Projected onto the gallery’s main wall is a continually-evolving series of translucent videos, overlaid with dynamic colored graphs. The visual content is produced by Cleverbot, a chatbot developed by Rollo Carpenter, driven by an artificial intelligence algorithm. Each day initiates a new conversation: Cleverbot pulls a headline from the morning’s news, searches that phrase on YouTube, plays the resulting video, and reads aloud the first comment - which becomes the initial node on a projected graph. Cleverbot responds to this initial comment, then uses the response for a subsequent search, repeating this cycle through the end of the day.
The average color of each video is distilled into a transparent filter, creating a haze of colored fields. While the videos are largely silent, their same originating phrases are also searched for on a found-sound database; the results are correlatively diffused, stretched, and compressed into the soundtrack. The emotional intensity of the language dictates the substance, pace and movements of the projection: Cleverbot’s AI algorithm analayzes then charts the emotional content of the scanned commentary through color, line type, and direction. Each day, O’Connor will use the initial news headline and Cleverbot’s final comment as the inspiration for a stylistically-diverse series of drawings: paranthetically documenting the flow and direction of the day's conversation.
NonCoreProjector conceives of this new piece as “a series of interruptions”: with each interaction, there is a re-direction or derailment, evoking increasingly-familiar cultural and political interruptions. Bringing together found footage, algorithmically-induced uncertainty, and appropriated human commentary, Vec Tor Bel portrays two ‘intelligences’ attempting to make sense of both one another and the world at large. In ways both fascinating and terrifying, the slippages that perpetually dislodge any emergent logic send us down a Dada-ist rabbit hole.
While there are parameters within which Vec Tor Bel operates, the collective forfeits a significant degree of agency, yielding unpredictable results. In the spirit of Bruce Conner, John Cage, and Yoko Ono, the moment-to-moment outcome cannot be anticipated. At once eerily humanistic and undeniably technological, Vec Tor Bel advances NonCoreProject’s investigation of the uncanny entities that hold growing sway over our lives - from the causes we embrace to the partners we choose.
Cleverbot, developed by Rollo Carpenter, is a chatterbot web application that uses an artificial intelligence to have conversations with humans. Cleverbot’s responses are not pre-programmed, but are derived from its memory of past conversations: learning exclusively from human input, when someone speaks to it, Cleverbot responds to those words by finding how a human being previously responded to those same words. Since launching in 1997, it has engaged millions of people around the world in conversation through over 10 billion interactions. Cleverbot is credited as author of Do You Love Me, a short film with unexpected dialogue.
John O’Connor is a visual artist whose work is included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, among others. His work has been included in exhibitions such as the Tang Museum’s “Classless Society,” and solo exhibitions at PIEROGI and elsewhere. O’Connor received an MFA from Pratt Institute and studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
Rollo Carpenter is a British-born artificial intelligence researcher and the creator of Cleverbot, an AI system developed to hold conversations with humans. He has won machine intelligence prizes in the US and the UK, and was founder and CTO of a software company in California.
Jack Colton is an interdisciplinary artist and writer based in New York City. He currently works as video editor and assistant manager at Tony Oursler Studio. Colton recently edited, composed music and performed in Oursler’s Tear of the Cloud, a large scale outdoor projection installation produced by the Public Art Fund. He received a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.
Elias Jarzombek is a creative technologist and electronic musician who makes art with code, focusing on the development of new ways of making and interacting with music. He graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Computer Science and German Language and Literature. He lives and works in New York City.