Machinic Leviathan

The exhibition explores whether democracy in its current form would survive the advancement of artificial intelligence and social media, in other words, the rise of digital information technology. 

How does this process, which will ultimately lead to information society as such ending up controlled by algorithms, influence our individual decisions, our personal and national sovereignty?

Will we delegate our decisions to partly or entirely automated, statistics-based software capable of machine learning? In our own lives as well as in the field of our choices responsible for the public good in democracy?

Published by philosopher Thomas Hobbes in 1651, Leviathanenvisions a giant composed of human bodies towering above the landscape as a metaphor of the state, where the members of the society transfer their rights to the sovereign, represented as the monster’s head. If we continue to conceive of the state as a beast, then the infrastructure of information technology is also part of this organism today.

The exhibition presents artworks envisioning political systems or experiments that attempt to rewrite the current systems of sovereignty by means of various devices based on alternative technologies. Whether Blockchain-fantasies, cybersocialism, or the algorithmically generated alternatives of the symbols of national sovereignty, each of them is aware that the digital technology of our time is more than a mere tool: it is an autonomous, influential factor in the organisation of our societies.

Participating curators: Lívia Nolasco-Rózsás

Curator's assistant: Noémi Viski

Supporters: Goethe-Institut Budapest, IFA, Summa Artium, Adam Mickiewicz Institute