Chambers (work in progress)
Installation, dimension variable, 2021
The ongoing project 'chambers' examines the complex interrelationship between laboratory rats, wild rats and machine learning.
There were animals before machines, and before humans. Before machine takes some of the humans’ role it was substituting animals, and before humans experiment with machines they did with animals. As it seems their relationship is inextricably entangled in each other, they are, in fact, each other – partially or entirely. Having this complex ontology, humans have been inevitably anthropomorphizing animals and machines to understand them and also to understand the human self, which shapes again an intricate ecology of empathy. My project here examines these ecologies and aims to create a new type of non-hierarchical co-existence.
The project ‘Chambers’ focuses on rats(generally rodents). Rats are within certain cultures and histories often despised animals, considered dangerous, harmful, and therefore killable. In a science laboratory, on the other hand, rats are one of the most popular subjects, useful, highly productive, but also killable. Machine in between humans and rats takes crucial roles in revealing their complex socio-political implications, by categorizing, and pattern making. With 2 videos and one generative moving image, all chambers shape as a media-sculptural installation in a physical form. Playing in between allegories and analogies, these two non-human agents will seek the way out, which leads to the chambers of madness.
Machine Learning generated moving image, Unity, non-stop playing
“Is outside of the chamber, a failure, escape, death, or rebellion?”
The falling rats in the video were trained for ‘23 seconds’ to perform a specific task in a specific area by an algorithm. As a result, most rats fail (do not perform) the task and fall out(escape) from the chambers. After a certain period of time, the rats are summoned back to the original area and repeat this as long as the program runs. The black lines in the graphic are generated following the movement of the agent (rat) of the algorithm and show the behavior patterns.
Arbitrary Radius Circle
3 Channel Video, HD, color, stereo, 9mins
The title is taken from the poem “Strange Reversible Reaction” by Korean poet ‘Yi-Sang(1910-1937)’. The three-channel video depicts a schizophrenic process in which a fictional scientist (behavioral psychologist) repeats experiments to find the ‘ultimate behavioral pattern of an organism’, but in the end realizes that he has always been a subject and an experimenter. The video consists of a machine learning lecture, interview clips of Skinner, a fictional scientist’s diary, and lines of the poem.