A Portrait of the Artist as a Living Algorithm
Lecture by Mohammad Salemy
We are surrounded by an ongoing discussion about algorithms and their contributions toward automation and the emergence of artificial intelligence. However, there aren’t many in the field of art today who are seriously contemplating the real and tangible implications of these latest stages of cybernetic revolution for their field. Even less is being done in the art world to direct the epistemic consequences of these acquired knowledges toward constructing new forms of self-reflection. Can the work of an artist be considered an algorithm or at least be compared to algorithmic processes? What kinds of methodologies are needed to erase the “authentic” and human-oriented self-image of contemporary art to expose its algorithmic logic? Can we even go further and re-ontologize the figure of the artist as a living algorithm? Since artistic practice and its performance take their final form in the public sphere, the invisibility of their most basic algorithms produces both an aura and doubt for the artist. These positive and negative false impressions, however, ought not to distract us from breaking down the being and function of the artist and analyzing its algorithmic core.
Mohammad Salemy is an independent Vancouver and Berlin-based artist, critic, and curator from Canada. He holds a BFA from Emily Carr University and an MA in critical curatorial studies from the University of British Columbia. He has shown his works in Ashkal Alwan’s Home Works 7 (Beirut, 2015), Witte de With (Rotterdam, 2015), and Robot Love (Eindhoven, 2018). His writings have been published in e-flux journal, Flash Art, Third Rail, Brooklyn Rail, Ocula, and Spike.