“Agnosia,” which literary means ignorance and is the inability to recognize things, is the title of Ali Phi’s new media installation. Our brain is unable to capture reality thoroughly; it, rather, puts together the images that has received from the eyes to form a fragmented reality or create a reality for itself that is altogether new. In this project, Ali exposes himself to videos and images of personal memories that are emotionally loaded for him. During the process, EEG technology is used, through which the electrical activities of the brain are captured, and then the perceptions and reactions of the artist created by recalling memories are represented with the help of an artificial intelligence system in the form of images, sounds, and video.
Ali Phi seeks to call into question the process of human perception of reality by controlling the memory-making process. The audience is constantly forced to question their lived experience, memories, and self-made reality. Through this reconsideration, one can cast doubt on fixed experiences, which is the beginning of becoming skeptical about their personal reality, the beginning of change and the creation of a new state of existence.
The works of the show are presented in several formats: video art, digital prints, and NFTs. The video art component of the “Agnosia” project is presented in three sections. In one section, some scenes selected by the artist are presented, produced in a real time process through a software. The next section shows a grid of the artist’s brainwave data while producing images, the decision-making process, and the data selection by the software. The third section is a video, which is the reconstruction of the two memorization tests of the repetitive patterns that the artist has used in the creation process to activate his memories. The presence of the audience in front of the installation and testing themselves leads them to doubt and reconsider reality.
Even though “Agnosia” uses engineered software and artificial intelligence algorithms, it puts on display the innermost layers of thoughts and feelings of the artist. He wears all his fears, worries, joys, and memories on his sleeve, all in abstract imagery, to share his experiences of perception, transformation, and doubt in the reality formed in the mind.
The production of the work is supported and funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and city of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.