2017, robot, AI, sound, live streaming, electronic 'belief machine', interactive experiment
Omikuji began as a live-stream event taking place between Japan’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) and major international art precincts including Artsonje Center in Seoul, 798 Art Zone and CAFA Art Museum in Beijing, and Powerlong Art Center in Hangzhou. It is part of Knox+Watanabe’s art–science experiments Alter versus Deep Belief.
Alter vs Deep Belief
Alter is a new robot with experimental AI. It can sense, learn, and sing. It uses a self-organising neural network to classify its surroundings. Such AI strategies include deep belief networks, through which machines determine certain inputs to be believable. Alter is beginning to believe things about the world.
Using our Belief Machine, visitors to the exhibition will communicate with Alter in Tokyo’s Miraikan. Alter will transcode your personal details, re-interpret them in real-time through its own sound-making, and send you this unique sonic response as a personal omikuji. Omikuji are short fortunes obtained at Japanese temples and shrines.
We observe how a nascent robot learns and embodies its ‘beliefs’. If the goal of artificial neural networks is for machines to discern phenomena in a humanlike way, Alter is also outputting its discernment of sensory data via its machine body; by this performativity, its belief and behaviour evolve.
In robotic intelligence that mimics human ‘deep belief’, machines are trained to recognise characteristics and then to recreate (infer) them by probability, eventually being able to perform classification tasks. They ‘think’ in layers of computational variables which are inferred from initial, lower layers of direct-measured values — yet each sub-network can only ‘see’ the one that came before it. Layer by layer of accumulated belief, the deep layers of the machine-brain act as truth filters (‘feature vectors’), guiding the learning process.
Belief systems are maximally contentious in our globalised world, and are important to both the inter-harmony and the preservation of culture/s. We create artworks to uncover and express the layers of Alter’s budding belief system, in their naïve mutability and contingency, even their idiosyncrasy. People may be prompted to ask: How are we transmitting our beliefs to and through machines? How sure are we in our beliefs? How soft are they, and how hard?
Technical (belief machine): Boris Morris Bagattini, Lindsay Webb
Robot: Takashi Ikegami, Hiroshi Ishiguro
Thanks: Itsuki Doi, Kohei Ogawa, Yukio Yanagawa, Nana Chen, Jenna Lee
Omikuji was commissioned by Goethe Institut China for the international exhibition A Better Version of You. It is supported by Miraikan.
Athens Digital Arts Festival, Museum of Modern Greek Culture, Athens 2021
A-S HELIX: The Integration of Art and Science in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, National Museum of China, Beijing 2019
Juried exhibition, International Symposium on Electronic Art, Asia Culture Center, Gwangju 2019
Finalist, Present/Future Art & Technology Star Award, MANA, Shanghai 2019
Algorithmic Art: Shuffling Space and Time (cur. Lai Linda Chiu Han), Hong Kong City Hall, Hong Kong 2018-19
Beijing Media Art Biennale (cur. Su Xinping, Zhang Zikang, Song Xiewei, Qiu Zhijie, Chen Xiaowen, Fei Jun, Jo Wei , Zhang Wenchao, Xue Tianchong), CAFA Art Museum Beijing, Suzhou Hanshan Art Museum, 2018; Shanghai Ming Contemporary Art Museum (McaM), Shenzhen OCT Art & Design Gallery, 2020
9 Tomorrows, China Academy of Art (cur. Yao Dajuin), Powerlong Art Center, Hangzhou 2018
A Better Version of You, Goethe Institut Peking (cur. Nina Franz, Christian von Borries), 798 Art Zone, Beijing 2018
A Better Version of You, Artsonje Center for Contemporary Art, Seoul 2017
Short video here
Some photographs and promotional material here
Technical article about Alter's experimental AI and response mechanisms
Entering a 'different space' about the future 九个明天：进入关于未来的“异度空间”, Vogue, China, 2018.05
打開演算藝術的黑盒, Hong Kong News, 2019.04.26
What kind of experience is "invading the future"? “入侵未来”是一种怎样的体验?, ArtNest, China, 2018.8.1
Sci-fi artists with VR 写科幻的艺术家们, The Robb Report, China, 2018.5.22
杭州有一场挑战感受力的展览，但策展人不愿意把它称作“科技艺术” Hangzhou has an exhibition that challenges sensibility, but curators are not willing to call it "technical art", Q Daily, China, 2018.5.14
There are 9 tomorrows, and the artists have foreseen everything 未来有九个明天，艺术家们已经预见了一切, Wallpaper, China, 2018.5.12
Detonating the future 引爆未来的可能性, Phoenix Art, China, 2018.5.10
九个明天 · 国际科技艺术大展 ＋ 现场演出, Contemporary Art Survey, China, 2018.5.2
九个明天 国际科技艺术大展+户外演出, China Academy of Art, 2018.4.27
The big event 大事件, ArtNest, China, 2018.4.16
Art and technology create ‘a better version of you’, Culture, CGTN China, 2018.4.4
科技，会让我们缺氧吗, Beijing Youth Daily, 2018.3.30
媒体科技串联生活与艺术品味, Phoenix Art, China, 2018.3.29
芯片、AI 新鲜呈现 北京歌德学院“变身”最新科技展览中心, Oushinet China, 2018.3.29
A Better Version Of You: 一个关于未来的科技展会, 99Art, 2018.3.29
Art exhibition disguised as a tech fair opens in Beijing, Culture Express, China Central Television (CCTV), 2018.3.27
A Better Version Of You: 连续 9 天为你呈现未来世界, Time Out Beijing, 2018.3.27
A Better Version of You – 科技展会开幕 带你领略世界科技革新成果, Artron, China, 2018.3.24
State of the arts: Find a better version of you at Goethe-Institut, The Beijinger, 2018.3.23
对自己不满意？这里有一个关于你的“更好的版本”, Lens Magazine, 2018.1.2
在一场艺术展览上，我最终被一家科技公司的产品虏获, Creators, Vice, 2017.12.26
"The fortune-telling robot, the future of Beijing under the smog, the space station where the terracotta warriors danced... The '9 Tomorrows' science and technology exhibition has shaped an unprecedented, 'China' future science fiction world."