THE GAZE : THE MACHINE WITHOUT EYES

2020

Collaboration with James Hughes
Experimental audio-visual with Surveillance video and generative storytelling, Material: Neural Storyteller, Python and video editing software
The Gaze‚Äč is an audio-visual installation exploring conceptual issues around ‘the border’ - race, identity, the political geography of surveillance , and manifestations of power. The piece is composed of three intertwined elements: surveillance camera footage on the left screen. Stories generated by artificial intelligence using neural storyteller and Gpt-3 on the middle screen. And headshots on the right screen. The generated stories are narrated by voice actors of different ethnic backgrounds.
The pandemic is amplifying our exposure and engagement with social media and bombarding us with video and images from mobile phones. Incidences of racism and xenophobia - reinforced by the political narrative around the origins of COVID-19 - are spilling into the streets to be captured by the ubiquity of cameras.
I found myself on the receiving end of racism, which I attribute to the anti-China narrative being pushed in the media. This event generated a massive cloud of anxiety around my life, which precipitated a curiosity about how racism is depicted in visual culture, how surveillance culture produces, propagates, and collects data, and how the power of the gaze is exercised during this pandemic period.
The themes are ‘absence’,‘boundaries’, ‘watching’, ‘chance’, and ‘violence’. All themes are from conceptual issues around ‘the border’- I categorized the surveillance and news footage into these themes. These images were fed into Neural Storyteller and GPT-3 to create short stories.

VIDEO

VIDEO STILLS

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CREDIT

Artist: ISOGRAM Studio, Ha Na Lee & James Hughes
Script: Neural Storyteller, GPT-3 & ISOGRAM Studio
Cinematography & Grip: Ali Akbari & Adnan Kawser
Video Portraits: Anika Mahin, Ala Mohsen, Ali Akbari, Adnan Kawser
Voice Actors: Anika Mahin, Niyi Adelekan, Sohm Kapila, Ali Akbari, Alejandro Maciel