Electric Paint in an Artificial Intelligence Installation

If you’ve been to the Victoria & Albert Museum recently, you might have seen the Dataflags installation by artist, Fabio Lattanzi-Antinori. By exploring corporate systems and their fall from grace, Fabio examined the role data has in our contemporary society and highlighted its failure as a complete independent narrative.

Fabio continues his artistic journey into data, this time at MMCA Seoul, International Artist Residency Program, where he has built the Capital Standard; 3 sculptures, screen-print on Somerset paper, traditional water-based paint on the front and Electric Paint on the back.

He also used micro-controllers, 2 speakers, custom code, synthesised voices, data from official statistics about South Korea and data from Saju reading about South Korea.

Two of the sculptures have the Touch Boards controlling the interaction and have two-way triggers to play in polyphony. The other sculpture has a Raspberry Pi Zero connected to a Pi Cap.

The data is used to train an Artificial Intelligence model into providing mysterious visions of the future of South Korea.

The artwork is a comment on our trust and faith in data; it looks at the way data is commonly adopted, in order to understand reality and predict how this will develop in the near future.  This is a phenomenon called Data Religion by Noah Yuval Harari.

At its heart, it contains a database of official statistics as well as data gathered from Saju, a local ancient divination technique. The first is a database, spanning from education to agriculture, politics and economics commonly provided by national and international government bodies and it serves as the basic information for decision making, evaluations and assessments at different levels about the society at large. Saju is a discipline that can tell the past and the future of an individual, by knowing their date and hour of birth.

Using the 15th of August 1948, date of the official inception of the actual republic, Fabio asked the Saju Master Janet Shin, the same questions conventionally answered by the Korean official statistics: from the future of subsidized agriculture to that of startups, pensions, jobs and education.

This information was then incorporated with the most relevant official statistics reports and the two were used to train a simple Artificial Intelligence model.

Every time the audience interacts with the artworks, it predicts the future of Korea or makes a comment about the current status.

Initially created in English, it was then translated into Korean. The result, spoken through the voices of synthesised customer care assistants, is rather poetic.

Images & Video: Fabio Lattanzi-Antinori

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