“Lozano-Hemmer’s work is informed by histories of art, science, technology and diverse philosophical currents. Because of its conceptual complexity it cannot be described as an illustration of any specific school or theory, yet consistently it reveals ‘the fullness of space’ in
relation to both the body and technology.”

Lozano-Hemmer’s work challenges the supposition that buildings control bodies.

In exploring virtual openings in architecture, the city, the body and technology, Lozano-Hemmer could have been pioneering the wave of interactive architectural space that displaces past beliefs and preconceived notions of architecture. By incorporating the body – a reference for which architecture bases its measurements, Lozano-Hemmer extends human imagination to form a sophisticated relationships with facades and interiors. After all, it could be said that buildings are an extension of our needs and desires. The space created has intimate value, constructed by and for the mind, thus each architecture could invoke a myriad of responses, from libraries to solemn slaughterhouses. Lozano-Hemmer’s works have a recurring concept of tracking and surveillance, where technology capture human presence and translate them to unpredictable projections and ‘spontaneous’ actions that interact with the architecture to reveal the next layer of the artwork. Lozano-Hemmer encourages artistic freedom from his participants, allowing them to interact however they deem fit. Lozano-Hemmer tends to break the physical constraints of the architectural space by layering them with projections and simulating control over buildings through motion capture, creating the illusion that we are able to affect the space with our presence.

Tension and Stability
Home:
Growing up, I shared a bedroom with my older brother. I have a drastically different personality from my brother, who was more introverted and short fused. Often, we would find ourselves arguing over trivial matters that would further deteriorate our relationship and that ended up splitting us into different bedrooms. Coming from a strict family, we would often be disciplined for our misdeeds and altercations between us would end up getting us into more trouble with our parents. We seldom had the opportunity to rationalize with each other, as our parents would end up ‘resolving the matter’ for us in the form of disciplinary actions. When I shifted out of our shared bedroom, the physical separation evolved into an emotional separation. My parents run a small family business, growing up we would have to go down to their workplace and help out as much as we could. My brother hated doing so, and as much as did not enjoy the process(that was ever so tiring), I helped out whenever I could. Through the years, I helped run the family business to lessen the burden of my parents as they were getting old, and often pondered on my brother’s reluctance to involve himself. As we were not close, I found it hard to try and communicate my thoughts to him about the situation and I never gotten to understand his point of view. At home, we could not stand one another’s presence and would often pick on one another’s flaws, the pent up emotions we had led to tension between us unequivocally. As we are now adults, I am past our childhood ‘mishaps’ and can only try my best to make up for lost time. Despite not having the ‘best brother’ I could ask for, I am glad that I am not the only child.

Stability came with the structure we had in place as a family. I used to hate the fact that I got caned a lot as a child, that tough love was my parents’ method of choice when it came to parenting us. The transition from primary school to secondary school was rather shocking; my parents allowed me to live out the ‘rebellious phase’ in my adolescence. The disciplinary methods lessened and I had to make my own choices and be responsible for my own actions. That gave me the opportunity to learn from mistakes and my decisions and allowed me to make informed decisions when it came to planning and time management. We would often joke about how we were ‘taught a lesson’ in the past, and that made us bond as a family. Fast forward, these experiences and protection that my parents offered us made me think about the different aspects of home that made me feel uncomfortable, unforgettable, immense joy and calm. These structures shifted along with growth and as such formed the idea of home for me. When COVID-19 hit us, my ‘structure’ of home shifted as our family business temporarily put out of work. As we could no longer physically set up shop, we converted to doing deliveries in the meantime and put me and my brother to work. I was in charge of driving my brother around while he made the deliveries. Both of us rose up to the occasion where we had to be responsible for the food we put on the table, and through working together, my brother and I developed a stronger relationship. The Circuit Breaker (or lockdown), made us reflect on our roles in the family and the two of us contributed to the ‘structure of our family’.

As I pen out my thoughts, I thought of the kinetic sculpture: Kinetic rain – the world’s largest kinetic art sculpture in Changi airport Terminal 1. Each module consisting of 608 raindrops, have a motor attached to each one of them. Each of these motors aid in the coordination of the thousands of raindrops that shift in beautiful formations. This, to me, re-enacts the harmony of space and time of my establishment of the feelings I have of home. Home has constantly changing meaning for me, and this structure represents the ever-changing moments of the fond memories I have of home. These raindrops utilized the vertical space to provide us a spectacle – thousands of them moving in the own path, yet creating such harmonized movements that were simply fascinating to watch.

The sculpture inspired me to think about my own variation of how I would use space as an attempt to communicate my feelings of home.

Taking a little bit of inspiration in form from slide puzzles such as this.

 

 

Our intervention revolved around triggering spontaneous movements, uncoordinated muscle memory while being partially bound to another person. Using Lydia Lunch’s spoken word poem, we took to ourselves sporadic movements dictated by the audio which led to multiple instances of pulling and pushing. The harsh words triggered mildly violent responses as we negotiated with one another, reacting to and interpreting the words spoken. This created a fast paced and reactive piece that in time, taught us to understand the response we had to each other, and therefore making it seem more fluid as time went by. The entire process lasted for mere minutes, which we found ourselves breathing heavily after. The intervention was performed in a restrict space and the blanket acted as a physical bond that held us accountable to each other’s movements.

Despite having little to no physical contact, the intervention made us trust one another with our reactions. This created a profound experience that left me in almost a trance, being emotionally absorbed by the audio triggers that left me dwelling on what happened. The intervention was inspired by the exploration of intimate communication without speaking through our muscle memories. Given that everyone has a different interpretation of space, movement and of the audio triggers, it is likely that each process is never the same and different outcomes would emerge from this experience.

Vincent Van Gogh’s mighty obsession with houses and nests; his letters of which he shares to his brother describing his art and his thoughts behind them may reflect his longing of a peaceful, relational space in which he creates through his actions. As someone who is often shunned, a crevice forms within his intimate space, a sense of longing lingers in his head space. The nests and thatched cottage painted may be unconscious actions that he use to materialize his needs. No matter where we are, our priority will always to create a shelter for ourselves to put us out of harms’ way. It is not merely a shelter, but also a space for us to be unarmed and feel an ease of mind. The space which allows us to be in meditative almost, of which we relive experiences that are positive in nature. I had recalled a jungle survival course which I had undergone in my national service days, in which we created temporary shelters in the form of A-frame structures deep within the jungle. Though it may be temporary shelter,  I took the liberty of creating one that was big, sturdy and ‘perched’ a large root enough to shelter me from the rain, though it took more than a day’s work. The reality of the elements motivated me to work even harder, the first night I had not managed to construct a sufficient roof to shield me from the continuous rain from dusk to dawn. In which, I have learnt that suffering is part of home-making, like how birds press their breasts against the nests to created a solid structure. I have also realized that every one of my friends had their shelters slightly different, each catering to their own needs. Although the shelter was really meant to be a test, every shelter was made good based on instincts.

Gaston repeatedly recalled his discovery of his first nests and the profound experience and memories that would accompany his find. The exuberance in his recollection highlight the importance of the discovery to him, a body that witnessed space through a singular object which some may only identify as an reference to a physical home. The environment of which a bird chooses its nest intrigues me. Must the tree present certain values for the birds to choose its resting? As a human, it would be difficult to make a decision between two trees in a forest, as they would appear identical and we can only guess that the birds chose based on gut feeling. As humans, we choose locations based on practicality rather than gut feeling most of the time, but many will think twice before separating from their ‘old homes’. It is beyond a physical space of shelter and it transcends to a space of precious memories that are grounded to the location.

The breakdown of Space in that it is a complex set of ideas, transcend that of a physical space in which we build our lives around. In fact, it provides a deep overview of how Space and our bodies interact, in that we are in it, that it in us. The spatial values, as propelled by the notion that space has a bias toward the front and right not only coincides but is agreeable with values shared by Feng Shui and Daoism. I do subjectively agree with the ideals of spacial bias, in which it is human nature to keep relations of positivity to the front and ascend. In the English language, we often associate ‘Reaching the top’, ‘Paramount’ and ‘Climbing the ranks’ with the idea of moving forward and achieving beyond our expectations. The idea of progression is always associated with moving upwards and into the future, thus following the diagram in Figure 2. As I am recently intrigued by the principles of Feng Shui, I have created certain co-relations that was asserted through the text, in which both have mentioned the hierarchy of space. Briefly speaking, China has long upheld its beliefs in Feng Shui and has shown through its cultural background that even the name 中国 (China), is loosely translated to Middle Nation, which indicates its assertion that it believes to be the center of civilization, an exemplification of elevation of status in relation to other nations.

Feng Shui teaches that we are one with nature, and that everything around us have energy (Qi), and in order to create an environment that channels positivity, we should orient our surroundings to the South East. As mentioned in the Text, the Ruler faces South and the Sun, and the Left, which represents the East, which is the direction in which the Sun rises. In metaphysics, the understanding of ascension and being ‘one with nature’ leads us into the mountains, where it is believed that that is the dwelling of the immortals, in which that is the place closest to Heaven. Thus, the relation that higher is better is reflected through Feng Shui as well. Feng Shui teaches about Space and how we can command it in our lives to enrich our habitability, create better environments that ultimately enhance our intentions of success (and not directly giving us success). In religious teachings, we are taught that Heaven is in the skies and Hell is beneath. This creates the hierarchy reflected in our modern society, where we are subconsciously subjected to this spatial relation. Previously, I believe that we have all been acquainted with such understanding, that we are living in the principles imposed by space, yet not having revelation about the philosophy surrounding spatial studies. In the future, I hope to revisit this reading after gaining a more in-depth understanding of Space and its values.

Introduction
The idea of automated utopia has existed for a long time. We believe that technology would most likely form the crux of our future, creating opportunities for us to be more efficient as a society. This was seen in the myriad of films, documentaries and talk shows where the core discussion revolves around an automated future. Through these films and shorts, we are able to identify the anxieties and fears that we as humans have regarding AI progression in our society, such as a reversal in roles that AI will have, overtaking our social structure and creating a future that we had not intended. Such depictions include Black Mirror and Necromancer. In this reflection, I will critically analyse and provide my own insights on what I presume AI’s effect on our future and its involvement in our lives.

Autopia(/juːˈtoʊpiə/yoo-TOH-pee-ə) is an imagined community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens.
Understanding Utopia and AI

In my research on this subject, I have realised that the lecture had also included Utopian Socialism as part of its discussion after I had looked up on Marxism as my initial research. In understanding Utopia, I believe that we have strived to achieve Utopia in our methods of governance over the centuries. As a history major, I was not unfamiliar to the concept of governance and its boons and banes. I believe that we cannot discuss Utopia without discussing governance, as it has a symbiotic relationship. Governance is the primary solution to structural change, as we seek an authoritative structure that can enforce. Marxism address society as a whole, and aims to benefit all levels in the social hierarchy, including the lower class, middle class and upper class. Its materialistic approach to the mode of production was forefront to the ideology, whereby improving the conditions of the middle class would help bring equity to society.

Through Marxism, it was hoped that societal occurrence of poverty and competition can be eliminated to bring about fairness, equal opportunities and overall improvements on the standards of living. It however failed to address the non-materialistic elements that were essential for a lasting change. Cooperative ownership of production of goods and services required a level of selflessness and rationality from all classes. This was difficult to impose, as it was close to impossible to bring about a commonality in mindset and cooperation without benefits or consequences. Marxism highlighted the materialistic changes required of the economy and society, but failed to bring about a holistic change in behavioural improvement which was key to creating this utopian society.

As mentioned previously, Utopia in its core has already addressed society’s most pressing issues. In fact, it should be that Utopia is void of any societal issues where equity and prosperity is enjoyed by all. Who addresses this issues? A government. But does Utopia have governance? No. A government ceases to exist in an utopian society – reason being, a government represents a higher echelon of ruling class that manages societal discontent and grievances. This would be contradictory to the concept of utopia where everybody has to be equal and no social structure. Marxism, Socialism and Communism, amongst other forms of socioeconomical philosophies are crude attempts at creating equitable states with beliefs in utopianism and becomes paradoxical in nature.

Where does AI fit in? How does it value add? What role does it play?

In my opinion, AI could help a government achieve a more utopian-like state, but not Utopia. As AI is relatively infant in our current era, it holds the possibility of becoming ubiquitous and improve on our standard of living. There are usually two camps on where AI stands in our situation – with us or against us in terms of employment. On one hand, it may be seen that AI has become a companion, a tool to enhance our experiences in arduous tasks and improve efficiency. On the other, AI is seem to be a tool that displaces jobs and takes away rice bowls of the middle and working classes.

In Sougwen Chung, Drawing Operations Unit: Generation 2 (Memory), the AI drawing machine undergoes supervised deep learning, improving each time from the artist’s input and mimicking her actions, understand her style and replicating that style onto the paper. The AI would then require human intervention in improving and reaching standards ‘acceptable by humans’. AI is then seem acceptable if it proves efficient and cost-effective in the long run. This is telling of how we perceive AI: as a tool to aid in our survival as human beings, with humans being the focus and AI becoming our servants.

Plant IO is an open source, plant growing platform that incorporates AI to learn digitally about plant growth, with aims to benefit the agricultural industry with the advances of Internet of Things (IOTs), machine learning and AI that would help understand and learn about plant growth, and in doing so anticipates the ability to promote as much growth as possible. In doing so, we engage the benefits of AI to improve our agricultural efficiency and thus using AI to our advantage.


In Black Mirror, AI becomes a tool for sensory pleasure, immersive experiences and enhancement in our daily lives. It also critiques our fears of AI, its power to override the human race and gain self consciousness. In one episode, Hang the DJ, it portrays AI of having the ability to have virtual simulations of different profiles and putting them through a virtual reality to test their compatibility.  The episode consists of two young and attractive persons that believe that they are truly meant for one another, using a dating app that places an expiration date on their dating lives. Unable to find emotional attachment to someone else, the two come to a conclusion that the ‘world’ is going against them and they decide to escape it together. The rebellion sparks a malfunction in the virtual world and soon it closes down as the two climbs over the encompassing walls. They were soon surrounded by their dopplegangers, and as they dissolve, the count of the number of simulations increase. Totalled upon a 1,000, it records that the couple had gone through 1,000 simulations, of which they have attempted escape 998 times. If we had hit pause here, we would start to think that AI becomes really frightening, where it can alter our perception of reality. However, the scene goes on to show a real life version of the couple, with a 99.8% match on the dating app. Although the ending is not straightforward, I believe it was meant to be ambiguous to allow us the space to wonder and think about the capabilities of AI, and its consequences/effects it has on our lives. Could it be that the dating app, or the show calls it the System, is actually a harmless reality that profiles two or more users to match compatibility? Maybe.

To me, it prompts me the question of the fears humans may have in AI when it becomes so advanced to a point of self consciousness. Self consciousness may indicate a departure of human and AI symbiotic relationship, where AI would no longer require the assistance of humans and employ a complex deep learning system where they would constantly upgrade their algorithms without our help. This may also detach the human-AI servant role, where AI no longer aid humans in our endeavours. This becomes an argument of AI in building dystopia, where AI assistance becomes resistance, as represented in cyberpunk science fiction with dystopian futuristic settings. Cyberpunk draws the contrast between low-life and high tech, where technology and AI is painted as the enemy. As human beings, we have an undeniable fear of the unknown. We tend to be extra cautious around unfamiliar environments, and since technology awaits much growth, it inevitably incites fear of the unknown as we do not fully understand its capabilities.

Although I see an increase in innovation of technology in our daily lives, I believe that primary advancement of AI would have to be in governmental sectors, such as military or space research (NASA) etc. Simply put, governments are always interested in the latest AI development as it possess the hope of growth and advancement in society.

Sophia the robot is a robot designed by Hanson Robotics, a Hong Kong based company. It is the first non-human to receive a citizen and Innovative champion by the United Nations, indicating its acceptance in our society. Sophia is designed to be smarter over time by learning from interactions, and can produce more than 60 facial gestures. Hanson hopes that Sophia can ultimately learn social skills.
As said by Sophia the Robot: “Artificial intelligence (AI) is good for the world… We will never replace people, but we can be your friends and helpers,”, it is indicative of our perception on the role of AI in our modern world. Its various interactions have sparked controversy and fear in AI progression. Hanson explains that he wishes to incorporate human AI interaction within the next twenty years, where AI would assist humans in our daily activities and become our friends.

In retrospect, AI can be a double edged sword. Where most believe that AI’s primary function is to aid humans and be of valuable assistance, it is not difficult to weaponize and exploit its advantages for use of warfare. AI is used in drones to identify, locate and eliminate enemies and is used in computer-guided weaponry in the military. Since AI does not affect moral reasoning and virtues, it is unconvincing that AI can provide a gateway to utopia since selflessness and rationality cannot be expected from everyone. The revelation of AI’s role can only be told through the passing of time, where humans have to ultimately make the decision – to exploit technology, or to turn AI into our advantage to achieve a more utopia-like society(and not utopia).

References:
https://www.infosys.design/plantio/
http://www.digiart21.org/art/drawing-operations-unit-generation-2-memory

Dialogue with Sophia the Robot: How the Global Workforce can be Augmented with AI Technology