“Anatomies of Intelligence” by Joana Chicau, Jonathan Chaim Reus


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Title:


    Anatomies of Intelligence

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Artist Statement:


    In the Anatomies of Intelligence performance we create an intricate and intimate experience that centers around a demonstration/dissection of a single unsupervised learning algorithm, “K-means”. Inspired by the anatomical theatre of the early-Enlightenment, the performance unfolds in a unique setting whereby the two artists sit around a circular table with their laptops, sending javascript commands to a server which relays those commands to a bespoke audio-visual performance “theatre” based in the web browser that is accessible to a global audience during the performance.

    Simultaneously, in-person the same distributed platform is used as the core audio-visual material to create an immersive experience for the audience on site where each step of the algorithm is slowed down, made visible, audible and felt.
    Amongst our focus points are those that relate to tacit knowledge and a reliance on the senses when accumulating knowledge about bodies and body-like structures. The concept of “aesthesis” has been especially useful in shaping our work; aesthesis is a somewhat obscure term occurring in eighteenth-century European medical and philosophical dictionaries describing “the faculty or power of sensation” (1) in scientific practice. Our concept of aesthesis shapes a methodology for this project that looks at the “sensory power” displayed by machine learning algorithms, their representations and sets of training data.

    Our research has been feeding a growing dataset and online repository (2) which gathers terminologies and techniques for a critical examination of the “anatomy” of learning and prediction processes and models of machine learning algorithms. The same platform is used to explore, through a performance practice combining live-coding, voice and meditative reflection, how such a collection and an artisanal algorithmic toolkit can confront the idealized bodies of artificial intelligence — its representational structures and sense-making processes.

    (1) Hendriksen, M.M.A., 2012, Doctoral Thesis, Leiden University.
    (2) Link: https://anatomiesofintelligence.github.io/catalogue.html

     


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