©Mari Bastashevski, 2019

OPEN LOGIC ART MACHINES

2019-

 

Abstract

Open Logic Art Machines is an art-work prototype designed for collective play through which we can foster an evolving and mutually beneficial relationship between all genders, the new media algorithms and the cultural producer in place of a current system that reduces the value of all knowledge production to that of networked “content”.

 

In doing so, the project seeks to address the question: can we collectively suspend the normative compliance with current mode of computational thinking and develop a relationship of affinity which algorithmically structured technologies that can benefit feminist discourse by rejecting classist identity sorting.

 

Introduction

On February 6th, 2018, two interconnected events symbolised the speed and mobility of the digital narratives: Elon Musk sent a Tesla into Mars' orbital sphere, and a New York City taxi driver, made job-less by ride-sharing apps, committed suicide in front of City Hall.  Social media algorithms automatically concatenated the commentary on these events into a stack with no reference to the ironic interdependence between the two. 

 

From a traditional perspective of human intelligence this disregard for context can be attributed to an ethical flaw: the algorithm, designed most by white western men, with intention to generate profit, not critical awareness of cause and effect. However, from the perspective of an intelligent machine, the algorithm had effortlessly computed random variables into meaning following its own, now alien logic.

    

We can place this event in two separate media spheres: one an anthropocentric sphere  in which humans interact with each other prompted by an engaging algorithm in the middle. The other, the postman media, a network of machines that evolves and forms its own meaning from the inputs and outputs of the users and the existing data archive.

 

The first a sphere of noise production in which each voice, as is the case with example of February 6th, however critical, contributes to a referential mass that can make an event or figure domineer the media hierarchy—even if an author’s intention is precisely the opposite. In this space, the speed paired with the volume of media as a whole carries an embedded market value in its potential to distract. 

 

Fake news is not required; the truth distracts us from the truth.  The algorithms, which have in the course of bio-technological evolution become foundational to our mode of reasoning, provide everyone with an equal opportunity forum. Yet under current parameters they simultaneously ensure that each of our voices is silenced by the next and so does not have any distinctive individual value.

 

Designed with capital incentive in mind that’s powered by libidinal energy to like, swipe, click, and scroll, the machines are compressing and ‘hacking’ time in a highly advanced manner, push the production of information beyond the limits of our ability to produce and engage with all that is created. The resulting accelerated narrative, as if straight out of Ballard’s Chronopolis, is now well-beyond the limit of human capacity to engage it, leading up to a libidinal exhaustion.

 

Yet it’s precisely the most preferred and thriving environment for the sphere of the machines that evolves from a large or even entirely incomputable volume of inputs. While the human may be exhausted the algorithms are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and capable of producing their own modes of argumentation, embodiment of policy propositions, and cultural interpretations. Rather than merely serve as instruments or channels of communicability, the algorithmic designate new domains of sovereignty.

 

To critique such machines as wholly dysfunctional is erroneous as it limits the notion of intelligence to something that can only occur in relation with and to a human and not in and of itself. The contemporary critique of algorithmic production is a better indicator of an anxiety over a irreversible loss of an individual, curated human identity through a failure to keep up its maintenance.

 

Media and social science theories are addressing the exhaustion of the libidinal economy- comparing its media mechanisms to oil extraction - and are searching for a nostalgic space of refuge from the digital in which evaluation of what is still worth expressing can occur.  This discourse, however, is only made accessible to a reader when it’s fed back into the same over-coded circuits to better increase its reach and efficiency.

 

For my research I choose February 6th 2018 as a symbolic moment in recent media history around which I’ll design an art work and by extension a speculative media sphere which, using a form of collective play, will explore the ways in which incomputability, glitch and errors, suspended social constructs, paired with alternative time-modelling may be refashioned to train the algorithms to bypass and resist its initial factory settings in favor of a politics of care. 

Elements

 

The work serves as both; an object and a space open to performative collaboration. It contains:

 

-An archive of the entirety of the digital production per unit of time (a second) available for public access.

-An mechanism that will be able to identify and retract the key identifiers such as for example: gender, race, nationality, by which the cultural content is currently sorted in a manner that creates marketable stacks for the current media regime.

-A performative media lab in which each of the participants can propose an artwork for the algorithm by following or rejecting its prompts.

 

The theoretical component of this research will include the reflection on the experiment prior to proposing a theory for the cooperative relationship between artists and machines.