Angels, Bots, Cute AIs and Animism: A Conversation on AI Imaginaries

July 10 2024 | 18:00 BST | Borough Road Gallery, London

REGISTER HERE

The Critical Infrastructures and Image Politics group in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image is inviting you to a discussion of cyberfeminism and AI imaginaries, including a talk by Bogna Konior and followed by a conversation with Amy Ireland, Gabriela Méndez Cota and Alexandra (Sasha) Anikina. The event will take place on Wednesday, 10th July at the Borough Road Gallery, London South Bank University (entrance on Borough Road).

18.00 Welcome by Sasha Anikina and Geoff Cox

18.10-19.00 Angels in Latent Spaces: Notes on AI Erotics, Bogna Konior

This lecture engages with female Christian erotic mysticism, from the Middle Ages until modernity, as an early philosophy of artificial intelligence. Through a selection of original mystical writings and contemporary cyberculture theory, it explores how female stigmatics and mystics could be considered as thinkers of the internet to come, including the subjects of human-machine romance as well as artificial reproduction. Drawing on my own canon of cyberfeminist and mystical texts, as well as experiments with image and text generators, I propose a prophetic reading of these early theologies. The writings of these mystics model for us, I argue, a way of thinking about artificial intelligence and the destiny of our species, where inhuman eroticism is a gateway into a machine age, already prefigured by the popularity of AI partner apps like Replika, virtual reality sex in VrChat, the popularity of avatar erotic models, or remote sex technologies.

19.00-20.00 Angels, Bots, Cute AIs and Animism: A Conversation on Imaginaries – with Bogna Konior, Amy Ireland, Gabriela Méndez Cota and Alexandra (Sasha) Anikina. The conversation will be followed by drinks at the gallery.

Bogna Konior is an Assistant Professor of IMA (Interactive Media Arts) at NYU Shanghai. She is also a Research Fellow in the Antikythera Program on Speculative Computation at the Berggruen Institute, and a mentor in the Synthetic Intelligence program at Medialab-Matadero Madrid. Her work on digital culture, philosophy of new media, and posthumanism has been presented internationally, recently including the Cambridge Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, ZKM | Center for Art and Media, e-flux, and the Ljubljana Biennale. She is currently working on two projects concerned with long-term trajectories of technological development. Her current academic project is on Polish science fiction writer and philosopher, Stanislaw Lem, and his neglected contribution to the theory of biotechnological evolution of autonomous reason. She is also conducting a multimedia research project on female Catholic mysticism as an early form of cyberfeminism and a predictor of machine erotics, nonhuman personhood, and artificial reproduction. Together with Anna Greenspan and Benjamin Bratton, she is the editor of Machine Decision is not Final: China, and the History and Future of AI (Urbanomic, 2024).

Gabriela Méndez Cota is a researcher in the Department of Philosophy at Universidad Iberoamericana, Ciudad de México. Inspired by deconstruction, psychoanalysis and technoscience feminism, her work explores the subjective and ethical dimensions of technological/political controversies in specific contexts. Her books include Disrupting Maize: Food, Biotechnology and Nationalism in Contemporary Mexico (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). Among other places, her work has appeared in New FormationsMedia Theory, Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and the Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identities (2020). Since 2014, she has been co-editor of the open access journal of culture and theory, Culture Machine (culturemachine.net). Between 2019 and 2021 she led a practice-based educational initiative on critical/feminist/intersectional perspectives of open access, which included a collaboration with the COPIM project at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry University, and which resulted in a collective rewriting of The Chernobyl Herbarium (Open Humanities Press, 2015).

Amy Ireland is a writer and theorist best known for her work with the technomaterialist transfeminist collective, Laboria Cuboniks, whose Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation (Verso, 2018) has been translated into eighteen languages. With Maya B. Kronic she is the author of Cute Accelerationism (Urbanomic, 2024), and an anthology of her philosophical essays (Filosofía-Ficción: Inteligencia Artificial, technología oculta y el fin de la humanidad), was published by Holobionte in 2022. Amy’s work has appeared in various academic journals, poetry anthologies, art reviews, and exhibitions, including the Barbican Centre’s 2019 ‘AI: More than Human’, and the 2021 Athens Biennale. Amy currently works as an editor and translator for the UK contemporary art and philosophy publisher, Urbanomic.

Alexandra (Sasha) Anikina is a media theorist and artist whose work focuses on algorithmic and visual culture, affective infrastructures, imaginaries of technology, feminist STS and technological conditions of knowledge production, governance, labour and affect. Recently she has been focused on two bodies of work: one, feminist and decolonial imaginaries of AI and procedural animism; and the other concerned with post-socialist state necropolitics. She is Senior Lecturer in Media Practices at the department of Art and Media Technology in Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton and co-director of Critical Infrastructures and Image Politics research group and Programme Co-Lead for MA Global Media Management. https://linktr.ee/alxanikina

Geoff Cox is Professor of Art and Computational Culture, and co-director of the Center for the Study of the Networked Image (CSNI) at London South Bank University, as well as adjunct at Aarhus University. Hisesearch interests lie broadly across the fields of software studies, image politics, experimental publishing and AI literacy. https://www.centreforthestudyof.net/  

The event will be hybrid and recorded. It is organised by Dr Alexandra Anikina as the first in the series of AI conversations hosted by Critical Infrastructures and Image Politics research group (University of Southampton) and the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image (London South Bank University). The event is supported by Web Science Institute.

“The Chronicles of Xenosocialist AI”: Towards Feminist and Decolonial AI with Artistic Research and Creative Methods

“The Chronicles of Xenosocialist AI”: Towards Feminist and Decolonial AI with Artistic Research and Creative Methods

Thursday 23 May, Winchester School of Art, Lecture Theatre B & Online

Critical Infrastructures and Image Politics research group hosts a workshop and a half-day informal symposium dedicated to the use of artistic research, science fiction, future studies and other creative methods in researching cultural approaches to AI and decolonial and feminist AI imaginaries. 

11.00-13.00 – Workshop “Other Futures: Science Fiction Methods for Technopolitical Imagination”

This workshop is aimed at employing methods from science fiction writing, future studies and speculative design to engage in experimental ‘version-making’ and imaginaries of the future. It offers a series of collective exercises (that can be also retained as thinking tools) to engage with technopolitical visions of the future that go beyond binary options of utopia or dystopia, but rather towards complex and productive versions that can be tweaked, used in storytelling and theory-fiction or applied to alternative imaginaries of AI.

13.00-14.00 – Lunch

14.00-14.50 – Session 1, “The Chronicles of Xenosocialist AI” – Laura Trilla, Gustavo Collado, Mandus Ridefelt, Sasha Anikina, Nupur Doshi

“The Chronicles of Xenosocialist AI” is a collaborative world-building project aimed at imagining micropolitical narratives, visual cultures, non-state infrastructures and new relationalities of a potential xenosocialist AI (encountering the human-inhabited Earth) could be, drawing on science fiction methods and decolonial and feminist approaches. It was developed as a fictional radio station, prompt manifesto and mixed media installation in Medialab Matadero, Madrid.

15.00-16.00 – Session 2, Decolonial and Feminist AI Imaginaries: Francis Gene-Rowe, Mandus Ridefelt, Yadira Sanchez Benitez

Francis Gene-Rowe, Against Coercive Computation: Imagining Daoist AI

Mandus Ridefelt, Mutual Hearing Aid

Yadira Sanchez Benitez, Land based algorithmic ecologies

16.15-17.15 – Keynote by Maya Indira Ganesh “On the limits of knowing in AI times”

Dr Maya Indira Ganesh is a technology researcher and writer whose work investigates the social, cultural, and political implications of the ‘becoming-human’ of machines, and vice versa. Maya spent 15 years working at the intersection of gender justice, technology, and human rights with Indian and international NGOs.

Networking and drinks

***

This event is organised by Dr Alexandra Anikina and Critical Infrastructures and Image Politics group (Department of Art and Media Technology, Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton) and supported by Web Science Institute and Medialab Matadero, Madrid.

Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton combines expertise in web science, data science and artificial intelligence to study the relationship between society and the largest information system in history: the World Wide Web.

Medialab Matadero, formerly known as Medialab Prado, is a cultural space and citizen lab in Madrid (Spain). It was created by the Madrid City Council in 2000, growing since then into a leading center for citizen innovation. It follows a participatory approach, using collective intelligence methods (developed in living labs) and fast prototyping tools such as fab labs, to use and co-create digital commons.

Olga Goriunova: Biometrics, Data Abstractions and the Politics of Truth

April 30, 2024 | 13:30 GMT

Winchester School of Art

Guest talk by Professor Olga Goriunova, cultural theorist working with technological cultures, media philosophy and aesthetics.

Register here

Abstract

In this talk, I begin with the idea that in order to function, or be materially relevant, all abstractions need grounding. For the human subject, such grounding, I suggest, is performed via the body and the specific anchoring of the body in abstractions such as biometrics, mobile phone triangulation and a range of others. In such abstractions, the production of truth is performed in relation to the framework developed from the 18th century onwards, where the bearer of truth is nature, of which human body is part. However, with AI, “nature” as a concept loses much of its force and it is a newly constructed “matter”, which takes center stage. Therefore, using examples from ground truthing in AI to biometric technology, I ask, how are data and AI-based abstractions are grounded today and, relatedly, how is truth produced?

Olga Goriunova is Professor of Digital Culture in the department of Media Arts, Royal Holloway University of London. She was co-curator of Readme, international touring software art festivals, 2001-2005 and Runme.org software art repository (2003+), and curator of Fun and Software touring exhibition (2010-2011). This work has been conceptualized in her monograph Art Platforms and Cultural Production on the Internet (Routledge, 2012) and in the collections she edited and co-edited, including Readme. Software Art and Cultures (Aarhus University Press, 2004) and Fun and Software: Exploring Pleasure, Pain and Paradox in Computing (Bloomsbury, 2014). She is also a co-founder and co-editor of Computational Culture, a Journal of Software Studies. She is the co-author (with Matthew Fuller) of Bleak Joys. Aesthetics of Ecology and Impossibility (University of Minnesota Press, 2019) and the editor of the special issue “Digital Subjects” of the journal Subjectivity (2018). She wrote influential essays on glitch, new media idiocy, memes and lurkers before these were mobilised by alt-right, data surveillance and AI. Her new project Ideal Subjects (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming) focuses on machine learning, data and subject-construction.

The talk is part of CIIP Speaker Series organised in collaboration with MA Fine Art and MA GMM in the Department of Art and Media Technology, Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton.

Wesley Goatley: Artificial Intelligence Does Not Exist

November 07, 2023 | 14:00 GMT

Winchester School of Art

Critical artist and researcher Wesley Goatley’s work examines AI technologies and their relations to society, geopolitics, and the climate crisis. In this talk, he will expose some of the common myths of AI and their concerning impact on labor, communities, and the climate, and how critical art and design practice can respond to and challenge these conditions. Goatley’s work is included in AI: Who’s Looking After Me, currently at the Science Gallery, London.

https://www.wesleygoatley.com/

Amy Cutler: Species Piracy

October 24, 2023 | 14:00 GMT

Winchester School of Art

Artist Amy Cutler will discuss her current commission from the Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity for which she is working on the the world’s first analogue 16mm film created in collaboration with Artifical Intelligence. The resulting film, Species Piracywill premiere at Iklectik, London on Thursday 14 December 2023.

https://amycutler.net/about

Coming Soon

Project Lead: Someone

Collaborators: N/A

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Link 1

The Chronicles of Xenosocialist AI

January 24 – February 10, 2024

Medialab Matadero, Madrid

A collaborative world-building project led by Alexandra Anikina, aimed at imagining micropolitical narratives, visual cultures, non-state infrastructures and new relationalities of what a potential xenosocialist AI (encountering the human-inhabited Earth) could be, drawing on science fiction methods and decolonial and feminist approaches. The project is developed in the framework of LAB#03 Collaborative Prototyping Lab, Synthetic Minds. 

https://www.medialab-matadero.es/en/activities/collaborative-prototyping-lab-selected-projects-lab03

CIIP at CSNI

Wednesday 06 March 2024 | 15.00-17.00 GMT

Borough Road Gallery, London South Bank University.

A presentation of CIIP at Center for the Study of the Networked Image (LSBU). The seminar will include presentations by the two co-directors of CIIP, Dr Alexandra Anikina and Dr Stephen Cornford, both of whom work between artistic research and theoretical writing. Sasha’s recent work is focusing on affective infrastructures and techno-animist assemblages. Stephen’s research considers the relationship between photographic and planetary space, between the technical image and its collateral landscapes.

https://www.centreforthestudyof.net/?p=7353