Prophetai, Workshop for Beyond Binaries residency, Erinni Cult. Ass., Rome (IT), 2022
Prophetai is the workshop proposed for the residency Beyond Binaries, set in Rome's neighborhood of Torpignattara and commissioned by Erinni, a transfeminist collective combining art and social activism.
Prophētai is at the origin of the word Prophet, "who predicts", "who anticipates". In the case of the Oracle of Delphi, the prophētai had the task to interpret the sayings of the Oracle, and sometimes even reformulating them in verses.
The algorithms present in our smartphones have become silent intruders in our homes, in our beds, witnessing every event - significant or not - in our lives. What comes back to us is information, reflections of the lives they observe. Images, words, sounds generated from the past, are intended to predict the best future for each.
In the context of Beyond Binaries, I entered into conversation with the female identities of the Torpignattara district, to generate together an algorithmic, poetic and mythological reflection on the future. We performed a "digital spell" unto our smartphones, narrating different types of futures, with the aim to infiltrate and hack the predictions made for us.
Together with the participants, we built a script of "Perfect Futures" that could help us generate new counter-narrations, in contraposition to the ones manufactured by the algorithms
in our smartphones. We came together in a chorus of female voices, reclaiming agency against the futures written for us.
The laboratory took place in La Casa del Popolo, the ex-communist party location of the district, and Ostudio, an independent art space of Torpignattara.
Photo credits: Chiara Cor
The algorithmic predicitons collected during the residency by the participants
The performance of the spell, Ostudio, Rome (IT)
SPELL IN NEURAL NETWORK AND VOICES:
A neural network receives the word Prophetai and continues the sentence in this way:
Prophetai is a learned student who studies the book of the Prophet.
He is therefore a very enlightened figure.
However, he is also considered a little bit ignorant.
For example, he often warns that the fate of a multitude is in the hand of a few individuals.
But that's what every future maker wants.
And to this day, we haven't actually changed anything in our life.
The prophet tells the community not to be indifferent to destiny,
but to do everything it can to protect it.
Prophecy: How to control your future
Prophetai is a reformulation in verse and inverse
doesn't predict, anticipates
doesn't dream, creats
doesn't adapt, disturbs
and narrates and counter-narrates
to generate new myths.
These voices ask to be heard
they infilitrate in futures already written
and change pasts that were already gathered.
The mirror no longer reflects what we were
and leaves space to restore a new truth,
from who we got the privilege to refuse it.
The voices of other futures read,
somewhere they are already the present.
Prophetai is a spell, a digital enchantment generated by words,
to inscribe the possibility of what they imagine.
The voices join in a spell, they speak to their smartphones, and repeat and repeat the magic words:
Each person with whom I share the space has an active participation and presence in the space we share and cross. My possibilities are the possibilities of each one and the possibilities of each one are my possibilities, and they are the possibility of determining and self-determining oneself as one sees fit, in one's physical manifestation in one's own possibility of displacement. Work is not blackmail, nor it is an obligation, it is not a necessary means of sustenance.
I stopped working, I, my male companions, my female companions have the money to support ourselves, none of us feel this blackmail, it has freed us and we feel it has freed us from anything. I am not at all burdened by the presence of men who teach me things, if they exist I do not even know, they are somewhere and I have no idea. The relationships between my companions are not about power, we have reached the point that we do not reproduce the same systems of power that men have taught us. I sleep.
I talk to others, others talk to me. I understand others, others understand me. I activate empathy, and others activate empathy. The world is better.
I live in a place with a lot of greenery, and both I and the people around me, who are the people I love, whom I respect and who respect me and love me, we live without worries, without anxiety about the constant future. We work because we want to work. We like what we do, and what we do helps us among ourselves, it helps others but also ourselves. I love my body and my body loves me, he doesn't betray me and I don't betray him.
I have a beautiful place where I have a bar area, I offer tea, coffee, beers. In the back I have a workshop where I deal with ceramics and do-it-yourself.
I live in the countryside, I fell in love and I have children. I finally understood what my role in life is, the constant uncertainty and anxiety of knowing what I do in the world is over. I value others and others give it back to me. I live in a small community which, however, is not disconnected from the others, we are all small communities, we are all united by a huge network. In this community, work is beauty, it is also art, it is something that becomes an exchange. There is oxygenation, there is fluidity between you and me, it is all a passage of knowledge, of beautiful things. But I continue a relationship with the city, I move away from a capitalist scheme, which always wants me to do things, to do things to forget having done things, but at the same time I continue. There is no total separation between countryside and city, there is harmony.
There was a huge revolution in previous years, there was a genetic mutation of the human being. Wonderful. Until a few years ago I couldn't believe it. Everyone respects each other, no one who bullies, nothing. There is even no abuse of any living form, no one lets an animal, a plant, a human being die on the street. I don't believe it myself, in fact I'm fucking happy. I personally have my partner who is my perfect partner, he doesn't abuse me psychologically, he never got his hands on me. Making love with him is a wonderful thing, it doesn't objectify me... I really can't believeit, but it has changed like this, from one day to the next! I started dancing again, I had a knee operation and immediately I recovered.
And I wrote two books.
I have done all my art projects that I have pending, I have finished the comic, all three acts, I have done the project of the arcana on marine physiognomy, I have started to write the new stories for children and to illustrate them. I have a calendar of all the events I would like to participate in for artistic purposes. I have a person next to me who supports me, who has great esteem in me and who respects me. But, he also has feelings for me. My friends * are people who know how to appreciate me, I am emotionally balanced. There is no violence, there is no aggression.
CLOSURE IN NEURAL NETWORK
Which of us really cares about their future fate?
Which of us believes, like you and I,
in sharing their fate and destiny, only in the smallest of ways?
You or I may be sharing with them in the finest of ways,
but your or my sharing is by no means sweeping, universal, and permanent.
These things do not belong to one or the other of us,
our closest families, and our closest of friends.
I want to reclaim this destiny, this destiny of theirs,
and make it mine and yours and our own.
I want to share it with us all.
What you or I can do today is take one step forward,
look into your own future destiny, and rejoice in that.
Make our collective destiny ours.
We can always gain something, but we can only surrender something,
or relinquish it. We can never reclaim it.
We can only claim it.
We create an authentic, activated, shared future for those we love.
We start by sharing between ourselves.
Let us find the pathways to reclaiming our destiny, reclaiming it together.
The workshop will be shown in AlbumArte on September 14th, Rome (IT)