Confirm Humanity

In the beginning of the 21st century, a fully automated public Turing test was created to differentiate computers from humans, the famous CAPTCHA. Between text and images, we proved to the machines our humanity. Or not. Throughout history, the human species has created rules and codes. Of gender, of race, and defined economic and social indicators. The history of men has shown that a human body needs to be cataloged and categorized ("catalogarized") to later be a subject, but not always part of history.

The digital is a recent body, it operates on other cells and borders. The pixel in flux is the first condition of its existence. Is it possible, in this imprecise space, to build an updated version of humanity? With and without viruses? For this, we need new explorers. Undertakings without annihilations, but re-modeling and transforming existing organs and systems. We need to review the past and rewrite history, with representations that match our origins and bodies. As George Orwell already stated in 1984, "who controls the past, controls the future." What sense does it make to develop facial recognition algorithms if we do not recognize the faces of people who do not fit the standards of representation defined so far?

And where are these bodies?

We have altered the course of rivers, marked faraway lands, geometrized nature. But humanity is uncertain and fluid, we have organic and malleable forms, and this is the only way we can navigate transitory and hybrid spaces. Between the analog and the digital, figures can become freer, create their own limits of expansion and retraction, reversing abysses and reformulating aesthetic stigmas.

Facial features become interactive, with and without a virus. Infinite exchanges of images and audio, relevant or not, fill our time while expressions are transformed through connections. We are saturated. But the body is plasmic and doesn't fit into right angles. But still, we cover the parts that brought us into the world. Standardized and retouched torsos become more organic when you decide to teach the machine what a body is. They are improbable, but real. We trust the algorithm and the new economic systems, which, legitimated by the digital, bring authenticity to the expression of copies.

Since it is complex to change bodies, let's transform what they represent. "A body is not a being, a being is far beyond.” It is transitional, undefined, but our systems don't seem to understand.

Our economic, social and political structures have "catalogarized" the world. Finding middle ground is an arduous task, it is tortuous, imprecise. In a context of national tragedy, with viruses (and germ), perhaps our most humane alternative is an AI president.

Confirm your humanity to meet the works of Brazilian artists interested in giving other identities to the skewed and exclusionary paths we have traced so far.
Mari Nagem

Mari Nagem

Mari Nagem is an artist-curator interested in the artificiality of the contemporary world, in the plastic transformations of natural landscapes, and in existential questions between humans and machines. She has a master's degree in Visual Arts from the Haute École d'Art et Design de Genève and a postgraduate degree from the School of Fine Arts at UFMG. Participated in exhibitions in Brazil and abroad, with emphasis on Strategies of the Feminine (Farol Santander, Porto Alegre), Homestase @ The Wrong Digital Art Biennale (Centro Cultural São Paulo) and Paralell Screens (USA, Brazil, and Germany). She was resident at SomoS Arts House (Berlin), Vatelón (Uruguay) and Casa das Caldeiras (São Paulo). Mari has participated in festivals such as File, Artemov, CineOP, Athens Video Art Festival, among others.