United Visual Artists

04 October – 08 December 2018 Gallery open Tuesdays to Saturdays 12 – 5pm BOM is delighted to present the world premiere of Beholder, a virtual reality experience by United Visual Artists (UVA) exploring beauty from autistic perspectives. Commissioned by BOM, Beholder seeks to re-evaluate our perception of beauty, to see it through another’s eyes. The work centres around the wonder of everyday phenomena as seen through the eyes of an autistic child, Oliver, alongside wider autistic perspectives. Oliver is the son of Matt Clark, founder and director of UVA, who has worked with his team at UVA to create the artwork. Beholder continues UVA’s investigations into experiences that transcend the physical, and question the relativity of experience. It inquires into our ability to process very detailed information at the expense of altering our perception of time and space, a phenomenon often intensified within the autistic spectrum. “This artwork explores — and in many ways celebrates — the alternative ways in which neurodivergent individuals perceive the world we live in. Following a research-based process with my autistic son Oliver, UVA have created a Virtual Reality experience informed by the stimuli which seem to captivate the attention of an autistic mind.” – Matt Clark, UVA Set in a pleasant nature scene, Beholder studies the movement of a flock of tree sparrows, revealing their flying patterns and other layers of information, while our perception of time and space is highly transformed. UVA have benefitted from wider autistic input during the production of the work. Particularly, through conversations with artist Sonja Zelic who has helped by translating her views into the VR experience. Sonja’s new audio work, A Dream of A Safe Space, is also available in the gallery. This work, inspired by Beholder is narrated by the dreamer of the title and is inter-cut with the point of view of a particular sea bird’s lived experience. This makes it unclear who is ‘speaking’ — the voice of the dreamer and bird merge.  Through Beholder, UVA seek to reimagine a space where experience is fluid and neurodiversity is re-evaluated. It offers individuals the opportunity to temporarily enter a new existence, where one can expand or limit their own world, and perhaps be further transformed.

THE KITTY AI : Artificial Intelligence for Governance

Pinar Yoldas

04 October – 08 December 2018

Gallery open Tuesdays to Saturdays 12 – 5pm

The year is 2039. War (the P-Crisis EMEA war) has ravaged West Eurasia. The emotional impact on its citizen’s collective consciousness cannot be overstated. In the aftermath, an Artificial Intelligence with the affective capacities of a kitten becomes the first non-human governor. She rules over megalopolis. Leading a politician-free life with a network of other Artificial Intelligences, Kitty lives in the mobile devices of citizens and can love up to 3 million people.

This exhibition considers AI and humanity’s relationship to this emerging technology. With The Kitty AI, Pinar challenges the end-of-the-world narratives that have driven debates and societal concerns surrounding the technology. Instead, she poses the question, ‘Would advances in AI technology necessarily bring about the domination and destruction of humans, or does it have the potential to enhance human lives, meshing seamlessly into human social, emotional and political life?’

Drawing heavily on iconography from the European Union, and featuring many of Europe’s leading political figures past and present (Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, David Cameron), The Kitty AI offers viewers a reminder of the affective ties that can bind people and nations. In the wake of unstable political & environmental landscapes that await future generations, Kitty’s “political” message – if it can be called this – is spread not through polished rhetoric – Kitty’s childlike tone and candid manner lack the traditional markers of authority – but through a seemingly genuine love for her citizens: a message transmitted through their digital devices. Directly addressing the viewer, Kitty claims that ‘Love means care. I care about you’.

Like much of Pinar’s past work, such as Ecosystems of Excess & Distilling the Sky, The Kitty AI explores the reckless and destructive nature of human beings. Kitty’s first-person account of the P-Crisis EMEA War and its aftermath is harrowing and all too familiar. The war is used to justify the emergence of AI governance, where, as Kitty argues, salvation lies not in the hands of humanity, but in non-human intervention.

Informed as it is by the cyberpunk genre, where technology is advanced and lifeforms are low, it is left entirely up to the viewer to decide whether Kitty does indeed represent a merely benevolent force.