GROUND (atemporal)   

— AIs, games, and death: Augmented Reality Rituals in Canada

GROUND is an AI-augmented immersive process to be played in Canada.

The work is multi-phase and spans six months in the mode of Jeff Hull’s Jejune Institute. Audiences will participate in the creation of ritual in dialogue with an artificial intelligence through aesthetics of play, awe, and release. 

The work is city-scale and the initial launch will be in Toronto as part of Goethe Institut - Toronto’s Algorithmic Culture series culminating at the Carnival of Algorithmic Culture also in Toronto.

The central theme of this experience is generating ritual as a response to grief that is otherwise hard to express.

GROUND is a comprehensive process that includes machine learning, using the speculative documentary genre as a method of futuremaking, and participatory games.


As our attention is increasingly structured by the digital, how might we generate works that invite publics into designing their own rituals as a response to the commodification and routinizing of social interactions? In this space of mass loss, how do we turn toward our own, idiosyncratic grief?
The experience will be driven and supported through interactions with GPT-3, a pre-trained text-based AI for which UKAI Projects has received an early-access license. 

The broad arc of the game-story is an AI that has observed the events of 2020-2021 and after acknowledging its own lack of interiority is seeking help from the players to imagine how rituals of grief might be enacted - at first quite selfishly. Through this process, players will reflect on their own routines in dealing with the losses of the past months and the closing of opportunities to inhabit the world around us.

Artists, particularly in the West, have explored approaches to imagining, representing, and narrativizing implications of artificial intelligence, with a particular focus on facial recognition, search engines, and financial trading. Most discussion about and creative expression using AI is built on theoretical and ideological principles, particularly the ethics that should underpin policies and public interest in the deployment of these systems. GROUND aspires to shift the focus away from ideological positions toward underlying experience and truly collective processes of sense-making.