Matthew Greenburgh on Matthew Greenburgh’s install 31.10.16

My installation was of a 2 minute video entitled: “GOoggle & AI” (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ13zXltf-U).  It is centred around the ancient Sino-Japanese board game of Go, which encapsulates elements of Deleuze’s desiring machine concept.  Two players interact, each with a desire to win and to do so they must gain territory.  Productive connections are made between stones, lines of flight and flows develop throughout the game and seemingly secure territory can be de-territorialised.  In addition, Go is traditionally considered to be an artwork created by co-operation and opposition.

The desiring machine concept in a world of emerging Artificial Intelligence has a new potency.  In March 2016, a computer programme (DeepMind, owned by Google) first defeated the best human Go player.  This was a deeply significant AI development because Go involves immense complexity making it less dependent on calculation and more on intuition.  The ability of a computer to mimic intuition suggests that a much richer part of human mental activity (including art?) will soon be replicable/replaceable by algorithms.

The victory of AI in Go echoes the increasing dominance of the machine over art – Microsoft and Google are using AI to generate “art” and more insidiously Google chooses which art people see and learn about through its search algorithms.  This framing of art (of course Google Image searches place everything in a series of frames) is similar to the role of the art market in capturing/taming (territorialising?) the most radical of artists.

My video explores these themes both through direct use of related images and through the ongoing drumbeat of the Go stones gradually turning from their binary nature to a single bland white stone.  The sound mixes classical (ie pre-computer) music with an electronic beat – its perhaps overly portentous tone is also intended to generate some uncertainty as to how seriously the piece is intended to be taken: is irony one of the last defences against AI?  This final question is reinforced by the visual pun with which the work ends.

combined

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