Disengaging the Autopilot
Nate Sarsona is a visual artist specializing in new media. Born into the era of information, he is curious about the everyday technologies that seem to be taken directly out of the classic science fiction novels that he grew up reading. His interest in computer science and artificial intelligence have led him to consider the ramifications of technological advancement. These thought experiments are visualized in the form of computer-generated images and three-dimensional animations using material collected from the internet and open-source software.
Disengaging the Autopilot is inspired by the phenomena of blackouts and power outages. Each time a power grid malfunctions, in some form or another it reveals a dependent relationship between humans and electricity. In the wake of a city-wide power outage, Sarsona wrote Short Circuit, a short poem that describes a not-so-distant timeline in which these power failures are intentional and out of the hands of mankind. The lines of the poem were entered into the AttnGAN machine learning model to generate images based on text input. The computer-generated images were then digitally composed to pair with the subjects and settings described by the poem in anticipation to the irreversible consequences of an advanced AI technology.
The images of the installation are rendered using Blender, an open-source 3D modelling software. The composited images visualizing the subjects and scenes of Short Circuit are framed on the gallery wall, while a computer monitor displays the machine-generated images on a timeless loop.