This time, I would like to introduce “The Garden of Eden” created by Shanghai artist Yiming Yang, who was selected for the NEWVIEW AWARDS2020 FINALISTS.
This work was created by Yiming Yang, an artist active in Shanghai.
The caption is as follows
The Garden of Eden is in response to today’s developments in artificial intelligence.
The origin of human intelligence is still an unsolved mystery.
Can wisdom and consciousness arise, eventually, from artificial intelligence?
Should we push the boundaries of technology towards the creation of sentient beings?
This situation reminds that of Adam and Eve. When they got access to the Garden of Eden they weren’t able to control their impulses, and eventually were rejected from Paradise.
We’re now playing the part of God. How will our Artificial Intelligence creations behave in our world?
And, if they get rogue, do we have a place where we can relegate them?
Here Eve is a robotic creature, and as such she’s not alive.
The forbidden fruit here symbolizes the singularity — the moment when technology will become alive, and gain the status of species, rather than object.
Eve is attracted by the fruit, but she’s governed by code, not conscious thoughts.
Why are we designing robots that behave and look like humans?
What materializes the transition between mechanical and alive?
How can we recognize this change of nature?
Those questions are addressed in “The Garden of Eden”, which exposes the moment this transition will possibly happen.
(Adapted from Newview Awards finalist 2020 work profile: https://newview.design/en/works/the-garden-of-eden/
In this piece, I will explain the work by focusing on the uncertainty of the future with artificial intelligence and the benefits of representing it in VR.
About Yiming Yang
Yiming Yang is a media artist in Shanghai, China who uses various media and technologies to create experimental expressions.
She has graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2020 and earn an MA in Information Experience Design. She is preparing to open her own studio and attending the art residency at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel until 18th April.
Her work titled Barbie Nonsense Instrument, a self-sustained, unpredictable, interactive musical instrument was featured at Apple Store Regent Street.
She has also presented her work in Tate Modern, Microsoft and Power Station of Art.
Yiming’s work pushes forward the horizons of today’s post Anthropocene visions, where utopia and dystopia clash in uncertainty.
The flow of information from the inner, unexplorable, states of mind collides with that of body perceptions, giving shape to often absurd ideologies that precariously balance on the brink of the eternal life/death dualism.
Yiming’s personal feelings grow in this realm of absurdity and find a physical shape in her work made of different media and creative techniques — to ultimately discuss the relationship between virtuality and reality.
(Profile taken from Yiming Yang’s website: https://www.yimingyang.org/new-page)
Yiming has also done other installations in real space in the past. I feel that Yiming is continuously creating grand experiments to ask us questions or to see how Yiming’s own production affects our minds and our thoughts.
「The Garden of Eden」
This work is a spatial installation in the form of a virtual space.
First of all, you (the viewer) are placed in front of a non-human, androgynous girl and made to stand in this work.
She’s attracted by the forbidden fruit.She’s about to become human. The sentence at the top translates to, “Welcome to the Garden of Eden. You are God. Eve knows, but does not yet understand. She is fascinated by the forbidden fruit and is becoming human. So it is written.
The viewer wears a VR and is invited into the work by Yiming to view the android girl becoming human from the perspective of a god. The work is as divine as if you were watching a myth, and I recommend watching it in VR to experience the world more.
I would like to unravel the advantages of using VR to express this work and what Yiming wants to ask us, the viewers, by approaching artificial intelligence from the following two perspectives.
The media nature of VR
The first is that this work specializes in the first person among VR works.
Most VR works are based on the idea of transporting the viewer to another dimension through a device.
However, Yiming took the opposite approach and transformed us not as viewers of the work, but as “gods” with the fruits of wisdom and life in our hands, making it easier to understand the intention of the work and the questions it is asking.
Approaches to Artificial Intelligence
In recent years, with the development of technology, there has been a growing interest in artificial intelligence.
I feel that it is very important to consider the questions about artificial intelligence, and the uncertainty of the future.
When machines that only “mimic” human intelligence gain the same “intelligence” as humans, what will we see them as, rather than machines?
Just thinking about it makes me excited.
Twenty years ago, or even earlier, no one would have predicted that we would be living with smartphones, VR, and AI.
Today, AI is being used to create artworks. In the future, there will be more and more works on the theme of AI, or works that utilize AI.
Let’s experience “The Garden of Eden”, Yiming’s world view that we can touch only because we live in the present age.
Let’s experience it.
- Experience it from your smart phone
Download STYLY Mobile and start up the scene. For instructions on how to download, please refer to the following article.
- Experience it from your smartphone
Click on the image below to access the scene’s page in the STYLY GALLERY. Select a device to experience it.