Simone C. Niquille lecture: Avatars @ Echo Lake

Simone C. Niquille lecture: Avatars @ Echo Lake

Merz Akademie, University of Applied Arts, Design and Media, Stuttgart

Chat-bots, developed by students of New Media professor Olia Lialina. Photo: Merz Akademie Stuttgart.
December 3, 2016
Simone C. Niquille lecture: Avatars @ Echo Lake

Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 7:30pm

Merz Akademie
Teckstraße 58
70190 Stuttgart

Imaging and capture technology has digitized our bodies at a resolution never attained before, and this tendency is only accelerating. Be it for the purpose of digitally ageing Brad Pitt on screen, or India’s citizen registry program accumulating to be the largest biometric database worldwide. As imaging technology progresses, what are the future uses of these collected and stored digitized bodies for narrative creation? Avatars @ Echo Lake is the first episode of the fact fiction project The Contents, following a cluster of digital & real characters on their quest through real-time engines, stories and bodies.

The talk with Simone C. Niquille (designer, researcher, author of FaceValue and Proxybody, Amsterdam) is part of the lecture series “How Deep is Your Dream” about Artificial Intelligence, curated by Olia Lialina, net art pioneer and professor in pathway New Media at Merz Akademie Stuttgart.

Artificial Intelligence proved to be a very unstable field, its 60 years’ history is a chain of periods filled with excitement and anticipation of the singularity, taking turns with times of total ignorance known as AI winters, when donors lose hope in replacing people by machines, when the general public is satiated with chat- and chess- and fridge-bots.

But this time* everything is different. The decade started with a lavish AI spring, flourished with Big Data and the Internet of Things, doped the world with an almost forgotten scent of smart homes and smart cities. This set the stage for something bigger, a new AI summer, a hot and deep summer of Neural Networks: NN based AI or ANN, also referred today as “real” and “strong” AI—manufactured systems are imitating a network of brain neurons, algorithms are rewriting themselves, computers learning from their mistakes, and showing off with the first successes in science, business, security… and art.

In July 2015 Google released their Deep Dream, a restless algorithm that learned to stare at an image until it sees the dog inside. The images it produces are ridiculous, scary and recognizable. Pattern recognition software made itself visible. It provoked developers and artists to exploit and explore neural networks, to dive deeper into its layers, looking for the source, uncovering and reverse engineering styles of epochs, art movements and particular names, coming back to the surface with visuals that would not be possible without an artificial brain. “How Deep is Your Dream” is an invitation to talk about machine learning, educating machines, and most importantly how to resist algorithmic authority; about the merging of AI and the arts, the role of media artists in teaching computers to become one as well.

*as every time

About Merz Akademie
Merz Akademie, a nationally accredited, non-profit University of Applied Art, Design and Media was founded in 1918. With a strong interest in the disciplines of the humanities, social and cultural studies, design, art, and technology, Merz Akademie positions itself between a classical art academy, a technical college, and a department of humanities. It aims to facilitate the professional and academic education of design-authors who are prepared not only to fulfil but to define the requirements of an ever changing professional field.


"How Deep is Your Dream" lecture series: Simone C. Niquille on Artificial Intelligence at Merz Akademie

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December 3, 2016

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