ALGORITHMIC CULTURE: BODY/LAND/DIASPORA

AI © Marvin Luvualu

A series of AI encounters & co-creations

Developed by the Goethe-Institut Toronto & Program Lead Jerrold McGrath

AI is profoundly shaping culture. Rather than fearing machines that surpass human intelligence, we might consider how human beings are being asked to act more like machines. How might a reconnection to the body, to landscape, and to experiences of diaspora suggest new possibilities? Intimacy with other people, a sense of stewardship of the world around us, and stories of migration and struggle require a state of being outside the machine so that we can better learn how to direct AI systems with a greater ethical commitment. Without this effort, algorithmic culture will nudge us closer to fitting the needs of a system that has not been designed for us but threatens to consummate us, leaving us little capacity to live and act as ethical agents.
 
Throughout 2021-22, at the Goethe-Institut Toronto, we are committing ourselves to engaging with multiple voices to determine new pathways in exploring ethical implications around AI innovation and disruption. 
 
We will launch our program on Algorithmic Cultures with networking and development workshops and the production of artist ‘zines as a local and idiosyncratic process that engages, educates, and organizes our friends, family, and community. Spring 2021 will also see the launch of “The Computer is Your Friend,” a podcast documenting a group of artists, data scientists, and ethicists navigating a darkly humorous game world ruled by an erratic tyrant where no one is quite sure of the rules.
 
We are looking forward to working with many groundbreaking international artists and partners to explore how the challenges of AI are tangled up with ideas of the physical intimacy, land stewardship, and migratory experiences. 
 
We believe the possibility of shaping AI that makes sense for life in Germany or in Canada and beyond, in Berlin or in Iqaluit, rests in reconnecting to lives, cultures, and environments, and proposing directions for AI that reflect the experiences of being human.
 
Artists, programs, and partners tba.
 
Jerrold McGrath (@jerroldmcgrath) is the program lead for Goethe-Institut Toronto’s two-year Algorithmic Culture series. Jerrold is a former program director at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Artscape Launchpad. He currently serves as managing director at UKAI Projects and founder at Ferment AI. Jerrold produces cross-sector collaborations around issues of broad social concern such as artificial intelligence, equity in response to COVID-19, hope and hopelessness, and the digital diaspora. His creative practice explores the ways we are organized by the world.  He is a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader, and an Ambassador for Berlin’s STATE Festival. Jerrold is currently writing his first book, In Praise of Disorder.