pilfer ​​​​​​pipe infrastructure, Kaurna Yerta, 2023, digital image. Courtesy of pilfer

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Art is navigational.

Where are we now?
We’re in Lutruwita.

The other day I was listening to the radio. I heard something about an old hydro power plant up north being turned into a hydrogen hub or something like that? It made me think of the way in which humans build pipelines and pathways [to exploit] natural “resources”.
Reinforced Pathways can allow and they can refuse. What we lure into our physical environment pipes to our physiology. I live where the flow of kunanyi terminates into the sea. 
Pipes to our systems of organisation. Organised organism.
I heard it on the radio.

Like synapses, hyperlinks result in the opening of new potential connections. A node of possible information. A neuron attempting to continue my function. A new tab glaring at me. So many tabs, just sitting there mocking me.
I feel it as a kind of forced gestalt. I’m meant to be the generative aspect of all this flow of data into my living space.

Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). THE ULTIMATE. When an artificial intelligence becomes on par or surpasses that of human intelligence. Sentience is assumed. Agency follows. Humans fear robots will take over the world, etc. But all this assumes human intelligence to be the pinnacle of intelligence.

Orcas ramming boats with pipes that pump fuel to propel sharp blades through the water. An intelligence. Same sort of thing would probably happen if AI became sentient, right?

Shellfish filter microorganisms to reduce biofouling on blades of seaweed so photosynthesis can occur more effectively. Seaweed absorbs excess carbon dioxide to reduce acidification so shellfish can grow their shells more effectively. Omega 3 fatty acids needed for human brain development, essential for building the membrane of every cell in our body, produced at this base level by algae and then flow through the food chain in this process of collaborative world-making. An intelligence.

Trawl more data. Repetition. Open the tabs in your specific context.

Where are we now?
We’re on Kaurna yarta. Repetition.

What is the cultural, social and political context of this machine learning? And who is contributing to the context?
How is it being translated?

Artificial intelligences are being built from global datasets, spanning multiple cultural, social and political contexts. But the companies controlling the datasets are usually isolated within a specific context and demographic. It moves in bodies separate from its own. All of us haunted by cooled racks of GPUs buried in a bunker guarded by the time tested combo of be-rifled organisms and electrified barbed wire.

AI doesn’t interpret context. Human biases are laid bare when AI unapologetically sums up that bias. Like a billboard that says: GAUGUIN WENT TO TAHITI TO HAVE SEX IN AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE BETTER PAINTINGS STEEPED IN NOSTALGIC AND IDEALIST CONNOTATIONS, ON THE BACK OF RACIST IDEOLOGIES ABOUT SO-CALLED “PRIMITIVE” CULTURES. THEN A BUNCH OF OTHER WHITE MEN FOLLOWED HIM AND VOILÀ—MODERNISM. But who would have the time to read all that driving at 100km/hr? 
Not too heavy handed.
I think I’ve worded it wrong.
It is about acceptable transgression I think.
The most human thing about algorithmic image generation is that it never tries to hide an inability to conceive hands.

I saw that thing you put down the bottom of the website.
Yes, why I love showing archives to artists?
Tout est une pipe

The AI apocalypse. Some argue this way of thinking about technological advancement is a distraction, and our attention should be focused on the real and current harm that AI causes. Context is everything. Then there’s the bureaucracy of pipelines, and the reasons for building all these things. There’s just so many. Everywhere. Transferring, or waiting for the exchange to occur. There seems to be a need to just build more of them. Make things more efficient. Progress to a better place. Something more.

So I went searching for pipes with graf on them.
Inside the pipe, two directions are allowed, with a small amount of convolution. Dredge up more power. Exploit more natural “resources”. The outside of a pipe is symbolic of a constructed sovereignty of the interior. A tag on the outside protects the order of RAMMELLZEE and never allows symbols to exist in a vacuum. 
Outside is only convolution.
That is to say: if the discussion remains inside the pipe it will never form the complexity required to break free of its binary.

At the end of that pipe was a deep k-hole of AI generated Paul Hogan surrealism. Everything is a knife. What about locating all this data in time and space? If everything is a pipe then nothing is a pipe. Precarity reigns through the empire of pipes. All the little pilfers run about, masked as symbols of their own environment. RAMMELLZEE and other acts of resistance.

How are all these pipes being pumped?
Power happens inside the boundary but the mark of the present will always cause a more direct response. All those servers installed around the globe. Guarded. The constant struggle for more power.
A precarity that collaborative world‑making hinges on. But what sort of worldview does this extractive world-making perpetuate?

Where are we now?

Clockwise from top left: pilfer, photo montage featuring Renee Magritte, The Treachery of Images, 1929 and Stable Diffusion prompt: graffiti on white background throw up style fat round lettering, black and white word PILFER, 2023; Stable Diffusion prompt: Renee Magritte style tobacco pipe oil painting, 2023; screen capture of Brazil, 1985 (Dir. Terry Gilliam) Universal Pictures; thetreacheryofcabbages, meme by plankton, 2023, source: b3ta.com. All images courtesy of pilfer
Clockwise from top left: pilfer, photo montage of hydrogen pipes and Tasmanian devil, 2023; pipe infrastructure, Kaurna yarta, 2023, photo montage featuring Stable Diffusion prompt: blue sky white clouds 1998 photograph michael riley; Stable Diffusion prompt: hi-res single concrete pipe long black background, 2023; pipe infrastructure, Kaurna yarta, 2023, digital photograph; pipe infrastructure, nipaluna, 2023, digital photograph; The treachery of impact, 2023, digital poster. All images courtesy of pilfer
Left to right: pilfer pipe infrastructure, Kaurna yarta, 2023, digital photograph; pipe infrastructure, Kaurna yarta, 2023, digital photograph. Images courtesy of pilfer