On October 19th 2020, after six months of clandestine erotic art gallery show, @how_icheated_ai, an experimental art account that used grids (and later small images) to post nudes and sex acts bypassing IG censorship algorithms, was taken down due to followers “friendly fire” and AI executing the removal of posts which underwent multiple checks.
But that was OK.
It was the right epilogue, even poetic. My intent was to challenge, mock, and question the AI and the censorship policy – with a satirical touch. The mission was accomplished and a message was sent, whatever message one could get from it.
While the account was online, an article appeared on the most important Italian news website Dagospia, written by Italian art curator Gianluca Marziani
As Marziani put it: “There is no doubt that the moral question is open to many discussions, also because it would be absurd to manage media worlds without any delimitation. Today’s knot, however, concerns the drift of indiscriminate moralism on the themes of sex in its multiple meanings. Today a photo by Helmut Newton or a painting by Raffaello risks censorship ban that compare them to the hard ads of silicone escorts: and this is not good.
Censorship on the web is a complicated subject, full of angles and edges, a hot topic for a jurisprudence that will have to regulate the new morality in the days of the web. The same companies, today holders of immense databases, will have to help the adult stage of artificial intelligence, working better on censorship policies, creating specific clusters for homogeneous groups, supporting young people with a new digital pedagogy, isolating those who destroy content and they create environments of concrete danger.”
HOW IT STARED (old text)
I know lockdown isolation may trigger desire, so in this dilated time of social distancing I managed to cheat Instagram’s artificial intelligence and was able to post nudes and sex acts without being censored by the engine. How? Basically I found a “leak” in the algorithm: it can’t recognize nudes posted in grids. It’s like it can’t (so far) see the overall image – as human intelligence does.
In sum, this online project questions, challenges and mocks the nature of Artificial Intelligence and the online censorship policy – with a satyrical touch.