“Autonomous Trap 001” is a video of the artist as he creates a double circle by drawing lines in the style of broken (“entry permitted”) and solid (“no entry”) road markings, and “traps” a self-driving car in it. “Gradient Ascent” combines footage of a car, driving up a mountain road with an autonomous driving system that processes information picked up by cameras and sensors, with thoughts related to mythology and technical developments, and quotes from René DAUMAL’s unfinished novel “Mount Analogue” (1952).
In order to understand the technologies of autonomous travel and artificial intelligence, the artist developed his own autonomous driving system. His activities are informed by the ideas that, even in this age of rapid progress in the field of artificial intelligence, we cannot say that technology is completely under human control; that our perception of the world is continuously updated according to developments in science and technology; and that we must not neglect efforts to understand technology for that matter.
“Gradient Ascent” is one form of optimization algorithm to calculate the maximum value of a function, which is frequently used in the realm of machine learning for the development of autonomous traveling technologies, and easily evokes the image of climbing a mountain. Since ancient times, the act of pursuing or searching for something has been compared to the act of climbing, and Mount Parnassus, the mountain on which both videos were filmed, appears in fact as a symbol for arts and sciences in Greek mythology. The artist claims that today, technology has taken over the original role of mythology that was created for the purpose of systematizing and understanding the world. Just like defining modernity by adding different interpretations to mythology, constantly and closely observing how technology works and behaves is an attitude that in itself is synonymous with understanding the world.