Ed Fornieles's art focuses on digital life and how we interact with online cultures. He designs programs, building worlds and strategies that try to push ideas of artificial intelligence and the networked digitisation of human emotion to breaking point.
One work is a VR porn program where the body of your lover constantly shifts gender, race and shape. Enforced non-discriminatory shagging, the politicisation of onanism: why have one partner when you can have all of them?
In another piece, Fornieles allowed a team of ‘conversationalists’ to take over his Facebook account and conduct chats with friends. The data they compiled was used to build an artificial intelligence that could provide friendship services with no human input… yikes.
He's also created a guide to building simulated worlds and a cute digital avatar whose moods are fed by global events.
Fornieles’s work is very knowing, aware of its own cleverness and maybe even a bit smug, which makes it easy to dismiss. But he’s Patrick Bateman-esque in his sociopathic desire to push and push and push. He constantly nudges at the limits of our networked selves. And, importantly, he never neglects the aesthetics. The works accompanying the sim guide look like post-apocalyptic Jasper Johns paintings; the panels alongside the VR work look like kinky John Baldessaris. It’s interesting, and it looks good to boot.
The whole show has the feel of a trade fair – as if it’s all stuff that could hit the market at any moment. That’s why he has to be stopped: it’s already too real.