Amygdala, 2016-18, from the cycle of 7 Configurations

Organic skin, artist hair, wax, FPGA computer board, custom AI software (adaptive neural networks, reinforcement learning algorithms), servo motors, aluminum chassis, reused industrial grade server cabinet

Amygdala, 2016-18, from the cycle of 7 Configurations

Image: Marcos Morilla

Amygdala is an artificially intelligent (AI) robot, shaped like a strange limb that hangs inside an industrial structure. Disturbing and sensual, abject and sinuous, Amygdala uses a knife to manipulate and sculpt a large piece of skin

Its work is repetitive, careful, and endless. The only purpose of the robot is, in fact, to learn a purification ritual known as "skin-cutting". This type of animistic ritual is performed in the tribes of Papua New Guinea, Africa, and East Asia and consists of cutting the skin according to specific patterns. Through this painful experience, the "purification" of the body is sought as a rite of passage into a social group.

According to Donnarumma, there is a parallel between this ancestral rite of passage and the relationship we establish with technology nowadays. When we surf the Web, we give a lot of personal information to the system, in exchange for being able to take part in and enjoy what the Web has to offer. A much more perverse and dangerous form of contemporary ritual.

Amygdala thus revives a key symbol of human history through the shining radiance of today's technocratic society.

In collaboration with Ana Rajcevic and the Neurorobotics Research Laboratory, Beuth Hochschule, Berlin

When the butterflies of the soul flutter their wings
11
Dec
2020
24
Apr
2021

Art, neuroscience and artificial intelligence

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