11 – 20 March 2021
Establish a better connection to the apps and services that are essential partners in our daily lives. Especially now, in times of disconnection and distance.
Let’s be honest, these services and apps are our companions – inviting us to grow and engage in play and exploration. They take us by the hand in the never-ending evolution of our needs, desires, dreams and aspirations, making our decisions easier. And they never forget the memories we made together.
They fluently adapt to our words and gestures, learning from our clumsy interactions and unruly behaviors. Curiously observing the world, they suggest the shortest paths and the most relaxing creative outlets. They make our bubbles bigger.
Understanding and adaptive, they reach out and inquire. They keep our efforts going and aid in attaining new, wonderful levels of progress. Waking and resting with us – ever so idly – they discretely wait and listen to what we really mean to say. And no question could be too random or shameful in this contingent symbiosis. They know. Or at least they’ll try and learn.
Ask yourself, “What would I be without them?”
During her residency at osmo/za, artist Rosi Grillmair researched mechanisms of anthropomorphization in the field of artificial intelligence and the return impact of AI on us, its users and (co)creators, who, in the now habituated interactions with such technologies, are also constantly updating and nearing machines in our behaviors.
The artistic project connect. experience reverse engineers the procedures and situations in which we’re training algorithms daily – by confirming we are not robots, evaluating translations, recognizing traffic lights and road crossings, talking to virtual assistants and chatbots … The artist has translated them into intentionally awkward and dysfunctional tasks for observing the feedback effect of such interactions on us.
The exhibition, as a transformative ideological apparatus, is used as a polygon to carry out an experiment: training a multitude of people through repetition, learning and voluntary optimization. Using the promotional address of contemporary applications and services, it promises involvement, transgressive experience, personal growth, networking and collaboration. It politely invites us from the streets and behind our screens, into a seemingly playful situation, which in turn requires a careful reading of signs and execution of instructions. Namely, because the artist designed the exhibition as one would write an algorithm. Algorithms are, after all, abstract concepts that with the help of the appropriate (im)material infrastructure are either executable or not.
While following the circular path of a closed program loop – solving tasks, observing, responding, weaving semantic networks and learning – we’re physically executing the exhibition algorithm. Much like the first calculations in the beginnings of computer history were performed by “human computers”. The object of this behavioral programming is therefore us. The installation works as a program that, in seven steps, takes the visitor on a path of personal optimization – becoming an artificial intelligence. When we’ve returned to the starting point at the end of our journey, we may, transformed by the experience, find it easier to integrate into contemporary techno-capitalism, or we may simply be better adapted to viewing exhibitions.
Artist: Rosi Grillmair
Curator: Maja Burja
Assistance with interface development: Staš Vrenko
Technical support: Valter Udovičić, Miha Zupan
Logo design: Maruša Račič
Production: Ljudmila, Art and Science Laboratory, and Projekt Atol Institute.
Supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, the Municipality of Ljubljana – Department for Culture and JSKD – Public Fund for Cultural Activities. The project is part of EASTN-DC Network, which is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
Technical partners: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art Ljubljana, Rampa Lab · Kersnikova Institute, RogLab
Acknowledgements: Bashir Bastan, Cristina Cochior, vvvv Community, Luka Frelih, Anže Zorman, Tilen Sepič, Nataša Martina Pintarič, Jana Wilcoxen, Blaž Božič, Vesna Bukovec, Ann-Katrin Krenz, Michael Burk, Lotte
Rosi Grillmair (1991) is an artist, programmer and lecturer on art, culture and technology in her hometown Linz, Austria. Since 2020 she has been working as a freelance artist. Currently, she is working on her project Merkwürdige Momente (memorable/curious moments). The project comprises interventions in public space and an appropriation of infrastructures and objects of collective history. In her work, the freedom of interpretation plays an important role as well as explaining matters of art, language, culture and technology through engaging stories and interactive environments. The media of her works include two very different approaches. On the one hand, she deals with the digital, ephemeral – shaped by programming and visualization. On the other hand, she is interested in capturing moments in long-lasting and natural materials, like stone, wood, and fabrics. Virtuality and haptic experience (handicraft) come together throughout digital fabrication, finding a gradient between abstract and natural phenomena. Rosi Grillmair has exhibited her works at international art festivals and exhibitions. She is a speaker on topics like AI and art, maker culture and creative coding and is part of several open-source communities.