Ushering in the Era of “Beneficial Intelligence”

The notion that there will be a time when technological change will rapidly accelerate, transform, and then merge with human life — in other words, the Singularity — has been with us since at least the fifties. Concepts of non-human entities fashioned in a kind of human image, such as the Golem from Jewish literature, have been with us even longer. By the time the term “robot” entered common parlance, we had already collectively imagined a future full of machines taking on human characteristics and forms. …

I usually make a long, eclectic list of moments which made the year for me, but this year I want to focus on one thing, one thing which will seem trivial given all the other enormous life changes I’ve been through this year.

The one small thing is learning how to run.

I decided one day to get up and do it. With new demands on my time, the primitive act of putting one foot in front of the other in the early mornings seemed the most efficient way to keep active and strong.

I quickly learned that despite the…

Andrea and Olivia, Pigment Print on Paper, 2x 210x140cm
Courtesy the Artist, Kasseler Kunstverein and Carroll / Fletcher Gallery London

Curatorial text by Michelle Kasprzak

Exhibition: No Limit by UBERMORGEN

Kasseler Kunstverein
PV 2.9.2015 | Opening 3.9.2015
4.9. — 25.10.2015

What use are other people? In a contemporary culture featuring the arms race of social media likes and badges, the Quantified Self, smartphone streaming, and all manner of highly-performative humblebrags, what use is the other but just as a witness to our own magnificence and monstrosity? In their recent essay The Dads of Tech, Astra Taylor and Joanne McNeil slay the “crackpot utopianism” of Silicon Valley culture and observe that “social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, and Snapchat…

After years of anticipation, Belgian game studio Tale of Tales has released Bientôt l’été. ToT’s Michaël Samyn and Auriea Harvey are known for their ground-breaking net art and, more recently, for making games that take us far beyond our stereotypical expectations of the medium: the gory first-person shooter, the colourful puzzle, the Tolkienesque quest. Purveyors of what they call “notgames”, the interactive experiences that Tale of Tales creates are mostly devoid of goals or the distinct levelling-up that characterizes most conventional videogames. …

Jan Robert Leegte, Mountains and Dropshadows, 2013

I met Jan Robert Leegte for a coffee in May 2013, before seeing his new show Mountains, Drop Shadows, Source Code and Stuff at Gallery Joey Ramone in Rotterdam. “This is kind of backwards,” I admitted to him, but in retrospect I was glad I got to know the artist first and then his work (even if only to reverse the usual sequence of work then artist). Leegte explained that he had taken some time off from the art world (something we artists, curators, and critics all consider, threaten, and sometimes really do…

Image courtesy Morehshin Allahyari

While visiting the Banff Centre in August 2013, I had the opportunity to meet with Morehshin Allahyari, an Iranian artist currently based in Texas who was in Alberta to produce a series of sculptural objects that are forbidden in Iran. Titled Everything is Wrong, these works are first modeled on the computer and then mashed up together in specific combinations to form humourous juxtapositions. The objects that she chooses are often quotidian things that Canadians would find outrageous should the government try to ban them here: satellite dishes, dogs, dildos. The punishment one faces for owning…

New York-based curator Lindsay Howard assembled the digital art collection that was up for auction in July 2014 at Phillips in London. Paddles ON! is the second time the esteemed auction house has dedicated a sale to digital art. Howard also curated their first digital art auction in October 2013. She is the curatorial director of 319 Scholes and has presented exhibitions in New York City, Pittsburgh, and Eindhoven, the Netherlands. I interviewed her about auctioning digital art via e-mail.

Lindsay Howard in front of Evan Roth, Next, Next, Next, 2014

MK: How did the experience of the first auction…

Taste of Data at Afo Architekturforum Oberösterreich

Taste of Data by Vesela Mihaylova and Veronika Krenn uses food as a method of data visualization to examine a variety of statistics in order to rethink our relationship with information and the way it is represented. Their recipes include ketchup flavourings calculated according to the ethnic population densities in European cities and sausages blended to match the tabulated corruption levels in European governments. I interviewed the artists via email about their ongoing project.

MK: What work with data visualization did you do before this and what led you to pursue the cooking…

Marc Tuters & Jaanis Garancs, Cartographic Command Centre, 2003

Following US President Clinton’s removal of the US government’s intentional degradation of the GPS signal in 2000 and spurred by emerging technology, an explosion of media art related to location ensued. Twelve years ago, the term “locative media” was coined by Canadian media artists Marc Tuters and Karlis Kalnins in reference to this work. The excitement eventually tapered off and now, as broadcasting our location or mapping our neighbourhood has become trivial with commercial apps, the term is rarely used. …

Ilona Gaynor, Under Black Carpets

Ilona Gaynor constructs scenarios and narratives that often end up classified with the (still) popular speculative design movement. However, her work has a gritty, grim gravitational pull based in reality, which makes it stand out amid the sea of smart fridges. The London, UK-based artist and Founder/Director of research bureau The Department of No operates on the edges of art, film, design, and storytelling. …

Michelle Kasprzak

Culture pundit.

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