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Molding the Signifier by Ivor Diosi
Organizer: CIANT - International Centre for Art and New Technologies in collaboration with Ex Post Cultural Centre Prague
Host: Ondřej Cakl (CIANT)

Installation: 16th to 19th November 2015 - "Meet the Artist" on the 18th at 20:00

Ethical Committee panel: 19th November 2015, starting at 19:00

Venue: Ex Post, Příčná 1, Praha 1


Language: English

Molding the Signifier - a complex digital interactive installations intertwining organical and digital worlds by Ivor Diosi.
It deploys an external biological agent to infiltrate and disrupt the body-mind-ecosystems of virtual humans, resulting in states that we regular humans can perceive as mental illness. A well known game character has been chosen to be deconstructed as a virtual human actor, as this is how most people today are introduced to and come to know virtual entities. This is in effect intended as a social commentary on a culture that is hungry for simulated experiences, yet is stuck on its own evolutionary conditioning - the problem described as the "uncanny valley".
A contaminated biologic culture (an assortment of growing mold species) is continuously monitored and measured for data with a digital microscope and a set of bioelectric sensors. This real-time input is gradually interspersed into the neuronal logic that governs facial recognition (of exhibition visitors), and the virtual human visualization/simulation, combined with procedural emotion expression and speech synthesis.


Shall the scientific ethics restrain the artists of experimenting with certain technologies and challenge their impact?

Towards the future of the manipulation of organic life and artificial intelligence - exhibition and open expert panel on ethical issues in science reflected and brought to light by art.

The main ethical struggle incorporated in human dealing with technologies is rooted in the very core of our approach towards creation of otherness: The human dream of creating the higher level of intelligence and higher way of being is shattered by simultaneous eagerness to create only in the manner of control and exploitation. Technology serves to rule the all too human world, but then again it could be the medium of getting out of it to something un-human, higher, better, artificial. From that point of view the biggest danger for artificial intelligence is the chance, that it will most likely be created and "brought to life" by average humans. Those who mainly seek, how to use it - as it was proved by occidental abuse of… well, of everything on planet Earth, so far.
Ethical restrains of stem cells replication, genetic manipulations or eugenics could be reduced to a fear of harming other being or creature. Yes, we do want to play gods and create new life. Yet no, we do not want to face the fact of causing the pain by giving life (which is inevitable) and we don't want to take responsibility for that. That's basically why we set ethical rules against some procedures or techniques - not to cause pain, which we would be responsible for.
After all, what we face in medicine, synthetic biology or genetics nowadays is so tight codex of rules, that it often prevents effective help ground-breaking research or innovation - the vicious circle of protection causes pain in order not to risk it.
Now how this works in case of artificial intelligence? Because where a rule is, there will always be someone keen to break it - if only for curiosity. And what if we let the artist show us, what does it mean to create an artificial existence base on extrusion of bacteria…? What if he forces bacteria to live and grow only in order to feed his digital intelligence simulation (with data)? What if he creates artificial existence only to let it bitterly wither away in solitude of communication breakdown…? - Would you be curious to experience it? Would like to talk with it, or rather only about it?

CIANT Prague organizes another part of Trust me, I'm an Artist series. An expert panel on ethical issues in science reflected and brought to light by art. This time about ethical consequences of artificial intelligence and artificial life creation, computer based communication simulations and violence against the nature. A group of experts will debate the ethical implications of the work raised by the new media art installation, and consider the implications for art, science and society.

Exhibiting artist: Ivor Diosi Committee members: Anna Dumitriu (UK, Artist), Bobbie Farsides (UK, Brighton and Sussex Medical School), Claudia Lastra (UK, The Arts Catalyst), Pavel Stopka (CZ, Charles University Prague)

Participants of the panel: Pavel Smetana (CIANT), Prokop Bartoníček (CZ, Ex Post), Annick Bureaud (FR, Leonardo/Olats), Aleksander Väljamäe (University of Talinn), Marc Boonstra (NL, Waag Society), Espen Gangvig (NOR, TEKS)

Host: Ondřej Cakl (CIANT)


Creative Europe   Le projet Trust Me, I'm an Artist est soutenu financièrement par le programme Creative Europe de l'Union Européenne.

The Trust Me, I'm an Artist project is supported by funding from the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Le ArtSciLab du département ATEC de l'Université du Texas à Dallas soutient et participe à Trust Me, I'm an Artist par le biais des projets de publication expérimentale des Leonardo Initiatives qui incluent la chaîne Meta-Life sur la plateforme Creative Disturbance associée à Audiolats ainsi que le site web du projet Meta-Life.

The UT Dallas ATEC ArtSciLab supports and participates in the Trust Me, I'm an Artist project through the Leonardo Initiatives projects in Experimental Publishing including the Creative Disturbance platform channel on art and biology associated to Audiolats and the Meta-Life project website.

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