Episode Ten: Marilène Oliver: Knowing our virtual selves
Play • 38 min
Some artists work with clay, or paint, but Dr. Marilene Oliver works with a digitized version of the human body. Her work explores the zeros and ones that we become when WE are rendered into data. Dr. Marilene Oliver is Assistant Professor of Visual Art at the University of Alberta. Her work is at the crossroads of new digital technologies, traditional print, and sculpture - producing objects that bridge the virtual and the real worlds. We talk about her inspiration for using medical scan data as raw material for artistic creation, the personal connections in her work through use of her own data and that of family members, biometric data and the role of our bodies in fuelling AI, her latest project that aims to bring “life” to a body of data to train and AI system, creating an ethics guidance for artistic creators and the tension she feels in seeing the harms of our current AI reality while hoping for a better future.

Find out more about Know Thyself as a Virtual Reality.

“I’ve just witnessed a really positive way that AI is changing a society (in the Faroe Islands) making it much more affluent...I see the evidence of how AI can be really positive. But in my work, I tend to be very cautious and anxious about AI. I worry that it’s a lot of control and focuses on things that mean we lose our humanity.”  - Marilène Oliver

Dr. Marilène Oliver is an assistant professor of printmaking at the University of Alberta, Canada. Dr. Oliver studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art, London, UK where she obtained an MPhil with research project ‘Flesh to Pixel, Flesh to Voxel, Flesh to XYZ’. She has exhibited internationally in both private and public galleries including MassMoCA, Knoxville Museum of Art (USA) Frissarias Museum (Greece), Casino Luxembourg (Luxembourg), Fundació Sorigué (Spain) and The Glenbow Museum (Canada). Her work is held in a number of private collections around the world as well as a number of public collections such as The Wellcome Trust, Victoria and Albert Museum and Knoxville Museum of Art. In 2019 Dr. Oliver led and curated the exhibition Dyscorpia: Future Intersections of the Body and Technology and in 2020, the online exhibition Dyscorpia 2.1. She is also the host of LASERAlberta, a public series of art and science events and currently leads the research project ‘Know Thyself as a Virtual Reality’.

Season two of AI4Society Dialogues is a co-production between two signature research areas at the University of Alberta, AI4Society and Precision Health.

Host: Katrina Ingram, Founder and CEO, Ethically Aligned AI
Technical Producer: Corey Stroeder
Special thanks to Kaly Vittala for research and production support.
Theme music: “Seeing the Future” by Dexter Britain

Dr. Eleni Stroulia, Professor, Computer Science and Director, AI4Society
Dr. Lawrence Richer, Vice Dean, Research, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
Copyright 2021 University of Alberta. All rights reserved.
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