Exhibition opening. Photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr gallery)
It’s time to bring an end to this – in various ways – extraordinary year, marked by the largest pandemic that the world of the 21st century has encountered (…so far). We’ll do it with an opening of the exhibition by a Russian new media artist Helena Nikonole, suitably titled Contagious Algorithms.
Join us at the opening at Filodrammatica Gallery (Korzo 28/1, Rijeka), on Thursday, 17 December at 7 p.m. You can visit the exhibition until 8 January, 2021, from Monday to Saturday from 4 – 8 p.m.
Note: the exhibition will be closed on December 24-26 & 31, as well as on January 1, 2 and 6, 2021.
Helena Nikonole is a new media artist, independent curator and educator living in Moscow. Her field of interests embraces hybrid art, the new aesthetics, the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence. In her works she explores technology’s potential opportunities, but also potential risks and dangers which techno-evangelists and scientists are not able to realize.
In this way she also conceives her exhibitions, including the one in Rijeka, titled Contagious Algorithms, presenting her works that use cracks in the system of IP cameras and the Internet of Things.
Exhibition setup. Photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr gallery)
Using these cracks, Helena Nikonole employs algorithms to generate new meanings and functions of hacked systems, pointing out their shortcomings and revealing how they operate, especially in terms of the amount of data collected by digital devices about their users. These data may be just some digital trash, or maybe have a purpose beyond the usual narrative of the political and marketing manipulation, to us incomprehensible, or perhaps understandable only with the help of divine intervention.
Be sure to visit the exhibition which allows algorithms to show a range of their abilities, from reading and interpreting data to generating new meanings in the form of musical compositions and sacred books.
In accordance with the recommended measures to prevent coronavirus infection, the number of visitors who can be in the gallery at the same time is limited. Also, visitors are invited to disinfect their hands at the entrance, maintain an appropriate distance from each other and be sure to wear a protective face mask.
deus X mchn (media-installation, 2017)
printer with wi-ﬁ module / speaker / CCTV-camera / projectors / screens / lightbox / server/ self-developed software / neural network
This project explores the issue of online security within the Internet of Things (IoT), and the increasing capabilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
In this project, an AI (an LSTM-neural network possessing a Long short-term memory) has been taught the language contained within a corpus of sacred texts such as The Old and The New Testament, Quran, Torah, Dhammapada, Ramayana, Tao TeChing, and others. It perceives the text as a sequence of numbers (encoded symbols). The AI performs Big Data computations based on the texts in order to discover their grammatical structures, i.e. the «code» of the language. Eventually, this neural network starts to generate its own «sacred» text, creating new words and revealing the universal poetics of religious writings.
Another neural network uses this text to synthesize a human voice which becomes the voice of different unsecured devices connected to the Internet of Things.
Hacked IP-cameras with speakers start reciting this (pseudo-religious) text to unsuspecting users; audio files containing the text are left on people’s media-servers for them to be discovered; finally, these texts are simultaneously printed once every 15 minutes both on an IP-printer in the exhibition space and on a randomly chosen device somewhere in the world.A series of photographs automatically taken by a script which takes random screenshots from IP-cameras are also exhibited as part of the project.
f0rma.suprema (media-installation, 2017 – 2018)
banners / screen / live-hacking / server / self-developed software
In this work, the artist continues to show her interest in the aesthetics of IP cameras, digital video cameras, whose feature is the transmission of digital video stream over Ethernet and TokenRing, using the IP protocol.
Unlike analog cameras, when using IP cameras, after receiving a video frame from the camera matrix, the image remains digital up to the display on the monitor. As a rule, before transmission, the image received from the matrix is compressed using frame-by-frame (MJPG) or streaming (MPEG-4, H.264) video compression methods. IP cameras that are actively used in video surveillance systems and remote monitoring of technological processes have many advantages over analog cameras: the construction of scalable distributed video surveillance systems, a wide range of camera settings (smart functions), a resolution not available for analog, the ability work remotely, without interruption and without conflict with other devices due to network cable.
The artist found that when you visit the Internet page of an IP camera with an administrator password, you can leave pictures, black boxes and small pictures on the images that the camera can receive, which will be visible to the camera owner or security guard. The shape of these objects is predetermined by the camera interface: you can leave messages only in the form of text (as the main text marker the artist used the phrase “forma.suprema”), the name of the camera, four black rectangles of any shape or one bmp-picture of standard size 128 * 128 pixels.
The opening was the beginning of a series of media interventions, as a result of which the artist left hidden “messages” on the frames of IP cameras (some of which were discovered and erased, and others remained for a long time in virtual space), examining the resulting graphic forms with clear allusions to Suprematist experiments – architectons, planits and prouns.
The Other View (media-installation, 2018)
video / pictures
By hacking as an art practice, The Other View explores two perspectives of surveillance: first, the gathering of our data by tech companies through social-media based on the information we provide in exchange for their free services, and second, the surveillance of our physical presence by IoT devises, in this case IP-cameras.
For this project I connected to IP-cameras at some mirror gallery imitating Yayoi Kusama’s mirror installations. The visitors are taking selfies in these mirrors and posting them on social media. This project demonstrates the supplementation of IP-camera surveillance by self-representation through social media.
An IP-camera at the mirror gallery is installed to look down from above the entrance and shows a non-human point of view by observing reality as it is. At the same time, visitors represent clichés of social constructs by looking at themselves from an imaginary Other’s point of view.
Faces2Voices (Online interactive installation, 2020)
Facial recognition / AI-generated sound
Faces2Voices is an online interactive installation which uses facial recognition technology and AI-synthesized sound to create a generative music composition based on imaginary voices of online visitors. The composition is evolving in time depending on the contributions of people involved.
Lots of governments use surveillance technology as a way to control the spread of COVID-19. At the same moment many citizens are ready to give up some privacy for the common good. But how can we define what level of privacy should we give up and how much data do governments really need to respond effectively?
Exploring these kinds of questions in Faces2Voices project, in collaboration with musician and software architecture expert Nikita Prudnikov, the artist focuses on critical approaches to AI technologies.
You can contribute to the project by giving access to the camera of your device. AI will recognise your face, synthesize your imaginary voice and add it to the live stream available at faces2voices.live.
The project is inspired by Speech2Face research project.