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December 3, 2012

Stefan Larsson Explores The Technologial Singularity Through Film

The Singularity In Art
Channeling the ideas of the Technological Singularity movement as described by Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil, and by the ideas and visions of Ben Goertzel, Marvin Minsky and Masahiro Mori, Swedish artist Stefan Larsson creates breathtaking visions of his own in digital film. His current film, Cathexis, is currently part of SIGGRAPH Asia in Singapore.
Inspired by the Technological Singularity movement as described by Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil, and by the ideas and visions of Ben Goertzel, Marvin Minsky and Masahiro Mori, Swedish artist Stefan Larsson creates breathtaking visions of his own in digital film.

Currently living in Japan, Larsson creates film projects such as AUJIK and Cathexis featuring bizarre creatures. Cathexis which is a collaboration with a Scottish electronica musician called Christ and a professor in cognitive neuro science at Stockholm's university. The theme of the the film is how Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) transcends with nature and the human mind by an esoteric and animistic fictional group called AUJIK.

Cathexis is currently part of SIGGRAPH Asia in Singapore.

Larsson's work also been part of Prix Ars Electronica, CMoDA Beijing, onedotzero, Japan media arts festival and many more. He has also held solo exhibitions in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto where he currently lives.

In his film, the AUJIK are featured.  AUJIK are a group of new age Shintos who believe that everything in nature is animated, event the technological, artificial and synthetic.  The work evokes Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle in some respects, but more concretely explores the technological.

"One of the main ideas with the AUJIK artefacts is that they don’t have any purpose. They are a kind of entity which are a crossbreed of nature and technology. Everything we consider technology – from the knife to carbon nano tubes -originates from nature and are constructed for a certain purpose to serve our needs." says Larsson.   "All forms of technology also evolve and becoming more efficient. The AUJIK artefacts never evolve, they always been in the same state since the Cambrian Explosion."

Stefan Larsson Exploring the Singularity

"Their attributes are characterized by an idle and resigned behavior  
Each artefacts consists of an consciousness and sub consciousness similar to Artificial Intelligence, but with a much more vast and multifaceted capacity. 
Even though they properly have a very wide emotional register they are unable to express them self in any forms.
  Considering the importance and demands people have on technology these artefacts might be dangerous to some extent since they are rather redundant and may be looked upon as self indulgent."

For the last year and a half Larsson has been working on the progressive short film, Cathexis.  It is currently 25 minutes and the aim is to make it at least 45 minutes long. Larson says that it is built in chapters with various themes that all have the AUJIK artefacts artificial limbic system (a more complex form of AI) as a core. 
The chapters are:
  • QUALIA: Form, space, physics, mimicry and metamorphosis.
  • AMYGDALA: the limbic system; neurosis, psychosis, phobias.
  • LABRIDAE: Gender, animus/anima-complex, hermaphroditism.
  • MANDALA: creativity, interaction, transcendence.
Stefan Larsson AUJIK

"It is basically about how the group members intend to interact with the artefacts consciousness/sub-consciousness and the results and consequences of that pursuit.
 There’s so many fascinating aspects of AI that will reveal many new areas of the human mind."

According to Larsson, "It’s like reverse reverse engineering in a way.
 In Cathexis is try to manifest some of this vision and ideas in a rather anomalous fashion. 
Most of the scenes are filmed using green screen which is pretty harsh work since I don’t have access to a green screen studio and have to rebuild it for each shoot. I decided to take a break from it and instead learn more about computer graphics technique.
 So at the moment I’m working on a 5-7 minutes video which is also an excuse to develop on 3D software and mainly particle systems."

The theme of the video is primitive computation which is illustrated by a stone and the intelligence potential it poses by its billions of atoms.
The video will have a macro kind of endoscope perspective with the camera floating through a landscape of objects similar to neurons, foliage, ikebana, nebulas, organs and robotics.

Larsson, says that, "Media art will emerge explosively in the forthcoming years since the technique became more accessible and cheep, which is important for the artists seeking for new ways to express their ideas."

SOURCE  Cyberfest 12, Stefan Larsson

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