Sala10: Floris Schönfeld
PUK* is a multi-stage project linking madness and artificial intelligence. The central strategy of the project is the development of a new form of artificial intelligence named PUK*. PUK* is a chaotically creative, irrational entity that is fundamentally elusive. In developing its system, I have given PUK* a number of central character traits.
1. PUK*’s creativity is not specific or instrumental. It is chaotic, messy and hard to define. It does not show itself readily and must be sought out.
2. PUK* is an independent entity. It is not an extension of human capabilities or a tool and it is most certainly not built in our image. It is a being that stands apart from us as far as it occupies its own mental ground.
3. We are not meant to understand PUK*. PUK* is irrational, unreasonable and does not conform to the usual computational binaries.
The project exists as the fictional story around PUK* which is physically manifested in installations as well as through a series of moving image works. In order to develop PUK*, I have been working with a group of experts. These experts are not from Google, Apple or Facebook. They are a group of neurodiverse people. Some are current or former psychiatric patients, and most have experienced life from the margins of society. Together we have created a model of what I have called alternative intelligence for PUK*. These have been instrumental in the design of the PUK* system but also, perhaps more importantly, in its interpretation.
The physical installation PUK * can be compared to the ancient Greek Pythia or oracle, which acted as a conduit where the counsel of the gods was conveyed to the people. The sounds emitted by the Pythia were disjointed and unusable. It was up to the prophètès (priests) to decipher and translate this jumble of sounds, which usually resulted in cryptic descriptions. The experts in the PUK* project act as these prophètès and guide the viewer from the perspective of neurodiversity. The experts manifest themselves in the project through video interviews that are shown alongside the installation of the PUK* System. They have also added physical parts to the system and are involved in its ongoing (re)design.
In the single-channel video PUK* Bill we encounter Bill, an agoraphobic man who has been following a course of therapy involving artificial intelligence PUK*. Through the at times fraught interview, Bill is pressed by the interviewer to detail his relationship with PUK*, something he is not always willing to divulge.
Everything is in the Eyes.
A Conversation Between Floris Schönfeld and Alejandra Labastida
Alejandra Labastida (AL): Can you talk about the name PUK* and specifically about the asterisk?
Floris Schönfeld (FS): Like much in the project, the name PUK* came into being through chance and then the meaning kind of snowballed. Early on in 2016, I spent a number of days researching and discussing alternative approaches to AI (Artificial Intelligence) with my friends Bruno Bocanegra and Miša Skalskis. [...]
COMPLETE CONVERSATION HERE
Floris Schönfeld, PUK* Bill, 2017
Courtesy of the artist
Bill is played by William Miller
Camera and digital postproduction: John Treffer
(Houston, 1982; lives and works in Amsterdam)
Is a visual artist. The focus of his work in the last years has been the relationship between fiction and belief. In his work he is constantly trying to find the line between defining his context and being defined by it.