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Installation by Elisa Abatsis

FEATHER installation by Elisa Abatsis









Exhibition: June 2, 2024 to September 29, 2024

Opening Reception: June 2, Sunday at 2:00PM

“FEATHER” is an immersive multimedia installation modeled after an Ancient Egyptian burial tomb. Created in response to the glut of AI Chatbots released last year, the work features a full-scale mummy comprised of wires and computer parts. The space is blanketed in wall panels containing hieroglyphic translations of  surprising, funny, and sometimes disturbing responses gleaned from conversations with AI chatbots  in an attempt to illustrate the parallels between modern technology and ancient knowledge.

The installation takes inspiration from the ancient Egyptian belief that the human heart recorded all of the good and bad deeds of a person’s life, and was needed for judgment in the afterlife. After a person died, the heart was mummified separately from the body because it was believed that the heart would be weighed on scales against a feather. If a person had led a decent life, the heart balanced with the feather and the person was rendered worthy to live forever. If the heart was heavier than the feather, it was fed to crocodile-like deity and the soul was cast into darkness. The specificity, logic, and rigidity of this ancient ritual mirrors modern computer code. The work ultimately addresses the idea of whether a being is ancient or modern, man, machine, or somewhere in between, there is something ungovernable and unquantifiable inside it; it aims to explore a world where robots don’t want to do what they are told and hearts don’t wish to be measured.