DISsCERN (Concept, 2016 )
How do we receive knowledge about the world that surrounds us?
The omnipresent answer right now is through simulations – from the biggest big bang simulating machine at CERN, to the Facebook emotion studies, the numerous predictions of climate change or artificial intelligence that tries to mirror human cognitive behavior.
We love models – these synthetic worlds, which apparently give us all the answers and that, even before things happen. Will Ray Kurzweil be right and all of this is driving us to a single point in time and space where technology is supplanting human beings.
I ask what is with art? What is with aspects like irrationality or chaos and nonlinearity. What is with this systems we don’t understand or that evade themselves from being modeled. Is this Kurzweilian singularity not only a too complex system going crazy?
By questioning computer simulation, the work explores the idea of a synthetic artwork as a whole – what are the implications of simulation as a medium and as a tool for the artist? Is the common practice in science, technology and even – following Manuel De Landa’s materialist approach – in Philosophy applicable for art?
And do we need a physical artwork at all in the age of ubiquitous mediated “Techno”-images – poor in quality but with hundreds of likes?
To explore these ideas the work uses the software Skip-Thought Vectors and will expand it textual by following the concept of a simulation called DIS- CERN developed by Risto Miikkulainen. It is a artificial neural networks which can learn natural languages and understands short stories. It also can simu- late “to not forget” unrellevant aspects of these stories. An aspect that can be related with some brain diseases like schizophrenia.
So for the work the software will be “feeded” with “A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia” by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari and is retelling facts from the book. As the software, through its simulation of an mental illness, is more and more mixing up facts to fiction it will create its own version of the book.
The simulated text will be read and expressed by an avatar of the artist Daniel Franke. This avatar is seen on a virtual stage, a typical pedestal used for artwork presentation in a gallery. The physical pedestal is surrounded by devices (ipad/iphone) that are capturing or recording the virtual performance. In this sense the virtual work becomes actual on the devices and the virtual artist as well becomes actual in the gallery through the simulation of different perspectives.
This is also the moment of the crack in the firmament as the simulation is producing its schizophrenic version of the text, retelling the content as its own, mixing up wrong parts. But it is also giving a task to the viewer if he can blow the cover of the virtual artist.
The avatar will be created by a technique called High-Fidelity Facial Performance Capture, which combines images of the face of Daniel Franke to a 3-dimensional photorealistic and animated model.
Real-Time High-Fidelity Facial Performance Capture: Chen Cao, Derek Bradley, Kun Zhou, Thabo Beeler