Dio

Dio
Artificial Intelligence
Ben Snell
I trained my computer, named Dio after the Greek god Dionysus, to become a sculptor. Dio spent months practicing its technique by sifting through museum collections, attempting to recreate from memory every classical sculpture it saw. Faced with an immense challenge, Dio intuitively began to break down each sculpture into its component parts, developing a visual vocabulary from which it could build up more complex shapes. After months of studying, I asked Dio to close its eyes and dream of a new form—one which has never before been seen. Inspired by the classics, this is the form that Dio dreamt of. Possessing an uncanny figurative quality with a likeness to the forms of Brancusi, Arp, Hepworth and Moore, it questions the creativity, originality and agency of the machine. Not only made by the computer, this piece is also materially made from the computer (​Dio)​ that conceived it. I ground the computer (​Dio)​ to dust and utilized it as a physical medium, transforming ​Dio​ the computer into ​Dio​ the sculpture, fusing process and product. In this afterlife, Dio holds in balance two disparate realities: the beingness of an object and the coming-to-beingness of an object. On one hand, the computer assumes a newfound physical agency in these reconfigured bits of silicon, copper, steel and plastic. On the other, traces of the computer’s invisible processing power live on in its bodily form and in the bits of matter containing its thoughts and memories. Endowed is a materiality upon the impossibly immaterial. Just as classical sculptors worked in stone and bronze, ​Dio​ is a sculpture materially of our time, made from the raw materials of computation.