This talk focuses on the entanglements between human labor and machine “intelligence” in artistic performance. Indeed, as artificial intelligence in the guise of large-scale, data-driven neural networks rewrites the rules on what constitutes human language, thought, and action, this lecture will examine the bodily, mental, and affective work required to integrate neural networks into the profoundly anthropocentric domain of the performing arts so that these mathematical entities might also be seen to be expressive and “perform,” thus leveling the playing field between human beings and non-human machines. “Performing AI” not only generates new aesthetic problems but also larger questions around how such AI performances reimagine creative labor together with what conception of human beings and society models like neural networks enact. The talk will specifically examine recent projects in progress from the Immersive Arts Space at the Zurich University of the Arts which explore the potential and pitfalls of new conceptions of “intelligent” performance.
Chris Salter is a Professor of Immersive Arts and Director of the Immersive Arts Space at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). He is also Professor Emeritus, Design, and Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montreal; former Co-Director of the Hexagram network for research-creation in arts, cultures, and technology, and Co-Founder of the Milieux Institute at Concordia. He studied philosophy and economics and completed his Ph.D. in theatre studies with research in computer music at Stanford University. His artistic work has been seen all over the world at such venues as the Venice Architecture Biennale, Barbican Centre, Berliner Festspiele, Wiener Festwochen, ZKM, MUTEK, Campania Theater Festival, Kunstfest Weimar, Musée d’art Contemporain, Muffathalle, EXIT Festival, and Place des Arts-Montreal, among many others. He is the author of Entangled: Technology and the Transformation of Performance (2010), Alien Agency: Experimental Encounters with Art in the Making (2015), and Sensing Machines (2022), all from MIT Press.
metaLAB is partnering with the Mahindra Humanities Center to sponsor the Transmedia Arts Seminar, chaired by metaLAB Principal Researcher, Magda Romanska, and an Affiliate, Ramona Mosse. This talk is also co-sponsored by the OSUN Open Society University Network.