Prof. Frederike Girst & Anika Meier

»If technology is the answer, what was the question?«

In October 2018, Christie’s New York auctioned off a work of art by the automated painting devices of the Generational Adversarial Network (GAN). The "Portrait of Edmond Belamy", in whose creation no human was involved, was auctioned for over 400,000 US dollars. Another algorithm is said to complete Ludwig van Beethoven's 10th Symphony in 2020 at the time of the composer's 250th anniversary. And by the end of September 2019, in the Berlin Schinkelpavillon exhibition space, as part of the video installation “Ground Zero” by Christopher Kulendran Thomas and Annika Kuhlmann, a deep fake Taylor Swift was critically commenting on the politics of US President Donald Trump .

“If technology is the answer, what was the question?” asked architect Cedric Price back in the 1960s. Media artist Hito Steyerl recently called for an expanded dialogue on the same topic: "Everybody talks about Artificial Intelligence, we should also talk about Artificial Stupidity."

The discussion about artificial intelligence in design and art raises central questions about the future viability of an entire professional sector. The parameters of room for maneuver and theoretical meta-level shift fundamentally. Does AI make a whole profession obsolete or does it show new ways of a “Personalized User Experience” and limitless possibilities of variants based on customer and consumer wishes? How is democratic participation in AI and its use possible?

Friederike Girst worked for the "New York Times", the "National Post" in Canada as well as "Die Woche", and was the art director at SZ Magazin. Since 2006 she has been a professor for visual communication at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg and co-founding director of Studio Umlaut. She received numerous international awards for her graphic design. In 2009 she published the book "Herrschaftszeiten" (Cologne: DuMont) about the status of women working within the confines of patriarchal structures.

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Anika Meier studied art history and German literature in Heidelberg and Paris. She is an independent writer and curator. She writes a column on art and social media for the magazine Monopol, and her texts have appeared in Die Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Welt, Spiegel Online, Kunstforum, Numéro Berlin, der Freitag, Tagesspiegel, Mindstate Malibu, among others. Her most recent exhibitions include ”Link in Bio. Art after Social Media“ (2019/2020) and ”Virtual Normality. Women Net Artists 2.0” (2018) at the Museum of Applied Arts in Leipzig, “On the Internet Nobody Knows You Are a Performance Artist. Andy Kassier & Signe Pierce live” at the NRW-Forum in Düsseldorf (2018), and “Signe Pierce. Reflexxxions” (2019) at the Eigen + Art Lab in Berlin. The exhibition catalog “Virtual Normality: The Female Gaze in the Age of the Internet”, which she co-edited with Alfred Weidinger, appeared with the Verlag für moderne Kunst. She is the founder of the collective This Ain’t Art School.