(edited by) Inke Arns, Francis Hunger, Marie Lechner – House of Mirrors: Artificial Intelligence as Phantasm


Verlag Kettler, ISBN 978-3862069965, English, 208 pages, 2022, Germany

‘Ai […] extrapolates potential futures out of past data’, write the three editors of this exhibition catalogue of the same name. This sounds like one of the most pragmatic definitions of AI and its problematic approach to generating new knowledge. The trio of editors is also the trio of curators who write the first of two introductory texts. They define structural artificial intelligence in its procedures, preferring to speak of ‘pattern recognition’ instead of the usually discussed ‘intelligence’. Moreover, AI mirrors the things it is supposed to reflect, becoming a hall of mirrors. There are also phantasmatic narratives in AI that arise from the fact that it displaces or transcends the organic limitations of humans. In this scenario, the selected artworks provide an overview of all the major issues related to the ubiquitous presence of this technology and remind us that ‘classification is an act of power’. Adam Harvey’s essay on facial recognition and the abuses associated with it, as well as the engineers’ dream of full automation, further challenge these issues. Ultimately, this is a book of more than 200 pages that also devotes a lot of space to all the artworks in the exhibition. Not only is this publication freely downloadable as a PDF, it is also another indispensable volume in the ideal library for critical contemporary AI.