Space has appealed to the imagination for ages, and inspired the work of many: from artists such as Kasimir Malevich and Walt Disney, to scientists and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. But as the exhibition Supre:organism at Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen – a collaboration between Waag and Kunstfort – shows, we need to develop new visions on our current space activities. How do our space travels change us as humans, and what role does technology play in our explorations?
One of the artists that is part of the exhibition is Antti Tenetz. Antti lives in Finland and is currently artist in residence at Waag, as part of planet B. He explores the relation between biology and technology in outer space. For his speculative work Perihelion/Rage/secret_lover, he explores biological materials such as bacteria through the use of technologies and makes visualisations in which biology and technology merge. As outer space presents us with a new context for our humanness, Antti’s work helps us to imagine what life might look like on other planets.
The upcoming ESA mission to Mars in 2020 will use new technologies to search for signs of life on the planet. The mission shows the important role that technologies have in our ability to discover other planets. Antti: “As we are reaching the limits of what humans can achieve in outer space, we might have to look at AI as our companions. Scientists already use a variety of AI and machine learning systems to explore outer space. How can AI help us to change the setting? And what would such a companionship look like?”
The exhibition also shows a critical perspective on our space explorations, that demonstrate our drift to expand and discover. As Antti explains: “We have to critically assess what we are projecting on space by grasping it through the human concepts that we now know. In a similar way, we should not humanize the technology that we use, we have to understand AI systems as they are.”
Supre:organism echoes the mission of planet B to offer scientists, artists and citizens a ‘greenfields’ to develop symbolic and material responses to the social and ecological challenges facing us. Antti: “Art offers a unique environment in which you can do speculative research and use creative approaches to study the role of a technology such as AI in society.”
The Supre:organism exhibition (14.09—06.10.2019) is made possible with the support of the Municipality Haarlemmermeer, the Mondriaan fund, the Creative Europe programme of the European Union and CLICK NL.