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You and AI: Through the Algorithmic Lens

As AI starts to shape our everyday lives, who shapes AI?

You and AI: Through the Algorithmic Lens is a three-week festival exploring how algorithmic systems are constructed and defined, and how they impact society and our perception of the world. The festival includes an exhibition at Pedion tou Areos in Athens, as well as online experiences, conversations and participatory sessions on artificial intelligence, creativity and ethics.

The festival launches June 24th until July 25th, 2021 and features both physical and online exhibitions of artwork, online conferences, public screenings and more. 

 

Curated by FutureEverything Creative Director Irini Papadimitriou and commissioned by ONASSIS Foundation

Through the ages, society has envisioned machine-like versions of humans and dreamed of machines that could transform and “liberate” us. From ancient Greece, China and Byzantium to the Arab world, Renaissance and modern times, we have envisioned the possibility of artificial intelligence and automated devices to make society more efficient and productive. And since the advent of the Industrial Revolution we have been racing towards the realisation of a world increasingly defined by technological terms.

Today we use artificial intelligence and algorithmic systems in countless everyday activities without us realising; from navigation, online search engines, recommendations, texting, virtual assistants, “smart” devices, just to name a few. At the same time, AI and algorithms are also being deployed for applications that lead to controversial and also dangerous outcomes, such as facial recognition and profiling, predictive analytics for employment, crime monitoring and predictive policing.

In a society often characterised by inequality, racism and unfairness, algorithmic systems and machine decision making processes are used to monitor, profile and categorise the world creating a more predictable and controllable version of it. If AI and algorithmic systems are largely owned and controlled by a few, how can we reclaim this space creating infrastructures that are more transparent, fair, equitable and caring?

You and AI: Through the Algorithmic Lens brings together artists, researchers, and artworks to challenge perceptions and fantasy visions of autonomy and intelligence about AI, exploring how these systems are created, their impact, and possible ways in which we can reimagine and reshape them so they are more transparent, fair, equitable and caring.

From June 24th – July 25th, Athens Pedion Tou Areos will act as the backdrop for 25 artworks on Artificial Intelligence that take the form of digital screens and interactive works, as well as sculptures, posters and immersive installations. The Exhibition will also exist in digital form with online public film screenings, online conferences and academic forums, and an exhibition catalogue in digital format.

Unfolding through three thematic areas at the park, the exhibition investigates ideas around AI, civic space and participation, from how we perceive the world and are being seen through algorithms, to questioning the meaning of intelligence within AI. 

In a world dominated by algorithms and where AI is always watching – is everyone included? Or does the machine decide who should be seen and heard? The first section of the exhibition, AI, civic space, participation and democracy, presents works that show worlds through artificial, invisible systems and new digital bureaucracies. Worlds that are increasingly quantified and categorised by algorithmic systems, and where everything is redefined, accepted or excluded based on machine decision making systems and automation. Do we control the machine, or does the machine control us? Are we experiencing our surroundings differently through the eyes of the technologies that try to make sense of it?

AI is not neutral. So who holds the power? And how does bias in the machine shape our society? Artworks in the second section, Seeing and being seen through algorithms, are exploring how algorithmic systems can usually interpret what they see in limited or monocultural ways, just like humans often do. AI is not neutral. Could we learn with machines to better understand our cosmos? Can AI become more fair or diverse?  

Can AI help us understand other types of ‘non-human’ intelligence and build a better balance with nature? The final part of the exhibition, Artificial, intelligence and nature, raises questions around intelligence, creativity and our relationship with other species. In a contradictory way, AI as a consuming power of huge amounts of energy and environmental and human resources, it is often being deployed to understand or respond to environmental change. Can AI help us reimagine human and non-human relationships, “better” the planet, or recover lost species?

Participating artists

Memo Akten // Algorithmic Justice League // Hiba Ali // Bill Balaskas & Stop LAPD Spying Coalition // Tega Brain, Julian Oliver, Bengt Sjölén // Catherine D’Ignazio, Lauren F. Klein, Marcia Diaz Agudelo // Stephanie Dinkins // Jake Elwes // Entangled Others (Sofia Crespo & Feileacan McCormick) // Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg // Kyriaki Goni // Evi Kalogiropoulou // Katerina Kana // Egor Kraft // Ilan Manouach // Manolis Manousakis & Afroditi Panagiotakou // Naho Matsuda // Helena Nikonole // Anna Ridler // slow immediate (Gershon Dublon & Xin Liu) // Jenna Sutela // Nye Thompson // Mushon Zer-Aviv, Dan Stavy, Eran Weissenstern

To find out more about the exhibition of work on display and available online, as well as the online conferences, visit Onassis.org. A full downloadable artist and artwork guild can also be found below.

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