Deep Feeling: AI and Emotions

Curator: Nohar Ben Asher

01/08/2019 - 28/12/2019

The exhibition explores emotions through the gradual symbiosis between man and artificial intelligence (AI), while relating to the "emotional turn" it effectuates. Digital technology has developed rapidly since the early 1990s, leading to far-reaching changes. These changes—such as a new perception of "self" in the transition from physical encounter to the virtual realms of the social networks, and a different perception of space due to the use of GPS technologies—have given rise to a discourse centered on the digital world's impact on man and society.
AI is a new, evolving technology, with independent learning capabilities, which were thus far reserved only to human intelligence. As the connecting chain between man and the computer, it introduces changes in the emotional sphere, discussed in new sociological and psychological studies. The works on view address this emotional turn, and were created especially for the exhibition. Some relate to the emotional turnabout that occurred in the transition from a solid objective ethos to the relativist vagueness characterizing a multiplicity of subjective truths. They are based on a deep learning (AI) code, showing how technology dictates a new emotional regime. Among other things, these works delve into "filter bubbles" used by the global Internet giants to limit users' scope of data, and consequently emotions; methods of art cataloging which undermine the linear temporal sequence; and voice translation applications which blur cultural characteristics while simultaneously creating a new culture.
Another cluster of works explores emotions in social and political contexts, introducing "emotional capitalism"—a situation in which economic relationships become emotional, while close, intimate relations are increasingly defined by economic and political models. These works refer to such themes as employment in the age of AI (employees doomed to be replaced by AI in the near future); artificial intelligence and warfare; control; and the fear of missing out (FOMO) as an artificial-biological pattern.
The participating artists all stand out in this field of art and innovation, and their works accentuate philosophical aspects made possible by digital practice. Some artists collaborated with programmers; others have specialized in computer science and have participated in numerous exhibitions. They use applications as an experimental medium to examine emotion in a period when AI often seems larger than man. In their artistic way, they propose a possible, not very distant future, which pushes one to both technophobic and technophoric emotions, making for a critical discussion of the coming future.