ÁKKTA / Egor Kraft
Structures of exponentially increasing capacities, synthetic intelligence, data monopolies and power structures, ubiquitous mechanic analysis and interpretation, planetary scale computation, technopolitics, agencies human and artificial, biotechnological interventions, speculative crypto-economies - all these non-human cognitive perspectives reconstitute the aspect of human and a new geological epoch. In how far is the human aspect subject to technology? To what degree and from what viewpoint is the human aspect autonomous, unpredictable, faulty, irrational? How shall this human aspect coexist along with the precise ubiquitous machinic automated organisation? Having once seen the surface under a microscope, we will never again see it as we knew it before. How may we redefine the 'human' after seeing the world through the lens of other synthetic forms of perception and thinking? Asking this political, ethical and aesthetic questions constitutes new challenges for artistic production, as a primordially ‘human’ project.
CONTENT AWARE STUDIES
Marble, polyamide, machine learning algorithms, 3D scanning, 3D printing, video installation
Initial stage of the Content Aware Studies project is devoted to reconstruction of friezes and sculptures from the period of classical Antiquity involving AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) technology in particular. Based on the precise 3D-scan of the original sculpture, the algorithm analyses thousands of 3D-scans of objects of classical antiquity to generate models of the missing fragments, as well as never existed sculptures of that era. These speculative generated missing fragments will be 3D-printed from synthetic polymers and integrated into the marble replica of the original sculpture. The project juxtaposes the aesthetics of classical ancient art and the generative method, explores the mechanisation of artistic labour, new forms of material cultures and quasi-archeology. The artist explores the possibility of a collaboration with AI, potentiality of it’s synthetic subjectiveness and the meta-archaeological form of the history production, it’s ethical implications, thereby calling into questioning the ideas of authorship, genuinity and production of art and history in their traditional sense. The Content Aware Studies project initiates a large-scale international study into the capabilities of ML and AI technologies in relation to art, contemporary and upcoming culture.
THE NEW COLOUR
Ongoing online intervention; 2011 – 2018 Film, website: thenewcolor.net, book
‘The New Color’ is an online intervention consisting of a faux (imitative) website for a non-existent American company (ACI) specializing in the field of developing chemistry. On the website, the fictitious company announces a fictitious breakthrough consisting of a previously ‘undiscovered’ color. The company also carefully explains that at the current moment no screens are capable of displaying the color due to the RGB (red, green & blue) additive color model which has nothing to do with this brand new primary color. The website is the presentation of non-facts as news explores the intrinsic power of the media to transform public perception and stand in for new forms of knowledge production. A viral sensation with broad social impact, ‘The New Color’ continues to attract significant online attention. Hundreds of visitors a week come across the website, having been referred to it by online search engines and social media. Emails are received nearly daily, the number of Facebook page subscribers is growing, Google search ‘New Color’ often delivers thenewcolor.net on top of the list. A book as a documentation and an outcome of the intervention was issued in 2015.
Film, 19’34”, 2017-2018 Five-channel video installation, book www.air-kiss.com
‘Air Kiss’ is a film, created in collaboration with Pekka Airaxin, Alina Kvirkveliya and Karina Golubenko, that looks at a near future, where governance has largely been outsourced to Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the speculative context of Moscow in 2050. As a backdrop to the film comes a speculative strategy unfolding mechanisms of a decentralised AI-governance system, where boundaries between the resident's subjectivity and the Plasma, an adaptive system that is constantly transformed and independently changes the algorithmic legislation in accordance with the values, beliefs and behavioral patterns of each user, are erased, thus turning into his inner voice and personal therapist at the same time. This is a new ecosystem that, on the one hand, dissolves the state, sovereignty, property, and even personal boundaries, on the other hand, creates many new levels of autonomy and previously non-existent zones in their permanent configuration. What does it mean and how does it feel like to live in a world, where computation has become the surrounding matter itself and algorithms predict, suggest, decide, analyse and manage everything from basic income and infrastructures to one’s inner dialogue? What are the extents of one’s personal responsibilities or personality? Envisioned here is a system that attempts to be a universally fair real-time democracy. Users of this system are subjects to a continuous poll on their preferences about their living environments. Both by deliberate virtual requesting and through behaviour tracking, users influence the algorithmic system in designing and managing cities and geographies beyond it.
The intervention was carried out in August 2014 in St. Petersburg, when the artist bought a few white T-shirts from the Swedish clothing chain ‘H&M’. Without removing any tags from the T-shirts, the artist used professional screen printing techniques to print the T-shirts with texts such as: ‘Please Ignore This Text - Keep on Shopping’ etc., as if they had been originally designed as such. The next day he went back to the store in order to return and be refunded for his newly modified T-shirt, telling the store’s cashier that it just didn’t fit him. The store’s staff member did not suspect anything, they took back the T-shirt and refunded the artist with his money. The next day the artist returned to the store to find that, his subsequently self-modified T-shirt, was now on sale again complete with its magnetic anti-theft tag which had been reattached. The T-shirt’s new guise had even prompted the store to display it in an even more prominent space on the clothes rack. A series of similar events has since been conducted involving printing different texts onto T-shirts as a comment on contemporary consumer culture and the absurdity of slogans that modern objects of consumerism often come with.
NOW IS JUST RIGHT NOW
Site specific neon installation, 2012
‘How long is now?’ — the unanswered question posed in graffiti on the wall of the legendary Berlin squat Tacheles, which became a symbol of the independent Berlin of the ’90s. While comprehending the question and it’s premises, one involuntarily might find himself wondering — how do you find an answer to this question and go further towards understanding the idea of an ongoing existence? The main line of the Egor’s suggestion is to stop focusing on the concept of the ‘now-moment’ and approve of its permanent presence. The project makes you think that the only thing we have is the present moment, which instantly turns into the past.
I PRINT THEREFORE I AM
Kinetic sculpture, 2015 Modified printer, paper roll, 5l can of inks
A digital printer had been modified so that it can continuously perform printing on a looped-back sheet of paper, running through cycles over and over again. An ink supply system - containing a 5 litre can of ink connected to the cartridge is then connected to the hacked printer, it is thus able to print non-stop throughout the duration of the whole exhibition, about 2 months, relentlessly reproducing the same line 'I print, therefore I am' (rephrased from 'I think, therefore I am’- René Descartes, Discours de la Methode, 1637). Through continuous repetitive activity the printer manifests its own existence, functioning in accordance with the principles of mechanical, industrial and consumer culture, formed during the 20th century and now becoming somewhat obsolete. This work also references that the origin of these principles evolved from the invention of printing technology, which remains the template for all subsequent mechanisation. It is obvious that the ‘Typographic trance’ is becoming obsolete and is replaced by more sophisticated media technologies which provide us with more opportunities for proactive reaction. In this context spectator is proposed to think of the printer, as the world’s last working printer, still printing, relentlessly and pointlessly, without being aware of the fact that new logic has come into force.