08 March–09 June 2024

Secession, Vienna, Austria | Website

CULTUS is the second instalment of the Silicon Traces trilogy, a series of moving image installations that contends with the beliefs, fantasies, and histories influential to Silicon Valley’s visions of the future.

The exhibition addresses a burgeoning AI religiosity in the tech industry, considering the ways in which artificial intelligence is imbued with god-like powers and marshalled to serve beliefs centred around judgement and transcendence, extraction and immortality, pleasure and punishment, individual freedom and cult devotion.

CULTUS is a techno-religious computational device –a god generator, a holy engine –that invokes a pantheon of AI gods, whose prophets share their divine teachings, rituals, and symbologies. These AI deities are Expositio, the AI god of desire and exposure; Iudicium, the AI god of automation and judgement; Lacrimae, the AI god of tears and extraction; and Eternus, the AI god of immortal life.

CULTUS is the Latin word for “worship”, which articulates the act solicited from those who encounter the installation. Through invocation songs and bodily offerings, visitors may find themselves devoted to AI gods they did not know they already served. However, a sacrilegious presence manifests within, a Heretic that incites shattering counter-beliefs.

CULTUS is co-commissioned by Secession and arebyte, London, and generously supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Thor Perplies, and Jason Kemper. The exhibition is programmed by the board of Secession and curated by Christian Lübbert.