WHAT DO YOU NEED?

“Art projects in machine learning tend to resemble their creators’ preferences in some fundamental way.”

“Do you mean that they contain more of their creators’ choices than the materiality or structures or aesthetics implied by machine learning systems?”

“They tend to resemble recognisable known things.”

“Or do you mean that like machine learning systems themselves, artistic projects around machine learning are made up of data inputs (including the preferences, education, background, etc., of the human makers or dialog partners in the work) and those data inputs being processed through a semi-traceable or untraceable process?”

“(I.e., is the choice conscious? Is this a problem?”)

“Could we set up a process in which a machine learning system generates a structure, a world, one that we do not know what it is yet, can we follow this process through to it’s conclusion? Can we try not to reach for what we already know?”

“Can we make a space to stick our finger in this world, this system, and see what happens?”

“Can we break the dichotomy between critical-ethical projects around the social implications of AI and of Gizmo art, art that uncritically uses AI to “generate things we call art”? Could another kind of subjectivity or spectatorship come from this unfolding world? Something that’s not just techno-capitalist celebration or holy critical distanced evaluation? Could we see how fucking entangled we are already and could that be some swirling (different) new togetherness with different kinds of presences, not only the “AI” as a presence but all the ghosts that make up any data processing system, human or machine?”

“I feel overwhelmed by this and I’d like to embrace the dizziness and see where I end up, not make a decision too soon about what it’s going to be.”

“This is giving me a headache, I want to stop looking at Excel”

“She has already been kidnapped by Excel, look at her face, she looks different, she moves differently”

“And we’ve all already been kidnapped by algorithms”

“By machine learning, it’s not just algorithms in the simple process-based sense, like Lucinda Childs or whatever”

“But we need to go further into the excel, really understand one exact thing”

“Instead we should put onstage a human who is very complex, cannot be represented fully in another language, and deal with the unknowns that it brings with us”

“Every theatre has to make a decision about how rough its copy pasting is, how many unknowns it brings into the space”

“World making versus communicating, representing versus presenting”

“Music doesn’t represent but it also doesn’t communicate, it makes worlds. There’s some theatre like that, too”

“What about my needs as a maker, my need to spend time with certain kinds of material (for example, to move my body, to play music, to paint or draw or work with actors, the sheer material pleasure I need in order not to go insane, and to process the world on a daily basis). How do deal with this when dealing with a complex system like an AI, when trying to build a world that we don’t know what it is yet. What to do with those things when trying to find something that isn’t familiar to me.”

“But those needs are all that matters, they’re the only important thing”

“Do you mean they are a gate to this unknown? To this thing I don’t know yet? I feel like they can’t be included at the same time as dealing with trying to open a system or a world that has its own rules separate from me”

“But the poem will always resemble you”

“Those needs are all that matters”

“This is going in circles”

“Circles are interesting. The etymology of the world circle comes from an old English word meaning zodiac, a representation of the cosmos, of a totality. Each word is a world, we’re just spending time in one or two worlds, which is what I meant by the Excel, like, let’s spend some time really getting to know this little bit of the world and then see what happens”

“Watching her make early decisions in a process made me think about how much the early choices in a process determine the eventual outcome, and what’s not being included is often more important than what is”

“Yes but you need to develop the confidence to not include things, to not care what the audience thinks, or your friend, to not deal with that actor or with that image or whatever, to just focus on one thing so that you can really take it far, really take it along until it is fully realised.”

“But you still won’t know if it’s fully realised or what fully realised means until you’ve been playing the show for 5 years and then one day you’ll do the show and realise FUCK now I understand the ending or what the ending should have been and why this thing is that way and what I’m trying to say, really.”

“How can I tap into my own insanity?”

“Dive deep now you can take a break and reflect for the rest of your life”

“Ambition! Make a world, reframe the world, don’t make a goddamn project”

“WHAT DO YOU NEED?”

“There is no transparency anymore we can’t make those things transparent. We're too stupid for transparency these systems are too complex”

“Theatre is a metaphorical space, a representation, we can look AT something”

“Make a notebook of potential performances and come back to them”

“Universities have become managers of people, we don’t need managers, we can manage ourselves”

“If you’re learning some third term, like everyone is learning how to write an algorithm or focusing on Excel, there’s actually a lot more freedom, even though we think it isn’t democratic, because the focus isn’t on managing YOU and YOUR PROCESS. Guessing how well you are doing you. Traditionally this relationship was relegated to the territory of mentor, someone who really invested and took time to figure out what you were up to from the inside, and often these relationships were multiyear and complex. Maybe this is part of the crisis of what a school is or can be now”.

“I want to go more wayward, further afield”

“What are we denying, each of us, from entering the process?”

“Don’t be a bureaucrat”

References