CROSSLUCID interview on building positivity and care in the digital realm

CROSSLUCID interview on building positivity and care in the digital realm
╭──╯ . . . . .CROSSLUCID. . . . . ╰──╮ is an artist collective, co-founded by Sylwana Zybura and Tomas C. Toth in 2018, Shanghai, that engages in highly collaborative cross-disciplinary projects in co-evolution with technology. Their work has been exhibited and showcased  by iMAL, Vellum LA, Epoch.Gallery, The Osaka Museum of Fine Arts, SXSW, AI Biennial Germany, NOWNESS, Google Arts & Culture, Boiler Room, VR World NYC, wrong biennale, LUX Moving Image, Art Basel Miami, Garage Rotterdam, The Lobkowicz Palace and ARD Culture amongst others.

What are your views on the potential of NFTs?

NFTs have not yet reached their full potential. They offer the opportunity for all of us, to act as patrons not only for singular artworks, but for the development and unraveling of its project’s future potential. We strongly believe that artists with aid of technology, can create, test and enhance new mechanics, as well as exploring novel possibilities far from dystopian realities. While we have seen a multitude of disappointments, the bear market has allowed for a more serious approach towards this specific contract and interaction, leading to exciting developments also including traditional art spaces that need to re-evaluate their approach and rigid strategies.

How important is bringing the critical and political into the digital realm?

Our practice revolves around identity, sexuality, intimacy, and spirituality in a broader sense. We look towards technology to explore and enhance the possibilities of emerging and non-linear narratives that allow us to transgress and imagine unique  modes of operation. Our goal is to overwrite, intercept and glitch the narratives that limit us and question them by instigating and facilitating tools for conversation, exploration, and healing through these emergent technologies. The challenge here lies in the need to be aware, present and active in taking action and curating worlds inhabiting constructive and positive future. The possibility of evolving in a more sustainable and progressive way through action and relationality is the driving force behind our practice.

What do you think about the role of technology in passive engagement and the necessity of critique?

The medium is a response and reactionary tool against to what we see, but it is quintessential to build positive and uplifting narratives. Many sci-fi stories warn us of dystopian futures that are still being perpetuated and extremely fetishised. It is necessary to explore how these narratives could be imagined differently with focus on constructive and unorthodox solutions. While our world is extremely violent, it is vital to create worlds and squad wealth that binds us together and proposes pro-active, positive and future-oriented solutions. As artists, we have the power to impregnate these narratives and to build future(s) that can be still imagined and viable in the world of perpetual permaweird.

Projects coming up

Since we conducted the interview, we have been working towards the launch of our Sentient Sigils project as a drop of 501 algorithmically spawned and pre-charged Sigils. They become a personal, but most importantly a collective compass and guide as the fabric of our reality system shatters leading us towards perpetual despondency, where the need for personal and collective re-imagining becomes ever more pressing. Each Sigil is individually inscribed with powerful intention honouring a technique of sigilisation developed by Austin Osman Spare. Intentions as diverse as Swarm Support, Emergent Interoperability or Multi-sig Ecstasy become prompts in the purity of a formula that drives the text-to-image generation. The method is to cross-pollinate the abbreviated form of this original intention with our swarm of self-trained networks as well as initial images taken by us of elucidating portals hiding in pure sight of familiar and perhaps even mundane realities.

Sentient Sigils aim to highlight the value of collective intentionality as a powerful and necessary tool for anti-fragile navigation and re-imagination. Simultaneously, its intention is to make possible the realisation of Osmotic AI, our ongoing project pursuing the development of new embodied practices as well as an open-source device for mental and spiritual re-alignment through collective introspective experiences. It is informed by the practice and science of lucid dreaming, subconscious imprinting and hypnosis. A collaboration between cultural theorist, researcher and media studies professor Ania Malinowska, who is also a trained hypnotist, and Claire Glanois, a postdoctoral machine learning researcher. the project sees technological intelligence as a source of alternative analogies and a bridge between human subliminal self and the universal post-material consciousness that revisits methods of traditional psychology and offers solutions for therapeutic reframing.

Institutional funding models for the arts are often inadequate to support artists in the research and development of actual tools and technology which this activation attempts to overcome, while also mapping out affiliations and sharing inspirations, findings and results with a human network. At the same time, each dividual with a Soulbound Sentient Sigil becomes a holder of a unique seed - their personal key to infuse and guide their future generations with various forms of AI as well as their personalised journeying with Osmotic AI.