“We’re having the very best time of our lives” reads an ocean-blue illumination simply inside the doorway to the biggest public park in Athens, Pedion tou Areos, the non permanent dwelling of Plasmata, a digital artwork exhibit of gigantic proportions.
Positioned steps from a monument to King Constantine I, the signal, courtesy of Danish artist group Superflex, and paying homage to flashy billboards, seems to have a sarcastic tone. Bombarded as we’re with this kind of promoting, tailored to us via highly effective algorithms and filled with clichés, what different choice do we have now however to consider it?
Commissioned and produced by Onassis Stegi and curated by Future All the pieces, Plásmata is the biggest outside digital artwork exhibition in Europe. The present picks up from final yr’s version, “You and AI: Via the Algorithmic Lens,” which explored how algorithms impression and reshape society and our notion of the world. On this event, the experimental exhibition seeks to discover the notion of the physique, whether or not particular person or collective, human or non-human, planetary, and its interplay with know-how.
Along with which means ‘creatures’ in Greek, ‘plasmata’ comes from the foundation ‘plasso’, which suggests to make or mould; as such, the 25 new large-scale works discover how we use information to create totally different sorts of creatures and identities. , to fabricate and re-manufacture variations of ourselves.
Among the many works that deal with the intervention of know-how in human our bodies and apparently sound an alarm in opposition to it, is ‘Happiness’ by Dutch theater director and visible artist Dries Verhoeven. On this set up, a humanoid robotic runs an deserted pharmacy and tells guests concerning the numerous medicines, antidepressants, and ache relievers that may alter and enhance their emotional actuality.
“It’s a signal of our occasions that, in our eager for happiness, we more and more place our hopes in synthetic dominance, in AI, medication and different substitutes for nature,” Verhoeven tells Euronews.
Different works, nonetheless, take a extra optimistic tone. At first look, ‘Divided’ by the Spanish artist SpY appears to speak about separation; an enormous pink and illuminated sphere, which evokes the earth, is split into two halves.
“By portraying a divided land, I attempt to counsel how variations might be understood not as a type of separation, however as a high quality, the standard of complementarity,” says SpY.
The art work, he explains, is a response to the best way “algorithms have taken over so many points of our lives.”
“The place there was focus, now we have now distraction, computerized reactions as a substitute of reflection,” he posits, “and, extra importantly, confrontation and isolation have taken the place of empathy.”
Guests can stroll via the light-filled hall between the hemispheres, changing into a part of the art work and experiencing what SpY describes as “a second to flee from this new actuality,” taking part in a uncommon second of togetherness. “The brand new digital actuality could also be widening the hole between all of us, however we’re nonetheless a part of one being,” he displays.
These themes are taken up by the Seoul-based collective Kimchi and Chips, whose gentle set up ‘One other Moon’ sees daylight collected by photo voltaic cells through the day and projected into the sky at evening to create a synthetic moon that hovers 70 m above the bottom. Seen as much as 1 km away, ‘One other Moon’ creates a degree of focus, connecting folks in bodily area, in distinction to the separation imposed by the coronavirus pandemic and digital options which have taken the place of bodily interplay. .
Together with the artworks, the digital video channel NOWNESS is internet hosting an algorithm-free brief movie screening within the park’s outdated amphitheater, disrupting the digital platform’s typical apply of providing personalised content material decided by an algorithm, bringing viewers again to a collective viewing expertise.
This collectivity is strengthened not solely by the truth that the present is free and open to all, but in addition by its particular location in a public park. Pedion tou Areos started as a military coaching floor and is now the biggest public park within the Greek capital.
“How can they resist assembly, being collectively, experiencing the magic of the group? That’s the reason we recognize Pedion tou Areos. As a result of there you understand what a metropolis means… And irrespective of how totally different our beginning factors are, there are frequent wants and needs that interconnect us”, says Afroditi Panagiotakou, Director of Tradition of the Onassis Basis, concerning the selection of Pedion tou Areos because the place of the exhibition.
The location of Plasmata in such a public area is meant not solely to create a way of connection, but in addition to deliver into the general public realm what Papadimitriou and Tsiavos describe as “pressing conversations” concerning the moral points surrounding AI, information and surveillance.
“These cases enable folks to ask necessary questions… Develop and prolong the bounds of public area and public discourse,” they clarify.
As you stroll out of the park, previous the intense blue Superflex signal, chances are you’ll be questioning, “Are we actually having the time of our lives?”