1. Upcoming Lecture: “The Data of Dada” – Dr. Callie Winters on Art and the Singularity
    March 8, 2013 by Walden3


    “The Cloud” by Jason Puccinelli, 2013

    It was after I went to the Annie Dorsen show at On the Boards a couple weeks ago. Easily a dozen people disliked it so much that they actually walked out of the performance, and scores of negative reviews lit up Facebook and café chatter around town. I realized how much more I looked forward to this month’s Denny School of Art Lecture Series “The Data of Dada: Art and the Singularity,” by artifical intelligence scholar and Vancouver BC artist/provacateuse Dr. Callie Winters. The OtB show that polarized so many in the community ( I loved it so much I was giddy afterwards) featured a back row panel of programmers who fed Hamlet through a series of exclusionary algorithms that reorganized the text into Stephen Hawking-esque verbalizations of non-sequitur phrases. The audience sat in their seats and watched visualizations of text on a large screen, accompanied by empty lighting cues and special effects. The entreaty was to submit our own patternings onto the randomness of an unintentional computerized chaos. Again, so many responded with a spectrum of reactions ranging from disinterest to disdain.
    These seeming “infringements” on art by technology sometimes make us uneasy, but they most certainly will be a part of the intellectual landscape behind art-making in decades to come.
    Meanwhile, over at UW, an entire program of study, DXArts, explores “the invention of new forms of digital and experimental arts.” (dxarts.washington.edu)
    Books by Michio Kaku and Ray Kurzweil speak of the coming “singularity” where human consciousness leaves our carbon matrix to merge with the physical domain of silicon. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTPAQIvJ_1M) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity)
    All of this finds us asking such questions about where and how computers can and will contribute to the making of art and the increasingly blurred lines between the muses that inhabit the creative human mind and the code that directs computerized decision-making.
    So then, we at Walden 3 ask you to bear witness as Dr. Winters entertains challenges to this tricky territory that artists defend as a uniquely human endeavor- what happens in the coming century when the very definition of “humanity” becomes a philosophical gray area? Will the audiences of tomorrow continue to walk out and pooh-pooh digital treatments of the creative process? Will robots paint? Can computers write novels?
    Of course not…right? Right? That’d be like saying that a man with artificial legs could compete as a sprinter in the Olympics. Freaky tomorrowland nonsense. Come down and add your ears, your opinions, and your biases to what promises to be a controversial evening that we implore you not to walk out on.