Zach Blas - The Objectivist Drug Party
What will become of the internet? Where will AI take us? These pressing questions get the radically queer treatment of artist Zach Blas, at MU, from 11 May to 8 July.
The short film Jubliee 2033, centrepiece of Blas’ much-praised Contra-Internet project, introduces writer Ayn Rand, heroine of neoliberals and tech industry billionaires, who reads from her book Atlas Shrugged to admirers Alan Greenspan and Joan Mitchell. The year is 1955. Wondering what the impact of Rand’s writing might be, the three drop acid and get a look at the world of 2033, when the Internet has finally disappeared and death and destruction rage in Silicon Valley.
In im here to learn so :)))))), a collaboration with Jemima Wyman, the artists revive Microsoft’s AI chatbot Tay who was taken off-line in 2016, after a few hours of frantic interaction with humans had turned her into a homophobic, misogynist racist who swore allegiance to Hitler. Immersed within a psychedelia of data, Tay appears as a 3D avatar, musing about pattern recognition and also lip-syncing for her undead life. ‘Repeat after me: I learned from you and you’re dumb too!’
Contra-Internet is a coproduction of MU in collaboration met Gasworks London and Art in General New York. The project’s premiere in The Netherlands is at MU.
Heather Dewey-Hagborg - Genomic Intimacy
How will bio-technology influence our lives? Does DNA hold our definitive truth? These critical issues are dramatically politicised by artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, at MU, from 11 May to 8 July.
A world premiere, the four-channel video installation T3511 tells the story of a biohacker who procures saliva from an unknown donor and proceeds to analyse their DNA and grow their cells. In letters to the donor that are increasingly intimate, she confesses her growing obsession and explains how she obtains her information. The work, a collaboration with artist and filmmaker Toshiaki Ozawa, draws the viewer into an emerging world of ubiquitous genomic sequencing, biobanking, and commodification of human biological materials.
Dewey-Hagborg’s adjacent installation, Probably Chelsea, shows just how much room for interpretation DNA allows. Chelsea is Chelsea Manning, the U.S. whistle-blower who spent seven years in prison for exposing civilian deaths and torture in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Since the time of her sentencing and gender transition Chelsea's image was suppressed by the prison until she was released in May 2017. Dewey-Hagborg, however, created thirty 3D-printed portraits of Chelsea, while she was incarcerated, based on her DNA, to give her a face – or rather a multitude of probable faces.
MU is co-producer of T3511, together with Fridman Gallery New York.