#rp19 speaker Joanna Zylinska on art and artificial intelligence

Joanna Zylinska is a writer, lecturer, artist and curator, working on digital culture, artificial intelligence, photography and the planetary ecological crisis. Professor of New Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London, she is the author of seven books – including The End of Man: A Feminist Counterapocalypse (University of Minnesota Press, 2018, open access version available), Nonhuman Photography (MIT Press, 2017) and Minimal Ethics for the Anthropocene (Open Humanities Press, 2014, open access version available). She is also a translator of Stanislaw Lem’s philosophical treatise, Summa Technologiae (Minnesota UP, 2013). In 2013 Joanna was Artistic Director of Transitio_MX05 ‘Biomediations’, the biggest Latin American new media festival, which took place in Mexico City. Her own art practice involves experimenting with different kinds of photomedia. She is currently working on a new project on hydromedia as well as exploring the relationship between extinction and technical obsolescence in relation to the recent developments in AI.

tl;dr: 3 questions to ... Joanna Zylinska.

What are you currently working on that will be part of your talk at re:publica?
I am currently exploring conceptual and creative edges of artificial intelligence. Cutting through the smoke and mirrors that currently envelop the narratives of computation and AI, I am trying to raise broader questions about the conditions of art-making, creativity and labour, today and in the future.

The title of my polemical talk will be, ‘AI Art: Machine Visions and Warped Dreams’.

This year's motto is 'tl;dr' (too long, didn't read). Is there a topic you care about that particularly suffers from oversimplification and abbreviation?
I am deeply intrigued by the technical and cultural possibilities of artificial intelligence – and by the claims and promises made in its name by developers, investors and commentators. But I think we need a more nuanced position on understanding our relationship with technology, including AI. Instead of pitching the human against the machine as mortal enemies in which there can only be one winner, or alternatively envisaging ‘salvation by AI’ scenarios for the future, we need to see different forms of human activity as having always been technical, and therefore also, to some extent, artificially intelligent. Having said this, I think we should explore more critically the political underpinnings of AI. We must also ask better questions about the relationship between computation, creativity and humanity. 

In the spirit of tl;dr: What are your recent must-reads/must-watches?

Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Futurability: The Age of Impotence and the Horizon of Possibility.
Hito Steyerl, Technology Has Destroyed Reality, New York Times, Dec. 5, 2018.
Joanna Zylinska, The End of Man: A Feminist Counterapocalypse (Open Access) .

TV series Mr Robot and Westworld.
Fotomuseum Winterthur's "Situations Cluster".

Find Joana Zylinska's Session here.