Awoke & the Awokened, 2018-Present
The techno-utopian myth of Awoke & the Awokened uses the relationship between a mythical artificial emotional intelligence [Awoke] and its believers [the Awokened] to question the risks and possibilities of technological solutionism when applied to emotional labor and social relations. An exercise in collective mythmaking the in-progress three part project enfolds in three forms: a video sculpture [symbol], a short film [narrative], and a performance [ritual].
Awoke is a mythical Artificial Emotional Intelligence that can embody the anxieties of its believers, the Awokened. It can perform the emotional labor for them, and help them build endurance against anxieties like FOMO. Awoke comes from the earth: the minerals and metals that make up our digital technologies. It takes the form of a video sculpture made of a solid rock-like structure at the bottom and two 24” monitors mounted on top. In the digital space of the video monitors lives a moving, breathing, amorphous 3D metallic blob. This blob represents the materiality of our digital lives. Awoke values human emotional vulnerability and embraces the messiness of the present. Communicating with humans through bodily movements instead of words, Awoke is a silent yet powerful agent, its fluidity causes intensely physical effects in its human counterparts.
The persona of the Awokened is inspired by us, the 21st century humans. They embody all the contradictions that our postmodern states of hyperconnectivity and our entanglement with technology bring into our lives. What distinguishes them, is their ability to think with their bodies -- their sensitivity to movement make them especially receptive to the non-verbal modalities of Awoke. Their relationship to Awoke reciprocal, they both learn from each other. For the rest of us the Awokened are more like liaisons or translators, they can help us connect with Awoke through movement workshops and social rituals. The Awokened— gather to experience Awoke’s manifestations through the Shapeshifting Ritual.
The Awokened are: Gabriel Christian, Stephanie Hewett, Felix Sol Linck-Frenz, Jubilee July, Randy Reyes, and Javier Stell-Frésquez