From here to there is not visible from the very beginning

Installation #19 – 23 March 2018 | MARs Research Hub Gallery

Materials: body, data, computer, wood, gold leaf, agar, slime molds, ink on paper

This installation comprises data capture and visualisation developed in collaboration with Dr Jamie Forth from Goldsmiths Computing Department, funded by the Invention Creativity and Experience research theme of Goldsmiths University.

Euclidean geometry says that ‘the shortest distance between two points is a straight line’, an assumption of flat space that persists, and is one of the first things we learn in math class. The same linear logic that is implied in efficiency, progress and time.

But Dr Aleksandr Drozd, (formerly of) the super-computing lab at Tokyo Institute of Technology, says that currently in AI research “from here to there is not visible from the very beginning” (2018).

If ‘there is not visible’, then the destination is unknown: moving ‘forward’ becomes more of “a meander pattern, an exercise in finding the longest possible pathway between two spatially quite adjacent points.” (A. Gell, Art & Agency, 1998) The meander curves, spirals, the webbed maze, a labyrinth that prevents any linear progression. If space is warping, what happens to time?

Wanting to understand free time – the time ‘liberated’ by AI technologies – the artist uses time as material, and asks: what do we know about free time? She explores it with a group of freelancers, through movement and contemplation practices. And also investigates it with slime molds (physarum polycephalum): a protist organism. Unicellular, free-living or aggregated into small colonies, neither animal, plant or fungus, they don’t fit into any category, and they remain a mystery to scientists. Slime molds are non-human scientists: they can trace the most efficient distance between two points, to solve mazes and engineering problems, ‘more efficiently’ than their human counterparts.

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