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Amazon’s Cabinet of Curiosities

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Amazon’s Cabinet of Curiosities, 2019. Installation with Amazon Alexa and various commercial products, environmental dimensions and sound. 

Amazon’s Cabinet of Curiosities, a special commission for art+b=love(?), is the result of my cooperation with Alexa Voice Shopping, the artificial intelligence developed by Amazon. To produce this work I asked Alexa one question: ‘Alexa, can you suggest a product for a new artwork?’. Immediately after buying the recommended product Alexa suggested another one, and then another one, and so on, and on… I followed and acquired every product suggested in this way until my production budget was entirely spent.

In the tension between apparent unpredictability and systematic control, and by submitting my decision-making process to Alexa, Amazon’s Cabinet of Curiosities expands my investigation of the hidden and invisible mechanisms of technological power and of the limits of human autonomy and artistic authorship in a world saturated by autonomous nonhuman agents. From a ‘human’ perspective the products suggested by Alexa were completely unpredictable. However, from the perspective of Amazon, the outcome followed a predefined logic: obscure item-to-item matching filters linked to massive data sets and algorithms optimized for maximum commercial consumption.


Algorithmic Enquiry n.1

WORKSHOP AND INSTALLATION AT ART VERONA 2019



EXHIBITIONS

  • Art Verona 2019. Amazon’s Cabinet of Curiosities (Algorithmic Enquiry n.1), in collaboration with art+b=love(?), directed by Federico Bomba and Cesare Biasini Selvaggi, Verona, Italy

+INFO

  • This project was commissioned by art+b=love(?) and produced by Sineglossa with the support of Fondazione Selina Azzoaglio and Fondazione Cariverona. The first public presentation of the project, during Art Verona 2019, included a workshop in collaboration with Alessia Tripaldi.
  • Special thanks to Federico Bomba and Cesare Biasini Selvaggi.

(SELECTED) BIBLIOGRAPHY

Exibart
“Non lasceremo l’intelligenza artificiale agli informatici”
double interview by Federico Bomba to Salvatore Iaconesi and Emilio Vavarella. n.106, pp.66-67. (ita)
[PDF]
That’s Contemporary
“Emilio Vavarella”
interview by Gianluca Gramolazzi, October 2019. (ita)
[PDF]
Baloon Projects
“Art+b=love(?)!”
by Anna Papale. (ita)
[PDF | SOURCE]
Dartema
“Amazon’s Cabinet of Curiosities: Intervista a Emilio Vavarella”
interview by Maria Chiara Wang, November 2019. (ita)
[PDF | SOURCE]
Man in Town
“Art Verona highlight: Amazon’s cabinet of curiosities di Emilio Vavarella”
by Lorenzo Sabatini. (ita)
[SOURCE]

Il Giornale dell’Arte
“Nasce la Fondazione Selina Azzoaglio. Arte e cultura per imprese e territori”
by Davide Brignoli, 2019. (ita)
[SOURCE]

Exibart
“Sineglossa”
by Federico Pazzagli, 2019. (ita)
[SOURCE]