Synthetic Minds by Bani Brusadin

Bani Brusadin for Medialab Matadero
Bani Brusadin for Medialab Matadero

Bani Brusadin for Medialab Matadero

Synthetic Minds is an invitation to explore the landscape that rises above the worn trope of the uncanny valley. In its vast surroundings we find overpopulated regions, redundant of information, as well as empty and unexplored areas. There are both highways and dark forests, logistical systems in full swing and new pirates, quick responses and hallucinations.

Thanks to the popularization of new user-friendly interfaces to generate text and images, the performance of the supposed artificial intelligence -obedient and unpredictable in equal parts- can now be contemplated and poked at will. It is the spectacle of machines that are not only empathetic, but apparently capable of intimately connecting our minds with collective intelligence. What is not immediately obvious is that other assemblages of sensing, encoding and decoding systems, intricate decision-making processes, and layers upon layers of abstraction play a role in multiple areas of life on the planet: from energy infrastructures to warfare; from labor management to teenagers’ emotions and artists’ imagination; from building new molecules to prefiguring climate collapse. In these assemblages, human data-mind-bodies and large-scale technical processes converge towards a hybrid, unprecedented and irregular form of cognition.

The ethical-political implications of such an ‘infrastructural uncanny’, where the very notion of power becomes structurally fuzzy and entangled, have already been extensively described and we know that synthetic cognition and its friendly interfaces have the potential to become a dangerous shield that insulates (some) human beings from the real effects of their predatory economies. But what if both these artificial epistemologies and their spectacles could reverse the uncanniness, as a merciless mirror of the last centuries of our civilization? And what if different articulations of intelligence - human, non-human, infrastructural - could engage in a positive adversarial feedback loop?

Within a sea of aesthetic and political contradictions, Synthetic Minds is an invitation to approach large-scale computing systems as powerful cultural engines, to be discussed and curiously observed, not despite, but precisely because of their problematic nature. The dark genie has never left the lamp: it is the lamp, as well as the imagination that created it and the strange results of its multiplication in the world.


Bani Brusadin is an independent curator, teacher and researcher.

He has worked for transmediale 2023 and since 2022 he is curator of DONE, the research project on the new image ecosystems of the Foto Colectania Foundation. Between 2004 and 2019 he directed The Influencers, a festival of unconventional art, guerrilla communication and radical entertainment (CCCB Barcelona). Bani is the author of the essay The Fog of Systems (Aksioma Institute for Contemporary Art, 2021) and lecturer at the University of Barcelona, Elisava and Esdi."

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Medialab Matadero