Prototypes I

Prototypes I

2017. 3-Channel, HD video installation combining 4K film, 3D animation and multi-channel surround sound.

The work is the first of a trilogy set in theInterbau Project in Berlin, drawing on a wide range of feminist perspectives within queer theory, psychoanalysis, quantum physics,genetics, cybernetics and systems biology.

00:00–03:00 MinutesThis is the beginning of the film. In the first scene we see an aerial view of a building. Nika, the first protagonist, is sitting at a com-puter in a room. Within the first moments of Prototypes the viewer is confronted with the absurdity of society’s reduction of gender to a binary system as a voice-over enumerates the various chromosome composites that humans possess, several combinations of which do not equate the limited categorizations of male/female, and it is clear that there is much more involved in understanding the complexity of gender.Evolutionary biologist J.B.S. Haldane famous-ly stated in 1927 that ‘the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose’, reminding us of the limits of human comprehension. This takes us back, full circle, to where Prototype I begins—with Alan Turing, who, in the 1950s, was arguably the first to acknowledge the potential of other forms of intelligence exceeding our own. As artificial intelligence (AI) develops rapidly, it would be sage to remember Haldane’s humilityconcerning human comprehension, consider-ing the common assumption that ‘performativi-ty is coupled with deep speculation thatTuring machines can fully realize human minds, as if the first and only duty of AI should be to serve our rampant narcissism through-out isomorphism. However, it is Turing’s lesser known first test that a voiceover in the open-ing scene of Prototype I describes; the test in which one must blindly attempt to distinguish between a man and a woman. The act of pro-posing such a test renders the failed distinc-tion possible, but ‘what do gendered bodies have to do with the erasure of embodiment and the subsequent merging of machine and human intelligence in the figure of the cyborg? Was Turing already positing a postgenderfuture?’

* This text and the text on the following pages is a condensed excerpt from the essay Queering Boundaries by Lou Drago,in Prototypes published by Sternberg Press and The Edith Russ Haus for Media Art. 2019. The full essay in German and several others can be found at the end of this portfolio