Artist Talk

AI as the Art of Memory

© Lena Ziyal

Sat, 13.11.2021 8:00 PM


Language: English
This event will take place on Zoom

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Speakers: M Eifler, artist, San Francisco; Moritz Riesewieck, director and author; Hans Block, director and author
Moderation: Luba Elliott, curator, producer and researcher

Can artificial intelligence replace memory? In their ongoing project Prosthetic Memory, M Eifler is developing a sort of memory prosthetic. The idea is that machine learning will function as a tool for remembering, because the artist’s long-term memory was damaged in childhood by a brain injury. However this form of technological self-expansion doesn’t just serve to create an alternative personal archive and consequently an emancipation from data processing purely for commercial interests. It also poses the question of who is actually remembering if images, text and voices of people are externalised and made available again through algorithms. Can individuals themselves survive through AI used as “immortality technology”? Do algorithmic interventions lead to new and possibly enhanced identities even while they are still alive? Who is responsible for the authorship of our digital legacy? And does technological progress ultimately lead to new forms of remembrance culture(s)? These questions were also addressed by authors Moritz Riesewieck and Hans Block in their book Die digitale Seele (The Digital Soul). Together with M Eifler they will speak about the potential of replicating a human using the data records they left behind – and about the right to be forgotten.

The artist talk language is English.

M Eifler a.k.a. Blinkpopshift is an artist who comes from a background of design research in the software industry. This characterises Eifler’s artistic output, which essentially consists of creating archives, prosthetics and simulations through an interaction between the material and digital worlds. The “raw materials” for these works of art are primarily formed by the endless flow of waste generated by capitalism, which in addition to physical rubbish also includes junk emails, used data records and free apps, and these get made into digital collages. Eifler has a pile of intersectional identities as a neurodivergent, non-binary, queer, Jewish person with a disability – which form recurrent points of reference for their artworks. For example the experimental work-in-progress entitled Prosthetic Memory involves an attempt to self-expand using AI. In this project the AI algorithms encounter traditional memory media such as diaries, raising questions about the viability of combining individuality with technology. Eifler’s artworks have so far been on show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and featured in the Seattle International Film Festival programme, as well as at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Her work Prosthetic Memory is part of the exhibition Machine Learning Human Dreams at the Hygiene-Museum Dresden.

Moritz Riesewieck is a theatre and film director, as well as a scriptwriter and non-fiction author. He is a founder member of the artist collective “Compagnie Laokoon”, a project that started up in 2012. In 2020 he published a book entitled Die digitale Seele – Unsterblich werden im Zeitalter Künstlicher Intelligenz (The Digital Soul – Immortality in the Age of Artificial Intelligence) together with Hans Block. This collaboration also gave rise to a documentary film, The Cleaners – im Schatten der Netzwelt (2018), which received the audience award at the Grimme Prize ceremony in 2019 and is available as a “Goethe on Demand” video stream from 1st – 21st November as part of AI_Cinema.

Hans Block is a theatre and film director, as well as a scriptwriter and non-fiction author. Since 2015 he has also been a member of the “Compagnie Laokoon” group. In addition to his cooperation with Moritz Riesewick his roles have also included director of the ‘BOX’ studio theatre at Schauspiel Frankfurt. He was awarded the main prize for his own audio play Don Don Don Quijote – Attackéee at the international festival of radio plays “Prix Marulic” in 2015.

Luba Elliott is a curator, producer and researcher specialising in artificial intelligence in the creative industries.  She is currently working to educate and engage the broader public about the latest developments in creative AI through talks, exhibitions and tech demonstrations at venues across the art, business and technology spectrum including The Photographers’ Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, ZKM Karlsruhe, Impakt Festival and The Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence.  Her recent projects include ART-AI Festival, the online gallery and NeurIPS Machine Learning for Creativity and Design Workshop. She is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the UCL Centre for Artificial Intelligence.