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Gallery Spotlight: DELTA_ARK Binah: Forms for Wisdom (2023)
Built in Unreal Engine 5, Binah: Forms for Wisdom is an art game that takes place in a future where human life has mysteriously vanished. Players exist as the last members of humanity, left behind in a ghost world to uncover what became of the species. The game starts on the island of ‘Binah’, a monument which recounts five ages of technological development that led to humankind’s disappearance: Climate Machines, Cryonics, Brain-Computer Interfaces, Genetic Engineering, and Spacefaring. By exploring Binah, players encounter recorded testimony from citizens of each age—like lost whispers from a future-past.
Binah: Forms for Wisdom employs some of Delta_Ark’s recent experimentations with agent based world design, which seek to imbue digital environments with virtual life that radically alters gameplay dynamics. For example, on the island of Binah, an autonomous maintenance system constantly builds and rebuilds the structures of a lost city. This autonomous simulation runs live during the game experience, revealing and concealing different parts of the map during different playthroughs. Binah: Forms for Wisdom demonstrates the impact of our current technological moment—one in which rapid advancements in machine intelligence and agent design are inspiring artists to consider the great transformations and singularities that humans will face in the short and long term.
This kind of speculative exploration is a familiar playground for Delta_Ark. In their sprawling, simulation-based practice, the studio draws concern to the enmeshed entanglements between natural systems, technological systems, and their impacts on human cognition and emotion. Looking towards biological science, cognitive science, sociology, and religion from a xenofeminist and post-gender lens, Delta_Ark uses game engines to simulate how advancements in tech fields like synthetic biology and atmospheric management might impact the psychological, spiritual and ethical roots of the human experience. Through complex hypermedia narratives that unfold in game experiences, videos and virtual performance, Delta_Ark offers keen insight into the evolving nature of agency, and more broadly the felt impact of living through eras of radical change.
About the Artist
Delta_Ark (Ari Kalinowski)
Delta_Ark’s current work is a sequence of interactive virtual environments and audio-visual experiences that represent and embody different relationships between human-like entities, artificial intelligences (of various powers) and natural systems (or chimeras) in different science fiction contexts, often involving precipitous technological evolution, climate change or the far future. Many of these works explore future power-relations between AGIs, ASIs and cyberized forms of collective and individual human intelligence in order to sketch out some visions of a post-biological (and/or synthetic-biological) future. Motifs from Jewish mythology, Japanese popular media and contemporary philosophy often form the contextual backdrop of these explorations.