Why an artist turned tech bosses into mythological figures

Sebastian Errazuriz has funneled his fears over the increase in technological power into a series of audacious 3D printed sculptures

It was 2016 when Sebastian Errazuriz first felt the fear. He was walking to the subway in Brooklyn when a chilling thought dawned upon him.

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It occurred to me we might be the last generation of artists, said the New York-based Chilean artist, because we might be the last generation of everything.

With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), theres a decline of human control and jobs, not only within the service industry, but in the creative field, too. That was really weird and creepy, he said. Most people think: Its OK if the truck drivers lose their jobs, its not me, but when AI hits an artist were supposed to be one of the last ones to go were going to be replaced, too. Then I thought: Holy fuck, I need to talk about these issues.

These very issues are at the core of Errazurizs latest exhibition, The Beginning of the End, which attempts to define a new mythology, where tech bosses such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg are memorialized as all-powerful figures in art history.

His new series of 3D-printed sculptures (which are meant to look like marble) are on view until 24 May at the Elizabeth Collective in New York.

This is my attempt as an artist to create a series of mythological figures, placeholders for these conversations, said the artist. Theyre each almost created on tarot card-like archetypes.

There is Bezos riding on a horse like King Louis XIV, carrying an Amazon delivery box, trampling a worker (or a customer). There is Zuckerberg as a Roman god and Edward Snowden as a dead poet.

I have, for the past five years, been reading everything I can about technology, but the deeper you go down that rabbit hole, you tend to get more paranoid, said Errazuriz. You reach a point when you ask yourself: Am I brainwashing myself, or is the public just not informed?

He noted the growing number of job losses with exponential growth of AI, social media addiction and the rise of governments tracking individuals through technology.

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Exile
Exile and Escape (Elon Musk) by Sebastian Errazuriz. Photograph: Sebastian Errazuriz

There are very few people who are saying: Hey guys, this is weird, said Errazuriz.

The artworks are being showcased in a non-traditional gallery space, the sprawling lobby of a beaux-arts mansion in Midtown with mirrored walls (it was the former home of Elizabeth Taylor). It all starts off with a sculpture of Steve Jobs as the prophet, which is based on Auguste Rodins sculpture the Thinker crouched over an iPhone.

Every cultural revolution comes with a very charismatic figure and a series of gospels, said the artist. As soon as he created this tablet, it not only provided us all the answers to everything we want, but it provides all data for machine learning to start growing and developing.

Facebooks CEO, Zuckerberg, is crowned as the Roman emperor Augustus, surrounded by boughs of opium. We still dont know to what extent how exactly social media played a role in Brexit or Trumps election, said Errazuriz. Theres enormous amount of repercussions of this new opium, its a loss of resistance.

One of the strangest works in the show is entitled the Police State, featuring Chinas Xi Jinping flanked by his two disciples, Russias Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. The work is based on a scan of the pope at his throne.

Putin said that whoever gets control of AI first gets to control the world, said Errazuriz. There will be fascist governments that offer all kinds of incentives in exchange for peoples wants and freedoms.

He cites the police cloud where China is tracking peoples cellphone usage, their GPS and car locations, but also how other countries are learning this software from China to follow in its footsteps. Its a point-based social system, if you break these rules, you lose points, said the artist. Its a chilling notion we should be aware of.

He has also made a portrait of the Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page as the Oracle, as Google has become mostly everyones go-to for answers. What if Google tells you to travel to a certain place or date one person over another? asked Errazuriz. Are you going to question an algorithm that has been proven to be always correct? But the ability to choose and make mistakes, therefore learn and grow, is part of being human.

Bezos on triumphant horseback is based on a Louis XIV sculpture in Versailles, yet taps into the monopoly of Amazon, having 49% of all e-commerce in the US. In 2021, the company will open 3,000 checkout-free grocery stores, signaling another coming wave of job losses.

The
The Prophet (Steve Jobs) by Sebastian Errazuriz. Photograph: Sebastian Errazuriz

The ongoing power is getting bigger and squashing everyone else out, including Amazon workers, who will lose their jobs when the automated stores open, said Errazuriz. It isnt about resistance, were way beyond that its a test run for every future store functioning without people.

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Also chilling is the poignant portrait of Snowden lying unconscious in a sculpture entitled Collapse of the Resistance, which is based on the tomb of Victor Noir in the Pre Lachaise cemetery in Paris (the original bronze sculpture is based on a journalist who lost a duel to the great-nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1870).

Its a dead messenger, said Errazuriz, who portrays the whistleblower alongside a broken computer and smashed cellphone. Here, he has probably been taken out by some agency. Whether people consider him a hero or a traitor, any future resistance will be futile. We have no idea whats going to happen.

Speaking more grimly about the situation, the artist said: There is something beautiful in creating a sculpture that is a homage to someone who is dead and alive at the same time, adding that he is a symbol of so much more.

But where is Chelsea Manning, or any women in the exhibition, for that matter? Errazuriz considered including Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook, but its ultimately Zuckerberg who runs the show.

Everyone in the exhibition is white and the sculptures are white, and the tech world today doesnt have any ruling women. Maybe that is something that should be evident, he said. Rather than having two token female sculptures to balance things out, maybe it speaks more to include their absence.

If we had more female leaders, he said, Im sure we wouldnt be in the mess were in today.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

This post was curated & Posted using : RealSpecific

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