Portraits of women confined in crumbling and melting times
a collaboration with an AI
An artificial intelligence is trained on stereotypical depictions of women (mainstream, objectified, banal) carefully selected by the artist. These illustrations of popular culture depict a perfect cliched world where even the shadows are beautiful and bright coloured. A biased reality in which women become weak objects of desire, at the centre of violence, discrimination and lack of opportunities. It is a world that, although vibrant with colours, describes a tragic ‘social distancing’ that is as fierce as the one we are experiencing nowadays with the outbreak of Covid 19. This dataset of images is used by the machine to develop its own way of looking at women. Using these societal patterns, the machine builds its own interpretation of our world. It is within this computer model, by interacting with the latent space, that the artist has looked for glitches that may reveal the true gaze of women hiding behind their stereotypical representations. Behind the shallow surface of lines and colour, a longing for an equal society is revealed, as if the machine could help us see beyond what society itself struggles to even consider. A new reality that talks about an emphatic relationship among people and nature, where they all stand equal in a biocentric era.
In ‘Environmental Culture: the Ecological Crisis of Reason’ Val Plumwood critiqued a set of views of the self and its relationship to the other associated with sexism, racism, capitalism, colonialism, and the domination of nature. Seeing the other as radically separate and inferior created standpoints of mastery that brought us in a situation where feminist movement are still struggling and humans have subjugated animals and plants to the tipping point of climate change.
The pandemic of Covid19 is leaving us bewildered, scared and sad by the sorrow it brought us, but it is also showing us the cracks of our unbalanced society and laying the way to realisations and solutions. We have all been subjugated by a virus that has trashed our routines and moulded our lives in isolated and secluded homes. We have all experienced first hand how awkward it is to live caged lives like those of the plants and animals we farm, and gender we exclude.
Perhaps it is time to reconsider what is ‘normal’ and finally move it to a more relevant place. It is time to set aside these gendered dualisms (human/animal, male/female) in favour of an ethic based on empathy for the other, shifting towards deep ecological alternatives.
It is time to put aside our immediate profits and listen to the quietness and fresh air that has come with a world on halt.