Monolith YW
2020-2022 — Kinetic sculpture, dim. 120 x 120 x 140cm
Trained artificial neural network (Abstract Language Model), custom software, actuators, LED lights, stretchable fabric
Having employed in previous works the conceptual idea of an assumed language model for self-conscious machines and their possible expressions, the research and development of an abstract language model was initiated in 2021: a machine created semiotic system which is based on all existing human signs, but transferred into and recreated with a machine-learned model. By training all of the more than 65.000 characters included in the Unicode basic multilingual plane system with an artificial neural network, the variational autoencoder creates latent points where the most accurate representation of the characters is achieved.

However, between these points interpolation becomes possible, which means that among two previously distinct characters now infinite characters come into existence, which can be seen as the origin of a purely machine created semiotic system. The revealing of these obscured variants between the known characters leads to the idea of a transitionless or non-binary universal language, which could be expressed by a self-conscious machine to its human counterpart and vice versa.

But how can this abstract language model be expressed, perceived and put into context of what a language really is: the pre-learnt and intuitive formation of signs from a semiotic system into units and sequences to create meaningful communication which can be understood by the receiver?

To facilitate this trans-machine / trans-human language, the representation of this non-binary language needs also to be expressed in a non-binary way in the physical world. Therefore, to make this processes visible, the kinetic installation Monolith YW deals with the origin of where language and communication is created from: primal thoughts. The sculpture depicts the abstract process of the inner monologue of a self-conscious machine. With an expressional system of 25 transitionless states (the abstract language model), the sculpture is constantly in the process of creating formal consistent expressions, the primal thoughts. Vicarious for the subsequent process of evaluating this internal conflict, two juxtaposed white light sources illuminate independently the original expressions from opposite directions.

What if, there is an inner monologue by a machine before communicating to the outside world?
Is what a self-conscious machine expresses the same thing that it really thinks or believes in?
Does a self-aware machine create a certain image or self-image of itself?
And therefore, is a machine able to make us believe what it wants us to believe in?
Process documentation (Video, 3:06 min)

Visualization of a semiotic interpolation and latent points for Abstract Language Model U+2E80..U+33FF
Semiotic interpolations and latent points for 16 selected models

Interface for Abstract Language Model with Monolith YW
Data representation for Abstract Language Model with Monolith YW
In situ at Karachi Biennale, Karachi / Pakistan, 2022 (Additional photos by Paka Studios)
Detail view kinetic sculpture