How Hexorcismos’ collaborative project ‘MUTUALISMX’ challenges AI prejudices

today01/03/2024 8

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Alongside the rise of artificial intelligence, the cracks in its utopian ideals have become increasingly apparent. Big Tech led with a promise that AI would serve us, enriching the human experience by freeing us from menial tasks and opening new worlds of possibility powered by all the knowledge in recorded history. But, in a familiar occurrence in our corporations-run world, profits for the 1% and an exacerbation of inequality are looking like the primary outcome. Meanwhile, aspects of its impact on culture have been insipid and homogenising, rendering anaemic interpretations of pre-existing art.

But that’s not to say it’s a write-off, and there are artists finding interesting, unconventional ways to work with AI and generative art which are breaking through the murk and catching our attention. The latest is ‘MUTALISMX’ on Nicolas Jaar’s Other People label, a 13-track collaborative album steered by Tijuana-born, Berlin-based sound artist, technologist and electronic musician Hexorcismos, real name Moisés Horta Valenzuela. For the project, he create a neural audio synthesizer called SEMILLA.AI, now available to the public and compatible with OS X and Windows 10, which could both mimic and transform an artist’s aural identity, and blend it with others that are introduced to create a merged “mutual voice”. Rather than taking its cues from mass culture and the inherent biases contained within, SEMILLA.AI provides a welcome alternative that uses “small data”. Its name is taken from the word “seed”, referencing both a Deep Learning practice of pseudo-random number generation and the Mesoamerican Mixe divination practice known as “Mook pajk wëjwë”, reflecting its intent to bring out magic through the technology.

Hexorcismos then invited a globe-spanning list of collaborators to use the tool and bring their own idiosyncratic visions to the project, either using only their date or a mixture of all the other artists involved. The result is abstract, experimental and intriguing – an antidote to the bias-perpetuating models of AI that are dominating the field. We hit up the artists involved to tell us more about the creation process.

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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