Research Video, 3:47'
What are algorithms?
Do we understand them and do they understand us?
Can they speak democracy?
Human technology vs. algorithm semantic?
In 1751, Dennis Diderot used an Encyclopaedia, in the form of a book, with an alphabetical index to organise ‘all human knowledge.’ His attempt to categorise information in such a way came form a desire to democratise knowledge and make it accessible to other social classes, besides the elite. Today, Google is the main source that organises human knowledge. The Index, still exists today as a method to classify information, however, the medium and the language used to do so are very different.
Algorithms have become the new means in which information is categorised. The purpose of democratising information still remains. Information is accessible to a higher percent of society today, however, as Pierre Levy puts it, we interact with a massive media-library (post-encyclopedia); thanks to the interface, users are not required to comprehend the method in which information is categorised. But is it necessary to understand the method in order to fully achieve full democratisation of information? Would a deeper understanding of this computational process change the way we perceive information? And above all, does the method have to understand us?
If this algorithm can not understand certain terms like we do, should the responsibility be taken out of it? There seems to be a lack of semantics in the algorithmic process that denies it access to terms like ‘democracy’. However, we are still relying on this method to decide for issues as relevant as what political party should we vote for?. This proves that democracy goes beyond calculation tools, so why still rely on statistical and automated measurements to deal with it? We have to re-think how to include the algorithm into a democratic process and above all, we must be critical on how much of our decision making we want to give up. With Current Language we engage on a research-based project where Google's Cloud Vision API becomes the base ground to explore the above questions.
We interviewed Holger H. Hoos (Computer Scientists, Pierre Levy (Computer Science philosopher) and Nikos Voyiatzis (Media Artist), to discuss our findings.
In collaboration with Guillaume Roux
Photography by Natalia Jordanova
Museum Meermanno, 02.06.17—24.09.17
3D photograph, A1
An attempt to visually discuss the impermeability of graphic design as a discipline. In an HD reality, the life-span of an image is as brief as its momentum when posted online. In an urge to begin a feedback loop of reassurance, design becomes a slippery slope and the designer a momentary virtuoso.
"First of all, [the activity of virtuosos, of performing artists] is an activity which finds its fulfillment (that is, its own purpose) in itself, without objectifying itself into an end product, without settling into a ‘finished product,’
or into an object which would survive the performance. Secondly it is an activity which requires the presence of others, which exists only in the presence of an audience.”
—Paolo Virno, A Grammar of the Multitude, 2004
Inspired by Atelier Cyberspace (Susanne Ussing and Carsten Hoff) and executed with a Deep Learning algorithm, which was fed 60 articles related to the internet as cyberspace, this piece intends to recite an intuitive experience, where we might feel positioned, yet still have void to doubt.
As autonomous living entities we are inevitably confronted with tensions when encountering other entities. At a global level, certain entities define default parameters in which others, at a local level, have to adapt and reshape themselves to fit in.
The search for autonomy and spaces where self-government can be experienced at its purest is a constant in our daily quest. The internet, once was perceived as a new form of architecture in which we, as individuals could construct free spaces for existence. These spaces simulated physical environments. We wanted to recreate life. But different.
This process of imitation is in constant loop. We dream of spaces where things could be different. We create these spaces, based on the spaces we already know. But sometimes we fail.
Voice-over by Natalia Jordanova
Book, 180 pages
13cm x 15cm, edition of 1
This publication highlights the idea of intertextuality by gathering all quotes from 20 different research papers. The selected research papers dealt with the concept of “borders” from different perspectives—Anthropology, Law, Philosophy, Psychology. By detaching the quotes from their original context and shaping them in a new scenario, the impact of a text is emphasized.
Sim-Ci-Ty is a two-player card game representing the power struggle for monopoly of mobile phone networks in the Philippines. The game uses well-known “magic-cards” as a metaphor to emphasise the presence of many characters in the game in much the same way that dominant corporations morph their identity to give the illusion of market competition, while in fact they are all mutation identities of one mega power.
In collaboration with Lukas Engelhardt
Photography: Katarina Juričić
Adnan Oktar, a Islamic creationist, runs the T.V. channel A9 TV on Turkish television. A9 TV is a space he uses not only to promote his religious beliefs, but also to inform women on how they should behave. Elevated stage, surrounded by extravagant furniture, fish-tanks, teddy bears and his 'kittens', as he refers to the group of girls following his educational program.
Voice-over by Ioana Tomici
"We need to keep oil in the ground!
If we do, we have to change.
If we don’t, we self-destruct..."
—John Palmesino, Anthropocene Tipping Points , Sonic Acts, 2017
Book, 56 pages
24 cm x 12 cm, edition of 50
Drenthe Aan Zee is a documentary by photographer Jonathan Hielkema. We developed a publication as a continuation to the documentary. Drenthe is a province of the Netherlands, located on the northeast side. It's one of the only parts in the Netherlands above sea level. The documentary speculates with the idea of global warming, and situates the inhabitants of the area in a future scenario: what if Drenthe would have a beach?
The five main questions of the documentary are rhythmically translated into a publication consisting of original copy and Hielkema’s process photography. The book is printed on waterproof Stone Paper and was released in an edition of 50 together with the documentary in January 2017.
In collaboration with Lukas Engelhardt
28 cm x 20 cm
On democracy, feminism, Kurdish fighters and self-regulated autonomy.
9 cm, edition of 4
Borders don’t disappear, they are just moved from the inside to the outside. As mentioned by Zygmunt Bauman, ‘Globalization divides as much as it unites; it divides as it unites’. This division accentuates the existence of an elite, who is not overlooked when crossing borders, an elite that feels proud and safe for belonging to the other side. They are trusted. On the other side, rests the majority of the population, who have to pay the price for the elite’s luxury. A price which means sedentarism, facing torture-like artifacts as a ‘not welcome’ sign, when borders tried to be crossed.
When looking at uniforms, specially those used by nations to define their power structure, one thinks of unity too. A uniform as a symbol of fraternity and togetherness. Again, excluding the other. A social power, camouflaged by its interface and used to define and protect the nation-state’s border, in its literal sense.
No Identity Identification is a visual experiment that speculates on the idea of meaningless meaning, in a context of passports and their cultural connotations. The project stands between two opposite concepts—identity and no identity.
Exploring subversive surveillance through public space.
In collaboration with Ioana Tomici.
Plastic Dreams—Today’s Reality, Tomorrow’s Fiction.
An on going project that started off as an experimentation with plastic.
"The whole world can be plasticized, and even life itself"
— Roland Barthes, Mythologies
Newspaper, 23 pages
edition of 2000
Fine Arts Graduation newspaper of the
Willem de Kooning’s Academy 2015 class.
In collaboration with Lukas Engelhardt