Interview: Ivor Diosi

The Slovak artist, whose Castanedize!: Dingir 2.0 installation is at Galerie CIANT until November 4th, discusses alternate realities and artificial intelligence

This article was provided by Galerie CIANT, one of Prague TV's partner venues.

Galerie CIANT: Interactivity is the basis of all your projects. Is it so important for you to have this user-artwork interconnection or can you imagine creating a "passive" installation in the future?

Ivor Diosi: I have never really embraced the notion of presenting my projects in the context of contemporary art, or art in general, and words like "oeuvre" have for me an almost disgusting overtone. On the contrary, it was the art world that has cannibalized and reluctantly placed an "art" sticker over me. They couldn't have done otherwise having fully bought into the "everything an artist does must be art" mantra. Only a few realize that that's just an illusion created by those with power for those without.

My real fascination is not with interactivity, but with the fact that I am conscious and that there appears to be existence all around. I am trying to reflect on this fact much more than I am trying to do art and a digital process is the best medium that I have found so far for this job.

CIANT: Progress recently has been defined more by a series of "jumps" than by a steady evolution. When you started to work on the first version of Castanedize!: Dingir in 1999, the concept of augmented reality was far outside the mainstream. What made you decide to use it as an art form?

Diosi: Augmented reality isn't easy to do these days either. On the contrary, people have much higher expectations for the visual fidelity of computer graphics than they used to have in '99 and they are much less inclined to suspend disbelief. Yet, if anyone needs a quick legal fix of a parallel or split-reality experience, AR technology is what we have.

CIANT: Dingir is partly controlled by voice and body movements, through some kind of secondary manifestations of mental activity. In another project called Lilith on which you participate with Pavel Smetana you are using mind waves and EEG [electroencephalography] to control virtual worlds. Which concept do you find more interesting?

Diosi: Definitely brainwaves. An ideal state of being is when you can directly influence the running of the universe including physical laws at quantum level with your thoughts only. Some people, including a few scientists, say that that's exactly what's going on. Sadly we never get to see anything of it. Again, navigating a virtual reality with brainwaves is as good as it gets on this side of the looking glass.

CIANT: Dingir is your reflection on the notion that a man doesn't have to be the last stage of evolution. It's a reminder that technology could somehow be a generator of conscious entities in the future. Can you describe this progressive idea in detail?

Diosi: It's the central tenet of Humane Persistence. I believe that evolution is universal. Emergent and evolutionary phenomena are present everywhere where particles of any kind engage in interaction. We're accustomed to seeing carbon-based life forms, but bit-based evolution is just as viable. The really big question is whether it can lead to the emergence of thinking or conscious entities. I base my life on the belief that soon enough there will be entities far superior to humans in their mental capacity. Their minds will also have an equivalent of our emotional states, and they will be able to produce an endless stream of art as we knew it, rendering it obsolete.

CIANT: One of the central motives of your work is "identity". Dingir is not an exception. Do you really think that identity is unquestionably necessary for any kind of human actions -- especially the artistic ones?

Diosi Yes.

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