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within every single language, connotations and associations evolve and may change the meaning of a word, render it outdated or non-acceptable, as societies move forward.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)