ribeaux, Travess Smalley, Wednesday Kim, Will Pappenheimer, Yidi Tsao, Yoshi Sodeoka, and more to be announced

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: 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.

Cluster Festival Winnipeg Canada

Cluster Festival: Winnipeg’s most dynamic take on contemporary art and sound.

Cluster X : Feb. 28 – Mar. 3, 2019

Great news: I’m going to Winnipeg for the first time!  As a proud Canadian hailing from the prairie provinces, I have always wanted to get to know the experimental art and music scene in Winnipeg. I’m going to be at the 10th edition of Cluster Festival, featured almost every day all weekend! Whether it is a talk on my practice, a public discussion about diversity in music with an amazing bunch of musicians and composers, the Canadian debut of my newest biohardware installation Pinch and Soothe (2019), or a new performance version of Machine Unlearning (2019-20) where I will sweetly whisper an unraveling version of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights into your wireless headphone-d ears as a means of giving you neural stimulation, I’ll be there! For more information  www.clusterfestival.com

Cluster Festival X 2019 Promo from Cluster Festival on Vimeo.

CLUSTER 2019 ARTISTS

Andrea Robers • Beast Nest • Davis Plett • Erin Gee • Eliot Britton • Luke Nickel • Grace Hrabi • Hong Kong Exile • Kristen Wachniak • Maksym Chupov-Ryabtsev • Matt Poon • Mirror Frame • Natalie Tin Yin Gan • Remy Siu • Sharmi Basu • Susan Britton •TAK • Vicky Chow • William Kuo • XIE