Call for proposals

Issue 124 (winter 2020)

General informations:

Submissions must be sent in Word or RTF format to info [@] espaceartactuel [.] com. Unless otherwise indicated, they should comprise original and previously unpublished work. Writers are asked to include a brief biography (70-80 words for reviews, 80-100 words for other sections) and their mailing and email addresses.

The editorial committee reviews all submissions and reserves the right to accept or refuse any articles. Texts that present a potential conflict of interest between the author and subject will not be considered.

Submissions are evaluated on the following criteria: relevance to the mandate of ESPACE art actuel magazine, clarity of expression, quality of analysis and originality.

The editorial committee, overseen by the magazine’s Editor-in-chief André-Louis Paré, consists of Mélanie Boucher, Peter Dubé, Bénédicte Ramade, Aseman Sabet, Bernard Schütze and Mathieu Teasdale.

Contributors will receive $65 per 250-word page.

1. EXHIBITION REVIEWS section

Exhibition reviews should be no more than 1000 words, including endnotes. Authors must choose a recent solo or group exhibition held in Quebec, Canada or abroad.

Submission deadline: the deadline for Reviews is September 29, 2019.

2. INTERVIEWS or EVENTS sections

Please send an email to the direction of the magazine if you are interested in writing for either of these sections. Articles must be between 1500 and 2000 words, including endnotes.

Submission deadline: the deadline for Interviews and Events is September 29, 2019.

3. DOSSIER section

For this collection of essays, we would like to have original texts on this subject that cover a minimum of two or three art practices. If you would like to submit a text, we first invite you to email the editor of the magazine André-Louis Paré (alpare [@] espaceartactuel [.] com) to present a summary of your project. We will inform you promptly if your proposal is accepted. Your completed text should not exceed 2000 words, footnotes included. The honorarium offer is $65 per page (250 words). Deadline: Reception date of the final version of the text is October 11, 2019.

Dossier: “AI – Art Without Artists?”
Coresponsable : Nathalie Bachand
Issue 124 (Winter 2020)

When it comes to business or scientific research, whether in the medical, military or transport fields, artificial intelligence (AI) is often at the forefront of the media and at the heart of various controversies. Indeed, as a set of theories and techniques associated with the development of algorithms, AI now occupies most spheres of human activity and generates various debates: since the beginning of the industrial era, each new technological contribution induces ambivalent situations and research in the field of AI is no exception. While industry is enthusiastic about AI’s potential for profitability and efficiency, other experts, often affiliated with ethics, are concerned about its impact, particularly on the labour market and on the confidentiality of personal data. Knowing that power is vested in owning the data, the question is who really will benefit from this new technological revolution.

However, as we know, AI is not only of interest to the world of science and business; the art world has always been eager for new technological advances. In addition to the financial power that underlies the effervescence around AI today, a strong fascination operates in parallel. The fantasy of personifying the inert¾machine or material¾is far from new. For a long time, literature has been inviting us to put a “face” on it. Whether we think of Isaac Asimov’s trilogy The Robot Cycle (1950) or J. G. Ballard’s universe of autonomous machines in Vermillon Sands (1971), the possible forms of AI leave place for the unthought. As for cinema, it has effectively and profitably taken over the field. We spontaneously think of films such as Ex Machina (2015), Terminator (1984) or Westworld (1973) —that inspired the famous 2016 series— where humanoid beings generate a mixture of emotions ranging from fear to empathy. We also think of more diffuse characters, such as HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) or Samantha in the film Her (2013): “intelligences” without bodies. From this point of view, the release of Google’s DeepDream in 2015 1  —a computer vision program using a neural network and giving a hallucinatory aspect to the images thus created— marked a significant step in our fantasized perception of artificial intelligence. We would like to believe that this intelligence can dream, that it will be creative and unpredictable in its own way. We would like it to have initiative and intentions, but we are not quite there yet. Requiring it to be intelligent would still be the very first step in this retro-planning of the future: because autonomy does not equal intelligence.

Wouldn’t we rather talk about learning algorithms and generative systems? Or statistics, even home automation? And what is an algorithm if not a calculation method, a microprogram, a sequence of operations designed to solve X problem. What seems to us to be of the unexpected —and, by extension, of an external will— ultimately is only the result of an equation processing information. What we call “artificial intelligence” today has little to do with intelligence: although algorithms immersed at the heart of big data can give the impression of making decisions, in the end they are only analytical results.

Relying on algorithms to make choices also raises ethical issues. This is the challenge of self-driving cars today. 2 In art, the question is now: who creates? Is AI only a tool or is it allowed to sign the work? Is there a risk of undermining the notion of author in the wake of these new parameters? However, indeterminacy reigns: who is benefiting from this haze at the moment? Are we, without knowing it, at the threshold of a new paradigm of artistic creation —perhaps even of an importance similar to the one that Walter Benjamin put into perspective in his famous essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction3 If in the late 1990s some voices asked if we were creating “artists without art?”,4 the end of the 2010s certainly is raising the question of an art without artists— forcing us to rethink our a prioris.

This issue of ESPACE magazine aims to put into perspective the concerns that the increasing presence of AI is raising in the social, political, philosophical and, of course, cultural and artistic spheres today. If you wish to submit an article, we invite you, as a first step, to email the editor of the magazine André-Louis Paré before September 11, 2019 at alpare[@]espaceartactuel[.]com to present a summary of your proposal, including the art practices you wish to cover. We will inform you promptly if your proposal is pre-selected. Your completed text should not exceed 2000 words, footnotes included, and will be submitted to the editorial board. If accepted, an honorarium of $65 per page (250 words) will be paid upon publication. The deadline for the final version of the text is October 11, 2019.

 


1. See https://www.lemonde.fr/pixels/article/2015/07/09/on-a-teste-pour-vous-deep-dream-la-machine-a-reves-psychedeliques-de-google_4675562_4408996.html
2. See https://www.wired.com/story/self-driving-cars-uber-crash-false-positive-negative/?fbclid=IwAR0GisyAyF522W-OW5MOTUoe2V1hOoeRoXHvQlTKa2zktQRy8ueg9b48dvU
3. Walter Benjamin, 1935.
4. See Jean-Philippe Domecq, Artistes sans art ?, Paris, Éd. Esprit, 1994.