I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that
!Mediengruppe Bitnik, Anne De Boer, Bora Akinciturk, Dominic Dispirito, Emma Stern, Harm van den Dorpel, Iain Ball, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Marie Munk, Olga Fedorova, Sarah Derat & Rachel McRae, Stephan Backes, Stine Deja, Yuri Pattison
arebyte Gallery, London
March 22 – April 5, 2018
isthisit? in collaboration with arebyte Gallery are pleased to present I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that, an exhibition curated by Bob Bicknell-Knight featuring 15 national and international artists concerning automated empathy, new age philosophy, digital death and the rise of artificial intelligence in contemporary society.
The exhibition also launched the fourth issue of the isthisit? book consisting of essays, interviews and artist features from 50 contributors discussing the complications and assumptions surrounding AI, the automation of work and the corporatization of an unknown future.
The book features contributions from !Mediengruppe Bitnik, Aaron Vergult, Addie Wagenknecht, Anne De Boer, A. P. Vague, Ben Richards, Bob Bicknell-Knight, Bora Akinciturk, Constant Dullaart, Dominic Dispirito, Eleanor Hill, Elvira Højberg, Émilie Brout & Maxime Marion, Emma Stern, Erica Scourti, Eva & Franco Mattes, Harm van den Dorpel, Iain Ball, Jack Thurland, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Jamie Jenkinson, Jillian Mayer, Joachim Coucke, Joey Holder, Jonny Tanna, Joshua Citarella, Julia Faber, Marie Munk, Mathew Zefeldt, Mathias Jansson, Mit Borrás, Nina Coulson, Olga Fedorova, Pakui Hardware, Penny Rafferty, Sarah Derat & Rachel McRae, Sid & Jim, Stephan Backes, Stine Deja, Thomas Grogan, Thomas Hämén, Trystan Williams, Wade Wallerstein and Yuri Pattison.
I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that, a statement of sorts almost ingrained into my mind from wielding an iPhone with the in-built Artificial Intelligence (AI) known as Siri for the past five years. This response, seemingly obtained by silently murmuring into your microphone, will soon become an announcement of the past, an anecdote that Millennials and early Generation Z’s will gleefully tell their screen obsessed children about through their hyper realistic virtual reality goggles, developed by Amazon and distributed via their nearest drone depot. Exaggerated encounters with early AI assistants will proliferate these virtual encounters, the augmented elderly telling of a time that saw Siri and Alexa unable to participate in any given social situation. Simultaneously the in-house AI will refill everyone’s digital glass, laugh politely at the gentle mockery of their ancestors and experience a thousand similar scenarios concurrently occurring across the globe.
A stereotypical scenario akin to this one is inevitable. The introduction of industry 4.0 has seen a revolution in autonomous production, the Internet of Things continues to evolve, intent on establishing smart homes throughout the western world and our lives continue to be shaped and quietly adjusted by unclear algorithms. Will the autonomous world of the future be a utopian paradise, where intelligent AIs and augmented beings work side by side, enabling the widespread adoption of a universal basic income, freeing the world from jobs deemed repetitive and tedious? Alternatively, will we as a race eventually become irrelevant, catering to our complicated human needs whilst mechanical robots rise up, conspiring to push us into a new age of mass unemployment?
isthisit? is a platform for contemporary art founded in 2016 by its current director, Bob Bicknell-Knight. Online, it operates as a gallery producing monthly exhibitions showcasing emerging to mid-career artists, hosting a roster of guest curators experimenting with the medium of the internet to interrogate a variety of concepts. The website also hosts monthly residencies, where artists are given a web page to create new work that exists on the internet as a piece of net art. Offline, it has held exhibitions nationally and internationally and is the publisher of isthisit?, a book series released on a triannual basis.
arebyte Gallery is a London-based art organisation which supports the development of contemporary artists working across emerging artforms. Through their gallery space and affordable studio complex, they create thriving environments for artists to expand on their practices, explore collaborative working and meet new audiences.