“Environment Built for Absence (…)” by Tivon Rice
Environment Built for Absence (an unofficial/artificial sequel to J.G. Ballard’s “High Rise”) (2018)
HD video, computer-generated text, 17:45 min.
In our post-digital lives, how often are experiences of urban landscapes mediated through technology? As we move through a city for the first time, the impressions are already joined by pre-existing impressions from Google Maps and cultural images of other cities, making the divide between human and machine cognition blurry and uncanny. In this video we see photogrammetric documentation of the gradual erosion of a modernist high-rise, merged with the voice of a machine learning system trained on the works of writer J.G. Ballard. Given the complete corpus of Ballard’s texts—over 1.5 million words from articles, novels, and short stories —this A.I., or recurrent neural network, emulates the vocabulary, style, and tone of Ballard’s writing. Furthermore, the words are triggered through images from the video using computer vision. By searching for the poetic, the abstract and the absurd nature of these systems, Tivon Rice asks: Can our observations of this machine’s perception allow us to reflect on human nature, perhaps even from a non-anthropocentric point of view?
Tivon Rice (b. 1978, Oregon) 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 through projects incorporating a variety of materials, both real and virtual. With recent films, installations, and A.I. generated narratives, Rice examines the ways contemporary digital culture creates images, which in turn build histories around communities and the physical environment.
Rice holds a PhD in Digital Art and Experimental Media from the University of Washington. He was a Fulbright scholar (Korea 2012), and is currently Artistic Researcher at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. His projects have traveled widely with exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Seoul, Taipei, Amsterdam, London, Berlin, and São Paulo.
Latent City presents artistic productions dealing with the city’s hidden stories. Seen through the lens of artistic observation, hidden stories, latent infrastructures and questions of digital presence and of power and democracy in our cities, meet in an exhibition that takes place over three weeks. The Latent City is the city that awaits, the one that is about to unfold, our common future city.
Several of the art projects are financed or commissioned by BEK, while others are existing works presented in new formats. A video program will be on show throughout the project period and there will be an extensive program of talks and performances. Please read more about the project and the programme here.