2020: Intelligence Debiased
One of the common human cognitive biases — the so-called assumption “short-cuts” taken by our brains in making sense of reality — is the habit to anthropomorphise the world: to attribute human-like traits, intentions and behaviour to animals, objects, less familiar biological phenomena and abstract concepts. Today, with the proliferation of AI agents in our daily life and popularisation of AI discourse in the media, the tendency to anthropomorphise “intelligence” becomes even more pronounced. It reveals itself in the aspirations of researchers in AI ethics to codify human values and integrate these in the software to create a “kind” and “friendly” AI — and these go hand in hand with the widespread memes of an “evil” supercomputer ultimately putting the humankind to an end. Problematically enough, as we speak of manufacturing “powerful” intelligence, not only we tend to compare it to the human: we would immediately think of specific, mathematician-like intelligence, capable of fast data processing and computation. It would be the kind of intelligence typically associated with the mind of Albert Einstein: not with the political and diplomatic talent of Otto von Bismarck, the alien prophetic thinking of a village fool depicted by Nietzsche, or the artistic vision of Mark Rothko.
To step back from the anthropomorphic bias would mean to accept that the very notion of “intelligence” refers to a vastly greater space of possibilities than does the term “homo sapiens”. Aiming to grasp the heterogeneity of this space, Dr Rob Wortham came up with a general definition of intelligence as “an ability to do the right thing at the right time”. This would imply that an intelligent agent may not have a brain or a central neural system, yet it is capable of sensing its environment, has some internal objective or plan for how it wants to change the world to its benefit and is capable of interacting with the world to achieve that change. A stone, for example, doesn’t comply with this definition: it just sits in the sun. But the plant does: it responds to its surrounding, moving its leaves towards the sun.
What are the possible examples of non-anthropomorphic intelligences? What can these be? What about the intelligences of hybrid systems, in which humans and the non-human agents of various scale act together and change one another? These questions are worth asking since the obtained answers will shape the future of our world. It is inevitable that we will discover new kinds of intelligence — and manufacture intelligences in all that we make, but it is not so obvious what their character will be: what will be included and excluded from the scope of intelligent beings. In his book, Kevin Kelly, the founder of WIRED magazine, suggested a thought experiment in imagining the possible minds. “A mind capable of imagining a greater mind, but incapable of making it. A mind capable of creating a greater mind, but not self-aware enough to imagine it. A mind capable of successfully making a greater mind, once. A mind capable of creating a greater mind that can create a yet greater mind, etc. A mind capable of immortality by migrating from platform to platform. A rapid, dynamic mind capable of changing the process and character of its cognition.” These are just a few examples from a long list.
In 2020 at Exposed, we would like to take Kelly’s experiments further: to begin with imagining the possible intelligent agents and systems that may include (yet are not dominated by) a human; to then enact and stage these scenarios in our project space — as exhibitions, workshops, role games, performances, speculative design sessions, and other tools for teasing the potential futures and their unintended consequences.
RESEARCH GROUP 2020 :
Ashley Middleton / Tiny Domingos / Liz Sales / Katarina Rankovic / Jo Perster & Amanda Rice / Anna Souter / Annabelle Craven-Johns / Becky Lyon / Georgia Perkins / Hannah Rowan / Josephina Nelimarkka / Kate Frances-Lingard & Rebecca Gill / Nina Davis
Vanessa Giorno / Tales Sabara
(b. 1985, USA) independent curator and visual artist, working in a range of media that includes photography, sculpture, and installation. Her projects are an expression of her ongoing research into the unconscious, its manifestation in human behavior, and how those behaviors produce, and alter, our physical and digital worlds. Her practice contemplates the notion of the self as a microcosm of the cosmos and the evolution of social connectivity in the age of rapid technological advancement. Middleton’s work uses philosophy, science, and empirical research to address the value of the body and its symbiotic relation to nature.
Her work has been exhibited at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg; Photoville, NYC; Rencontres d'Arles, Arles; and Pingyao International Photography Festival, Pingyao.She has recently been awarded the Tier I Exceptional Talent Visa and the ACE Emergency Relief Grant for artists. She has a nomadic practice and works between London and Berlin.
(b.1968, France) Berlin-based artist. His research focuses on the intersection of art/science/society. Special focus: data visualisation of geological, economic, biological processes and the notion of panta rhei ("everything flows"). His latest projects combine topics such as Big Data and Risk Monitoring and address the risk of natural disasters and financial collapses as a metaphor for a world in the throes of various convulsions. The research carried out highlights the ubiquity of the notion of flow and the need for reconnection to achieve resilience. Member of the "Debiasing Intelligence" task force which, like a new alliance - both heroic and sensitive - explores new paths to embrace the living and the mineral.
Founder of ROSALUX, the Berlin based art space. Holds a degree in Romance philology at Lisbon University. Studied Painting and Aesthetics Studies at SNBA, Universidade Nova and Faculdade de Belas Artes, Lisbon.
His work has been featured, among others, at the Bozar Center for Fine Arts (Brussels), KW Institute of contemporary art (Berlin), Calouste Gulbenkian arts center (Rio de Janeiro) and the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Artist in residence at the Joint Research Center of the European Commission, Ispra (Italy) in 2019. Scholar 2020 of Berlin's Senate Department for Culture and European Affairs.
Photo-based artist, art-writer, and educator. She was an editor at Conveyor Magazine and has frequently published writing in Foam Magazine. She has been a faculty member at the International Center of Photography, City University of New York and the University of Connecticut. As part of her personal art practice, she lived and worked in a functional camera obscura in Brooklyn, NY for one year. Sales currently lives and works in Philadelphia, PA.
"In 1960, my mother took her first job as the resident social worker/psychotherapist with a group of neurologists in Cincinnati, fostering a lifelong interest in the brain. Decades later, I grew up in a house full of neurology and neuropsychology books, informing my interests. She was recently diagnosed with vascular dementia, a brain condition that results in changes in reasoning, planning, judgment, and memory, and moved in with me.
Using the general definition of intelligence as "an ability to do the right thing at the right time," I am collaborating with her in exploring possibilities for expanding the notion of "intelligence." We are researching the artistic relationships to memory and active forgetting, and using family archives and histories to create discrete works of art. My questions include: What are the possible examples of memory's effects through time? Are there multiple pasts? How is memory embodied in materials and physical spaces?"
"My current practice-based project, Scripting for Agency, is a study in fictional characters and their relation to real persons, as a means of reflecting on the imminent question of machine (artificial) personhood (of which I argue fictional characters are a prototype). Through video performances and a novel, Anomaline, my art practice involves staging encounters between fictional beings and persons (like you and me) in such a way that their relative statuses as agents is brought into relief and challenged. In collaboration with the Intelligence Debiased research group, I am working on extending the inquiry into intelligence into the realm of ‘character intelligence’, and exploring the possibility that a mind can be scripted in the language of prose and code, as well as DNA."
"As a Yorkshire-born-London-based-Serbian-artist-that-grew-up-in-Norway (b.1994), shapeshifting through multiple, sometimes contradictory, identities was a natural reality for much of my life. This incapacity to belong anywhere troubled received notions of ‘authentic’ personhood, such that the question of “what counts as a person” forever became the scarlet thread of my Fine Art practice and studies: from my BA in Painting at Wimbledon College of Arts, through my MA at Central Saint Martins, to my current PhD research at Goldsmiths College - and I still don’t know how to ‘just be myself’. My art experiments have been shown variously at: Nottingham Contemporary, Tate Modern, Bermondsey Art Project Space, the Cockpit Theatre, Somerset House, Camden Peoples Theatre, Lewisham Arthouse, Refinery29, NOWNESS, Birmingham City University, Crypt Gallery; and I am also the recipient of the Golden Aesop Grand Prix in Contemporary Art at 24th Biennial of Humour and Satire (2019) and the Refinery29 Artist Vision Award (2017)."
Jo Perster & Amanda Rice
As part of the Intelligence Debiased research group, Jo Pester and Amanda Rice are working collaboratively. Together they have been thinking about how non-human agencies and the complexities of anthropomorphism might relate to flexible labour markets, in which a whole host of non-human actors are tangled up in. The timeline of progress is linear and singular, but what happens if we look around instead of ahead? We might start noticing other temporal patterns where multiple organisms enlist each other in their own projects and world building.
Jo Pester (b. 1992, Bristol) is a London based artist working with video, sound, installation and performance. Embodied listening, misinterpretations and failed communications, as well as ideas of intent and translated meaning across contexts, inhabit much of Jo’s current work. She has recently presented work at Raven Row Gallery (London): Ecofutures Festival (London); Casa da Dona Laura Gallery (Lisbon) and the BF Artist Film Festival IX in London and Lancaster. In 2018 she completed an MA in Fine Art Media from the Slade School of Fine Art. / jopester.com
Amanda Rice is a moving image and sculptural practitioner born in Ireland (b. 1985) based in London and is an MA graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art (2018) Upon graduating she was awarded the inaugural Edward Allington Memorial Prize, and was shortlisted for the lmacantar Studio Award. In 2019 she was awarded the Arts Council of Ireland Next Generation Award. She has exhibited as part of ‘Goingaway.tv’ at Arebyte Gallery, London as part of the Wrong Biennale, ‘Still the Barbarians’, Eva International Biennial, curated by Koyo Kouoh (Limerick, Ireland) ‘Carnage Visors’, Rua Red, (Dublin) Flux Factory (New York) and Eastlink Gallery (Shanghai). Upcoming shows include a solo presentation at M8 Space, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland (2020), ‘On Ancient Earth’ The Artist Expedition Society x Lumen London’ (2020) and ‘Home: Being and Belonging in Contemporary Ireland’ curated by Chris Clarke and Fiona Kearney, The Glucksman Gallery, University College Cork (2021). / www.amandarice.org
The speculative f(r)ictioning of the indeterminate matter of slime moulds, feels across multiple spaces and times. The viscous matter of slime moves in-between solid and liquid states, and is in superposition between in/animacy or life/death, where it can survive planetary scale extinction. Building on writers such as N. Katherine Hayles, Karen Barad, Steven Shaviro, Donna Haraway and speculative fiction writers such as Octavia Butler, my research looks to Physarum polycephalum, or the ‘many headed’ slime mould, as a way of thinking of more-than-human notions of intelligence, such as ‘tentacular thinking’, collective intelligence, and distributed cognition.
Georgia Perkins (b. 1996, UK) is a PhD researcher in the Visual Cultures department at Goldsmiths University. Her work critically examines touch beyond close proximity in relation to quantum entanglements, parallelism and symbiogenesis. Her research uses writers of New Materialism, Environmental Humanities and Post-posthumanism such as Karen Barad, Stacy Alaimo and Donna Haraway, to think of intimacy, kin-making, and transcorporeality across multispecies. Perkins has recently published an E-Flux reader on Dizziness, and will be speaking at the conferences Beyond Borders for the LSFRC research group in September, and the Indeterminate Futures/Futures of Indeterminacy at the University of Dundee in November 2020.
English-Jamaican artist and researcher based in London. She is currently drawing on different kinds of knowledge and methodologies to explore ‘animacy’. How is life, the lively, and life-like distinguished? How might our understandings (plural) of ‘animacy’ shape relations with our ecology? She uses objects and assemblies, digital imaging, fiction and participatory events to draw attention to the complex entanglements and interdependence between humans and the more than human world. She is curiously feeling for sensory methods and conceptual gestures to reawaken and rebuild more regenerative relationships with our ecology. She has an MA in Art and Science.
For “Intelligence Debiased”, Becky is probing the ‘intelligence’ dimension of her research into ‘animacy’. After all, it is the presence of a ‘mind’ that is so often used as a shorthand criterion for a ‘living’ thing. The gentlest of probing outside of Western post-enlightenment tradition unfurls a multiplicity of ‘possible minds’ (Slowman, 1984). We learn that ‘rational’, dualistic science and language has imposed arbitrary erasure and exclusive boundaries and hierarchies on ‘intelligence’. The question therefore might become less about ‘what is intelligence?’ to ‘what isn’t intelligent?’ Gathering, diagramming and synthesising ideas from Hylozoism, Pansycism, Karen Barad’s quantum field theory, feminist new materialism and the intention-powered beings within science fiction I have proposed a ‘Noo-Materialism’. This is a fictionalised ’speculative philosophy’ to imagine a reality where everything has an inherent intelligence distributed in different quantities and qualities. It is a device used to unburden us from inherited definitions and borders and build from the (noo-)atom up, out, in, around, down and through.
Twitter / Instagram: @elastic_fiction
Anna Souter is a writer, researcher and curator based in London. She is interested in the intersections between contemporary art and ecology. Her current research is focused on exploring the linguistic, representational, scientific and philosophical connections between the human brain and plants. Through her fiction-writing practice, she attempts to highlight the importance of vegetal lifeforms to our threatened ecosystems, and proposes that plants can offer models for renewed creative thought in an era of environmental breakdown.
Her essays and criticism have been featured by publications including The Architectural Review, Burlington Contemporary, The Brooklyn Rail, The Guardian, Hyperallergic and this is tomorrow. Her fiction has been commissioned by Grain Projects, Open Space Contemporary and Furtherfield Gallery. In 2020, she was appointed writer-in-residence by Corridor8 for the project Thinking Through Extinction, created in partnership with University of Leeds and Manchester Museum. Her curatorial projects include: 'Darlings of the Underground' at Subsidiary Projects (2019); 'Rewind/Rewild' at OmVed Gardens (2019); and lockdown postal project 'Vegetate' (2020).
(b. 1990, UK) Hannah Rowan is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher based in London, UK. Her practise is rooted in the connections between watery bodies, phases of matter and fluidity of technology. Her sculptural works explore material transmutations, multi temporalities and agency of matter that extends into installation, land-based performance, video and sound. Informed by writers such as Astrida Neimanis, Macarena Gomez Barris and Esther Leslie who think through scales and localities of bodies of water, weather, submerged perspectives and liquid interfaces. She has been developing research in remote environments such as the Atacama Desert and the High Arctic where she combines field recordings with submerged and embodied methods to explore ice as a planetary hard drive and ephemeral archive. In summer 2021 she will return to the Arctic to continue her field research on the Anatomy of Ice.
Studied MA Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London and BA (hons) Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, London. She has been awarded numerous international artist residencies and exhibited across North America and Europe, including Belo Campo (Lisbon); Assembly Point (London); White Crypt (London); Well Projects (Margate); Walter Phillips Gallery (Canada); Galerie Sebastien Bertrand (Geneva); Yours Mine and Ours Gallery (New York). She is the recipient of Arts Council England funding in 2017 and 2019. She is contributing writer to Earth Issue, Perpetual Inventory Vol 3 and UMBIGO. She is currently working towards her next research residency at Taipei Artist Village in partnership with Platform Asia and Arts Catalyst.
(b.1982) Josefina Nelimarkka is an interdisciplinary artist working in London and Helsinki. Her research-based practice explores the phenomena of the in/visible and its perception through performative processes, real-time environmental data and site-sensitive installations. She is interested in the politics of air in relation to the future scenarios of climate change. Art, science and technology are combined to bring into question the critical yet invisible interactions between atmosphere, ecosystem and society as sensorial experiences. Her current research focuses on the atmospheric condition: the uncertainties of air and the interactive possibilities of clouds – both real and virtual. Reading the hyperflux in the atmosphere as in/visible knowledge exposes connections between the physical, philosophical and poetic and translates into subtle materiality that has the potential to enhance our relationship with the environment.
She was the artist-in-residence at SPACE Art+Technology in London 2018- 19. She graduated from MA Painting at Royal College of Art and MFA at Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki. Her recent projects have been exhibited at SPACE, super/collider, Helsinki Art Museum, Jönköping City Library, Techfestival Copenhagen and The Finnish Institute in London among other galleries in Europe and Asia. Her collaboration with climate scientists from Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research has resulted in Kairos 2 AR climate app.
Kate Frances Lingard &
Kate Frances Lingard lives and works in Glasgow. At the moment, they are thinking about technology and the role of care in digital space. Working with digitally created images, objects, environments and playing around with programming, they hope to question systems that define how we act and live together. Recently, they have been working with friends and collaborators to discuss the possibilities and complexities of decentralised and distributed technologies.
Rebecca is based in Glasgow. Her research interests are currently centred around the distributive mechanisms of power in network politics and the means by which this structures social organisation in digital space. As a participant in the Intelligence De-biased Research Group, she has been writing and researching on value designation in digital spaces of knowledge production/ organisation, and the economic, social and political bases that influence the weight these values hold.
Annabelle Craven-Jones is an artist whose expanded practice explores how we perceive our relationship between the mind and body at the intersection of wellbeing, technology and art. Works currently draw attention to the speculative transforming post-human element between physical and digital interface. They aim to permeate while simultaneously reflect activities from our daily lives, presenting how mediated behaviours and altered perceptions are a part of a larger circle of somatic, cognitive, technological, and cultural conditions. Ongoing interests include alternative pedagogy and psychosocial experiments/models along with speculative and embodied modes. Outputs include: networked installations, livestreams, online servers, self-publishing, schematic inserts, transcripts, pedagogical projects/ workshops and more recently, larping.
She is currently undertaking a Phd at Royal College of Art London. For De-biased Intelligence, she is researching an anonymous Speculative User through unpacking how non-local therapeutic interactions follow an early example of Natural Language Processing and its subsequent app with forms of metamodelling in an attempt to destabilise a commodification of affective mood disorders.
(b. 1991, Canada) Concerned with how the moving body communicates meaning, Nina’s research observes where choreographic practices are used, distributed and in turn commodified. Her recent work examining the legal cases between dancers and Epic Games for the use of choreographic work in the game Fortnite has led to a research project with lawyer and dance anthropologist Jorge Poveda. Together they look into how new technologies like accessible motion capture and blockchain can protect traditional forms of knowledge, in particular dance. In addition to this work, she interprets the recent phenomenon of viral dance challenges in conjunction with synergology, the analysis of unconscious non-verbal body languages, as a way of deciphering the “hive-body”.
Previously a dancer-turned-fetish performer, Ninas work now situates itself within the Fine Arts; questioning choreography beyond its performative state. Using mainly moving image, Nina’s practice aims to further critical discussion around dance by observing how it interacts with language and where it begins to take on commodified or material forms. Her work has been exhibited at Robota - Center for Advanced Studies, Bratislava; Museum Tijdschrift Cultuurcentrum, Brugge; and Strangelove Time Based Media Festival, London. She has performed at Lilian Baylis Studios, London; The Ailey Citigroup Theatre, NYC; and The Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver. She was awarded a place on the CSM/ACME Associate Studio Programme after finishing her BA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins in 2015 and is currently studying on the MFA Fine Art programme at Goldsmiths.