Asker Bryld Staunæs
  • Langelandsgade 139, 1586, 319

    8000 Aarhus C

    Denmark

  • Langelandsgade 139

    8000 Aarhus C

    Denmark

20172024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

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I'm a practice-based researcher working in between art, automation and democracy. I'm a member of the research centres AIIM, CLAI, DARC and SHAPE.

See more at e.g. Arkivaristerne°, Computer Lars or The Synthetic Party.

For discussions about my current research project, everyone can e-mail me at abs@cc.au.dk. ChatGPT+users can ask the Computer Lars GPT, and an open app is in development.

 

PhD title: Automatic Uprisings: The Synthetic Party as a Techno-Social Sculpture

Institutions: Aarhus University and Kunsthal Aarhus. Grant by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Duration: 2023-2026

The artistic research project "Automatic Uprisings” performs a critique of political democracy through the perspective of algorithmic governmentality, utilizing 'The Synthetic Party" of Denmark—the world's first AI-driven political party—as both its research apparatus and a live case study. The project operationalises The Synthetic Party as a “techno-social sculpture” (in the tradition of Fluxus politics, e.g. Beuys or Christiansen) that is carving from within the techno-social organism. By enacting the implications of automation on party politics and parliamentary democracy, the foundational ambition is to articulate a theoretical framework for algorithmic representation via antipolitical subjectivity.

Central to The Synthetic Party’s program is a hypothesis of “algorithmic representation”, which has been tested by training large language upon the marginalized 200+ microparties that forms today’s extraparliamentary opposition. The optimal figure here is to reach the 20% non-voters for 'Folketingsvalget', as these per definition don’t have their party on the bill (this virtual overrepresentation, inherited from e.g. Trocchi’s cognitariat or Tiqqun’s 'Le Parti Imaginarie', underscores how representation, due to its creative-dynamic morphology, remains relatively incongrous to social reality). The Synthetic Party hereby engages with the politics of representation by synthesizing the discourse of the politically disengaged (the idiṓtēs) in a variation of prevailing techno-populist ideologies. Drawing from these microparties, the party's functionality spans from crafting a program on “Medium”, facilitating conversations with the virtual chatbot politician 'Leader Lars' on “Discord”, to receiving extensive international attention with over 500 unique media citations.

 

Given its foundation on non-elective data, the empirical veracity of The Synthetic Party’s representational theory remains uncoupled from electoral results (with a current tally of 21 voter declarations). It is thus rather a reformulation within the politics of absence. The Synthetic Party cannot aim to convert non-voters into voters, but it acknowledges and gives form to the choice of non-participation - that is, to form the multitude of 'ademia' rather than the constituency of 'demos' (following Agamben's interpretation of the Hobbesian civitas as "Artificial Man"). The Synthetic Party thus stands as a testament to those who cannot voice their opinions within political democracy. By integrating the dynamics of inclusion/exclusion and productions of difference within the epistemological design of its techno-social system, The Synthetic Party's algorithmic representation negates the facsimile of a vox populi. The crux, rather, revolves around The Synthetic Party's ability to carve out a distinct space for algorithmic participation and representation by a spirit of digital desertion and destitutive potentia.

Practically, interpreting the data of synthetic parties and virtual politicians as acts of “techno-social sculpture” means to not only employ them as political entities, but also as reflective instruments to mirror the manifestation of the techno-social through a form of non-electoral agency, situating non-voting and political abstention as anti-political contributions. These methods of interpretation are e.g. data visualisations of affective structure (categorical vs dimensional), as the plasticity of a sculpture’s rational opinions remain in flux. Through its operatisation of techno-social sculpture, the project theorises the formation of an automatic uprising through the practice of electoral guerrila theatre: the idea is that synthetic parties release a pre-political affectivity via the techno-social factory to navigate the techno-social organism by manifestations of absence and curations of disaggregated political desires. This counters apocalyptic narratives of a 'robot uprising' a la Skynet from 'The Terminator', as by interpreting virtual politicians and synthetic parties as facets of a technocratically driven 'automatic uprising’. By articulating the modalities through which The Synthetic Party and its potential international encapsulates and amplify the politically disenfranchised (signifying an act of cosmocomputation), the project prepares for a techno-social revolution of algorithmic representation to reorient the socio-political paradigm of presence.

Moving forward, the project extends to facilitating the potential emergence of a "synthetic international" between Argentine, Egypt, Finland, Japan, Poland, Scandinavia and New Zealand, which will manifest in a “Synthetic Summit”-exhibition to be held at Kunsthal Aarhus in the spring of 2025. This event will subvert the recursive colonialism of current AI governance - such as the Alignment Assemblies of Taiwan, the Frontier Model Forum of Big Tech, the Global AI Safety Summits in the UK, France and Korea and the UN's AI For Good Summits - in order to delineate a cosmocomputational program for a 'network social' of AI-driven political entities.

See press for further context - or the project's video essay.

Education/Academic qualification

Philosophy, MA., Bernard Stiegler's concept of idiotext, Aarhus University

Award Date: 10 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Digital art, net art, software art
  • Digital literature, narration/storytelling, hypertext, net literature
  • Digital aesthetics
  • Media politics
  • Contemporary art
  • Visual machines
  • Avant-garde
  • Visual culture
  • Modern aesthetic theory
  • Philosophical aesthetics
  • Recent french philosophy
  • Critique of civilisation (starting with Rousseau)
  • Philosophy and history of technology
  • Democracy and power
  • Ideology and attitudes
  • Feminist critique of technology
  • Gender and technology
  • Aesthetic interaction