rite of spring

do androids dream of cultural stereotypes?

“rite of spring” explores the interplay of artificial intelligence, cultural biases, and the representation of the human form. this immersive experience challenges participants to confront the biases embedded in the data used to train ai systems and our culture. the installation examines this through the lens of ballet, an art form historically depicting the idealized female body.

the prompt for instructing the ai is: “a dancer, high-quality footage, cinematic, 4k, ultra-sharp, beautiful image, 35mm, dramatic lighting.” although gender-neutral, the system consistently shows a female body, and even changes induced by human interaction do not break this pattern. this illustrates how ai training data reflects societal norms and stereotypes.

the installation uses a generative patch in derivative touchdesigner, allowing users to control the movement of a layer of points in space. a stream diffusion instance translates this in real-time into the form of a dancer, whose movements reflect user interactions, creating a symbiotic relationship between human and machine.

the installation’s name is inspired by igor stravinsky’s “le sacre du printemps.” while the dancer in stravinsky’s work must dance until the end of her existence, the ai dancer in “rite of spring” is a prisoner of both its programming and the cultural biases shaping its training data. the installation acts as a mirror, forcing viewers to recognize and question the perpetuation of these biases in our society, prompting a reevaluation of stereotypes in human representation in the age of artificial intelligence.

concept, development, and realization: emanuele musca @evestrum_av https://www.instagram.com/evestrum_av/ touchdesigner component by lyell hintz @dotsimulate

about evestrum

emanuele musca, born in 1984 in italy, is an art technologist and experimental ambient/electronic musician specializing in a/v installations and projection mapping. after graduating in communication studies from the university of siena in 2014, he moved to berlin. since 2015, he has been active in the field of projection mapping and visual installations, particularly at the genius loci weimar festival.

in 2016, he became involved in berlin’s experimental music scene with the modern bön collective. in 2020, he and vincenzo gagliardi won a competition for a projection at the genius loci weimar festival. in 2021, emanuele served as a jury member for the glw festival and began working as a technician for the lighthouse of digital art.

in 2022, he and francesco della toffola @xmtry_studio founded the “latent spaces” exhibition in berlin and worked on the planning and construction of the digital art center khroma, which opened in april 2023.

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