RTSM | Domenico BARRA: "How can our experience with AI enhance meanings and aspects of our existence that we take for granted?"

TEXT:CAFA ART INFO    DATE: 2020.10.26

Humanity is going through a struggle. The enemy this time is invisible. It has no religion, no race. It attacks all of us regardless of our political and cultural background, the rich and the poor. We are in the age of machines, human super power, but nature is putting us on alert. What seems the end might be a new awakening. A new life. A new nature. A new society. A new human. 

How can our experience with AI enhance meanings and aspects of our existence that we take for granted? Deus Ex Machina takes out the dystopia from the narrative of the impact of AI in our society and proposes a counter-narrative where human life is enhanced by machines, human intelligence in symbiosis with artificial intelligence. Of course, we must be aware of the unexpected consequences, there will be glitches in this relationship, but this will not be limited but an opportunity for improvement. It's always a matter of choice. We must praise but also nurture the symbiosis in healthy ways, it will grow and we will benefit from it. Reach awareness through imagination, new visions, new intelligence, new skin, new nature, new humans, new life. Let yourself be inspired by Deus Ex Machina

A shift in perspective. I have started to explore the field of AI generated images, I am fascinated by the process and also by the culture and theories developing and spreading around this topic. I am not really concerned about the dystopia. I am very interested in the training process, could it inspire and influence the way we teach and train fellow humans? How can our experience with AI enhance meanings and aspects of our existence that we take for granted? I am sure that, if properly and wisely implemented in our daily tasks, our life can benefit from it. I am not just being too positive. I just believe that it is always a matter of choice.


Deus Ex Machina is my second artwork created with an AI. This computer generated artwork was created by GANtools developed by Liz Everett. The machine worked on Ganbreeder image dataset to generate animation. The second layer of this work, the glitched face figure was the result of incorrect imagedata interpretation carried out by two software, XVI32 && XnView. I only selected, trained, assembled, edited and supervised the works made by machines. This is the shift in perspective. I didn't use the software to make this digitalart piece. This is a human and machine art collaboration.

Symbiosis - A good reason to work and cooperate with intelligent machines could be that of establishing connections, an intellectual approach, let's say on a philosophical ground, engaging in a symbiosis in a digital environment, enhancing our human nature, in close contact with machines through what we do. Nurture these "relationships" in a healthy way and let it grow. Other uses could just be toxic! 

About the Artist


Domenico Barra is an Italian artist and he works with new digital media. The critical, tactical and analytical approach to new technologies takes shape in an artistic production that exploits the error (glitch) both as a raw material and as a narrative key to research and suggests a dialogue on different themes related to new media in terms of temporality, opportunity, functionality, accessibility and also a focus on failure, network, intelligence, language, memory and identity. He also designs art covers for music projects and he loves to design graphics for t-shirts. His works have been published on various sites and magazines including The Creators Project, Motherboard, Bullet Magazine, Hyperallergic, Art F City, Monopol, Observer, Artribune, Exibart, Widewalls and Digicult. He took part in numerous curatorial projects and his works have been exhibited at the DAM Gallery in Berlin, at the Media Center in New York, at the Galerie Charlot in Paris, at the Digital Art Center in Taipei, online at World Intellectual Property Organization and the Wrong Biennale and in many other galleries and cultural art events. His works has also been part of academic talks and lectures in various international institutes and universities. He has participated in several editions of The Wrong (New Digital Art Biennale). He directed the organization of the first Glitch Art exhibition in Italy, Tactical Glitches, curated by artists Rosa Menkman and Nick Briz. In 2016 he was among the international artists invited by the School of Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) for the 150th anniversary of the important and famous American institution where he gave a lecture and a public talk about piracy and pornography, the impact of the internet and digital media on the production, distribution and consumption of NSFW. He designs patterns for the Italian company PPPAttern and some of my digital works are part of the curatorial projects of the British Sedition Gallery and the Swiss Noow Gallery. Barra teaches glitch art and dirty new media at the Rome University of Fine Art (RUFA) and he gives lectures and presentations about glitch art and related topics at academies, schools and festivals. He is the creator of the White Page Gallery/s. White Page Gallery/s is a decentralized and distributed art network born in June 2019: it is an online network for artistic sharing composed of artists, curators, academies, festivals and cultural operators who host independently on their website and without the aim of profit from art projects made and curated by other people.

Text, Video and Image Courtesy of the Artist

Edited by Sue and Emily