• Session #3: Creating Dialogues With Non-Human Entities Using Neural Storytelling I

    Models for Environmental Literacy: Tivon Rice


Session #3: 15 June, 19:30 – 22:00 CEST (online)

With: Mark IJzerman, Vanessa Opoku & Tivon Rice

In this session we will be introduced to neural storytelling with GPT-2 within the lens of worldbuilding. Our mentors will give an overview of how to create a data set, and give a demo of how to run GPT-2 and Colab +. Alongside this we will be questioning the ethics of choosing certain data sets, as well as our relationship to the text. 

Mark IJzerman (NL) is a media artist investigating the way we experience our ecology. Vanessa Opoku (DE) is an artist using film and 3D scanning to question remembrance, the future and societal agency. Tivon Rice (US) is an artist critically exploring representation and communication within digital culture.

Mark IJzerman is a media artist and designer making installations and audiovisual performances. In his work he explores interaction between sound, light and the physiological effect on the body. Most recently, his works have been exploring the way we experience and relate to our ecology and atmosphere. His recent project ‘As Above, So Below’ was shown at FIBER Festival 2020, and explores the changing landscape of La Araucanía region in south-central Chile through live visuals and sound. This audiovisual performance probes into the dualism of man’s relationship with nature via sonic research made by Sebastien Robert, French sound artist, researcher and alumni of KABK’s MA ArtScience Interfaculty, and investigative visuals created from satellite imagery as well as microscopic and drone footage by Mark IJzerman. During a residency in Chile (Valley of the Possible), they researched the logging industry that has been eroding the biodiversity of the region, causing disruption to the ecosystem. 

Vanessa Opoku spent most of her teen years driving cars through virtual landscapes and being fascinated by the perception of reality that open-world games provided. Today, the possibilities of documenting and conserving objects, scenes and people with photography, film and 3D scanning is always connected to the question of remembrance, the future and how society deals with questions of agency. Within her artistic work, Vanessa Opoku explores the ways we can make radical changes in the perception of our world, reality and all living beings in it, finding alliances between art, research and technology. Her recent work, ‘Chapter I – Landscape’ (made in collaboration with Lion Sauterleute) was shown at FIBER Festival 2020: In the year 4006, the 25th clone of a human finds a 3D Scan in a data set. After a big crisis on earth, almost all archives have been destroyed and only oral history persists. Where did this fragment come from? Sometimes it looks like a landscape, present in the current world but somehow different, sometimes like a plant. And then there are the memories. The procedure of cloning failed to transfer them coherently. There are flashbacks of a flood and a big crisis that nobody really knows of how it unfolded, but changed the world forever. Nature, in the end, does not care about crises. It is the landscape that we shaped and see as our existential basis.

Tivon Rice is an artist and educator working across visual culture and technology. His work critically explores representation and communication in the context of digital culture and asks: how do we see, inhabit, feel, and talk about these new forms of exchange? How do we approach creativity within the digital? What are the poetics, narratives, and visual languages inherent in new information technologies? And what are the social and environmental impacts of these systems? His long-term research project and experimental films ‘Models For Environmental Literacy’ explores in a speculative manner how A.I.s could have alternative perceptions of an environment. Three distinct A.I.s were trained for the screenplay: the SCIENTIST, the PHILOSOPHER, and the AUTHOR. The A.I.s each have their own personalities and are trained in literary work – from science fiction and eco-philosophy, to current intergovernmental reports on climate change. Rice brings them together for a series of conversations while they inhabit scenes from scanned natural environments. These virtual landscapes have been captured on several field trips that Rice undertook with FIBER(Amsterdam) and BioArt Society (Helsinki) over the past two years. ‘Models For Environmental Literacy’ invites the viewer to rethink the nature and application of artificial intelligence in the context of the environment.