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Piiiiiano Oracle

June 20, 2019

Merijn Bolink

CLUB SOLO
Klooseterlaan 138 Breda

Netherlands

Tickbird&Rhino, in partnership with Club Solo, hosted a live performance of Merijn Bolink's Grand Piiiiiano Oracle, a sculptural musical instrument with an integrated learning system that allows it to actively respond to questions from spectators.

Immediately following  the performance, the artist was joined by invited panellists who were asked to consider a more specific question:

Have you ever thought your machine was thinking on its own?

The audience was then asked to join the conversation and explore the different ways we experience artificial intelligence and how it affects our daily lives.

The following people joined Merijn on the Panel

Rafaëlle Kwakkel is writing a monologue for computer voice. She has studied performance writing and is currently studying English. Her interest is in language and consciousness as she explores how we perceive digitised voices and interact with disembodied entities.

Joubin Zargarbashi is a former fine art student of Merijn's. Originally from Iran, he has a background in aerodynamics engineering and has a continuing interest in AI. While navigating the world of computers and programming he has retained his artistic heart which informs his very original ideas.

Martinus Suijkerbuijk's background in automation engineering has extended to his artistic practice. He explores the concept of automation through multi-media performance, installation and research. His focus is on 'intelligent machines' and the demystification of artificial intelligence. 

Saco Heijboer is an engineer and eternal tinkerer. Bringing functionality and form together is his passion. He has designed, overhauled and used many types of machines and along the way has discovered that even rigid mechanics can produce strange behaviours that lead those who use them to think they're more than simply soulless.

Merijn Bolink is an artist fascinated by artificial intelligence. With Grand Piiiiiano Oracle he continues to document what he thinks are the first steps of a technology developing along true evolutionary lines. One that will eventually grow and change entirely on its own, ultimately becoming a part of the natural world.

He believes there is a beautiful mix of philosophy and poetry to be found in these early days of AI and compares the technology's development to that of a young child first learning to speak: what begins as charming nonsense can suddenly and surprisingly contain a core of truth.

In the same way, while working with digital systems he has experienced several acts of what he considers to be "independent thinking on the other side of the screen" and they have left him wondering: are these flashes of intelligence nothing more than charming nonsense, or are they the first signs of an AI exhibiting true independence?

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