Beyond the Body

How will technologies such as AI and robotics transform the way we live — and die? As a closing to our Dying Tomorrow workshop, we present an interdisciplinary event that connects dance performances to expert panels to explore the “final transformation” of our bodies and minds.

Header image by Holger Schué from Pixabay.

Event Details

Location

swissnex San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94111 United States

Date

November 09, 2019 from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-07:00)

Cost


Every day, we generate data about our daily lives. What happens when that data lives beyond us? With big data, social media, and shifting social concepts of “a good death” converging to create a digital afterlife, we explore the technology that is driving the transformation of the ways we die — and the way we are mourned. Following Dying Tomorrow, our day-long symposium on technology and death, Beyond the Body is a public lecture with dance performances that explore relevant questions about data that lives beyond our own mortality.

The first panel, “The Mind-Data Connection,” explores the emerging knowledge of how technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence influence our minds, personalities, and behaviors. From there, “Dying Tomorrow” takes a look at the past and future of mourning, and how we might interact with the digital ghosts our loved ones leave behind. Dance performances, from Malika Fankha and Kinetech Arts, bringing us back to the physical, offering insights through performances examining the conflict between machines and bodies.

Join us for an evening of performances and discussions about bodies, data, and machines with experts from academia, industry, dance, and research as we imagine new futures for loss and grieving. 

For a deeper dive into the issues of death, tech, and mourning, join our Dying Tomorrow workshop earlier in the day.

Program

6:30pm — doors open
7:00pm — performance
7:25pm — panel: the mind-data connection
8:00pm — performance
8:25pm — panel: dying tomorrow
9:00pm — afterparty for the afterlife with interactive experiences

Performances

Kinetech Arts, AI Sensorium

AI Sensorium reflects on the advance of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). Like all the major technology advances in history, with the potential of drastically improving human lives, comes unexpected side effects. In AI Sensorium, we investigate how our bodies and minds are transformed, exploited, and manipulated by ML and AI, both virtually and physically. Unlike physical footprints, erasing digital footprints is futile. You can no longer control what is left behind. Invasion of privacy is like a sharp needle penetrating our skin. Deep fake blurs the reality. The giant machine of influence creates bubbles that contort our beliefs. AI Sensorium is a reflection on these strange realities, a poetic and fresh perspective that invites the viewer to reflect on their daily interactions in the virtual and physical worlds. AI Sensorium will be performed with Adagio de l’intérieur, a kinetic sound installation by Patricia Alessandrini, in collaboration with Michael Koehle and Weidong Yang.

Malika Fankha, Oxy Moron
Oxy Moron is a play of multiple selves and their constant, seamless shape-shift between fiction and reality, magic and science, present and future. Using the modern day cyborg as a metaphorical narrative that unites both human appearance and machine-like behavior, the work juggles with stereotypes and challenges different concepts of a perceived norm. Identities, corporealities and social status pass through a precarious transformation between self-empowerment, self-enhancement, self-optimization and self-deformation, questioning the significance of the physical and the human in a digital age.

Experiences

LAVIN, Jieliang (Rodger) Luo and Weidi Zhang

This VR project is a conceptual response to Truth in the modern AI age. For the range of neural networks — from those trained to recognize thousands of objects to those that can only generate binary outputs — each neural network, like each human being, has its own understanding of the real world, even when the inputs are the same. LAVIN provides an immersive responsive experience that visually explores the understanding of one neural network, in which the real world is mapped to 50 daily objects. LAVIN constantly analyzes the real world via a camera, and presents the viewer with its interpretations as a virtual world consisting of all the fluid, abstract structures that are designed and animated limited to those objects that it can recognize.

Adagio de l’intérieur, Patricia Alessandrini

Patricia Alessandrini, Adagio sans quatuor kinetic installation, Gaîté lyrique (Paris), 2016; Photo credit: Franck FervilleThis immersive installation consists of a series of metal sheets serving as speakers, as sound is transduced through them. The resulting vibration of the plates can be heard, seen, and felt. Laser projection will be employed to further articulate the visual vibration of the plates and create an aggregate image representing the sum their individual modes of vibration. By separating a complex sound down into its individual spectral components, the piece allows the listener to focus in on each of the timbral elements which together make up a piece of music.  In Adagio de l’intérieur  these individual elements will manifest themselves sonically, visually, and physically, creating an immersive, tangible experience that invites participants to explore the phenomenon of sonic vibration. (Photo: Patricia Alessandrini, Adagio sans quatuor kinetic installation, Gaîté lyrique (Paris), 2016; Photo credit: Franck Ferville)

Panelists

(additional speakers TBA)

Rebecca Blum

Rebecca Blum has spoken about her NecroTech research at SXSW, IxDA, End Well and SF Design Week, and co-developed and taught a course called “Designing for Death” at the Stanford d.School. In her day job, she leads the research team for Lyft’s Marketplace & Growth group, in San Francisco. Before joining Lyft, she was an Associate Strategy Director at frog design, where she worked with clients from Fortune50s to 5-person start-ups. She has published on technology and design in VentureBeat, FastCompany, and Business Insider. She also likes subway maps, improv, and puns.

Ajay Chander

Ajay Chander leads R&D teams in imagining and building new human-centric technologies and products. His work has spanned transparent AI, AI life assistants, digital healthcare and wellness, software security, and computational behavior design. He has received several best paper awards, as well as the ACM’s “Most Influential Paper” (of the decade) award. Previously, he received his PhD from Stanford University. Currently, Dr. Chander serves as the Vice President of Research at Fujitsu’s R&D lab in Silicon Valley and provides technical and thought/strategy leadership for all aspects of the interplay between technology and the human experience.

Malika Fankha

Malika Fankha studied theatre in Zurich and contemporary dance in Salzburg (SEAD) and NYU (Tisch School of Performing Arts). She works internationally as a dancer, choreographer, sound poet and DJ. Her performative work aims to blur the hierarchies between genres, to collapse the threshold of binary and normative social codes such as male and female, artificial and human, intimacy and representation. Using multiple narratives with both body and voice she spectrums the utopian and dystopian characteristics of popular media culture, posthumanism, and trivia, while at the same time declaring everything to be within the textual, visual, and emotive space of poetry. Among others, she has been collaborating with SUPERAMAS, Tino Sehgal, Deborah Hazler, Valérie Reding, Saar Magal and Maureen Kaegi. (Photo © Tim Tom)

Daiane Lopes da Silva

Daiane Lopes da Silva is a dancer, choreographer, teacher and Artistic Director and co-founder of Kinetech Arts. Her work has been performed in Brazil, France, Belgium, Greece and the U.S. She has received support from Zellerbach Family Foundation, CA$H Grant, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and CounterPulse. She was a resident artist at SAFEhouse arts, CounterPulse and Headlands Center for the Arts. Daiane studied at The Municipal Ballet of São Paulo, Brazil and at P.A.R.T.S (Performing Arts Research and Training Studios), directed by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker in Brussels. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology, Alpha Beta Kappa, from SFSU. She is on faculty at Alonzo King Lines Ballet Dance Center and Western Ballet.

 

Artists

Patricia Alessandrini

Patricia Alessandrini is a composer/sound artist creating compositions, installations, and performance situations which are for the most part interactive and intermedial. Her works have been presented in the Americas, Asia, Australia, and more than 15 European countries. She performs research on immersive experience, embodied interaction, and instrument design for inclusive performance. She studied at the Conservatorio di Bologna, Conservatoire de Strasbourg and IRCAM (Paris), and holds PhDs from Princeton University and the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC). She currently teaches at Stanford University/CCRMA, where she performs research on embodied interaction and immersive experience, including instrument design for inclusive performance. She is published by Babelscores, and her works may also be accessed at patriciaalessandrini.com.

Jieliang (Rodger) Luo
Jieliang (Rodger) Luo is an AI researcher and artist who focuses on reinforcement learning and robotics. His artworks have been featured at SIGGRAPH, SIGGRAPH Asia, IEEE VIS, CURRENTS, and major galleries in US, China, and Korea. He also publishes machine learning papers at leading conferences, like ICRA and CoRL. Luo will co-present the interactive AI/AR experience, LAVIN.

 

Weidi Zhang

Weidi Zhang is a new media artist. Her art practices focus on experimental visualization in VR environments. Her works are featured at SIGGRAPH, Times Art Museum, Topaz Art Center, IEEE Vis, etc. Currently she is a Ph.D student in Media Arts and Technology Program at UC Santa Barbara. Zhang will co-present the interactive AI/AR experience, LAVIN.

Performers

Malika Fankha

Malika Fankha © Tim TomMalika Fankha studied theatre in Zurich and contemporary dance in Salzburg (SEAD) and NYU (Tisch School of Performing Arts). She works internationally as a dancer, choreographer, sound poet and DJ. Her performative work aims to blur the hierarchies between genres, to collapse the threshold of binary and normative social codes such as male and female, artificial and human, intimacy and representation. Using multiple narratives with both body and voice she spectrums the utopian and dystopian characteristics of popular media culture, posthumanism, and trivia, while at the same time declaring everything to be within the textual, visual, and emotive space of poetry. Among others, she has been collaborating with SUPERAMAS, Tino Sehgal, Deborah Hazler, Valérie Reding, Saar Magal and Maureen Kaegi. (Photo © Tim Tom)

Kinetech Arts

Daiane Lopes da Silva photo by Weidong YangKinetech Arts is a group of artists and scientists creating unique performances that combine dance and science with the newest interactive technology. Founded by Artistic Directors Weidong Yang and Daiane Lopes da Silva in January 2013, Kinetech Arts has performed at ODC theatre, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, KUNST-STOFF arts, L.A.S.T festival, Moscone Center, Headlands Center for the Arts, Djerassi, De Young Museum, among others. They host DanceHack, an annual tech + dance event, in association with CounterPulse SF. Kinetech Arts was recognized by the SF WEEKLY as “Best Genre-Defying Sci-Artistic Collaboration of 2014.”

 

LifeCycle Series

Throughout 2019, swissnex San Francisco will bring together experts from a wide range of disciplines to explore the questions we confront in an age of CRISPR, genetics, the datafication of DNA, artificial intelligence, and synthetic biology. Connecting artists and scientists, the LifeCycle series will pose challenging questions about where we want our tech to take us: not only looking at what is possible today, but how to be responsible stewards of our new health tech revolution.


Header image by Holger Schué from Pixabay.

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