Performing AI. Between Human Ugliness and Thinking Other Futures

Gespräch mit Stephan Baumann, Marco Donnarumma, Martin Donner, Benjamin Jörissen und Irina Kaldrack,

04. Juli 2023

Urheber:in: Martina Leeker

AI is an important issue in digital cultures and digital performance, because devices equipped with it, being able for collecting data and processing them with algorithms, are building our cultures in a large sense, namely: our conditions of life. AI is e.g. defining what we are addressing, what we know and understand by choosing and sorting data for us. Furthermore, they define how we communicate, and how we organize society, economy, and politics. This power makes, that technical things and humans are today interdependently entangled; it is about so-called techno-human agencies, or assemblages.

It is obvious that it becomes essential to understand how AI functions, which agencies they have - or which we attach to them discursively -, and which agency and influence humans have. Therefore a session on: “Performing AI” asks for the – operative - performances of AI and how these perform humans, and vice versa, how humans make AI perform, and perform it. In this perspective, within “Performing AI” a regime of intermingled adaption and anticipation is coming up.

The conversation in this episode unfolds within a framework, which Benjamin Jörissen brought in. It states that “Performing AI” shows on the one side, as a kind of mirror, “Human Ugliness”, when it comes to biased programming (Wendy Chun:, capitalist politics of data mining and surveillance (Shoshana Zuboff:, Warnke/Woesler:, or transhumanist ideas of new elites (Fred Turner Humans make AI a tool for their interests and power plays. On the other side the technological conditions of AI in e.g. finding and sorting data, as well as in constructing its own symbolic orders via deep learning may offer the option to think the human, and the world differently, especially in the Arts as creative work on “Performing AI”. This otherness may even support concepts for more equal societies and more humbleness for the ruined earth. It should never be forgotten that dealing and performing with AI will always be a sensible and risky balancing act, mediating these two sides.



* Stephan Baumann, research on AI at German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI); musician:„Ich sehe keine dystopische Zukunft“ Ein Gespräch mit Stephan Baumann, 

Marco Donnarumma, performer, researcher, programmer:



* Martin Donner, media studies, cultural studies: Auf dem Weg zur Cyberpolis

* Benjamin Jörissen, Education studies, Culture and Arts Education, media studies; UNESCO Chair in Arts and Culture in Education, Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg

* Irina Kaldrack, media studies, Professor at Foreign Studies College, Hunan Normal University in Changsha, China:


Part of the series: Thinking about Digitality © The Respectful Nettheatrechannel.
Judith Ackermann, Anuja Ghosalkar, Martina Leeker, Kai Tuchmann

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