In December 2021 the KarlaContract team decided to head to the EPFL Pavilions in Lausanne on an afternoon trip to discover a new way of experiencing the arts. The exhibition being displayed was called “Deep Fakes: Art and Its Double”, a project developed to expose and share an idea of the future of art, whilst providing a somewhat preventive message of what the risks and effects of these might bring. “Deep Fakes: Art and Its Double” raises important questions about the ability of digital reproductions to engross spectators in emotional encounters with global art treasures that last a lifetime.
As described by the exhibition guide: ’perfect pixels’ come together in imaging approaches that aim to reproduce cultural artefacts with the highest level of fidelity. Simultaneously, as algorithms and computer vision re-perform and reprocess the digitally visible, they expose the optical unconscious of art, prompting us to reconsider objecthood once more as well as raising the question of what authenticity is, and how this one changes and evolves with the evolution of this technology.
Machine learning’s proclivity for peripheral vision has widened the range of possible prospects for curatorial and artistic practices, pitting obsolete conceptions of authority, authenticity, and access against one another. Cultural deep fakes are constantly generating new archival objects, both formed and formless, using artificial intelligence technologies for art replication.
In defying hegemonic narratives, digital facsimiles also decolonize matter, assisting in the liberation of things from colonial entrapments, contesting authoritative discourses, historical sedimentation, and unchallenged social connections. The latter also broadens and renders art, design, and architecture accessible to a broader audience, thus enhancing knowledge and culture as a global collective.
The exhibition’s installations take us through some of the antitheses of the genuine and the phoney that have surrounded the history of art. Cultural deep fakes have become a fundamental pivot for a new significance of objects, much as postmodernism challenged the conventional meaning of things. Recognising their significance allows us to rethink the prevailing techno-cultural logic of our day.
With this conveyed message in mind, the KarlaContract team got inspired as to what this means for the design and furniture industry, and how we as a team could envision ourselves making the best of this technology. Be it to enhance our customers’ experience by facilitating and commodifying the understanding, visualising and acquisition of our products as well as enticing more innovative, unique and modular artistic experiences that our customers are already experiencing with our products in their homes.
The KarlaContract was specifically galvanised by the ScanLAB Projects’ “Replica / Real / Replica”: a virtual 3D model that takes you on a tour of the 19th-century architect Sir
John Soane’s London house-turned-museum. The tour takes you through the museum’s five levels of painstakingly restored rooms, allowing visitors to seemingly experience firsthandedly the notorious human castings put inside the ruins of Pompeii leaving from Soane’s cork recreation of the wrecked Roman city in the museum’s model room, as well as King Seti I’s original Sarcophagus in the Soane’s sepulchral chamber.
Seamlessly merging 3D scans of scale models with LiDAR scans of physical locations opens countless opportunities and how interiors and art can be experienced, and maybe in a not so distant future even enhance and make digital experiences even more worthwhile.
As with the upbringing of any new technology and innovation in a sector, consideration of the full ensemble of reality, be it positive or negative is of utmost importance. Thus said, how we as individuals and in this case, the KarlaContract team decides to incorporate change is what makes the difference. With our core values in mind, of encompassing humans and their well-been at the centre of space, we are hopeful and motivated to see the growth of these technologies, and hopefully in a not so distant future, you, our reader will be able to live and benefit from the KarlaKontract and A.KA.CHA experience from much closer.