RESIDENCY | QT.bot
Artist: Lucas LaRochelle
Sound design: Rouzbeh Shadpey
GAN programming: Mattie Tesfaldet
November 1st to December 13, 2019
Public presentation: Thursday, December 12, 6 pm
At Studio XX
As part of its Slow Tech programming, Studio XX welcomes Lucas LaRochelle, in residency from November 1st to December 13. They are developing QT.bot, an artificial intelligence trained on the textual and visual data of Queering The Map, a community-generated mapping platform of 80 000+ stories of LGBTQ2+ experience, that produces an endless stream of speculative queer futures.
“Queer story perhaps does not need to exist as a ubiquitous truth, but rather as a mechanism of making visible the intimacy and absurdity of collective world-building, both by humans and artificial intelligences. Imagining the traversal of queer spaces, physical and digital, how can we mediate, maintain, and assess a relationship between lived experience and the propagation of machine generated LGBTQ2+ auto-narratives?
Grounded in a desire to explore and embrace the il/legibility of queer existence, Lucas LaRochelle and their collaborators will develop a neural network, dubbed QT.bot, to generate speculative queer spaces using the broad dataset of Queering the Map to build upon and self-initiate possible cyberfutures. By employing textual and visual content from over 80 000 submissions to the platform, QT.bot will be engaged to trouble the autonomy and validity that an AI might have in creating a more opaque lineage of queer narrative. Tending to the actualities of holistically queer-made machines, there is a push to assert both a categorical collapse in how queer history is defined and the function of representation to go beyond that of human kin, once again, into the application of an AI informed exclusively and inclusively by queer people.
QT.bot is the rogue offspring of Queering the Map, an online community mapping project that highlights anonymously submitted queer moments. Queering the Map was founded, created, and designed by Lucas LaRochelle in 2017 and has reached global popularity, now including tens of thousands of pins in 23 languages. With both projects flirting along similar trains of inquiry into queer worldmaking: QT.bot works to deepen the negotiation between physical and digital space, through the incubation of an AI designed and trained with queer knowledge as its axis.
Where will turning away from truth and legibility as an apparatus of worldbuilding lead us? Dare the machine imagine futures compatible with queer realities? Are QT.bot’s in/coherent presents and futures in/accessible projections of our own?
The residency will come to fruition through a series of speculative documentaries traversing through the worlds initiated by QT.bot and will be accompanied in the gallery by silk prints of these digital spaces. A series of public programs will be offered in conjunction with Lucas LaRochelle’s Slow Tech residency, including a vernissage, artist talk, and a series of machine learning workshops.”