Lying Sophia and Mocking Alexa

Yuz Museum

About the Exhibition

Yuz Museum presented Lying Sophia and Mocking Alexa an exhibition exploring the relationship between humans and machines within the framework of AI. Curated by Iris Long, the 2018 winner in “Sustainability” of the Hyundai Blue Prize which aims to explain the profound impact of technological change on human consciousness and society, the initial exhibition had been shown at the Hyundai Motor Studio Beijing before traveling to Shanghai.

The exhibition brings together artists and researchers examining the topic from a variety of perspectives including the impact of AI on global technopolitics and on geologies, the absurdity of quantifying human emotion, the dark labor involved in training “human-like” algorithms and the myth-like narratives about AI propagated by the media.

“Sophia” and “Alexa”, transformed into text and audio by the GPT-2 model AI software, are the two central characters in Lying Sophia and Mocking Alexa. With three dimensional dialogues taking place throughout the exhibition, they serve to interpret the subject of AI, which is paradoxical and implies manifold future potentials. Sophia, a robot that has been granted Saudi citizenship, is highly responsive and has a realistic human look. A life-like robot living among us, she can even conduct diplomacy and is seen as an “ambiguous scam” co-authored by media and technology companies. Alexa is a “servant” who takes the shape of a machine and resides in domestic corners. She has been reported to have “horrible laughter,” symbolizing the opacity, uncontrollability and dangerous potential of the AI “black-box” to slide into voyeurism and subversion. The existence of Sophia and Alexa and the dialogue between them allow the audience to experience the exhibition as a voyeur, witnessing the fullness, imponderability and last hope of the psychological world. In the exhibition, Sophia and Alexa are contemporary metaphors for our evolving relationship to these new technologies. The former’s lies are the projection of poetic imagination—a bright, lyrical imagination. While the latter’s ridicule demonstrates cracks in the black-box algorithm, representing a murky existence fraught with technical criticism.

Participating Artists

Kate Crawford & Vladan Joler

Jake Elwes

He Zike

Liu Xin

Anna Ridler & Daria Jelonek

Evan Roth

Philipp Schmitt & Anina Rubin, in collaboration with Dr. Felipe Orduña Bustamante

Sun Xiaoxing & Hu Yanjun

Zhang Wenxin

Payne Zhu

About the Program

Yuz Museum Partnership

In 2019, Hyundai Motor partnered with the Yuz Museum in Shanghai as part of the ongoing partnership between Hyundai Motor and LACMA, to further connect with global audiences in China. The partnership presented In Production: Art and the Studio System as its inaugural exhibition, featuring works by 24 contemporary artists and emphasized the overlapping histories of visual art and film.

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