Digital Alchemy Event SeriesSummer 2021 (current)

Digital Alchemy Event Series 

Four events during 2021 explore the technologies, topics and questions treated in works of Mirabelle Jones in their current exhibition at Catch: “Digital Alchemy: Future Technology Products Inspired by Diverse Voices in Science Fiction”. 

 

1. Science Fiction Book Club #1  – June 3, 16-17.30

In this session we discussed the story “From The Lost Diary Of Treefrog7 by Nnedi Okorafor” which has inspired Mirabelle Jones’ work “e-Protea” For their current exhibition at Catch “Digital Alchemy: Future Technology Products Inspired by Diverse Voices in Science Fiction”.

The future technology product e-Protea is a 3D-printed IoT-enabled flower sculpture inspired by the M-CPU from Nnedi Okorafor’s From the Lost Diary of Treefrog7. The plant is imagined as evolving from e-waste. One large LCD screen at the head of the plant outputs the results of the e-Protea’s relentless scanning and processing of real world and online data while a watchful camera eye detects and displays any creatures foolish enough to come near.

This book club focused on works written by diverse science fiction authors and seeks to expand the narrative of science fiction literature and who creates it. The book club also seeks to use science fiction and literature to let us collectively imagine new worlds and new ways of using and developing technology.

Link for short story available online: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/okorafor_05_09/

2. Meet Your Deep Fake – June 15, 16-19

Today we live in a world where we can program machines to generate new images, text, sound etc., content that is indistinguishable from “real world” content. As this becomes easier and faster to do, many ethical questions arise. How can we use these technologies in a way where we are not violating the safety, privacy, or identity of others? What are the risks if we do not interrogate these ethical questions as designers, developers and users?

At this workshop we investigated deep fake technologies, how does it work and what it is? How do you spot a deep fake? We will look at the technology on both consumer and more advanced levels and collectively discuss some of the ethical questions surrounding the technology. Participants also were  able to have a deep fake version of themselves created as a part of artist Mirabelle Jones work “It’s Time We Talked”, which uses deep fake to investigate questions of how ones life might look if taken a different fork somewhere along the way.

 

Workshop Content

  • Introduction to Catch, Mirabelle Jones and participants
  • What is deep fake and how does it work? 
  • How to spot a deep fake
  • Deep fake applications, tools and technologies
  • Discussion of the ethics in deep fake
  • Write a letter to yourself in another quantum timeline
  • Video recording of letters to create deepfake from as a part of Mirabelle Jones’ work “It’s Time We Talked”

 

It’s Time We Talked

Have you ever wondered what your life might’ve amounted to if you’d taken a different fork somewhere along the way? If you’d studied science instead of art, or married your High School crush, or been born into a better or worse situation? The quantum communication crystal allows you to find out!

The installation It’s Time We Talked features a pair of devices known as Quantum Communication Crystals which allow the user to communicate with a version of themself from another quantum timeline. In other words, the crystal allows you to speak with another you — one who made different decisions. The set of crystals on display show a conversation between the artist and the artist’s deep fake double. A machine learning programme called a ‘generative adversarial network’ was used to create a deep fake video of the content for the 2nd crystal, producing a video in which the artist (themself) has never said the words you are hearing.

As a part of the workshop Mirabelle Jones facilitated a writing exercise, where participants create a letter to their own self from another quantum timeline.

Workshop Led By Mirabelle Jones

Mirabelle Jones is a queer, non-binary creative technologist, interdisciplinary artist, and researcher based in Copenhagen investigating critical, creative practices in technology. Their work explores the immersive storytelling potential of sensors, spatialized sound, LEDs, animatronics, XR, wearables, artificial intelligence and computer vision.
www.mirabelleJones.com

 

3.  AI in performing arts – June 22, 10-16

At the workshop participants were introduced to the generative performance platform “AI Performance Space” created by artist and researcher Mirabelle Jones.

We xplored ideas, thoughts and questions that arise from the content created by this AI and together create our own pieces which we will share and discuss collectively.

“AI Performance Space” brings together artists of different practices, backgrounds, identities, locations and methods to collectively investigate the influence artificial intelligence can have on the creative process and consider how creative practices can in turn develop new insights and approaches to artificial intelligence.

Read more about AI Performance Space here: http://aiperformance.space/

 

Workshop content

• Introductions
• AI performance Space introduction
• Showcase of works made with AI Performance Space
• Inspiration exercise: exploring at the AI performance generator, sharing ideas, thoughts and questions
• Creating new pieces from the performance generator
• Presenting the work/research and discussing experiences
working with the platform

 

Workshop led by Mirabelle Jones

Mirabelle Jones is a queer, non-binary creative technologist, interdisciplinary artist, and researcher based in Copenhagen investigating critical, creative practices in technology. Their work explores the immersive storytelling potential of sensors, spatialized sound, LEDs, animatronics, XR, wearables, artificial intelligence and computer vision.
www.mirabelleJones.com

 

4. Science Fiction Book Club #2 – August 12, 16-17.30

In this session we discussed the story “Anxiety Is The Dizziness Of Freedom” by Ted Chiang which has inspired Mirabelle Jones’ work “It’s Time We Talked” For their current exhibition at Catch “Digital Alchemy: Future Technology Products Inspired by Diverse Voices in Science Fiction”. “It’s Time We Talked” – The Quantum Communication Crystal features a pair of devices which allow the user to communicate with a version of themself from another quantum timeline. In other words, the crystal allows you to speak with another you—one who made different decisions. Always wondered what your life might’ve amounted to if you’d taken a different fork somewhere along the way? What might your life have been like if you’d studied science instead of art, or married your High School crush, or been born into a better or worse situation? The quantum communication crystal allows you to find out! The objects are based on the Plaga Interworld Signaling Mechanism prisms found in Ted Chiang’s short story “Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom” in which a group of addicts become addicted to speaking with their quantum selves.

This book club focuses on works written by diverse Science-Fiction authors and seeks to expand the narrative of Science-Fiction literature and who creates it. The book club also seeks to use science fiction and literature to let us collectively imagine new worlds and new ways of using and developing technology.

 

Link for short story available online: 

https://onezero.medium.com/anxiety-is-the-dizziness-of-freedom-b5ab45cae2a5

 

About the Exhibition

 

Digital Alchemy: Future Technology Products Inspired by Diverse Voices in Science Fiction

There has been a long and rich history between science fiction and the development of new technologies. From virtual reality to teleconferencing, science fiction has left its ongoing influence on our present day device-driven world. But technologies are not neutral: they are imbued with the values and interests of their creators.

What are the implications, then, if many of the works of science fiction which we see attributed to modern technologies were penned by white cisgender heteronormative male authors? What are the implications if the same dominant voices are overwhelmingly centered in the design and development of new technology products? Who gets a voice in creating the future and who is excluded?

Future Technology Products explores works of science fiction written by a diverse body of authors including women, LGBQTQAI* folx, and people of color to realize diverse futures through the creation of fictional technologies.

Situated at the intersection of product design, speculative fiction, maker culture and intersectional data feminism, the artist selects devices and technologies mentioned within these works and realizes them as interactive product prototypes. The objects will be displayed, in both a physical and virtual exhibition, alongside documentation regarding the process of creating the object based on the fictional text. In this way, the project serves as an homage to the works of diverse voices in science fiction while also exploring the relationship between sci-fi and future technologies that are imbued with and directive of our culture.

 

About Mirabelle Jones

Mirabelle Jones is a queer, non-binary creative technologist, interdisciplinary artist, and researcher based in Copenhagen investigating critical, creative practices in technology. Their work explores the immersive storytelling potential of sensors, spatialized sound, LEDs, animatronics, XR, wearables, artificial intelligence and computer vision.

A proponent of STEAM education and interdisciplinary development, they are a frequent speaker on the subject of accessible, ethical, intersectional, and feminist design practices. Their works have most recently been featured at the Museum Meermanno and the Center for Performance Research and appear in several collections including the One National Gay & Lesbian Archives and the Center on Contemporary Art’s historic Hear Our Voice collection.

Their performances and visual works have been heralded by the Huffington Post, ArtNet, Ms. Magazine, Ingeniøren, Bustle, ATTN, Refinery29, Inquisitr, Mic., Sleek Magazine, Feminist Magazine, Deutsche Welle, Google News, Yahoo News, PBS, Roundtable Journal, Tip, Berliner Zeitung and elsewhere. They are a Research Assistant at The University of Copenhagen in the Department of Computer Science (DIKU) within the Human-Centered Computing section. They possess an M.F.A. in Book Art & Creative Writing and are an active book artist, interactive storyteller and analog novelist investigating the contemporary role of the book in our digitally-saturated world.

www.mirabelleJones.com

 

The project is a part of Feral Labs Network and supported by Creative Europe.