DEJAVU 机器人间19 AUG 2019 - 24 OCT 2019
“机器人间”的存在，是马克·维瑟预言的回响：“最为深远的技术是消隐的。它们被编织进日常生活的罗网之中，不再可见。”轰隆作响的数据中心矗立在人烟稀少之地，光缆们只在无人海岸悄然登陆。“机器人间” 是一场集体性的似曾相识（de ja vu)：近年来“开机”的类人机器人们（从“索菲亚”到谷歌研发的智能机器人），渴望成为古代剧场里“机械生神”（deus ex machina）的近世倒影；今天化形为柔软的，消隐的，会帮你关灯的智能助手（如Siri, Cortana和Alexa），仿佛幽暗遥远的时代里混迹人间的神怪。对科技现象的解释总比现象慢1/4拍，符号和隐喻尚有隙可乘。
Mark Weiser’s prophecy, that “”, echos in the exhibition de ja vu. The clattering and roaring data centers tower in sparsely populated regions, while submarine optical cables land ashore at uninhabited coastline. The exhibition is in itself a story of de ja vu: a collective one, about machine and human. The humanoid robots “turned on” in recent years (from “Sophia” to the Google’s robots), are echos of the ancient “deus ex machina”, whilst the gentle, invisible virtual assistants, the Siri, Cortana and Alexas who turn off lights for you, are as if reminiscence of the gods and spirits who live with us, camouflaged, in the dim, ancient times. The explanation of the technoscene tends to be slightly slower than the technological phenomena itself, allowing room for symbols and metaphors.
De ja vu is the name of an exhibition, a world that may emerge. The fourth floor of Today Art Museum firstly opens a bidirectional way of seeing. The time-space the exhibition constructs, is a terminator that vibrates and quivers in between the evolving trajectory of technologies and that of human race. The clockwise storyline narrates how algorithms transform from invisible to embodiment, gaining capabilities all the way, until a post-anthropocene moment when the machines become the sole residents of the earth; the counter-clockwise path, meanwhile, tells the story in reverse: it starts with a comprehensive machine contemplating on its origins, and follows its archaeological process until the machine encounters with its reductionist fate, fading into 0s an1s. De ja vu, hence, is a feeling of “de ja vu” between human and machines.
In The Beginning of Infinity, David Deutsch expressed a irrefutable kind of “the computability of any process”. A non-anthropocentric view of machines, seems to guide us towards a zone of worshipping the “computablity” as underlying rules of everything, a computational world concealed by technological affordance and ruled by numbers, digits, models, processes and measurements. Yet this is also what’s at risk: to deposit our cognition of the world with abstract and “neutral” concept of computability, is also to voluntarily abandon the natural mind and sensory experiences, an act in vain.
The exhibition can be seen as an epitome of the fate of human and machines, where the delicate silk between information and physical entities remain, while the human-machine coexistence still interweaves with absurdity and richness. If the interlacing computing structures are fading away from tangible experiences, until a moment when human can longer feel the existences of the computing infrastructure and interfaces, artists, perhaps can allow this awareness re-surface, examining the errors and prejudices in the “fading-away” process. The artists are as if journalists or novelists, who make imaginary connections outwardly or inwardly conduct research on the hidden, and return to an integrated way of understanding the world - a “de ja vu” of what we were like, in the very beginning.