Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn, Estonia | Website
From September 2021, curator Helen Kaplinsky and artist Zach Blas will each spend two months in residency at Tallinn Art Hall. The selected residents, chosen from over 240 applicants, will develop new works that reflect on Virtual Reality contributing artistically to the discourse generated by the BEYOND MATTER project. The residency programme is part of the large-scale cooperation project BEYOND MATTER – Cultural Heritage on the Verge of Virtual Reality, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. It is dedicated to novel, digital approaches to exhibition revival, documentation and dissemination, as well as the artistic, curatorial and museological development of the opportunities presented by virtual representation.
Blas’ project looks at aspects of religion that are uncannily mirrored in contemporary cultures of artificial intelligence. AI is often represented as divine. In 2017, the first AI church was founded in California. Online, memes proliferate that reimagine Michelangelo’s fresco The Creation of Adam as an elite vision of transcendence, in which AI extends the capacities of the human body. But here Michelangelo’s other fresco The Last Judgement is more appropriate for the masses, as AI is deployed globally as an arbiter of life. Blas’s project seriously considers the implications of representing AI within the context of religious belief and judgment. During the period of the residency, Blas will commence research, start elements of production that are screen-based, deliver a lecture-performance, and lead workshops to test and share ideas with local communities in Tallinn.