sculptural installation, audiovisual experience
Photos: Nejc Ketis/Kino Šiška
Utilising narrative-poetic reflection and backed by artificial intelligence (AI) technology, AquA(l)formings addresses the opportunity for the empathetic interspecies development of relationships with more-than-human entities. It explores the large-scale changes in the marine environment caused by human presence, and tries to imagine how the new conditions (rising sea levels and water temperatures, new chemical composition …) are reflected in its inhabitants. Seas and oceans record such environmental changes in biological or geological time as memories, either within individual organisms or as marked shifts in ecosystem structures.
In the theoretical core of the project, the artists lean on Donna Haraway’s writings, more specifically on her latest texts on tentacular thinking (Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene, e-flux journal # 75, September 2016). Simply put, tentacular thinking is the ability to perceive the world by touching, feeling and experiencing things. Human could use it to gain new knowledge, understanding and experience of the Other and the unknown. In this respect, the authors approach the solving and analysis of issues from different perspectives in the first research phase of the project, e.g. from the point of view of the idea of an all-encompassing disintegration into the next singularity, where the line between our experiences and the Other will no longer be defined. To facilitate the idea of such and similar ideas based on visions from the perspective of unknown futures, the AquA(I)formings project uses AI technology.
In the project, the authors follow the silk-like byssus threads of the noble pen shell (Pinna nobilis) and adopt it as a visual synonym for both the Other and the individual marine inhabitant, who is and still arouses the curiosity of scientific and artistic researchers of marine habitats, seaside residents and ancient merchants. Today, however, the noble pen shell has succumbed to disease caused by environmental change. By including the story of the noble pen shell, the authors also primed the project for research into the use and development of new biological materials that do not interfere invasively with the habitats of selected organisms or their general existence.
Using AI technologies helps to invent ideas about the future of, for example, the noble pen shell and the vast underwater meadows of the Posidonia oceanica seagrass in the northern Adriatic Sea. Using AI technologies in multi-layered modes of artistic activity in the AquA(I)formings project, the authors ask themselves a few ethical questions:Is AI as an artistic practice suitable for and allows bridging the gap between man and other species in a way that man has so far been unable to use on his own? Does using AI affect our expert view of nature?
With the AquA(I)formings project, the authors extensively researched these and other issues and the sensory experiences they create with the project, and linked their research to the northern Adriatic Sea and the marine life there.
Artists: Robertina Šebjanič, Sofia Crespo and Feileacan McCormick
Consultancy: Matjaž Ličer, Marko Vivoda, Rok Pahor
Mechanical part development: Scenart, Ljubljana
Special thanks: Anja Zver, Alan Ixba, Manja Rogelja & Aquarium Piran and Borut Jerman
Production 2021: PiNA
Post-production 2021: Kino Šiška, Sektor Institute
Images from '2200 UND3R' exhibition, part of IZIS festival in Koper, Slovenia.
Photos: Klemen Skočir