Digitale Demenz at Eigen + Art Lab

Addressing the topic of the power humans have given to the computer, Digitale Demenz (Artificial Intelligence) is an intriguing collection opening for Berlin Art Week and featuring a real variety of work. Artificial intelligence has always been a cause of interest, however in recent years with the release of films such as The Imitation Game and British television program Humans, it is clear that the notion is becoming popular yet again. With the support of CORE and the Oldenburger Computer Museum, curator Thibaut de Ruter brings together artists that delve into the interaction of humans and computer with a contemporary art output.

One piece that is particularly eye-catching is a wallpaper and four smaller scale prints by Suzanne Treister that are taken from her 2009-11 collection Hexen 2.0. In this collection, Treister examines the history of scientific research, development and breakthrough inventions of the computer. The wallpaper piece The Computer – From the ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM to QUANTUM TELEPATHOLOGY  fills almost the entire wall and is an illustrative visual representation of this exploration; an intricate monochrome diagram that records significant dates and moments in the history of the computer alongside portraits of their pioneers. The entire diagram stems from a centre illustration of the Analytical Engine 1834. On either side of the diagram, visitors are able to view prints of four of the artist’s tarot cards taken from the same collection. These detailed and colourful cards, Five of Chalices – H.P Lovecraft, XVII The Star -Quantum Computing – AI, Queen of Wands – Hannah Arendt and Seven of Wands – Alan Turing are similarly analytical and diagram-like that highlight parts of the history of the computer.

What is probably considered the centre piece of the exhibition is an old Apple II series computer and floppy disk drive. This computer is host to an original and rare chat software that was developed by Chris Marker in 1985 and reactivated by Agnés de Cayeux, Andrés Lozano and Annick Rivoire. Visitors are invited to sit down and chat with the chat robot on the computer, who in turn responds. Although in this day and age we are accustomed to conversing with our electronic devices, this piece of software is surprisingly advanced for its time!

Other participating artist include Erik Bünger, John Cale, Brendan Howell, Julien Prévieux and !Mediengruppe Bitnik who altogether encourage visitors to consider the development and future of artificial intelligence.

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