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Machine Dream

THU Sept. 7, 2017, 12:00 noon-12:15 PM, 1:45 PM-2:00 PM, 3:00 PM-3:15 PM, 5:00 PM-5:15 PM
FRI Sept. 8, 2017, 11:00 AM-11:15 AM, 12:30 PM-12:45 PM, 2:45 PM-3:00 PM, 5:00 PM-5:15 PM
SAT Sept. 9, 2017, 11:00 AM-11:15 AM, 12:15 PM-12:30 PM, 1:30 PM-1:45 PM, 4:00 PM-4:15 PM
SUN Sept. 10, 2017, 11:00 AM-11:15 AM, 12:00 PM-12:15 PM, 1:30 PM-1:45 PM, 3:30 PM-3:45 PM
MON Sept. 11, 2017, 11:00 AM-11:15 AM, 1:30 PM-1:45 PM, 2:30 PM-2:45 PM, 4:00 PM-4:15 PM
POSTCITY, Ground Floor, Spiral Falls

Credit: Fletcher Lawrence

Joseph Herscher (NZ)

Machines are usually designed to achieve a task as efficiently as possible. One of the things that separates humans from machines is our ability to play. If life becomes all about efficiently achieving goals then it can become meaningless. Humans need to play! So what happens when there is true artificial intelligence? Will machines play too?

The Spiral Falls sorting machine will take on a new role in this year: Joseph Herscher, the artist and Youtube personality from New York, will persuade the former package-slide machine to do a very human task: Since it is not being used for a huge logistic system anymore, and has been left all by itself, this big machine somehow got bored. So the spiral falls starts to play, only using objects that it “knows” from its past. Boxes, envelopes, poster tubes, gifts, toys, dolls or anything else that might once have been sent through it in a package. The actions it undertakes seem very curious—although they run to a fixed schedule and have defined roles in the whole playing system. This might leave visitors asking: where is the neuronal control for that? Is the machine playing by itself? Maybe the spiral falls just represent something that is not visible at all: the formation of creativity and complex ideas that might consist of inspiration we get from different influences—also from machines that seem to do only what we tell them to.

Credit: Martin Hieslmair

Commissioned by Ars Electronica