By Alasdair Milne
Written for the Serpentine Arts and Technology R&D platform, The Creative Ai Lab’s Frieze week’s Serpentine Twitch TV event with Maggie Roberts of 0rphan Drift.
Fragmented patterning and colouration warp and pixelate along a CGI tentacle: imagery produced using Blender by a specialist team of VFX and visual coding artists portrays the ‘chemotactile’ senses of an octopus. The visuals on display here are, however, only part of an expansive art-and-technology research project. Further, these visuals are not ultimately intended for a human audience. ISCRI, or Interspecies Communication Research Initiative, is demo-ing prototypes that will provide the initial attempts to engage the interest of an octopus interlocutor. Over the course of 2020–21, the artistic and technical team behind ISCRI has produced artwork for an octopus, whom they hope will in return help them create a deviant form of artificial intelligence (AI), by coordinating a new type of multisensory encounter.