The Classroom

Organisms are algorithms.

Within the spheres in system after the industrial revolution, social organization, spiritual organization, linguistic, political, economic, religious, biological…in one fell swoop they are struck, overturned, exploded by the technical system through the dynamism of electronics and the internet. As the product of history and environment, our mind and actions are predictable, calculable, and usable, as the tool of the power and system. Under the Age of Big Data, we are laws, algorithms. we are dependent reliable. We are available sources.

Technology develops faster than culture, as French philosopher Bernard Stiegler argues many years ago, while human and technology are indissociable. Before this the main train of western philosophical thought ploughed the firm line that stability was the essence of reality, and all change or revolution was accidental. After this rupture, through Marx and Nietzsche, we understand that stability is the exception, and change is the norm.

Here it comes to many essential questions, instead of we inventing technology, are we and our changes chose by technology as part of it?  Within the system of technology, are human moving by a sense of order?

The Classroom, installation view #1, Audain Arts Center, Vancouver, Canada, 2019.

The Classroom, installation view #2, The Polygon Gallery, North Vancouver, Canada, 2019.

The Classroom, installation detail #2, The Polygon Gallery, North Vancouver, Canada, 2019.

The Classroom, installation view #3, Audain Arts Center, Vancouver, Canada, 2019.

The Classroom is attempting to imitate an intimate interactive space, which re-presents a monitoring system that surveille everyone within a classroom. It is a mixed-media installation comprised of four groups of video projection, a table, and a chair inside a dark room. It is inspired from a recent Chinese artificial intelligence system, which can be seen as a typical case study of certain topics. The system uses cameras to recognize the emotions of students as a novel method of monitoring children for classroom compliance. The cameras were designed to automatically take attendance and track what students are doing at any moment, while providing real-time data on students’ outward expressions, and tracking emotions. Covering up the twisted, anti-human nature of its essence, the system has been touted as a way to ensure students are attentive and learning quickly, which has been highly supported by both schools and parents.

By re-editing the surveillance video and projecting them on four sides of the room, The Classroom applies a format of a memory room, as well as a surveillance room, to guide audiences into a certain “memory” of being target without place to escape. It aims to discuss crisis awareness of how our privacy, human nature, souls are diminished by the technology, and what the role we human are playing within the system.

Reserved by Ran Zhou, Vancouver, BC, Canada | Private Policy

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