[ISEA2019] Artist Statement: Przemyslaw Jasielski – Oracle

Artist Statement

Arduino, computer, digital camera, electronic components, LCD monitor, dimensions variable.

Oracle is a palm-reading machine foretelling the future of the viewer. In a perverse manner the installation brings an experience of a myth of oracle, which in an enigmatic way can predict the future. The work recalls subconscious cultural traditions such as chiromancy and ancient Greek oracle, whose foretell is difficult to verify.
After scanning the viewer’s papillary lines, the machine tells his or her fortune. The whole installation is a programmed machine that randomly reveals its personality – sometimes the prophecies tease the viewer directly (presenting messages like “how about a date tonight” or “you have such beautiful eyes” from time to time). This is yet another strange and contradictory experience since the viewer tends to adopt a meek and pious stance, in expectation of a scientific vision. Instead, what the viewer has is another aporia of rationality: the machine is demanded to legitimise scientifically an ancient human superstition. Nor is there much sense in the fact that the word ‘oracle’ has entered the colloquial language to mean an unquestioned authority, connoisseur or expert in a particular field.
The work plays with the concept of artificial intelligence and its aim to create machines with human characteristics, with an ironic take on the confidence we place in modern technology. This is yet another author’s experiment with the emotionality of machines, or rather the emotionality roused in a human due to contact with a machine. Since a mechanical device tends to be perceived as impartial, people are inclined to take its pronouncements more seriously than they would those of a street fortune teller. Thus, the artwork encourages reflection on trust in technology and our dependence on it, as well as the fear of its domination.

  • Przemyslaw Jasielski (b.1970) is an artist, researcher, experimenter based in Poland combining art with science and technology. Member of HAT Research Center. He creates installations, objects, drawings and photographs. In the creative process he approaches work with the attitude of an engineer, adapting the precise planning and scientific research, with the main focus on the conceptual content. His works confront the actual present reality with its transformation to allow the viewer to observe it in a new, fresh way, they usually contain a specific, critical sense of humour. Jasielski took part in several exhibitions – among others, one man shows such as Paper Bridge at Tokyo Wonder Site (Tokyo, Japan, 2012), Analog Immigration at CSU Galleries (Cleveland OH, USA, 2013), and group shows – L’arte differente: MOCAK al MAXXI at MAXXI (Rome, Italy, 2016), Draft Systems at WRO Media Art Biennale 2017 (Wroclaw, Poland, 2017), Nonsense Technologies at MOCAK (Krakow, Poland, 2017).