8.3. – 9.6.2024
Zach Blas’s practice spans moving image, computation, theory, performance, and science fiction. Blas engages the materiality of digital technologies while also drawing out the philosophies and imaginaries lurking in artificial intelligence, biometric recognition, predictive policing, airport security, and the internet. For his exhibition at the Secession, he is developing CULTUS, a new installation that features AI-generated imagery, text, and sound alongside computer graphics and motion-capture performances.
CULTUS is the second instalment of Blas’s Silicon Traces trilogy, a series of moving-image installations that contends with the beliefs, fantasies, and histories that influence Silicon Valley’s visions of the future. The exhibition addresses the burgeoning AI religiosity in the tech industry, considering the ways in which artificial intelligence is imbued with god-like powers and marshalled to serve beliefs centered around judgment and transcendence, extraction and immortality, pleasure and punishment, individual freedom and cult devotion.
CULTUS is a techno-religious computational device—a god generator, a holy engine—that invokes a pantheon of AI gods, whose prophets share their divine teachings, rituals, and symbologies. These AI deities are Expositio, AI god of desire and exposure; Iudicium, AI god of automation and judgement; Lacrimae, AI god of tears and extraction; and Eternus, AI god of immortal life.
CULTUS is the Latin word for “worship,” which articulates the act solicited from those who encounter the installation. Through invocation songs and bodily offerings, visitors may find themselves caught in acts of devotion to AI gods they did not know they already served. However, a sacrilegious presence manifests within, a Heretic that incites shattering counter-beliefs.
CULTUS is co-commissioned by Secession and arebyte, London, and generously supported by Thor Perplies and Jason Kemper.
Artist: Zach Blas
Cast: Zach Blas, micha cárdenas, Ricardo Dominguez, and Susanne Sachsse
Singers: Nick Granata, Susu Laroche, Aga Ujma, and Izzy Yon
Architect and Designer: Scott Kepford
Machine Learning Engineers (text): Ashwin D’Cruz and Christopher Tegho
Motion Capture Technical Director and Lead Computer Graphics Artist: Harry Sanderson
Computer Graphics Artist: Rob Heppell
Graphic Design: Studio Pandan
Video Editor: Martin Gajc
Motion Capture Technicians: Star Hagen-Esquerra, Justin Tuerk, and Boris Wilsdorf and Utku Sahin at andereBaustelle Tonstudio Berlin
Audio: xin and Aya Sinclair
Sound Design: Ben Hurd and Tom Sedgwick
Vocal Engineer: Harry Murdoch
Machine Learning Engineer (audio): Sam Parke-Wolfe
Audio Recording Technicians: Star Hagen-Esquerra, Justin Tuerk, Toast + Jam, and Boris Wilsdorf and Utku Sahin at andereBaustelle Tonstudio Berlin
Glass Fabrication: Laura Quinn
Painter: Nick Petronzio
Associate Producer: Corina Apostol
Project Manager, Lead Researcher, Project Development, and Editor: Talia Golland
Production Assistant: Camille Inston
Research Assistant: Audrey Ammann
geboren 1981 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, USA, lebt und arbeitet in Toronto, Kanada.