Imperfect Simulations

Mixed media total installation/Audiovisual research on time perception and dream decoding in the digital age.
Video-art with quadro sound, 3 led video sculptures, interactive installation
Sound landscape was made in collaboration with Dmitry Vikhornov.

“Dreaming is like a virtual-reality simulation of the perceptual world, created internally
without the contribution of external physical stimulation.”
Antti Revonsuo

"I don't have time" is a frequent statement of the anthropocene era. But we spend one third of our lives asleep. And out of approximately 23 years asleep, about 8 years we spend dreaming.

The topic of time perception in the digital age and the time we spend sleeping are in the focus of  this artistic investigation. Anna Titovets questions cultural, philosophical and scientific context related to the themes in the form of several interconnected mixed-media artworks.

The central part of the exhibition is a 2-chapter video projection. According to the Threat Simulation Theory (TST), originally developed by cognitive neuroscientist Antti Revonsuo, dream consciousness is an evolutionary developed biological simulation of perceptual world, specialized on simulations of threatening scenarios in order to accustom us to similar situations in reality. Dreaming rehearses species-specific survival skills.
There are several most common threatening themes and events which are proved to be most common in the sleeping realm and which were taken as a basis for a further artistic interpretation within the speculative idea of dreams being an imperfect virtual reality.
Within Threat Simulation Theory the artwork speculates on the threats in the Anthropocene epoch – both the existing and the potential ones. Including the references to the case of false ballistic missile alert which was issued by mistake via the Emergency Alert in the U.S. state of Hawaii on the Jan, 2018, refugee’s crisis and the widely discussed topics of technologically related phobias such as the fear of global simulated reality, threat of the robotic and AI technologies, potentially making the majority of human beings unnecessary, the threat of uncontrollable technologies etc.
Another conceptual layer of the artwork are screen recordings of multiple facebook conversations conducted by the artist within the framework of this research, and thus giving another layer of continuous narrative. The mixed collage of found footage, dealing with the themes of possible threat simulations in the digital age layered with several protagonists of the artwork - the VR-alike manipulated image of sculpture of sleeping Hermaphroditus and the record of imprisoned shooter while sleeping, videos of computer  games’ characters' deaths and other topic-related images it both rejects and confirms the idea that almost equal time is spent in social networks and being asleep.

The second chapter of the video projection (Decode II) is devoted to the brain processes within the matter of dreaming. The generative visuals are made with intentional imperfection as if it was badly rendered with the dropped frames and low-poly objects, mutating and in constantly morphing as the time does. They are layered with the footage of recent attempts of the Neural Decoding of Visual Imagery during Sleep. The objects which are decoded by computer in a sleeper's brains are brought into parallel to the so called archaic “dream books”, which offer their own ways of interpretations of the sleeping narrative. Naive and in a way mythological explanations extracted from the dream books are shown next to the top-leading neuroscience experiments in the field. Thus playing in between different contexts and multi layering ideas Anna Titovets proposes a meta narrative vision on the topic of Threat Simulation Theory of dreaming and spending time asleep (directly and metaphorically) in the digital age.

Time perception is a construction of the homo sapience brain, but one that is manipulable and distortable under certain circumstances. And how is the time being perceived in the digital age with the new ideas of “network time” and accelelaration and vast “gadgetisation”?
The audio part of the artwork is based on the interviews with artists, thinkers and scientists from different countries with the questions about how people with different cultural backgrounds perceive time. The geography of the interviewed people is quite broad ­– Russia, Switzerland, Mexico, Australia, India etc. The bits and pieces of opinions and thoughts from the interviews and mixed with sound-art mainly created via manipulation of time-related audio samples. For this piece the artists has joined forces with a well-known Russian musician Dmitriy Vikhornov.

The 3 video-sculptures on the led-screens represent the “official” methods of social contract to measure time. The artifacts (clocks) are presented as a kind of artificially made creatures shown and examined in the laboratory. The video screens are enfolded with the plastic foil.

The first artwork which meets the visitor  plays the role of an introduction to the topic. It is a simple interactive piece with the face recognition system. As soon as the visitor is recognised by the system it starts to count the time the visitor spends in front of it staring at herself/himself, thus bring an awareness of the purposes to the every second we spend.

Imperfect Simulations. Atelier Mondial (Basel), 2018

Part of the visual research are the records of the neural visual decoding research in which machine-learning models predict the contents of visual imagery during the sleep period, via measuring brain activity, by discovering links between human functional magnetic resonance imaging patterns and verbal reports with the assistance of lexical and image databases (mainly based on the researches conducted by professor Tomoyasu Horikawa and Yukiyasu Kamitani).

Additional video materials used in the artwork:
1.    CCTV record of Isis attack on Libya checkpoint.
2.    Youtube documentary of Afghan Special Force Target Shooting.
3.    CCTV record of The interrogation of Parkland school shooting gunman Nikolas Cruz. 9 aug, 2018 (Cruz was arrested for the one of the biggest mass shootings in the USA. He claims he followed the voices from his dreams that tell him to “Burn, Kill, Destroy”).
4.    Various recordings of videogame characters’ deaths.
5.    Youtube documentary of robot Sophia first time walk. March, 2018.
6.    Youtube documentary of greek coast guard attempts to sink the refugee boat.
7.    Youtube documentary of Petman tests. Boston Dynamics.
8.    Boston Dynamics documentary. March 2010.
9.    Youtube documentary of boxer defending his girlfriend from sexual assault.
10. 3D scanned statue of Sleeping Hermaphroditus (the Louvre, Paris).

The artwork was first developed within and thanks to Pro Helvetia artist-in-residency program.