The second exhibition of the series 'Sculpting (virtual) Realities' features 'Ludological' (2016) by Stian Korntved Ruud &AE, a Norwegian artist collaboration. They are based in Berlin and Oslo. Aesthetically referencing deep-sea data infrastructures, 'Ludological' is a device in which algorithms compete with each other. The sculpture´s center is a tree trunk, mounted in an apparatus and distorted with each gain or loss of its host, ultimately and inevitably leading to its destruction. The changing, two-colored pixel pattern on the accompanying screen reminds us visually of the Asian board game 'Go'. Until recently, this complex game represented the main challenge for systems of artificial intelligence (AI). Just last year, 'AlphaGo', developed by 'Google DeepMind', became the first computer program to beat a professional human 'Go'-player on a full-sized 19x19cm board. In March 2016, it bet the South-Korean Lee Sedol, the best player in the world – a big media event and milestone for AI research techniques. While Narrow AI only focuses on one special task, Strong AI is defined in contrast to machines with consciousness, sentience and mind. Is the deck going to be re-shuffled? The long haunting human dream of creating a technical counterpart at eye level?
Our current industry 4.0., the fourth industrial revolution, is determined by cyber-physic systems, hyper-optimization, flexibility, efficiency and advanced strategies of communication between humans, machines and products, leading to a detachment of ecology and its actors. 'Ludological' deals with these issues in form of a sculptural, partly automatized, time-based object.
The artists themselves put it in the following comment: 'Habituate yourself to indifference, the actors will see other actors as matter to be repurposed at will, narrow AI don't embody empathy'.
Stian Korntved Ruud is a designer, artist and co-founder of the Norwegian craft, design and art studio Kneip. His work has been exhibited internationally, among others at the Biennale of International Design Saint-Etienne, Collective, New York and Passionwege, Vienna. In 2015, he was awarded the BKH Kunsthåndverkprisen for his project The Daily Spoon, and recently with Kneip the Talents à la Carte Award by Maison&Objet Paris.
&AE is a joint identity for an open set of collaborations initiated with artist, programmer and technologist Simen Musæus, who holds an MA in Fine Arts from the University of the Arts Berlin (class of Hito Steyerl and Olafur Eliasson). He exhibited in several international institutions, e.g. Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin and Vitamin Space, GuangZhou, and works on several long term research projects, such as Alius, that investigates language in light of a techno-sentient condition.
'Sculpting (virtual) Realities' is a series of several one-piece presentations that brings together emerging and established artists working in the above mentioned field. The contradiction between a visible absence and presence of virtual, digitalized objects is sometimes transferred back to a haptic, physical object created by the automatic process of a high tech printer out of digital data. Nevertheless, sculptural criteria such as plasticity and multi-perspectivity play a significant role for both parts. The exhibition questions how we adapt our modes of seeing in regard to this new development of image formation.
Today, hybrid forms of reality determine our daily life. Reality is no longer confined to the paradigm of truth, of being versus seeming, but it can also be related to our own physical space, natural or urban surroundings, to virtual worlds of our digital society. They co-exist and overlap in techniques like augmented or mixed reality and therefore open expanded ways of perception. The gaze of the viewer/user is absorbed, sometimes the whole body is involved in a corporeal experience. Unlike a classical sculpture, virtual objects are characterized exclusively by a visual presence – marks on the surface of a screen based on an algorithm, without sharing the same spatial conditions as its counterpart.
Images in the gallery: installation views of „Hybrid Modus. New positions in bio-, living- and digital sculpture“ in Bredelar, Sauerland / Germany, curated by Ursula Ströbele & Bas Hendrikx © Sander Van Wettum