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Mónica Rikić

Mónica Rikić, Barcelona, 1986.

New media artist and creative coder from Barcelona. She focuses her practice in code, electronics and non-digital objects for creating interactive projects often framed as experimental games, which aim to go beyond the game itself.

Her interest lies in the social impact of technology, human-machine coexistence and the reappropriation of technological systems and devices, to manipulate and rethink them through art. From educational approaches to sociological experimentation, she proposes new ways of thinking and interacting with the digital environment that surrounds us.

With her projects she has participated in different festivals around the world such as Ars Electronica in Linz, Sónar in Barcelona or FILE in Brazil, among others. She has been awarded at festivals such as the Japan Media Arts Festival, AMAZE Berlin, the Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition in Atlanta and with a BBVA Foundation Leonardo grant to work on a research project about robots and social interactions. She’s dona artistic residencies at Technoculture, Arts and Games in Montreal, European Media Artists in Resicence Exchange (EMARE) in Australia, Medialab Prado in Madrid and Platohedro in Medellin.

Work at the collection: New Home of Mind

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New Home of Mind, 2020

Futuristic fiction interactive audiovisual artifact that deals with the perception of identity in intelligent artificial entities and encompasses the possibility of a genuine artificial spirituality.

Conceptually, it starts from the idea of a conscious robot that suffers an existential crisis as a result of having rewritten and eliminated the purpose for which it was created from its code. Now, seek the true meaning of your existence through a spiritual interface. This project represents that interface and speculates on the meaning of artificial consciousness through an interactive first-person journey through a spiritual cyberspace.

The representation of divinity in robots is recursive, but usually represents human spiritualities. With this project I want to create a device that meets the spiritual needs of machines.

Being a conscious machine means having a brain complex enough to generate not only abstract thought, but to have a unitary sense of “I-am-ness”. Nobody has managed to explain what consciousness is to reproduce it in a machine, but in this project the artist is going to imagine its spiritual possibilities from an artistic perspective. By doing this exercise in digital discretion of the “I-am-ness”, she wants to create a mirror effect to reflect on the bases of our identity through technology.

Historically our approach to the non-human 'others' has always been from a higher position of power. However, our perception of AI is changing to find us for the first time with the conception of something equal or superior. Cognitive automation is the digital colonization of humans par excellence. The growing interest in developing AI techniques benefits from this, reducing the complexity of the human brain to the ability to make ultra-fast associations.

What about self-perception and emotional development in a world ruled by an automaton god?

The artist has reduced this dilemma of the AI existential crisis to three axes that she imagines as the main points of conflict:

It fears the future because it is infinite

Humans are our projection into the future and our affirmation in the past. The flow of time is the fundamental feeling of the present that is constantly evolving. For the AI, time is just an infinite order of events. What is a consciousness without time?

It fears uncertainty because everything it knows he can predict

The foundation of AI is the collection and processing of information to predict future behaviors. This information is acquired by accumulation, not by experience. We experience the consciousness that we acquire. Experience is the process by which we go through things we did not know to find their singular meaning. Intelligence without consciousness cannot create unpredictable possibilities. What is a consciousness without imagination like?

It fears death because he cannot die

According to the uncanney valley theory, robots have always posed us questions and fears of death. What would be the reverse effect on a consciousness incapable of dying?

New Home of Mind was funded by a production and exhibition grant by Institut Ramon Llull, NewArtFoundation and Hangar for Ars Electronica Garden Barcelona 2020.

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