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Editor’s Pick: KEYS: Artificial Intelligence

Text by CLOT Magazine

Photo credit: Francesco Perla

KEYS- Digital Art Community is a newly developed project, currently based at Trauma Bar und Kino in Berlin, with accessible events ranging on topics within the larger spectrum of digital arts. KEYS was established to emphasise the importance of engagement in cultural production, and how art – especially in regards to electronic music and digital art – is moved forward through development, critique and offering those ‘viewing’ a deeper insight. The idea is to incubate digital art’s potential in a setting very familiar to the community of Berlin. Jordan Davidson, the mind behind KEYS, tells CLOT Magazine over email.

After the Cambridge Analytica scandals, Deepfake technology is the new hype, and it is becoming so sophisticated that almost every internet user can create doctored videos manipulated with artificial intelligence which look real to the naked eye. ‘There is a real need to be critical at this time in everything. Transparency and relevance are hard to find in the current climate, even within what might be considered ‘entertainment’. It’s important to include socio-political strategies in everything, even entertainment.’ Davidson continues.

What we can expect from KEYS-Digital Art Community? We hope to do several collaborations with like-minded platforms in the next year at Trauma, focusing on straightforward topics such as Interfaces, or more abstract concepts such as Immersivity. We want to approach digital art with an open mind.

When asked why it is relevant to show art produced with or by AI – and what are the main relevant conversations that it sparks-Davidson shares that, in his opinion, AI and artistic work created via or in conjunction with, denotes a real shift in how we perceive our role in demarcating what is seen as ‘art’. Somehow entrusting something many people reserve as a delineation between real, living and animate, with ‘machine-like’, between human and computer…it’s interesting because we don’t have to imitate anymore, or suppose, we can actually entrust surprising and emotional works to derive from AI. We can learn from that which is not us – it’s a total shift in regards to our understanding of the world, creativity and points to the ultimate extension of the mind; that our inventions can invent anew. He follows, AI has made us understand that nothing biological is impervious to simulation and that technology can be seen as an extension of the biological world. Our sensory experiences, even our concept of gender everything is touched now by technological progress. We no longer exist in a world separate from the digital, so it would make sense that creativity, imagination, and thoughts are affected in the same way.

For this Friday, 7 June, KEYS has curated a program which invites the community to understand and interpret AI from a critical standpoint, investigating where this direction of technology can take us, with lectures by Jenna Sutela and Francesco D’Abbraccio and performances by Lexachast, Lorem, N1L, and Bill Kouligas. Davidson told CLOT Magazine that when considering what they what to bring to the audience attending the event, It’s important to note, like all productions, there are real constraints that ultimately hinder things. Our event occurs in the evening and is held in English, has an entrance fee, and our line-up is mostly male and unfortunately, all white. I make a point of this because we as a community and as space are very aware of these issues, but at times cannot cater to the representation standards we wish we could uphold for everything we do.

We encourage marginalised persons in Berlin to consider joining the event, as we feel it offers an alternative to more formal learning environments. Our format, at least for now, rests on having casual introductory lectures which provide the community with some clarification, some base understanding. The idea is to encourage learning and exchange, not to discourage questions, and to avoid hierarchical strategies when it comes to the arts and education. I think the live A/V performances will provide viewers with a strong impression of AI within multimedia performance and also contextualize the topic well.

Lexachast is the ongoing A/V collaborative work by Amnesia Scanner, Bill Kouligas and Harm van den Dorpel about the speakers and performers. To be released on PAN is a new document of Lexachast inspired by the experience derived from and exposure to algorithmic patterns as generated by visual artist Harm van den Dorpel’s specially-devised program.

The work is a sonic reference to the fallouts of avant-EDM and cyber-drone. Lorem is a music-driven multidisciplinary project working with neural networks and artificial intelligence systems to produce sounds, visuals and texts. And N1L is an A/V artist and producer/DJ whose work intersects sound and visuals in different contexts/forms will be presenting a premiered A/V performance based on his latest piece, Neural Uberization – an exploration into extremes of the attention economy in the era of late capitalism. On their side, Jenna Sutela is presenting the talk and screening Holons Within Holons Within. Sutela will introduce to the public some of her microbial collaborators from the “many-headed” slime mould to a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast to Bacillus subtilis nattō. Francesco D’Abbraccio’s work focused on politics of representation and transmedial culture, and through his work as creative director of Krisis Publishing investigates the impact of media culture on contemporary societies.

(Media courtesy of the artists)
On Key

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