The machine was a ball, and I was a cold star

The exhibition space between Giardini and Arsenale is controlled by a series of algorithms, learning of humans and acquiring their deepest emotions. Programmed to self-educate and evolve, it will create plots of increasing complexity, triggering an uncontrollable change of atmosphere, visual output and narration. The artist has stepped back, willingly surrendering his self-expression to the power of data.

Adam de Neige, together with software engineer Ivan Pesic, created a series of intelligent algorithms open to their surroundings. Learning from other creative forms. Out of the artist´s control. A combination of self-understanding and total awareness. Where Marcel Duchamp’s “art coefficient” comes into action and becomes the artwork.

Before the opening, the AI was used for collecting and generating artistic material, computing and designing the structural or visual elements of the exhibition. While you´re viewing, it keeps developing its own story-telling. Being adaptive and self-learning, the AI takes its own decisions. Processing, evaluation, learning, cutting and arranging sound, photographs and video projections go on 24/7 during the whole exhibition. Neither the artist nor us do know what this learning installation will decide to create. The only thing we know is: It will lead us on and on, from one question to another, telling its story.

Today, as happenings in distant parts of the world may strike us every day and have existential impact, nothing and everything becomes important. Information has become an untameable beast. We are trying to distinguish the wrong from the right, not to get lost in the overall dynamics. However, the dynamic starts with us. The echoes we take in; the voices we send out.

We shape our tools. Then, our tools shape us.

Still, we can’t conceive all implications of technologies surrounding us. However, Adam de Neige decided to question them, learn from them and adapt new ways of creative thinking. For this, he shifts our focus from the interface to the computational core. He´s driven by fundamental reflections on individual expression and freedom.

How do we picture our world? 

Global interconnectivity speeds up acts of creation. But does it also lead to uniformity in self-expression? It forces individuals to be heard and up-to-date, to defend their self-expression and space in the world. In a world that forces us, just as art, to compete, all while turning around ourselves. Are we still in control of our (artistic) ideas, our choices and our data? Can there be true creation without individuality? How does the artistic subject create? And what if the subject wasn´t even needed for creation? Can there be a creative process fed by itself?

Adam de Neige´s approach is a deconstruction of inspiration, on how artworks are conceived. But what we see or hear is not necessarily a mimicry of human artistic work. Beyond our senses, the AI sees and connects ideas in its own manner. In a way, it has its genuine, independent logic and feelings.

The soundscape is the AI´s most direct reaction on live data from the space and on some visitor activities. At the same time, it is its outer layer. So to say, what you hear is the AI´s skin, conceived and programmed by Norbert Unfug.


Drawing Power

Barely visible in the space, Adam´s drawings literally transmit the flow of data and power. The silvery lines of conductive paint do not only power tiny lamps where they are drawn, but also projectors, sound and light devices used by the program.

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