Chapter 1: The Discovery

12 November - 29 November 2009
Chapter 1: The Discovery
A science fiction story

Chapter I invites us to to discover an unidentified artificial entity emitting a code of light and sound. Its smooth surface perfectly reflects its surrounding environment: is this a sign of integration or a polite refusal to absorb anything from our world? Its shape is a pure platonic solid, a dodecahedron, a geometry often associated with philosophical theories, esoterism and sci-fi culture.

After visioning a series of videos staging the discovery of this alien object in several places, we end up in an encounter with a physical interactive object which co-opts information flows, sound and light transmission. The dodecahedron seems to respond to our presence. Is this artificial entity trying to initiate a dialog with us? What does mean the code of light and sound it generates? As we get closer and move, the machine produces more complex light and sound sequences. Is it the discourse of some intelligence coming from elsewhere? How autonomous is it? Is it alive? How will it react when we surround it? Does it exist?

The behaviour of this strange object seems to be produced by some kind of artificial intelligence. With the videos series previously viewed, it questions the viewer’s perception about the truthfulness of the representation. The work also addresses feelings like the irrational fear of ‘the other’, of the foreigner or the barbarian, themes that are often relevant in sci-fi literature and cinema.

Chapter 1 - The discovery plays with a variety of formal expressive modes, from audiovisual, sculptural, informational to narrative ones. Rather than answering essential philosophical questions - such as, How can technological advances be controlled? On what ethical bases can its purposes be chosen? Who is entitled to decide on the ultimate mission of machines? Can machines destroy us? - the installation, on the contrary, is about reformulating those modern philosophical questions through the use of images associated with the popular culture of science fiction and the techno-utopias and myths around artificial intelligence.

Chapter I: The Discovery has been previously shown at LABoral (Gijon, Spain), was nominated for the Transmediale 2010 (Berlin), the New Media Award of the Liedts-Meesen Foundation 2010, and received an honoray mention at Ars Electronica Festival 2010.

 

Chapter 1 - The discovery received a production grant from the French Speaking Community of Belgium (digital art commission) and was produced with support from LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial and from iMAL through an artist residency.

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