Isea 2022 - Possibles



June 11 to 16

Screening / Models for Environmental Literacy

Authors: Tivon Rice

Work: Models for Environmental Literacy creatively and critically explores the challenges of describing a landscape, an ecosystem, or the specter of environmental collapse through human language. How do we see, feel, imagine, and talk about the environment in this post-digital era, when non-human/machine agents have been trained to perceive “natural” spaces?


Theme: Artificial Intelligence, Eco-Science, Eco-Philosophy, Eco-Fiction, Worldbuilding

More information:

  • Abstract: The experimental video “Models for Environmental Literacy” invites us to rethink the nature and application of artificial intelligence in the context of the environment. As three A.I. voices guide us through a series of landscapes at the intersections of nature and human intervention, we follow a dialogue somewhere within the spectrum of human and non-human language. How does our reading of this computer-generated language point back to our own personal subjectivities and our own environmental literacy? And equally so, how can encounters with non-human language act as a kind of dress rehearsal for future relationships with the Other?

    In the face of climate change, large-scale computer-controlled systems are being deployed to understand terrestrial systems. Artificial intelligence is used on a planetary scale to detect, analyze, and manage landscapes. In the West, there is a great belief in ‘intelligent’ technology as a lifesaver. However, practice shows that the dominant AI systems lack the fundamental insights to act in an inclusive manner towards the complexity of ecological, social, and environmental issues. This, while the imaginative and artistic possibilities for the creation of non-human perspectives are often overlooked.

    With the long-term research project and experimental films Models for Environmental Literacy, the artist Tivon Rice explores in a speculative manner how A.I.s could have alternative perceptions of an environment. Three distinct A.I.s were trained for the screenplay: the Scientist, the Philosopher, and the Author. The A.I.s each have their own personalities and are trained in literary work – from science fiction and eco-philosophy, to current intergovernmental reports on climate change. Rice brings them together for a series of conversations while they inhabit scenes from scanned natural environments. These virtual landscapes have been captured on several field trips that Rice undertook over the past two years with FIBER (Amsterdam) and BioArt Society (Helsinki).

  • Biography: Tivon Rice is an artist and educator working across visual culture and technology. Based in Seattle (US), his work critically explores representation and communication in the context of digital culture and asks: how do we see, inhabit, feel, and talk about these new forms of exchange? How do we approach creativity within the digital? What are the poetics, narratives, and visual languages inherent in new information technologies? And what are the social and environmental impacts of these systems?

    Rice holds a PhD in Digital Art and Experimental Media from the University of Washington, where he is currently an Assistant Professor of Data-Driven Arts Practice. He was a Fulbright scholar (Korea 2012), one of the first individuals to collaborate with Google Artists + Machine Intelligence, and served as an Artistic Researcher at the Delft University of Technology.
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