Lying Sophia and Mocking Alexa

Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing, Beijing / China

July 12–October 21, 2019
July 26, 2019
Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing
Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing, E-1, 798 Road
798 Art Zone, Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District
100015 Beijing

T +86 10 5394 5200

Curator: Iris Long (Winner of "Sustainability" of Hyundai Blue Prize 2018)

Artists: Christian “Mio” LoclairZHANG WenxinAnna Ridler & Daria JelonekHE ZikeLIU XinPayne ZHUJake ElwesPhilipp Schmitt & Stephan BognerLarbitsSistersKyle McDonaldKate Crawford & Vladan JolerSUN Xiaoxing & HU Yanjun

On July 12, Lying Sophia and Mocking Alexa, a meaningful exhibition which aims to explore AI and humans will be held in Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing located in the 798 Art District. This exhibition is curated by Iris Long, winner of "Sustainability" of the Hyundai Blue Prize 2018, which aims to explain the profound impact of technological change on human consciousness and society. 

"Sophia" and "Alexa" are the two characters in Lying Sophia and Mocking Alexa. They are transformed into the text and sound generated by the AI program (GPT-2 Model and customised chatbots). With three dimensional dialogues throughout the exhibition, it is intended to interpret the subject of AI, which is paradoxical, mind stimulating, and implies manifold future potentials. Meanwhile, many artists and researchers are invited  to explore a lot of issues from diversified perspectives. These issues include investigate how AI shuffles global technical politics, reconstruct the earth’s geologies, the absurdity of quantifying human emotions, the dark, inhuman labor (in exhausting fashion) to train "human-like" algorithms, and the fairy-tale building on AI conducted by mass media.

Sophia, a robot that has been granted Saudi citizenship, has a highly realistic human look and great responsiveness. A human-like robot living among us, she is also interpreted as a "ambiguous scam" co-authored by media and technology companies. Alexa is a "servant" who has a machine shape and resides in domestic corners. It has been reported to have "horrible laughter" that symbolizes the opacity, uncontrollability and potential of the AI "black box" with the danger of peeping and subversion. The existence of the "Sophia" and "Alexa" and dialogue between them make the viewing process like a "stalking" trip, intertwined with the fullness, imponderability and the last hope of the psychological world.

During this "stalking" trip, the exhibition guides us to think: if artificial intelligence is no longer a pure science fiction concept, or if the development of basic science continues to expand the boundaries of our cognition, will we are experiencing be the event horizon in black hole that "breaks all prophecies" (Vernor Vinge) or "the biggest mistake we have ever made" (Stephen Hawking)? Looking back at the history of human development, we rarely encountered a topic like AI that contains various paradoxes, stimulates our mind and points to multiple future possibilities in the changing world of science and technology. Today, AI has been widely used in chip, processor, data collection and analysis, forming a new frontier in global technology competition. However, for ordinary people, it is still not easy to know directly, which is why AI becomes the easiest but also the hardest story to tell in the mass media.

In the exhibition,  "Sophia" and "Alexa" are two contemporary metaphors on machine lives. The former’s lies are the projection of poetic imagination, a bright, poetic media imagination. While the latter's ridicule is the crack of the algorithm black-box, representing the haze, black box and technical criticism. But the fantastic thing is that they are both in an unclear, confusing situation, as in the concept of "La Zona" in Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker.

In this film, the stalker guides writer and a scientist to take a cable car, steer by the policemen’s chase, traverse tunnels of dripping water, detour rooms filled with sand dunes, and finally approximate the core of "La Zona": a "Room" that makes beliefs true. The writer concerns about the dark human nature the Room suggests, while the scientist wishes to destroy the Room in case villains would take advantage.The exhibition sets up a metaphorical "La Zona" which embodies our contemporary situation: a time-space where both science and art are simultaneously deprived the power of autocracy and believing narratives, and filled with the writer and the scientist’s chattering.