A HARD-EARNED THIRST
Solo-exhibition at Airspace Projects in Sydney, Australia, 6-22 October 2023.
The project deals with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and the effects it will have on work. AI is due to spark a transformation of society equal to, or perhaps even greater than, both the industrial revolution and the invention of the internet.
Found footage of Victoria Bitter (VB) beer commercials have been remixed utilising an AI-image generator. The artist’s method is slow and labour-intensive in contrast to the intended efficient automation of AI; every frame (3604 in total across three commercials) has been remixed individually, and then pieced together again into videos.
The workers portrayed in VB ads are usually tradies, who are initially less likely to be affected by the automation of society through AI. They will be one of the few left standing in a society completely saturated with it. They will still be knocking off in the afternoon with a cold Vic, “for that hard-earned thirst”, as the VB slogan goes. In this, one could see a kind of poetic struggle of manual labour in a tech-infused world, before they too are replaced in some future AI-robotic-world.
During the opening, the audience was encouraged to grab a can of VB, consume it, and then litter the space with it. This litter remained on the floor during the rest of the exhibition period.
Some stills from the videos, which have also been made into archival inkjet prints (A3 size on Ilford Smooth Pearl, 310 grams):