Discover the future of technology: artificial intelligence exhibition at the CCCB

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Discover the future of technology: artificial intelligence exhibition at the CCCB
Co(AI)xistence by Justine Emard, 2017. Video installation, 12'. Amb Mirai Moriyama & Alter (developed by Ishiguro lab, Osaka University and Ikegami Lab, Tokyo University) © Justine Emard / Adagp, Paris 2018.

BARCELONA.- Artificial Intelligence is coproduced by the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center-Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS), based on the original touring exhibition curated and organized by the Barbican Centre in London (2019). The exhibition at the CCCB is curated by Lluís Nacenta, a researcher at the overlap of music, art, technology and science, with the scientific advice of Jordi Torres, a researcher at the BSC.

In the current context of intense public discussion and collective dependence on AI, the exhibition offers us a clear and comprehensible approach to artificial intelligence and the debate about its development and implementation in the coming years.

Its main themes are the role of AI in everyday life, the huge opportunities it offers scientific and biomedical research, the role of supercomputing as a major driving force, the present legislative situation, the risks of misinformation posed by its widespread use, the racial and gender biases it can generate, and the role of AI in artistic and human creativity.

These themes are explored in a layout that includes key works, a timeline with the milestones in the development of this technology, the testimonies of experts, and more than 20 installations (five created especially for this version of the exhibition) that offer us the chance, among other things, to smell extinct flowers or put a voice to a musical composition created using Al. Taking part is a whole network of pioneering and upcoming artists such as Universal Everything, Robert del Naja (Massive Attack), Anna Rider, Memo Akten, Mario Klingemann, Justine Emard, Steve Goodman (Kode 9), Eduard Escoffet and Maria Arnal, as well as leading national and international research and innovation centres such as the BSC-NCS, the Music Technology Group at the UPF, the CVC and the MIT.

The exhibition expands into a series of activities that explore the challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence and contribute to debate, like Algorithmic Societies, a seminar that will bring together specialists in November to reflect on the ethical and social challenges raised by Al.

The exhibition additionally coincides with the arrival at the BSC of the MareNostrum 5, one of Europe's most powerful supercomputers that expands and speeds up the capacity to conduct research using artificial intelligence, making way for new scientific advances that heip to address global challenges such as climate change and to further precision medicine. The presentation of MareNostrum 5 is planned for this autumn.


A World of Data

Al sees the world as a data set. Without big data there is no AI. This makes it extraordinarily sensitive to the way data is collected and analysed. Digital devices (mobile phones, computers, sensors, etc.) play a major role in collecting the data on which Al depends, and we all contribute on a daily basis, often without realizing. The criteria and biases of the functioning of digital media and the way we use it are at the root of the criteria and biases manifested by Al. Furthermore, these immense data banks, impossible for the human brain to analyse but not Al systems, are a rich source of potential scientific discoveries and offer a new vision of the world. This first section presents an interactive installation, Future You, by the multimedia art and design collective Universal Everything, in which a large and ever-changing abstract figure reproduces the visitor's movements; RAY, the facial recognition interactive by artist Weidi Zhang; Al, Ain't I a Woman?, a work that criticizes the racial bias of artificial intelligence by artist and activist Joy Buolamwini, and the sound installation Eco i L'Oracle by Eduard Escoffet in collaboration with scientists at the BSC.

Machines That Think

Is Al really intelligent? We can at least say that it learns, because it modifies its functioning based on the experience acquired, and that it thinks, because it processes information and acts accordingly. This section explores the idea of machine thinking and how physical form can be given to artificial intelligence. From Babbage, Lovelace and Turing to the present day. we humans have designed machines to complement our brain that have now achieved a very high degree of self-sufficiency. Surprisingly, the invention of an artificial being that thinks offers us a new look at what it is to think and, specifically, what it is to perceive, order and understand. The section features a comprehensive interactive timeline that covers the entire history of Al; the iconic work Myriad (Tulips) by artist and researcher Anna Ridler and the interactive installation Circuit Training, with which artist Mario Klingemann explores how machines learn and interpret the world around them and we in turn learn the how best work within their limitations.

The Dream of Al

The human ambition to artificially create an intelligent, autonomous organism is not new. The emergence of Al picks up an age-old human desire: fascination and terror at creating or conjuring up a new, alien, intelligent being. This section describes some of the roots of Al we can decipher in Shinto, Judaism, alchemy and Gothic literature, among others, through the presentation of the numeral systems of different cultures, representations of the Golem, one of the best-known characters in Jewish mythology, and the combinatorial art of Ramon Lull.

Endless Transformation

This section looks at the fresh perspectives that Al offers to contemporary science and culture. It presents some of the latest scientific advances, views of a social and legal articulation of Al and some artistic productions made using this technology. We specifically examine the present-day situation and future perspectives of the impact of Al on cinema, literature and music. In this section we see how artist Robert del Naja (Massive Attack) has turned one of his most emblematic alburks, Mezzanine, into genetic material so that it lasts forever; we get to smell the fragrance of a plant that went extinct in Hawaii due to livestock farming, thanks to the project Resurrecting the Sublime, by artists Christina Agapakis, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and Sissel Tolaas in collaboration with the biotechnology company Ginkgo Bioworks; plus the selection of films made using Al presented at the +RAIN Film Fest, and the interactive installation Maria Choir by Maria Arnal, in collaboration with the BSC, which invites visitors to sing, some of the recorded material of which will be included on the Catalan composer's next disc.

Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB)
AI: Artificial Intelligence
October 18th, 2023 - March 17th, 2024
Curators: Lluis Nacenta and Jordi Torres

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