Visual System, a French digital media collective, thinks that the rise of a Super Machine—an all-seeing, all-knowing embodiment of Singularity—could be inevitable, not unlike the histrionic imaginings of sci-fi films like Transcendence. "According to some theorists," the collective writes on the description for a new installation called Out of Control, technology could reach this apex "around 2030, i.e., in the blink of an eye." The audio-visual project, which debuted yesterday at Brussel's Atomium culture center, strives to imagine such a foreboding machine through a multi-sensory exhibition that follows their 2013 artwork at the same space.
Out Of Control is a series of sound (made by Thomas Vaquié) and light cycles that conceptualize a battle between an artificial intelligence machine and a computer virus. Based on the novel Hors Contrôle by Stéphane Beauverger, the installation "looks at the conflict between two opposing sides: the Heart and the Virus." As visitors explore the space, they encounter various phases of the fictional conflict—some stage imagine the virus dominating, while others see the A.I. tech leading the fight.
The project focuses on this fight from the inside, "Not from the human [perspective], but from the machine’s point of view, portraying the inner conflict of a faulty artificial system which suffers an external attack, unaware of what or why this has happened."
"This is not about telling a story in the traditional sense," Visual System explains. "It is about using the sounds and visual features of the space inhabited by the installation to express the fluctuations created by the confrontation between the Virus and the Heart."
The creators continue:
"The Atomium was born in an era that saw the future both as a promise of progress and a source of concern. The site is an incarnation of this golden age of science fiction, examining the relationship between a man and the conscious machine. By welcoming the disoriented machine of Out of Control, the Atomium reminds us that technology continues to question humankind about its very nature."