digital video, 19'
still from video
• a moving mechanical device made in imitation of a human being.
• a machine which performs a range of functions according to a predetermined set of coded instructions.
• used in similes and comparisons to refer to a person who seems to act in a mechanical or unemotional way.
Automaton explores the notion of simulation, particularly in relation with thought and consciousness. In Automaton a mind is created outside of the human brain. Using imagery and sounds connected to ideas of chaotic self-organization, this work tries to imagine how such a mind would think and feel. Automaton will offer its an account and its reflections about the many aspects of being alive, unrestricted by bodily limitations, biases or mortality.
still from video
installation shot in Bildmuseet, Umeå
2-channel digital video, 11'
In Silico is a double channel video projection that proposes a scenario in which digital and physical elements mix, blend and overlap, evoking questions of authenticity versus simulation. The work creates an atmosphere where the audience is invited to question the validity of what is presented to them, evaluating whether or not to trust it.
“[A]t least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (...); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.” Nick Bostrom, 2003
Philosopher Bertrand Russell most famously compared religious faith to a china teapot orbiting between Earth and Mars, too small to be observed by any telescope. The argument was set to illustrate that the philosophical burden of proof should fall on who is claiming the unverifiable, rather than someone else disproving it. This particular kind of claim is defined as “unfalsifiable". In his 2003 paper Are You Living in a Computer Simulation philosopher Nick Bostrom formulates what is known as simulation hypothesis: this theory proposes that the world we live in is most likely a simulated one. Bostrom's claim is ultimately unfalsifiable: there is no way to prove it either wrong or right. The voice In Silico wonders if such a claim, not affecting anything or anyone in any way, is relevant in the first place.
In Silico dances around themes of synthetic vs. genuine. In the everyday language these two concepts have become parallel with the dichotomy between phony, fake and insincere vs. truthful, honest and pure. This pairing is doubled in the narration of this piece, where an it's up to the audience's instinct whether or not to trust the voice they hear. The same contrast emerges from the visuals, where computer generated images made to look like real life objects and vice versa.
The line between genuinity and synthesis is ofter a fuzzy human-made concept. In Silico calls into questions the validity of this distinction.
installation with sound, 40' loop
view of the installation
In a pitch black room a mellow, melancholic slow song of violins and echos plays softly. Upon entrance eyes require adjusting and nothing is visible. While touching the wall or after sitting down on the floor, a faint red pinpoint light can be spotten looking upwards.
Farewell is an installation in the context of Umeå Konsthögskolan Open Studio. The idea stems from reflections about position in space and volume and perspective over large scale timelines.
algorithm, digital print
installation view in Galleri Alva, Umeå
The discrete emotion theory claims that the wide range of feeling we experience is the result of only a few “core” emotions. These states are defined discrete because they can be recognised through facial expressions. To this day, however, there is no academic agreement on how and why we feel. Emotions might be part of an infinite spectrum, much like colour and sound, where it is only the human brain who needs categories, labels, patterns.
Exercise in Empathy tries to explore the realm of emotion through its own experimentation. A computer algorithm will create a series of different arrangement of lines: One connecting the two eyes over the forehead, one down the nose, one on each side of the mouth and another down the chin.
These lines were drawn on the faces of the subject in Landis’ experiments in 1924, before they were asked to perform a series of actions like watch pornographic images, reach into a bucket full of live frogs and decapitate a rat with a blunt knife. Landis’ experiment was in no way impartial or rigorous, proving the degree of compliance with an authority rather than any conclusion regarding emotions. I decided to adopt this experiment’s method of tracking the movements of facial muscles, which looks almost like a tribal, war face paint.
algorithm, cuts on paper
An is a BA thesis project. The name comes from sumerian god Anu, the earliest recorded Sky God in history. He is considered to be the “Father of the Skies”, “Lord of the Constellations” and “King of the Gods”.
The artwork consists in an algorithm programmed to generate countless discrete stellar system maps. These maps will always be different from one another.
An creates an archive of every stellar system in space and time. Such archive, much like Borges’ Library of Babel, would be a combination of existing, existed and not yet born star systems, together with their every possible variation. The maps record type of stars, orbits, planets, moons, asteroids, chemical composition, tides and location in the universe. An is based on an eternal return of information. Giv en enough time, An will eventually observe and archive our very own Solar System. Since the parameters on which An operates are plausible, the maps cannot be proved wrong.
The artwork comes as the result of more than seven months of research in the themes of nomadism, walking, wandering, movement as representation, flâneurs and artistic drift.
installation shot during ASTRAL, Galleriet
installation detail during Mise an Abîme, Umevatoriet
Laura Heuberger (b.1993) is a Swiss/Italian artist currently based in Umeå, Sweden. She studied New Technologies for the Arts and New media in Bologna, Milan and Tallinn during her BA. She completed her MA in Fine Arts in Umeå, Sweden. She is interested in themes surrounding cybernetics, logistics and human cognition, and produces works in digital form, occasionally complemented by an installation.
Art Residency at Kaitak Campus, Academy of Visual Arts in Hong Kong
mar - may 2019
Vita Kuben, Umeå
jan - feb 2019
Umeå Konsthögskolan, Umeå — MA Fine Arts
aug 2016 – jun 2018
Eesti Kustiakadeemia, Tallinn — New Media
aug – dec 2014 (erasmus)
Fine Art Academy of Brera, Milano — New Technologies
nov 2013 – nov 2015
Fine Arts Academy of Bologna — Photography, Cinema and Television
oct 2012 – jul 2013
Gallery Kronborg, Bergen (NO)
Graduation Show, Bildmuseet, Umeå (SE)
Carolina Andreasson, Laura Heuberger, Emil Carlsiö Galleriet, Umeå
Mise en Abîme (solo show)
Telescope dome, Umevatoriet Umeå Observatory
Kulturmejeriet, Röbäck curated by Christoph Draeger
ASTRAL (solo show)
Galleri Alva, Umeå, curated by Christoph Draeger
Bowerbirds (solo show)
The Dust Gallery, Umeå
Splendid Isolation Gallery, curated by Swetlana Heger
Grants and stipendia
2018 W Smiths, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm
2018 Stiftelsen J C Kempes Minnes Stipendiefond, Kempe Foundation
2018 Kungl. Skytteanska Samfundets