Libby Heaney's post-disciplinary art practice includes moving image works, performances and participatory experiences that span quantum computing, virtual reality, AI and installation. Her practice uses humour, surrealism and nonsense to subvert the capitalist appropriation of technology, the endless categorizations and control of humans and non-humans alike. Instead, Heaney uses tools like machine learning and quantum computing against their traditional use, to undo biases and to forge new expressions of collective identity and belonging with each other and the world. Her work uses diverse media and modes like blurring, combining, remixing and weaving (derived from quantum physics) to unsettle or diffract standard conceptions of truth as we know it. From these foggy modes emerge strange new forms that question the distinction between fake and real, visible and invisible, private and public, the individual and the collective, especially when those categories are mediated by technology. Her projects speak to the entanglement of personal and machine agency where the power of the participatory and the collective presents a possible alternative to the hostility of state surveillance, corporate data mining, and the quantum arms race.
Ostensibly disparate, divergent, and wide-ranging, the work’s guiding questions include: What would it look like if art were able to interrupt the pace of technology to pose questions about its ethics? How can humans and non-humans join to co-author positive futures?
FIGURES, £igur€$, go figure?! is a video essay investigating biased representations of the body in computer vision and machine learning datasets and parallels in (mostly Western) art history. At times narrated by text-to-voice commands, Libby Heaney reconceptualizes the body as unbounded and formless through quantum physics while using quantum computing systems as the medium to express this. Sound designer: Barney Kass.
Appears as part of AMPLIFY D.A.I, an initiative of the British Council in partnership with MUTEK Montréal, MUTEK Buenos Aires, Artlab in Argentina, Oi Futuro in Brazil and Somerset House Studios in the UK. The programme is supported by Canada Council for the Arts, Instituto Nacional de la Música and Fundación Williams.
Heaney has collaborated with Nabihah Iqbal on an AI chanting project, released as an album earlier this year.
The artist is currently a resident at London’s Somerset House, working on a major commission using quantum computers.