Expanding our interest on the many and varied uses of technology for exploring a world embedded with the ubiquitous use of digital devices and networks, NeMe has invited James Bridle to curate an exhibition which focuses on visual production by non-human actors which, for many artists, have become vital collaborators.
By exploring how these relations disrupt assumptions of artistic control, the question of intentionality in the creation of visual outcomes is now open to further discussion. The role of non-human actors in the creative process establishes how objects exert agency in a similar manner to humans and in many cases introduce spontaneous and unexpected results which may be viewed as a legitimate form of aesthetic expression. Recalling Heidegger’s discussion of responsibility and indebtedness in techne as poiesis, 1 it perhaps follows that these current aesthetic dynamics can be understood as mechanisms of a system comprised of individuals intricately collaborating with machines, each with their respective complex self organising properties.
NeMe considers Through Machine Eyes, an innovatory and most relevant contribution to the contemporary cultural environment as it explores broader questions on the nature of technology. The proposed works for this exhibition take us out of our expected and systematic interactions with technology. Within this context, these artworks become a catalyst that encourages us to re-imagine both the positive and negative role and function technology has within our lives more broadly but also specifically within the sphere of aesthetics, cultural production and authorship.
The program of Through Machine Eyes consisted of open workshops, an exhibition, and a seminar with James Bridle, Bryony Dunne, and Eva Koch.
“I’m an eye. A mechanical eye. I, the machine, show you a world the way only I can see it. I free myself for today and forever from human immobility.”, 2 Dziga Vertov, writing in 1922, described the elation of the cinema camera capable of seeing in ways that had never been seen before. “Freed from the boundaries of time and space, I co-ordinate any and all points of the universe, wherever I want them to be. My way leads towards the creation of a fresh perception of the world. Thus I explain in a new way the world unknown to you.”
Throughout the Twentieth Century, the ability to see the world became ever more separate from human vision; in the Twenty-First, the ability to think and understand the world will follow. While they began by seeing the world, cameras are now starting to process and analyse what they see; to make decisions about the world they share with us. Computer processing generates whole new worlds in which nascent intelligences gambol and play. The vast memory banks and unsleeping awareness of contemporary computation allow for near-endless observation and infinite cogitation, changing our perceptions of time itself. Planetary-scale networks allow visions of one place to be instantly, and constantly, relayed elsewhere. The mechanical eye has become the machine eye, freed not merely from immobility, but from all other human limits.
But just as Vertov promised, these new eyes also give us access to the world we already know in new ways, and give artists the tools with which to recast our understanding of it. They might also, if we are open to them, offer us visions of unexpected insight, and startling beauty.
Timo Arnall, Eric Cazdyn, Bryony Dunne, Eva Koch, Deborah Stratman, Brent Watanabe, Alexia Achilleos & Egor Chemokhonenko, Yevgeniya Borissyuk, Marinos Houtris, Marios Isaakides, Sakari Laurila, Nina Sumarac.
- Martin Heidegger. The Question Concerning Technology, and Other Essays. New York & London: Garland Publishing inc, 1977.
- Dziga Vertov (as quoted in Johm Berger, Ways of Seeing. London: BBC and Penguin Books ltd, 1980)
Main Funder: Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture
NeMe Arts Centre, Limassol, Cyprus