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In their collaborative work under the collective name The Recycle Group, Andrey Blokhin and Georgy Kuznetsov use recycled images and materials to bridge seemingly incompatible subjects such as the classical and the contemporary, Western art traditions, and Russian domestic realities. Recently they started exploring the gap between human and machine points of view.
The installation Artificial Mud (2019) is an artificial floor surface created with synthetic materials made from scans of real mud covered with human footprints. When the visitor walks through the hall, turbines blowing air from a hidden mechanism move this surface. Artificial Mud intends to create an experience that triggers the visitors to switch their perspective to that of a machine’s, and to feel how the world is inside the “brain” of a machine. The artists try to create a sense of emptiness and immateriality of the space under visitors’ feet. In their own words, “there are two points of view in the world: a human’s and a machine’s, but the latter is a perspective that we do not see and doesn’t exist for us. The experience gives the viewer a chance to feel like a machine; not just to see it, but to feel it.”
In this artwork, the Recycle Group examines how technology changes society and the looming notion of singularity. Ray Kurzweil, who coined the term “technological singularity,” defines it as the time when humans and machines will merge together with AI to reach superhuman levels of intelligence. The artists explore on-going debates by asking questions, such as: Can machines have their own feelings? Will they ultimately take control of our world? And what will happen to the relationship between humans and machines in the future?