PLEASE NOTE: The exhibition described below is currently closed to the public until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic; please check the Centre Pompidou's website for updates on when it reopens.
Neurones: Simulated Intelligence, a group exhibition at the Centre Pompidou looks at artificial intelligence in the context of neuroscience and neurocomputing. Featuring works by Anna Ridler, Lu Yang, Pascal Haudressy and Refik Anadol among others.
The exhibition is the fourth in the Mutations/Creations series at the Pompidou Centre. Designing the Living (2019), Coder Le Monde (2018) and Imprimer le Monde (2017) each brought together artists from around the world to examine current industrial, technological and scientific advances: the line between ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’, the links between art, language and logic, the influence of 3D printing and small-scale industrial manufacture on ideas of authorship and ownership.
This year’s Mutations/Creations is concerned with artificial intelligence; with computational cognition. As with previous exhibitions in the series, the Centre Pompidou has become a laboratory for interaction between artists and scientists. It is divided into five areas of research; the way the brain and the cerebral are collectively imagined and scientifically mapped, the history of gaming and cybernetics research, neuroscientific investigations into manipulating the brain’s capacities, and contrasting deep learning, the relatively new process of digesting very large data sets using neural networks, with historic forms of categorisation and knowledge organisation.
As part of Neurones: Simulated Intelligence Anna Ridler presents her 2018 project Mosaic Virus, which was realised following her EMAP/EMARE grant at Impakt. The three-screen video work is generated by Artificial Intelligence and shows tulips blooming; the appearance of the tulips is controlled by the price of bitcoin. The work references two Dutch phenomena of the 17th Century: ‘tulip mania’ (the first ever speculative financial bubble in which tulip bulb prices inflated, then collapsed) and the still life flower paintings of the same period. “What is nice about getting an AI to "imagine" or "dream" tulips is that it echoes 17th century Dutch still life flower paintings which, despite their realism, are "botanical impossibilities" and imagined as all the flowers in them could never bloom at the same time.” - Anna Ridler
Also on display are two works by Lu Yang, from the artist’s Delusional Mandala project (see top image). Lu’s work explores the notion of ‘living’ online - the idea that identity is a physical-digital, human-algorithmic hybrid formed over computational networks. The Delusional Mandala project presents the artist as a genderless humanoid, exploring the potential of technology and neuroscience to affect the consciousness of the digital being as they age and die. “I introduced the brain stereotactic machine to perform deep brain stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation on a digital human simulator in my own shape, in order to explore a wide range of subject matter, such as the physiology of the human brain and the origin of consciousness and god-consciousness.” - Lu Yang in conversation with Albin Li, Mousse Magazine, 2018.
Pascal Haudressy’s exhibited work, Suspended, emphasises connectivity. The work, which combines oil painting, projection and resin, is a fragile yet powerful suspended network which resembles in turn neurones, tree branches or star clusters. “If my work feeds on multiple techniques, my approach always goes in the same direction: to go beyond the antithetical dimension of opposites. Before, we commonly opposed visible / invisible, matter / anti-matter, abstract / figurative. This vision seems obsolete to me today, the Internet embodies the triviality of this fusion of material and immaterial. We are experiencing a rocking movement of phenomenal power. It is our whole relationship to time and space that is modified. It fascinates me." - Pascal Haudressy, translated from Artravel Magazine.
Refik Anadol’s Melting Memories: Engram is also part of this year’s Mutations/Creations exhibition. The work is part of Anadol’s Melting Memories project, which comprises data paintings, data sculpture and light projections. The project is an audiovisual exploration of how the brain controls motor function. The project uses technology developed by the Neuroscape Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco, a neuroscience center researching brain function of both healthy and impaired brains. The visuals Anadol creates are directed by data sets gathered from an EEG (electroencephalogram), a machine that measures changes in brain wave activity and provides evidence of how the brain functions over time. “The title further draws attention to the melting of neuroscience and technology into these centuries-long philosophical debates, questioning the emergence of a new space where artificial intelligence is not in conflict with individuality and intimacy.” - Refik Anadol.