Conscious Exotica 2019
HD video diptych
running time: 15 minutes 42 seconds
Credits: Lidar Scan animation, Jason Stapleton, Lightfarm; Blender effects, Inga Tilda; underwater filming and field recordings, David Van Rensburg; some octopus footage, Ranu Mukherjee; audio textures, Justin Allart; Synth audio, Aragorn 23; feet and head, Chris Brehem.
This video work, although part of the solo exhibition Uncanny Valley, Difficult Kin by Maggie Roberts at Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth in 2019 (see press release), it is included here because it covers some of the themes that 0D is researching around how octopuses and AI (Artificial Intelligence) are both conscious non-human entities that radically challenge our ability to imagine other kinds of life. Some of the imagery is re mixed by both 0D artists in the If AI were Cephalopod installation later the same year.
Uncanny Valley is the term used in robotics to describe human responses of deep unease when interacting with the radical otherness of ‘lifelike’ robots. For this exhibition, its definition was extended to explore fictional relationships between human, animal and synthetic entities. Algorithmic intelligence, magic, plasticity, symbiotic hybrids and swamp demons all trigger an uncanny valley-like response. Difficult Kin refers to the potential for an animistic engagement with material, virtual and non-human life, to encourage perceptual shifts towards a more entangled, abstract and porous being. The term Conscious Exotica was coined by Murray Shanahan in his article Conscious Exotica, Aeon (2016). He asks whether, from algorithms to aliens, humans could ever understand minds that are radically unlike our own?
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