THE HUMAN AFTER
Nobody knows the moment that change occurred, when the consciences of millions of people were encoded and stored. We only know who was behind this action: Artificial Intelligences.The Human After is a (extra) corporal experience in a city built of familiar imaginaries from science fiction.
Original idea, design: Anni Garza Lau / Programming: José María Pérez, Emilio Malagón, Marcos Flores, Bruno Díaz / 3D Modeling (body): Juan de Dios León (Chopsticksstudio), 3D Modeling (city, objects, characters): Patricio Hernández / Sound-composition: Riar Rizaldi / Data gloves: Hugo Vargas
This project was developed as part of the residency program 2018 at Laboratorio de Inmersión y Realidades Mixtas | Centro de Cultura Digital Estela de Luz | Fundación BBVA
Curatorial text by Doreen Ríos
Based on post and transhuman postulations, this artwork displays a dystopian future where remains of human kind are their uploaded minds, now stored and controlled by an AI. To test human response the machine builds a city and provides a virtual body for every user, as well as different objects/characters to interact with. In order to make this digital space familiar, the machine uses only pop culture references to create it (such as Terminator, Do androids dream of electric sheep?, Ghost in the Shell, etc.).
The experience is focused on the body, its possibilities of expansion when incorporating technology, the ease for altering perception through stimuli and the eventual control imposed over it by the machine. All possible events affect the virtual body, but the experiences translate to the flesh (vertigo, change skin or body size, etc). To accomplish a full body agency, (experiments carried out by Mel Slater and Shaun Gallagher were taken into account) the user is provided with five trackers and our own developed data gloves, so that she can walk and interact freely through the space.
While such a future would seem far, facts like there are around forty or so companies developing General Artificial Intelligence, and Brain Preservation Foundation awarded Nectome (2018) for preserving synapses of a pig's brain, urge a discussion on ethics about the path technology (and the companies' interests) is pointing to. This artwork makes the fragility of human mind and perception evident when faced to its dependence on the body and its sensations, and invites the audience to have a political stance on the use of pervasive technological devices.
The Human After also foresees a near future where the body will be a consumable technological good only attainable for those who could afford it. From the artist's point of view, the blind trust placed in technology exerted by the wide public, who wittingly give away their identity in exchange for new experiences, reinforces an invisible and powerful control machinery, which eventually will also be imposed to the body. In this sense, the artwork is part of a broader research carried out around the concept of cyborg and research on stimuli that affect the body, with Virtual Reality being a quite strong one, as evidenced by the end of the piece.
Autonomous environment. For every new user, the computer shapes a different city, making choices on how to display every building, lighting and interactive objects. Because of this, each experience is different.
For more on the design process, please visit: https://annigarzalauvr.tumblr.com/
Data gloves. In the intend to achieve full body agency, we designed and built low cost data gloves. A first prototype was used during the presentation of the artwork at Festival INMERSIVA from September 27th to 30th 2018. Hugo Vargas designed and built the circuit, 3D printing the hard parts of the glove. Motion sensors with springs were connected to the knuckles and tips of the fingers. A quick calibration is done after setting the gloves to adapt to different hand sizes. Then data is sent through the USB port in the headset.