With the “electric” title Sparks and Frictions, the third edition of Re:humanism, the great collective exhibition that investigates the relationship between Artificial Intelligence and contemporary art, a relationship able to create new imaginations and new narratives, will open on May 24 in Rome, conceived in the context of sustainable and inclusive development, with a critical attitude towards the increasingly widespread technocratic fanaticism. Curated by Daniela Cotimbo, founder of the association Re:humanism, the exhibition will be open until June 18 in the evocative spaces of WEGIL, cultural hub of the Lazio Region managed by LAZIOcrea, as well as building symbol of the architectural rationalism of Luigi Moretti.
Dramaturgy created by artificial neural networks, bizarre sea creatures, virtual biomes, new ways of imagining space exploration and the possibility of falling in love with an artificial intelligence: it is the near future according to the gaze of twelve artists from India, from China, the United Kingdom, the United States, Slovenia and Spain, as well as a large group of Italian artists.
On display the finalists works of the third edition of the Re:humanism Art Prize, selected after a call for artist held in previous months and which invited artists to reflect not only on the profound impact generated by the advent of Artificial Intelligence and on the radical transformations that are expected on the horizon but also on the relationship between artistic creation, new media, technological devices and scientific themes that brings into play a series of important reflections on identity, relationships and possible futures.
In addition to these works there are the two projects of the Romaeuropa Digital Prize, which will be presented in the fall as part of the Romaeuropa Festival while among the novelties of this year the award of the Special Prize Salvatore Iaconesi, dedicated to the brilliant artist, Robotic engineer and activist recently passed away.
Many thematic points of this third edition: from the New Ecologies, which aim to rethink the logic of extractivism of data and environmental resources, to the New Narratives, a perspective that intends to re-read the history of scientific progress through the lens of decoloniality, recovering archaic knowledge and rituals that – in dialogue with innovation – can generate new mythologies; from the explorations of the relationship with the non-human of Playing with non-human to the bodily transformations in the biohacking practices of Hacking the Body; from Exploring Metaverse that collects visions, Fears and dreams linked to the new frontier of Virtual Reality at Machine Visions and Dreams, fascinating immersion in the machinic unconscious; up to Other explorations, mapping different views of the future that await us.
In these areas move therefore the works presented by the third edition of Re:humanism, starting from the first three classified: Zoophyte, visionary creation of the English Joey Holder inspired by cryptozoology, which outlines an environment populated by invented sea creatures, not discoveries or of which the official science knows little, to reflect on the border between reality and fantasy; the disturbing project entitled Monologue by Riccardo Giaccone that combines the ancient techniques of puppetry with artificial neural networks; and The Martian Word for World is Mother by North American artist Alice Bucknell, a work that aims to overturn the anthropocentric perspective that dominates the issues related to space exploration and the colonization of new planets.
Then there is the work that has been awarded the Emerging Prize, signed by the Chinese artist and designer Yue Huang: Artificial Life deconstructs the sci-fi imagination of a hyper-performing Artificial Intelligence putting us in front of the failures of a clumsy and fun AI.
On the front of “new ecology” both Echinoidea Future – Adriatic Sensing by the Slovenian artist Robertina Šebjanič and Ciò che resta by Piero Alfeo: the first investigates the current bio-conditionsgeological and morphological of the sea urchin shaped by the polluting action of man, while the second deals with the problem of the acoustic pollution of the oceans and the need to renegotiate the interspecies relationships.
The intersection between the natural world and technology is central in the work Mythmachine of the Indian Sahej Rahal, a virtual biome inhabited by post-human creatures designed to undermine the binary distinctions between mind and body, human and artificial, myth and memory; and to feed those “new narratives” that also invest the work of Ginevra Petrozzi entitled Bite Off More Than You Can Chew, where the facial analysis performed by the AI is put in dialogue with the ancient systems of somatic divination, in a swirling interweaving between archaic and contemporary, magical thought and technological thought.The transformations of social relations and identity are the territory in which both Farming, a work signed by the young Roman artist Federica di Pietrantonio that concerns the impact of gaming platforms on everyday life, among hikikomori, neet and gold farmer; both the work of Mara Oscar Cassiani who won the Special Prize Salvatore Iaconesi, or Ai Love, Ghosts and Uncanny Valleys <3. I Broke up with my Ai and will never download them again, original speculation about the possibility of falling in love with an AI, assuming the same deviations that mark toxic relationships, from ghosting to overpowering.
In the end, the two projects of the Digitalive Prize that will be presented in the autumn at the Romaeuropa Festival: Slowly Fading into Data by Albert Barqué-Duran – which thanks to the use of advanced technologies aims to create new spatial and temporal experiences – and Retraining Bodies by Luca Pagan, a lecture-performance that explores new possibilities of human-machine interaction through sound.
Twelve projects in total, therefore, selected by a jury composed of the organizers, experts in contemporary art and new digital technologies: Alfredo Adamo, CEO of Alan Advantage; Andrea Bellini, Director of the Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneva; Ilaria Bonacossa, Director of the National Museum of Digital Art, Carola Bonfili, finalist artist of the second edition of the Re:humanism Art Prize, Tiziana Catarci Director of the Department of Computer Engineering, Automation and Management (DIAG) of the University of Rome La Sapienza; Daniela Cotimbo founder and curator of the project Re:humanism; Mauro Martino, founder and director of the Visual Artificial Intelligence Lab at IBM Research; Laura Tripaldi, PhD student in Science and Nanotechnology of Materials at the University of Milan Bicocca and curator of the webzine Not of NERO editions. To the jury are added: the commission that has awarded the Special Prize Salvatore Iaconesi, consisting of the members of HER: She Loves Data, the artist’s research project, co-founded together with the companion Oriana Persico; and the commission that awarded the Digital Prize of Romaeuropa, composed of the organizers and Federica Patti, curator of the exhibition Digitalive.
(from the press release)
Re:humanism: Sparks and Frictions, curated by Daniela Cotimbo, WEGIL, Rome, 24.05 – 18.06.2023
images: (cover 1)Mara Oscar Cassiani, «Ai Love, Ghosts and Uncanny Valleys <3 . I broke up with my Ai and will never download them again», 2023 (2) Alice Bucknell, «The Martian Word for World is Mother», 2023 (3) Robertina Sebjanich, «Echinoidea future – Adriatic sensing», photo by Tanja Kanazir (4) Yue Huang, «Artificial life: One Leg at a Time», 2023 (5) Joey Holder, «Zoophyte», 2023 (6) Sahej Rahal, «Mythmachine», 2023 (7) Federica Di Pietrantonio, «Farming», 2023 (8) Albert Barqué-Duran, «Slowly Fading into Data», 2023