A new three-level exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Photography considers artificial intelligence and our understanding of visual experience. “In Real Life” ponders the ethics of data collection and facial recognition technology, including the race and gender biases that pertain to our daily lives.
“In Real Life” includes artists Stephanie Dinkins, Trevor Paglen, Leo Selvaggio, Maija Tammi, José Orlando Villatoro, Xu Bing and Liam Young and their expertise in digital media.
The pieces reveal the fragile interactions that often occur between the still life and humans, yet in this case, it takes that relationship one step further between humans and technology.
“Conversations with Bina48” speaks to the social and aesthetic ramifications of the machine “seeing.” Dinkins communicates with a robotic prototype on topics of life ranging from the black experience to the artist’s own personal endeavors. The fourth wall is broken by the onlooker. The sophistication of artificial intelligence creates a glaze over the viewer, revealing that stigmas of AI like racial biases can possibly be overridden and result in intrinsic listening and interactions.
While “Conversations with Bina48” looks at the future of our interactions with AI, other elements of the show speak to the relationship with our mobile devices, which may leave the viewer questioning how much time they spend on their phones and how AI is changing mobile technology.
Villatoro integrates nature and cyberculture in “Codigo Humano” (2019). From coffee beans and seeds composed in abstraction, most people would be compelled to capture these intricate designs on their phones, but if you do you are in for a surprise. These large-scale natural resources come together to create QR codes that are linked to hacked security footage. Villatoro invites you to question these real-life moments, the moments that we capture and the moments that are being captured and the emotional states that accompany that.
While most of the works expose the blurred lines between AI and how it may affect our lives, others investigate how we have interacted with technology in the past and what these behaviors mean for the near future. For many this technology has affected our way of life unknowingly and will continue to have a driving impact on how we maneuver our lives in the near future, specifically pertaining to social and political aspects.
The meat of the exhibition isn’t the work around the spectator, but instead the actions we take while in space, the need to capture images on our devices, or how we move in and around each object. “In Real Life” is a dance with the current state of our existence up close and personal, where we are left questioning how we conceptualize our world and what that means about where the current state of humanity lies. (Caira Moreira-Brown)
“In Real Life,” Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 South Michigan, through March 29.