Text by CLOT Magazine
Artist Ani Liu is showing the installation A Search for Ghosts in the Meat Machine, a set of nine sculptures that examines personhood from anatomical, psychological, genetic, biochemical, behavioural, algorithmic, personal narrative and memory. In many ways, this installation is an emotional confrontation with being quantifiable. Liu explains.
A Search for Ghosts in the Meat Machine was originally commissioned for the Biological Art and Design Awards, with scientific guidance from Professor Mario Maas, Matthias Cabri, and Onno Baur from the Department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine of Amsterdam UMC. This new iteration has updates reflecting Liu’s experiences in 2020. With various electronics and screens submerged in a fluid, Liu finds that her current lived reality, often trapped as an algorithmic being with the longing for physical presence, is in strange conversation with the original piece.
While we shape our technologies, our technologies co-shape us, and this feedback loop is a very important one to examine. Recent technological innovations allow us to redesign ourselves profoundly— from networked prosthetics and artificial intelligence to the genetic code of life itself. Can our behaviours be reduced to algorithms? Can our bodies be upgraded with nonorganic integrations? Can sentience itself be manufactured in a lab? Liu continues.
Liu is also showing an installation of a level of a video game she has been developing titled Shapes and Ladders: Battles of Bias and Bureaucracy. It explores how racism and sexism can be systemically perpetuated in the workplace and introduces challenges and changes that might shift our reality. Some narratives in the game are taken from my own experiences, and it is my hope that the simulation can inspire change in real life.
The exhibition runs until January 31, 2021.