Supported by the FNRS, ENSAV La Cambre, KU Leuven
Since 2013, the Hotel Eden in Geneva is the neighbour of an imposing Campus that is dedicated to biotechnology, housing the projects Blue Brain and Human Brain (the last one endowed with a European subsidy of 1 billion euros). Their joined goals are the cartography of the brain and the creation of a synthetic brain through the simulation of the cerebral functions. Against the background play violent criticism of the international scientific community, the global race in Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and the dream to commission an artificial human brain. The research is backed by the hypothesis of a relation between an ecosystem and an artificial life. It is based on the book “Métamorphoses de l’intelligence – Que faire de leur cerveau bleu?” (2017, PUF) in which philosopher Catherine Malabou exposes the challenge to initiate the relation between the living and the non-living in another adventure than the outdated one of their difference. In a residency dynamic, we will study the projection of this brain on the Geneva neighborhood of Sécheron. The challenge is to reveal a phantom as well as addressing a state of affairs of our relation to that fabrication. The Hotel Eden (both hotel and Eden), as intermediary, will orientate the research from the point of view of its structure and the treatment of the in situ investigations.
Laure Cottin Stefanelli
The original contribution to the research initiated by Cedric Noël consists of an extra-large investigation, both in space and time, in real time as much as in geologic time, at different scales in the urbain space, using intuition as searching engine.
The general bibliography can be found on the website http://www.anatopix.be/?p=1207 as well as the elements linked to research, in the URBAN TOPICS section. It is a reflexive approach based on field surveys and paper + web readings.
The articulations of mini-narratives belonging to SQOPIQ category are based on the interactions of sorts of constellations which could be: Frankenstein or the modern prometheus, The Mundaneum and Le Corbusier, Human Brain Project, The Calculus Affair, Voltaire & Micromégas, Garden of Nations, etc.
As a french speaking writer, his contribution has a specific goal to reach : a little book mixing photographs and short legends, conceived as rusult of an all-round search.
Eva Illouz, Franco-Israeli professor specialized in the sociology of feelings and culture, develops in two of her books (1) the thesis that the field of emotional health, which used to be private matter, became a public one. It started in the 50’s with the development of advertisement through various sector of the cultural and the health industries. Illouz explains how – thanks to the development of capitalist societies and emotional wellness apps like dating ones (Tinder for instance) – our emotions turned into goods with a value that one can trade on an open market.
Historically, the sex industry has been on the forefront of implementation of innovative technologies, and integrating AI is unlikely to be an exception. Machines can be friends and even more, they can be romantic companions. In Japan, men marry love dolls, go on holidays with them, and even plan a funeral service for them when their silicon body is over used. On one hand, these human replicas, these love dolls are the imitation of life, their skin feels like human skin, on the other, AI technologies develop memory cards filled with key words which are designed to trigger our empathy.
Can it be said that love stories between human and non-human are non-reciprocal ones? I wish to explore the close links existing between AI technology, human-like shapes and human emotions through the prism of love and friendship relationships that humans can develop for artificial creatures.
(1) Cold Intimacies, Emotions and Late Capitalism, Polity Press, 2007.
Emotions as Commodities, Capitalism, Consumption and Authenticity, Routledge, 2017.
Credit photo : Geminoid F by Ishiguro © CAIT OPPERMANN
Cédric Noël is interested in mutations of relations to artificiality while it's frontier to the living gets thinner. His approaches are:
1/ Understanding the production line of the fabrication of an artificial human brain. From biological to digital to empowerment, with a special focus on transition phenomenon within this process. In the line of sight, to reveal the role of language: - in the discussions between biologists and programmers. - in the programs allowing the simulation of neuronal interactions.
2/ By way of interviews in or out laboratories, asking the collisions of beliefs. Faith in an apparition, conviction in an investment return, trust in science.
What does consciousness imply? Anaïs Chabeur is drawing a parallel between mystical practices and artificial intelligence as both being esoteric knowledge, parallel extended to Alchemy and Bioscience. Sneaking into the inner lives of entities in the making (gestating), she observes the relationship between maker, tool and creation. She is interested in the different degrees of mouvement, action and incarnation, the type or level of consciousness observed or bestowed and the notion of ubiquity.
Image caption: A tray of brain organoids cultured with a Neanderthal gene in Dr. Muotri’s lab. Credit: David Poller/ZUMA Wire, via Alamy Live News
For several years now, Mira Sanders' practice has been inspired by Georges Perec's Journal d'un usager de l'espace (Journal of a Space User). In her work, the experience of space is like an introspective journey that functions as the abyss of a thought that travels by way of the movement of the body and the act of drawing. As part of this project, she explores the world of automata, whose representations she collects from various sources, including Jean-Claude Heudin's book Les Créatures artificielles. Des automates aux mondes virtuels (Artificial Creatures. From Automatons to Virtual Worlds), which tells the story of the phenomenon by taking it back to the most ancestral myths, deconstructing the drive that leads humans to make his/her double in order to better understand himself/herself. The artist's interest lies in the process of imagery, in mimesis as a source of knowledge, exploring the manner in which representations are made, and in the inventive description that structures the creative process. This approach to drawing, which takes us behind the scenes of form, idea and memory, makes use of cartography as a graphic representation of thought and navigation in a narrative where movement towards the unknown is made possible by the "power of tracing". The artist is currently producing a series of diagrams blending augmented impressions in a back and forth movement between manual and digital tracing, as well as a pencil drawing on large sheets of paper that she populates with these creatures and instruments. This anatomical atlas of mechanical forms captured in a perspectival schema will be cristallised in a video work that transforms the flat area into an animated travelling. (Pauline Hatzigeorgiou, Too Many Rooms Too Many Views, in L'Art Même, n°80, pp. 18-21, 2020)
Within the framework of this project, she is responsible for coordinating the publication in which she will also contribute, which will complete the preliminary phase by bringing together the various reflection processes engaged in the research. The axis she intends to develop is based on a text by the American art historian and theorist Jack Burnham (1931-2019), The Esthetics of Intelligent Systems, a transcription of the communication given by the author at the symposium organized in 1969 at the Guggenheim Museum On the Future of art - ambitious, prophetic and speculative, which offers itself with particular interest in contemporary reading. If Burnham's thought draws its references from the biological theory of interaction between entities and from the principle of cybernetic feedback to allow him to build an aesthetic theory articulated on the relationships between the human and the computational, between the material and immaterial, it is also animated by a political vision glimpsing into a potential technological utopia, a vision inspired by the critical theory of Herbert Marcuse, a singular member of the Frankfurt school. In opposition to the digital formalism in which he observes the emergence in certain artistic approaches of the time, Burnham predicts the constitution of a folded category, and defends a conceptual turning point, that is to say, a relational approach and a state of availability with regard to the techno-societal changes. An art capable of capturing and accounting for the epistemological mutation brought about by the "new" information technologies. This text, associated with his two most famous essays published in Artforum in 1968 and 1969, provides a framework for analysis and a stimulating understanding of technology, technical society, aesthetic positioning and the role of the artist, dimensions that will be put in context and commented upon.