This exhibition is an attempt to probe new boundaries between technology, magic and rituals. Technologies are usually presented as a product of "objective", "evidence-based" and "real". They belong to the category described by the word "science" and are opposed to "irrational" magic, esotericism, omens and rituals. However, technologies and our interaction with them are literally permeated with similar practices. For example, we unload all unused applications from the iPhone multitasking menu and will continue to do so, even after learning that this does not affect the speed of the device in any way. Or when, after sending an emotionally difficult and disturbing message, we switch the phone to the "Do not disturb" mode, wanting to transfer the corresponding hardware and software state to ourselves.

In addition, Ali Rahimi, an artificial intelligence researcher at Google, calls the work of scientists and developers in this area "an alchemy". Since the choice of machine learning algorithms and the adjustment of their parameters are most often the result of randomness, choosing the best outcome from trial and error. And the results of artificial intelligence algorithms are more important than the incomprehensible processes that led to this result.

Trying to control any unexplained phenomenon, we translate it into the status of magic, developing rituals that give us a sense of control. So technology becomes magical and mythical — in the sense of the last word used by Roland Barthes, describing the tendency to perceive technological inventions as given from above, as part of the natural order of things. This view of technology is not something that needs to be discarded. Quite the contrary — it is important not to exclude the poetic, spiritual, existential, ethical, personal and socio-political. This is a way of studying technology, which is opposed to the empirical and rational, but can also coexist with it.

Explore works from the exhibition: