Background image is an installation view of Refik Anadol: Unsupervised at The Museum of Modern Art (background image © 2023 The Museum of Modern Art; photo by Robert Gerhardt)

It seemed only right that we asked the most popular online AI chatbot, ChatGPT, to review artist Refik Anadol’s new AI-informed work at the ethically challenged Museum of Modern Art. But hey, we’re here to look at the art, right? Let’s see what this AI has to say.

Q: Please write a review of Refik Anadol’s “Unsupervised” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art and tell us if you are proud that an AI is exhibiting in a major museum and what is your biggest critique of the work?

A: As an AI language model, I do not have personal emotions or opinions. However, I can give a general review of Refik Anadol’s “Unsupervised” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.

Refik Anadol’s “Unsupervised” exhibition is a unique experience that explores the interaction between technology and art. The exhibition is a collection of installations that combine data visualization, machine learning, and architecture to create a mesmerizing display of light and sound.

It is impressive to see an AI-based work of art in a major museum. It is a clear indication of how much technology has advanced and how it can be used to create something beautiful and meaningful. The use of AI in art is a fascinating concept that is still in its infancy, and Anadol’s exhibition showcases the potential of what can be achieved with this technology.

One of the most remarkable aspects of “Unsupervised” is how it transforms data into art. By using algorithms and machine learning, Anadol is able to turn data into a captivating visual experience. The exhibition is a testament to how technology can be used to create something that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also intellectually stimulating.

However, one critique of the exhibition is that it may be too esoteric for some viewers. While the use of technology and AI in art is an exciting concept, it may not be accessible to everyone. Some may find the installations too abstract or difficult to understand, which may detract from the overall experience.

Overall, Refik Anadol’s “Unsupervised” exhibition is a unique and impressive display of the interaction between technology and art. It is a must-see for anyone interested in the intersection of these fields.

Refik Anadol, “Unsupervised” (2023) at the Museum of Modern Art (photo Hakim Bishara/Hyperallergic)

Let’s admit this sounds very much like most “short reviews” in standard art industry trade magazines, reflecting the fact that so much art writing is just mediocre (come on, just admit it). We were eager to learn more, so senior editor Hakim Bishara suggested this follow-up question:

Q: Analyze Refik Anadol’s digital artwork Unsupervised” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York from a post-colonial angle:

A: Refik Anadol’s digital artwork “Unsupervised” is a multimedia installation that explores the possibilities of artificial intelligence and machine learning to generate new forms of artistic expression. The work uses data collected from various sources, including historical archives, social media, and surveillance cameras, to create a dynamic and constantly evolving visual and auditory experience.

From a post-colonial perspective, “Unsupervised” can be interpreted as a commentary on the power dynamics and cultural hegemony that underpin the production and dissemination of knowledge. The work highlights the role of technology in shaping our understanding of the world and how this process is often mediated by Western perspectives and interests.

One way in which “Unsupervised” reflects this post-colonial critique is through its use of historical archives. The work draws upon a vast collection of digitized images and documents from the Museum of Modern Art’s archives, which include works of art, photographs, and other cultural artifacts from around the world. By using these archives as a primary source of data for the work, Anadol brings attention to the ways in which Western institutions have historically controlled the production and interpretation of cultural knowledge.

Moreover, by using machine learning algorithms to analyze and interpret this data, “Unsupervised” raises questions about the objectivity and neutrality of artificial intelligence. As the work continually generates new patterns and forms based on the data it receives, it also highlights the ways in which these algorithms reflect the biases and assumptions of their creators and the data sets they are trained on.

In addition, “Unsupervised” incorporates real-time surveillance footage from around New York City, bringing attention to the pervasive surveillance infrastructure that operates within urban spaces. By incorporating this footage into the work, Anadol highlights the ways in which surveillance technology is often used to monitor and control marginalized communities, further emphasizing the post-colonial critique of power dynamics and cultural hegemony.

Overall, “Unsupervised” can be seen as a post-colonial critique of the role of technology in shaping our understanding of the world and the ways in which this process is often mediated by Western perspectives and interests. The work raises important questions about the objectivity and neutrality of technology and its relationship to power and control.

AI appears to understand that technology, like museums, is never neutral.

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

2 replies on “We Asked AI to Review Refik Anadol’s “Unsupervised” at MoMA”

  1. “one critique of the exhibition is that it may be too esoteric for some viewers. While the use of technology and AI in art is an exciting concept, it may not be accessible to everyone.” I detect a bit of AI driven art snob in this comment. I definitely get a defensive vibe, but what do you expect from a bot derived from tech bubble?

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