KAREN ANN DONNAICHIE & ANDY SIMIONATO
8 November – 3 December
The Cloud of Unknowing.
Donnachie, Simionato & Sons, 2022.
These books were autonomously generated by Artificial Intelligence.
They were not designed by humans.
Our custom-coded reading-machine can read, interpret, and illuminate any physical book, in order to make a new and unique publication.
Firstly, our reading machine uses Computer Vision to identify all words on the pages of an open book. Secondly, the algorithm uses Natural Language Processing to extract new meanings hidden in the original text. Cosmic geometries and latent meditative mantras are revealed through erasure of all other words on the page.
It repeats this process for every page of the book.The reading-machine can generate a potentially infinite number of unique versions of every book it reads. Finally, once the nonhuman reading of a book is completed, the system automatically publishes each new illuminated book, and adds it to the Library of Nonhuman Books. From the moment our machine completes its re-reading, until the delivery of the book from the print-on-demand service, our automated-art-system proceeds without the intervention of humans.
In this work, the reading-machine is re-reading The Cloud of Unknowing, a 14th Century text written by an unknown author on piercing the “cloud of unknowing” which separates the human from the divine.
Just as the mystical practices of The Cloud of Unknowing are focused on finding a path to divinity through deliberate processes of ‘unknowing’, our automated-art-system seeks computational transcendentalism through processes of coded erasure, recursive redaction, and artificial illumination. The book is algorithmically ‘unknown’ one page at a time.
Each and every edition of the nonhuman reading of The Cloud of Unknowing is unique (1/1).
In a time where books are being transformed into clouds of words, this project helps the book find new bodies that lie between human and nonhuman worlds. A publishing experiment for a post-literate society, which increasingly defers its reading to nonhuman counterparts.
Donnachie and Simionato are an artist duo who have worked exclusively together in the expanded fields of computational art and design for over 30 years. They produce custom-built automated-art-systems, driven by A.I. and machine-learning, in order to uncover and explore new feelings in an age of computational transcendence. Their work is concerned with the shared futures of language, literature, and emerging technologies. They have won the highest international awards and critical recognition in their fields, with work exhibited internationally and featured in a number of major publications and international press. Their A.I. reading of M.D. Vernon’s Psychology of Perception, received the Cornish Family Prize for Art and Design Book Publishing (AU), the Tokyo Type Directors Club Award (JP) and the Robert Coover Award for Electronic Literature (USA) in 2020.