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Untitled (Authentic)

Animatronic/ interactive sculptural work, 2018

Language is how we make sense of the world surrounding us, organising impressions into concepts and communicating them to others. Any use of a particular word, or a combination of words, creates distinctions, in human and computer languages alike. Visual recognition systems imitate this most basic human interaction with the environment, by finding corresponding captions for repeating visual impulses.

At the same time language is inscribed with ideological meaning and deeply interwoven with identity, as people are either defined or determine their own belonging in specific terminologies. Now there are many fine nuances within every single language, connotations and associations evolve and may change the meaning of a word, render it outdated or non-acceptable, as societies move forward. Recent concerns about bias in machine learning processes have pointed to unwanted outcomes, while an increasing number of predictions, recommendations and decisions, affecting our everyday lives are ceded to algorithmic processes.

Untitled (Authentic) consists of an industrial silicone human cast and a pre-trained deep AI model. The system integrates a computer vision system with the ability to automatically recognize the contents of images based on a set of algorithms, by learning to analyse and classify images from databases first classified by human users – pointing to a more evident reality, in which the human factor plays a key role to correct bias in databases, inherent in the language, which algorithms serve from and thus incorporate the prejudice of their creators.

The humanoid is a common trope in Sci-Fi, often having a gender assigned and associated with either subordination or emancipation. Here presented as both, a commodity product referencing the assembly line – a lookalike to which human criteria do not apply. Yet, as an „emancipated object“, retrained and equipped with a resistive language, this AI remains within a human logic and language of empowerment to break away from hegemonic power relations.

For the conception of “Untitled (Authentic)” David Rych collaborated with Martinus Suijkerbuijk, artist and concept engineer responsible for the development of the machine learning component.

Untitled (Authentic) was first exhibited at Galerie Widauer in 2018.
(Photo: Nikolaus Schletterer / Image rights: Galerie Widauer / David Rych)

 

David Rych *1975 in Innsbruck, lives and works in Berlin. In his works, Rych addresses constructions of identity and reality. His installations and films question modes of representation, while referring to political backgrounds, the artistic genre and its different variations, as well as the underlying conditions of artistic productions as such, which are also made a subject of discussion.
 
Rych studied at the University of Innsbruck (1993-95), at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (1995-2001) and at the Bezalel University in Jerusalem (1999-2000) and completed a postgraduate course at the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Marseille (2004-05). Art projects and films of David Rych have been internationally exhibited in museums, art biennials and media arts festivals, such as Manifesta and the Berlin Biennale. Since 2014 David Rych has been Professor at the Art Academy in Trondheim (KiT) of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway.
 
Martinus Suijkerbuijk graduated from the MFA program at the Trondheim Academy of Fine Arts in 2017. His work is best understood as an experimental practice that connects, translates and operates across the borders of different media, artistic genres and disciplines. It is defined by a critical attitude and is ultimately concerned with the relevance of the work of the artist and the role of art today. 
 
Over the years Suijkerbuijk has profited from the potential of alliances, both with other artists, but also with machines, that have manifested themselves in collaborative projects within a triangulation of art, philosophy, and technology. 
 
His background as an automation engineer forms the basis of his elaborate skillset, but it is through relentless dedication and exercises that he persists to expand his technological repository, both theoretical and practical, to create tangible projects that monitor the condition of the human in relation to technology with a special focus on the subject of ‘artificial intelligence’. 
 
Structurally his practice consists of intense working periods with a high production level alternated with a commitment to a rigid autodidactic program of the study of philosophy.