31.08 — 28.10 / 2017

It is with great pleasure that Sporobole is hosting Austrian artist Gerald Roßbacher for a research and creation residency from September 1st to October 29th.

Gerald Roßbacher will present his project Computer says NO! from October 20 to 29, 2017.

You are invited to meet the artist and discover his work during the opening 
which will take place this Friday, October 20th from 5 to 7 PM.

Free entry


Artist and studio-apartment residency exchanges between Québec and Upper Austria

Given the importance the Québec government accords to creating lasting cultural ties with Upper Austria, in 2014 the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) concluded a two-year partnership agreement with the State Government of Upper Austria to create an exchange program of studio-apartments and studios for creation and resourcing for the visual and digital arts. These residencies are intended to promote the creation of durable bonds and the cross fertilization of approaches between artists from Québec and Upper Austria, thus fostering their artistic development.

In the context of this exchange, a Québec artist can reside for a two-month sojourn in one of the nine studios included in the Atelierhaus Salzamt international artists residency space in the City of Linz and an artist from Upper Austria can take advantage of a creation residency of the same duration at the SPOROBOLE centre, in Sherbrooke.


Project description

Computer Says NO!

Currently, a point of view is gaining ground according to which even complex social processes and problems can be understood and solved as if they were software problems. This approach where we first instrument, then analyze and then optimize is ubiquitous and determines broad sections of our world. An aura of logical inevitability clings to the results of software-supported decision processes. Because of this, responsibility for the quality and impact of the decision are handed over to software and the distance to the affected subject is increased by the supposed objectivity. The infallibility we used to ascribe to God and his servants is replaced by the infallibility of algorithms, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Sorting processes are among the most elementary algorithms, which are absolutely essential for the functioning of all computer systems. The multiplicity of potential sorting variants is staggering. Everything can be sorted and submitted to an order.

In my work Computer says NO! I show how different sorting algorithms function. I apply these sorting techniques to pictures and sort their pixels according to ascending or descending brightness values. For this I use images of nature: pictures of forests, mountains, the starry sky, etc. These represent our primal fear of the violence and power of nature, of the chaotic, uncontrollable aspect of the universe. Nature, or the natural world, is perceived as a threat. Hence we humans subdue nature and create order to control the environment, which in turn enables us to control our fear and maintain our mental health.

Order as a principle of control.

Order banishes all that is sensuous, from the ordered realm, just as the algorithms of big-data analysts, rating agencies, or the simple Excel spreadsheets of managers leave out any hint of humanity. Gerald Roßbacher

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Crédits photo: Tanya St-Pierre


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