Taken by Artificial Surprise
Performance and installation series exploring surprise, magic and machine learning
Thursday, July 28 - Saturday, July 31, 2022
Free (reservation required)
CultureLAB LIC: 5-25 46th Avenue, Long Island City, New York, NY 11101
This performance and installation explores the relationships between magic, machine learning, and surprise. Participants are welcomed to step inside a performed thought-experiment where they find themselves within a Turing test of sorts. Presented with performances of historic pieces of magic with varying levels of surprise as well as magic developed with the help of AI, participants, while in the moment, might find themselves a bit unsure as to which may be which.
Inspired by Victorian-era parlor games, in 1950 Alan Turing imagined the parlor amusement titled ‘the imitation game.’ This inspired the now-famous Turing test and utilized the question, "can a machine take us by surprise?" as a way to investigate computational intelligence. Taken by Artificial Surprise explores the drawing-room magic of the Victorian period as a means to investigate human creation and experience of surprise. What might performances of the seemingly impossible demonstrate about the capabilities and limitations of both machine learning and the human mind? Andrews invites participants to think about what constitutes the experience of surprise itself and whether surprise is a unique, defining factor of human consciousness. The work also highlights how the mechanisms to create surprise lie deep within the gaps of lived and learned experience and are perhaps made using the ontological commitments and sense data of robust personal and cultural experiences. The work may also provoke questions as to whether a computer or a human is capable of producing more surprising results. Andrews also notes that, “this project was inspired by my time as an Affiliate at metaLAB (at) Harvard. During this time I was fortunate to have encountered a diversity of ideas and research, and discourse with metaLAB members also greatly assisted the ideation process.” This work is made possible by Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc. and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.
About Culture Lab LIC
Culture Lab LIC is a 501(c)(3) formed to bring accessible, high quality art of all genres to our community, and to support local artists by providing rehearsal, performance, exhibition space, as well as a robust residency program. CL is dedicated to upholding, equity, diversity and inclusion across all our platforms. Operating out of a 12,000 square foot art center, Culture Lab LIC hosts two fine art galleries, a 90 seat theatre, classroom space, and an 18,000 square foot outdoor venue, made possible by the generous donation of space from Plaxall Inc. CL is honored to host more arts programming than any other organization in New York City. Culture Lab is more than a venue, it is the heart of Long Island City.
A very special thanks to Plaxall Inc. for the donation of this amazing space and supporting us in turning it into this cornerstone of arts and community activity!
This project was also made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant program, a program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature and administered by Flushing Town Hall.