Artificial Incantations

James Bridle, Wesley Goatley, Ginevra Petrozzi, Suzanne Treister
Curator: Lieke Wouters
Assistant curator: Ángel Azamar Garcia
28.01.2023 - 26.03.2023

Alchemical rituals and disembodied voices, mystical networks and dark predictions about the future – in Artificial Incantations, artificial intelligence is viewed from the language and aesthetics of the occult, to make sense of the impact of these “smart” technologies, such as self-driving cars, self-learning algorithms and smart voice assistants named Siri or Alexa.

Occultism, bulging with magic and mysticism, seems to be diametrically opposed to artificial intelligence. As an exact science, the latter is mainly seen as neutral, with objective output and innovative working methods.

If we look closer though, we see that both involve a deep belief in technology, sometimes suggestive predictions about the future, and a distorted view of reality and what constitutes knowledge. Moreover, ownership of this knowledge seems to be vested in a small group of initiates. To what extent does the occult provide a critical reflection on the far-reaching belief in, and thus the interference of, artificial intelligence in our society?