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Deep Feeling: AI and Emotions

Curator: Nohar Ben Asher 1.8.2019 - 28.12.2019

Pseudotime addresses the classification and cataloging of artworks by artificial intelligence, and the emotions accompanying the nonlinear temporal perception underlying the method. The work is based on an experimental Google search engine which catalogues works of art from prehistoric times to the present. Since its beginnings in the Renaissance, the discipline of "art history" has been typified by a linear perception of time.
Nivi Alroy's work subverts the historical-linear dimension of art history, introducing a diffuse model of disintegrating and reintegrating time. The model was inspired by algorithms developed in the service of biology, relying on a mapping of an alternative time of the cell division rate—a discipline with more gaps in knowledge than solid knowledge. The work presents sequences of artworks brought together by AI code and sorted by emotion. The new mode of classification dissolved the historical dimension, leaving visual sequences which are not sorted into categories of style, school, artist, or period, but rather, according to an algorithmic logic devoid of human intervention. As a sorting index in the search engine, emotion is defined via deep learning code, leaving a broad and controversial scope of interpretation regarding what emotion is and how we really understand art. The disintegration of the temporal perception and the question of emotion are among the manifestations of the "emotional turn" of this era, whose essence is the dissolution of the historicist ethos and establishment of a diffuse-subjective regime.
The disintegrating and reintegrating temporal dimension also conjures up associations with control: in the past—the power of the Catholic church; and at present—the mastery of the giant multinational corporations. The motif of expendable growth calls to mind memento mori in Christian paintings, whose threatening aspect served the church in controlling worshipers. Unlike the control of the church by rationing time, however, today's global corporations choose to anesthetize the sense of time with myriad visual stimuli, which make users stay connected, participating and sharing for as long as possible. The work thus oscillates between past and present, while exploring human emotions vis-à-vis apparatuses of domination. 

 


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Nivi Alroy, Pseudotime, 2019, Animation projection in a loop, drawing on paper, 3D printing, and search engines (X degrees of separation; Wordassosiations.net)