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Exhibition: ‘Algotaylorism’ at La Kunsthalle

Text by CLOT Magazine

Waking Agents, Lauren McCarthy (2019). Photo credit: STRP and Hanneke Wetzer

La Kunsthalle in Mulhouse’s centre for contemporary art is devoted to artistic creation and research. Every year La Kunsthalle takes on a visiting exhibition curator, and as well as a number of guest artists participating. This year’s visiting exhibition curator is Aude Launay, an independent writer and curator trained as a philosopher. Launay is presenting Algotaylorism, an exhibition that aims to illuminate on issues like the influence of the internet and advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and algorithms on contemporary art and society. 

While more and more capacities that we thought of as human-specific are applicable to machines, how can we rethink work that has long been considered part of human characteristics? What is work in the globalized digital age? Are some of the questions behind Algotaylorism, the new exhibition that opens on February 13 at La Kunsthalle.

Divided into five chapters —Unwitting Workers, Algotaylorism and Algorithmic Management, The artifices of artificial intelligence, and Is work a necessary evil?Algotaylorism brings together thirteen artists and collectives who all operate at the human-machine interface and have taken this interaction as a subject of research and as a production tool. As its title indicates, the exhibition, therefore, focuses on the question of algorithmic Taylorism. 

Some of the names are known for the CLOT audience, like Lauren McCarthy. In an interview we did about a year ago, Lidia Ratoi wrote Lauren McCarthy is a proper programmer. She is the creator of p5.js, an open source programming language for learning creative expression through code online and also Co-Director of the Processing Foundation, and Assistant Professor at UCLA Design Media Arts. However, her exact quality of being a performance artist makes her stand out the most.

McCarthy is presenting Waking Agents, the third piece in a trilogy dedicated to our personal relationship with artificial intelligences. In the age of smart everything, we are sold technology for every aspect of our lives, promising to deliver us to utilitarian utopia. Even the personal space of sleep is invaded by smart pillows, technology-augmented pillows that play music, track sleep, and wake you up. In this installation, visitors are invited to lay down and nap with a smart pillow attended to by its embedded intelligence. The intelligence serves as guide, companion, and caretaker while the user drifts between awareness and unconsciousness. She told us during the interview when talking about her most recent body of work. 

Other names include Julien Prévieux, RYBN.ORG, Jonas Lund, Eva & Franco Mattes, Sam Lavigne, and Emanuele Braga. 

Algotaylorism opens from February 13 to April 26, 2020. 

(Media courtesy of the artist)
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