A Dark and Quiet Winter

A Dark and Quiet Winter

At UKAI, we love what we get to do and feel enormous gratitude for the opportunities and resources made available to us. As the year ends, we are increasingly seeing that other ways of understanding our work may become necessary. Our theme for 2024 is ‘shipwreck’ and we will be applying the same principles to our inner workings. Expect some big shifts in the kinds of questions we ask and the kinds of answers we seek out.
Earlier this year, we got some feedback on a grant we applied for (unsuccessfully). One note let us know that the jury were concerned that we were “maybe not art”. At the time we were a bit taken aback. Since then, though, we’ve come around to the thinking. “Maybe not art” is probably exactly where we need to be.
As humans we can't help but make meaning out of the experiences of our lives.  We conjure up some semblance of coherence and then we become answerable for what happens next.
Art involves an offer and an audience. Every artwork is a terrain of uncertain governance. We bring our bodies, our territories, our stories to the task and we participate in an endless green thread of interpretation and re-interpretation.
Our projects in 2023, and particularly the Carnival of Algorithmic Culture, explored this polyphony of experience, narrative, and relation.
Life is simpler when there are two or three stories to choose from.
  1. AI is apocalypse.
  2. AI is salvation.
  3. AI is the amplification of our moral failures.
However, there are infinite stories we can tell, as varied as we are.

The risk is letting things get rigid. When discourse becomes hegemonic there is no messing around with it. We need to satirize, to have a bit of fun, to play.
To do so, all the changes we are experiencing (climate harm, authoritarianism, artificial intelligence) need to be dialogized, relativized. They need to be in conversation with the world around them and not trapped inside rigid ideologies.

And that’s what we have planned for 2024 - a chatter and a roar.
You’ll probably dislike some things, and we hope you’ll like others and it’ll be up to you if you want to assemble all those disparate parts into something coherent and it will, inevitably, tautologically, be unique to you.
We have an amazing party coming up on Saturday, December 16 (see below - tickets are going very fast) but after that it'll be about rest at UKAI. The world moves fast. We all need dark, quiet places where we might make sense of it.
Enjoy a dark and quiet December!
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