“Apes are our closest relatives and are commonly seen as a symbol of our evolution”.
The work takes us on a metaphorical exploration of our digital evolution, by navigating through the topics of cybersecurity, data consumption, surveillance capitalism, disinformation, behavior modification, and energy demands. It investigates the benefits and dilemmas that the new digital transformation brings to our society.
APES is a collection of kinetic sound sculptures resembling primates. They are made out of recycled WI-FI sector antennas. The sculptures are driven by algorithms showing dynamic counters of data consumption and cyberattacks: from Facebook likes, Google searches, tinder swipes, internet energy consumed and emails sent, to the adverse cyber events happening in real-time. The data is analyzed and translated into sound and movements.
When the counters hit certain key numbers, the sculptures release sonic events composed by an AI trained to deep fake the calls of real apes. These sonic events are modulated in real-time by the data speed and diffused as a quadraphonic audio experience using the body of the APES as a resonating chamber.
The exhibition displays the kinetic sound sculptures as well as audio and video interviews collected during the research with scientists and experts associated with the project.
APES by Marco Barotti, was created during the art-science residency “RE:SEARCHING IT SECURITY” at Cluster of Excellence CASA, in collaboration with STATE.
Software programming: Marco Accardi / Anecoica Studio
Assistant Design: Xueqi Huangfu
Deep fake research and production: Lea Schönherr, Joel Frank
Cyberattacks API research implementation: Endres Puschner
Digital Wellbeing, inputs Asia Biega
Bitcoin electricity consumption, inputs Veelasha Moonsamy
Technical advisor: Benjamin Maus
External eye: Anna Anderegg
Photos and video: Xueqi Huangfu
Funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) under Germany’s Excellence Strategy through the Cluster of Excellence “CASA – Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries” (EXC 2092)
Supported by: RUK/PiNA, Festival IZIS, Ars Electronica, Loop Space Seoul
Travel and transport are supported by Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe
Marco Barotti is a media artist based in Berlin. His work is driven by a desire to invent an artistic language in which a fictional post-futurist era is expressed through kinetic sound interventions in natural and urban environments. His installations merge audio technology, consumer objects, and waste into moving sculptures triggered entirely by sound. The primary focus of his work is to create a “tech ecosystem” that plays with resemblances to animals and plants. These artworks serve as a metaphor for the anthropogenic impact on the planet and aim to make people aware of environmental issues.