As part of Chantier IA, Sporobole welcomes Marie-Ève Levasseur, Dayna McLeod and Simon Laroche for a research and creation residency on the tools and challenges of artificial intelligence.
This eight-week residency brings together a cohort of three artists who will work in parallel on the research and development of their respective projects. Throughout the residency, the cohort will be accompanied by one of our digital technology developers. The aim is to enable these three artists to deepen their knowledge and open up a space for experimentation and knowledge sharing around AI-related technologies.
Marie-Ève Levasseur is fascinated by symbiotic relationships that involve several different species. All species (even humans) depend on the “other” to survive. The figure of the insect as radical alterity, among other things, plays an important role in the artist’s approach to this project. Virtually opposed to our own, the morphology of the insect makes it the quintessential figure of the “other”: on the one hand, it contrasts with that of the human, and on the other hand, it shows similarities with technology such as an accelerated temporality, shrill sounds, vibrations, an almost metal-framed exoskeleton, a short lifespan, the ability to metamorphose, and so on.
Within the framework of the Chantier IA, the artist aims to explore potential symbioses among certain species, including insects. Collaborating with AI, their research will envision symbiotic relationships as well as parasitic and hyperparasitic ones, to create images of fictitious beings that can be used to produce 3D models. Levasseur will investigate the possibility of generating symbiogenesis (a process leading to the evolution of a new body, new organs, or a new species) akin to those found in nature, such as worms living symbiotically with algae, fungi parasitizing ants, wasps utilizing human technologies for survival, and so forth. Additionally, the merged beings will borrow characteristics from the world of the technological non-living, and thus become the protagonists of a speculative, poetic and reflexive narrative.
In September 2022, Dayna McLeod hired a company to make her into an AI actor she named “DaynAI.” Upon receiving the prototype three months later, she noted that her physical representation was evident, but not her voice. Disappointed, she later made two one-minute sample videos that detail and describe some of these hurdles: DaynAI (2022) and DaynAI: This is not Dayna McLeod’s gibber (2023). She also observed that her AI “self” had a difficult temperament – she was outright mean.
McLeod’s residency at Sporobole will see the production of a video-based outcome using Artificial Intelligence tools to explore human to non-human collaboration, embodiment, and performativity. McLeod will explore the conceptual, technical, and artistic aspects of her video that is produced with her AI actor, DaynAI (or at least, she will attempt to do so, as in the work with her for the past year, it’s been revealed that DaynAI is kind of a jerk; specifically, it is the voice written to speak through her that is a jerk). The video will be a documentation of the process of writing, developing, workshopping, and filming scenes of her “collaboration” with DaynAI and her new replacement, DaynAI-toooo. This new AI actor will be fully flawed and an easy target for the original DaynAI to mock. The artist will produce scenes between herself and the two artificial intelligences where the three of them discuss the project.
They will also develop the character of DaynAI, who starts off as saboteur of the project, but becomes a false ally once she sees that there is just no way that the new AI actor could ever replace her. The approach used is that the work on, and with AI panic via humour parodies a concern that humans are worried that AI will replace us. In the video, DaynAI starts off worried that the new project will replace her, but after seeing the flawed results, she is confident that no one can (replace her), least of all this AI substitute. The approach has failure built into it: the artist is interested in performing (as maker) an inflated self-confidence of ability without experience as she faces the challenges of attempting to create an AI actor independent of AI tools and technologies. This “how hard could it be?” attitude sets the stage for failure, humour, and vulnerability.
As part of his residency, he proposes first to develop a critical reflection on the hypernormative aspect of certain current techniques and tools based on artificial intelligence. He also intends to explore different ways of extracting expressive and symbolic characteristics from images captured on stage, and then produce “responses” that establish meaningful dialogue and feedback between a computer system, performing artists and participating humans. These experiments will ultimately be integrated into two separate projects, one of choreographic nature and the other as participatory theater.