Exhibitions

Artificial Incantations

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

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?

Extra info

James Bridle (1980, UK)

James Bridle is a writer, artist, and technologist thinker. Their creative and research practice explores digital technology’s impact on the physical offline world and society, critically addressing discussions such as modern network infrastructure, government transparency, and technological surveillance. In 2011, they coined the term “New Aesthetic,” used to refer to the blending of the virtual and the real in the contemporary landscape, spurring debate and creative work across multiple disciplines, and inspiring critical and artistic responses. Their artworks and installations incorporate software programming, social media, photography, architectural rendering, and maps, positioning their practice at the intersection of art, science, and political activism. Bridle's artworks and installations have been commissioned by galleries and institutions, and exhibited worldwide and on the internet. Their research and critical insights appear regularly on multiple media such as radio, newspapers, blogs, and published books.

 

Wesley Goatley (1982, UK)

Wesley Goatley is an artist and digital media theorist. Through installations, sound art, sculpture, and performances he examines the histories, politics, and aesthetics of digital networked technologies (such as data, machine learning, and voice recognition) and their opaque power dynamics and processes. His work is exhibited and performed internationally, including venues such as Eyebeam in New York, Berghain in Berlin, The Nam June Paik Art Center in Seoul, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Goatley received his Ph.D. from the Sussex Humanities Lab, University of Sussex, for his practice-based thesis which explored critical digital art in the context of the aesthetics and politics of data, and currently teaches sonic media theory and computational sonic arts practice at BA and MA levels. His writing has been featured in art magazines, academic journals, and news outlets.

 

Ginevra Petrozzi (1997, IT)

Ginevra Petrozzi is an interdisciplinary designer and artist. In between social collaborative practice, and speculative design, her work materialises in performances, videos, and installations, focusing on infiltrating systems of control and refashioning folk ancestral knowledge, to create new hybrid rituals for the contemporary era. Through critical research, writing, and creative production she aims to make space for other ideas and forms of intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom (both human, non-human, and digital). Currently, she is exploring the possibilities of mysticism and the occult within the landscape of contemporary techno-politics. In this framework, she took the role of a digital witch, reclaiming the archetypal role of the sorceress as a healer, and as a political rebel. Petrozzi completed her MA in Social Design from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2021, and has recently exhibited/collaborated with MU Hybrid Art House, Het Nieuwe Instituut, World Design Embassies, The Hmm, Design Academy Eindhoven, Mare Culturale Urbano.


 

Suzanne Treister (1958, UK)

Suzanne Treister is a pioneer in the digital, new media, and web-based art fields since the beginning of the 1990s, creating work about emerging technologies, fictional worlds, and international collaborative organisations. Employing various media, including video, the internet, interactive technologies, photography, drawing, and watercolour, Treister has evolved a large body of work that engages with unconventional bodies of research to reveal structures that bind power, identity, and knowledge. Often spanning several years, her projects comprise fantastic reinterpretations of given taxonomies and histories that examine the existence of covert, unseen forces at work in the world, whether corporate, military, or paranormal. An ongoing focus of her work is the relationship between new technologies, society, alternative belief systems, and the potential future of humanity. Her artworks have been exhibited around the world and are held in private and public collections including Tate Britain and Science Museum in London, Centre Pompidou (Paris), Muzeum Sztuki (Łódź, Poland) and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna.

Extra info

James Bridle (1980, UK)

James Bridle is a writer, artist, and technologist thinker. Their creative and research practice explores digital technology’s impact on the physical offline world and society, critically addressing discussions such as modern network infrastructure, government transparency, and technological surveillance. In 2011, they coined the term “New Aesthetic,” used to refer to the blending of the virtual and the real in the contemporary landscape, spurring debate and creative work across multiple disciplines, and inspiring critical and artistic responses. Their artworks and installations incorporate software programming, social media, photography, architectural rendering, and maps, positioning their practice at the intersection of art, science, and political activism. Bridle's artworks and installations have been commissioned by galleries and institutions, and exhibited worldwide and on the internet. Their research and critical insights appear regularly on multiple media such as radio, newspapers, blogs, and published books.

 

Wesley Goatley (1982, UK)

Wesley Goatley is an artist and digital media theorist. Through installations, sound art, sculpture, and performances he examines the histories, politics, and aesthetics of digital networked technologies (such as data, machine learning, and voice recognition) and their opaque power dynamics and processes. His work is exhibited and performed internationally, including venues such as Eyebeam in New York, Berghain in Berlin, The Nam June Paik Art Center in Seoul, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Goatley received his Ph.D. from the Sussex Humanities Lab, University of Sussex, for his practice-based thesis which explored critical digital art in the context of the aesthetics and politics of data, and currently teaches sonic media theory and computational sonic arts practice at BA and MA levels. His writing has been featured in art magazines, academic journals, and news outlets.

 

Ginevra Petrozzi (1997, IT)

Ginevra Petrozzi is an interdisciplinary designer and artist. In between social collaborative practice, and speculative design, her work materialises in performances, videos, and installations, focusing on infiltrating systems of control and refashioning folk ancestral knowledge, to create new hybrid rituals for the contemporary era. Through critical research, writing, and creative production she aims to make space for other ideas and forms of intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom (both human, non-human, and digital). Currently, she is exploring the possibilities of mysticism and the occult within the landscape of contemporary techno-politics. In this framework, she took the role of a digital witch, reclaiming the archetypal role of the sorceress as a healer, and as a political rebel. Petrozzi completed her MA in Social Design from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2021, and has recently exhibited/collaborated with MU Hybrid Art House, Het Nieuwe Instituut, World Design Embassies, The Hmm, Design Academy Eindhoven, Mare Culturale Urbano.


 

Suzanne Treister (1958, UK)

Suzanne Treister is a pioneer in the digital, new media, and web-based art fields since the beginning of the 1990s, creating work about emerging technologies, fictional worlds, and international collaborative organisations. Employing various media, including video, the internet, interactive technologies, photography, drawing, and watercolour, Treister has evolved a large body of work that engages with unconventional bodies of research to reveal structures that bind power, identity, and knowledge. Often spanning several years, her projects comprise fantastic reinterpretations of given taxonomies and histories that examine the existence of covert, unseen forces at work in the world, whether corporate, military, or paranormal. An ongoing focus of her work is the relationship between new technologies, society, alternative belief systems, and the potential future of humanity. Her artworks have been exhibited around the world and are held in private and public collections including Tate Britain and Science Museum in London, Centre Pompidou (Paris), Muzeum Sztuki (Łódź, Poland) and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna.