In the face of climate change, large-scale computer-controlled systems are being deployed to control terrestrial systems. Artificial intelligence is deployed on a planetary scale to be able to detect, analyse and manage landscapes. In the West, there is a great belief in ‘intelligent’ technology as a lifesaver. However, practice shows that the dominant AI systems lack the fundamental insights to act in an inclusive manner towards the complexity of ecological, social and environmental issues. This while the imaginative and artistic possibilities for the creation of non-human perspectives is often overlooked.
With the long-term research project and experimental films ‘Models For Environmental Literacy’, the artist Tivon Rice explores in a speculative manner how AI’s could have alternative perceptions of an environment. Three distinct AIs were trained for a screenplay: the SCIENTIST, the PHILOSOPHER, and the AUTHOR. The AIs, who are related to each other, all 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 a series of scanned natural landscapes. These virtual landscapes have been captured on several field trips Rice undertook in 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.
With sound by Stelios Manousakis (NL/GR) & Stephanie Pan (NL/US) and voices by Esther Mugambi (AU/NL), Arnout Lems (NL), & Michaela Riener (AT/NL)
About the artist
Tivon Rice is an artist and educator working across visual culture and technology. Based in Den Haag (NL) and Seattle (US), 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? What are the poetics, narratives, and visual languages inherent in new information technologies? And what are the social and environmental impacts of these systems?
With recent films, installations, and A.I. generated narratives, Rice examines the ways contemporary digital culture creates images, and in turn builds histories around communities and the physical environment. Rice holds a PhD in Digital Art and Experimental Media from the University of Washington. He’s currently an Artistic Researcher at the Delft University of Technology.
This work was commissioned by FIBER for the 2020 festival and has been made possible by the Creative Industry Fund NL, Google Artists and Machine Intelligence.