Primitives 10 min. 3 Channel 1280 X 720 video projections.

I worked with dancer Anya Kravchenko at humainTrophumain in Montpellier to capture a series of movements using Microsoft Kinect. This motion data was fed into a program called Golaem Crowd to generate a batch of experimental 3D renders that explore the possibilities and limits of crowd simulation software.

Crowd simulation is increasingly used to create sublime and spectacular computer-generated scenes of conflict, disaster and death for film and television. Expensive crowds of extras no longer need to be hired, fed and paid – now an army of digital bodies can be created at the click of a button and manipulated with a tailored suite of settings, presets and parameters. This project uses the proto-human digital crowd to question those parameters, and in doing so attempts to understand how ideas of freedom and agency are defined through software. In this 10-minute film, I attempt to humanise and (paradoxically) individualise the crowd whilst confronting the design and limits of the software.  

This experimental project takes place at a time when the uses of artificial intelligence, chatbots, supercomputers and deep learning algorithms are constantly called into question. These entities are not human, but they are designed by humans to give the impression of humanity. When humanity is encoded as a set of parameters, we are forced to question the representational power of AI software, and in project such as this, imagine what these primitive beings could one day become.

Installation view at Laboral, Gijon, Spain as part of the DEMO1 exhibition that runs between May and October 2016.

Read interviews at POSTmatter and WeTransfer.