[ISEA2022] Artist Talk: Lucy H.G. Solomon & Cesar Baio (Cesar & Lois) — Mycorrhizal Insurrection: Rerouting Anthropocentric Socio-Technical Systems

Artist Statement 

June 10, Remote Artist talk. Session: Creative process, performative expression and perception of reality

Keywords: Mycorrhizal, Insurrection, Bio-Digital Hybrid, Bhiobrid, Artificial Intelligence, Mycelial Intelligence, Prehuman Intelligence, Posthuman intelligence, Post-anthropocentric

The art collective Cesar & Lois discusses the collaborative, non-disciplinary-specific development of a mycelial AI, with the intent of orienting human socio-technical systems to non-hierarchical models persistent in the living world. In growing a system that integrates living and digital mycelia, the experiment-as-art unfolds through the duo’s accounting of past workshops that include mushroom foraging, spore printing and thinking like a mushroom. Ahead of the art collective’s premiere of Mycorrhizal Insurrection at the 2022 Mercosul Biennial in Brazil, the artists discuss the process of developing the training database for a non-anthropocentric AI, the challenges in connecting artificial and mycelial intelligences, and their conversations with mycologists and philosophers. Merging prehuman (fungal) and posthuman (digital) systems, the artists speculate on the possibility of post-anthropocentric futures. With documentation of iterative nodes in the project’s development, such as the June 2021 exhibition, “Eat the Anthropocene with Cesar & Lois, Mycelia and Friend Entities” at Yes We Cannibal in Baton Rouge, the artists project a machine logic that operates contrary to capitalist ideals, and the resultant values and concerns of a narrow group of humans. In response to Jason W. Moore’s use of the term, planetary proletariat, the artists imagine a socio-technological insurrection by incalcitrant bhiobrid (bio-digital) systems. Listening in to the pulses to hyphae, an AI thinks less and less like a human.

For the video recording of the talk see: Amalia Creus — Intro and video: Creative process, performative expression and perception of reality

  • Cesar & Lois probes the evolution of humanity’s relationship to nature by advancing intersections between technological and biological systems. The collective, comprised of Lucy HG Solomon (USA) and Cesar Baio (BR), strives to build ​bhiobrid i​ntelligent artworks by crossing different organisms, such as bacteria, fungi and protists with technological elements, including Artificial Intelligence, data mining and social networks. Through interactive artworks with embedded research and sometimes specimens, the duo ponders the logic based in the growth of microbiological organisms and studies how this can inform human logic, with the goal of positing a post-anthropocentric future. Their work, “Degenerative Cultures,” was featured in the 2021 Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition in the UK. Cesar & Lois received the Lumen Prize in Artificial Intelligence (2018), were selected for the Global Digital Art Prize Biennale in Singapore (2019) and as artists in residence at Coalesce Center for Biological Arts (2020) and UC Davis Hess Laboratory. https://cesarandlois.org