Rage Against the Algorithm
Display Gallery, Dittrichova 9, Prague
Hosted by the centre for Critical & Cultural Theory, philosophy faculty, Charles University, Display & Alienist magazine
Now this is a sort of tricky one to write because the collectives involved in putting this show together are quite secretive. Alt' AI and The Interior Ministry are highly enigmatic, visual and literary artists working to a higher purpose; one which can be in turns bamboozling, educative, revolutionary, antagonistic, peace loving and plain weird.
Take one peek into their published works and I have no doubt that you will be hugely entertained and inexorably drawn in. I am sure I will not be stepping on anyone's toes to name Louis Armand and Vit Bohal as two of the accomplished curators of the exhibition.
From the 8th to the 18th of November I was very proud to take part in this event which not only housed a gallery space of our physical art works but also put on a three day colloquium of artist talks.
For my part I had the unique opportunity to create a physical instillation piece (my first on show), two wall pieces, a sound instillation, a 22 minute video and a performance piece for the colloquium.
My creative faculties were stretched and I liked it. I gained massive inspiration as always from Jo Blin, co-member of our ZVLÁŠT Collective as I had the opportunity to work closely with her and learn from her installation work process. Admittedly my installation floor piece was not a patch on her four pieces but I was encouraged to dig deeper and really consider what can be achieved in the infinitely versatile world of assemblage and conceptual art.
The Mook Manifesto
The video and performance.
Here is your link to the video. Now imagine me introducing the film reading a quote from Jiddu Krishnamurti about not giving a fuck about authority and then having Jo yank the paper from my hands, screw it up, throw it on the floor, gag me, blindfold me, sit me in a chair in front of the screen and push play. I then sat that way for 22 minutes as 80 points of the manifesto were shared with the audience (a full house) via my video.
Our dream FB, Twitter post would not be questioned, but simply added to the world's greatest manifesto on how we all should live.
The Monkey's 1,367,993rd Attempt at Writing out the Complete Works of Shakespeare.
Using large printed pages on thick plastic and paper remnants from an experimental manuscript of mine I created a wall collage of random chapters which spilled into crumpled paper pages on the floor. Given an eternity, computer algorithms may one day appear to understand us. For a brief flicker of time.
Out of Context
An acrylic painting of a bookshelf containing my own personal top 100 books one might pass on to their children in order to have a solid grounding in the world, surrounded by pages chosen from a handful of these books and harvested for some short, useless, disconnected quotes found within.
Fake memes of famous quotes pasted over the wrong person's head are too easily swallowed, not to mention all the shared news items countered with completely irrelevant video footage from geographically muddled and out of date YouTube clips.
Floor installation piece.
An effigy of Trump's imaginary 400 Pound Hacker lays sprawled next to a single bed. In his hands he holds an iPhone with a renaissance nude image on the display. His other hand is holding his penis. He is trapped within an ornate picture frame.
On the bed are images frequently found on Facebook as well as advertising messages such as 'If You Like that You'll Like These' or wild algorithmic assertions such as 'You like Hip Hop.'
The hacker has 'Fuck Cookies' tattooed on his plastic bag face and the Cookie Monster is demolishing Oreos in an image painted on the bed.
Another painted/drawn image of FB thumbs used for 'likes' are hovering over thumb screws and spelling from the other side of the bed is a blanket covered in crumpled newspaper separating the statuette of a boy serenading a girl who is walking away. The death of news print.
Should we fear the algorithm which at best will remind us that the last online book purchase can be printed on a t-shirt if we so wish. Aren't most of us just lazy wankers with very few secrets to hide?
If You Like Him, You'll Like Me
Available on the bed were headphones playing this song in a loop. A personal, romantic angle to the algorithm issue. You can hear the song here along with a video shot using the bed as a story setting.
The colloquium took the subject matter much deeper, as did the eight or nine digital video projections in the gallery space. Virtual reality, artificial intelligence, cyber-nihilism, post-truth, conspiracies of the future and of course glitch ontology popped up in conversation as you would expect, but despite the heavy sounding thematically every aspect of this show was delivered in an entertaining manner. The speakers were lyrical, charming, poetic, convincing and clearly dedicated to their task of revealing the often overlooked aspects of living in a society in which we are slowly being manipulated into recognising ourselves only through others eyes, human and/or digital.
"First of all, can you reject all authority? If you can it means that you are no longer afraid. Then what happens? When you reject something false which you have been carrying about with you for generations, when you throw off a burden of any kind, what takes place? You have more energy, haven't you? You have more capacity, more drive, greater intensity and vitality. If you do not feel this, then you have not thrown off the burden, you have not discarded the dead weight of authority.
But when you have thrown it off and have this energy in which there is no fear at all - no fear of making a mistake, no fear of doing right or wrong - then is not that energy itself the mutation? We need a tremendous amount of energy and we dissipate it through fear but when there is this energy which comes from throwing off every form of fear, that energy itself produces the radical inward revolution. You do not have to do a thing about it.
So you are left with yourself...."
Jiddu Krishnamurti - Freedom from the Known
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