“INSIDE AN ABANDONED warehouse on the San Francisco docks, as the damp air floods through the holes in its rusted tin roof, Sunny Yang is playing her cello while recovering from the flu. She is 45 percent sad and 0.01 percent disgusted.
That, at least, is the read from the AI that’s tracking her expressions, gestures, and body language from the other side of the warehouse, flashing these stats on the movie screen behind her. The audience—several hundred people huddled between her and the AI, dressed in scarfs, hats, and overcoats—lets out a collective laugh.
Yang is playing alongside the rest of the Kronos Quartet, the iconic San Francisco string ensemble known for its unorthodox experimentation, and the AI is obeying orders from Trevor Paglen, the American artist who poses big questions about technology and surveillance through nearly any medium he can get his hands on. It’s all part of Sight Machine, a Paglen-orchestrated performance that explores the rise of computer vision.”