ROB LAW is the first part in a series of exhibitions and programs investigating the relation between art, technology, power and manipulation. During the past year Studio Alight collective have explored the crossroads of the arts, the law and the technological potential that both forms and misinforms our society.
The exhibition Rob Law revolves around two main works Lagrymden (The Space of Law) and Prior Art Automaton, both of which not only visualise the power structures but also aims at finding ways to democratize and access the law. The work aims at exploring data mining, mapping power structures, visualising the law, the creative process, mitigating cognitive biases, and the relationship possibilities between Artificial Intelligence and the governing bodies that create our society.
Lagrymden is a visualisation of the connections between the paragraphs of the law of Sweden. It provides an understanding of these connections between the lines that fills the law books and is an experience that alights the gravity of the connections between the paragraphs. While navigating inside the law of Sweden enables the audience to navigate their own way through the paragraphs and exposes the complexity in its construction. The bodily experience of this artwork indicates the potential of aesthetics displacing subject positions and previous understandings.
Prior Art Automaton was initially exhibited as drawings in the Dutch Pavilion of the Venice Biennale 2018. For the Rob Law exhibition, Studio Alight have turned this conceptual idea into a large-scale sculptural installation. The work questions the fundamental principles around corporate utilization of intellectual property.
In most systems of patent law, Prior art is constituted by all information that has been made available to the public in any form before a given date that might be relevant to a patent’s claim of originality. An automaton is a self-operating machine designed to automatically follow a predetermined sequence of operations, or respond to predetermined instructions. For the Prior Art Automaton work, Studio Alight have used Artificial Intelligence and has designed a machine that prints, and thus, creates novelty, prior art, at a pace unachievable by humans. This protects smaller companies or individuals because they no longer need to compete with large global corporations in the system, a competition that would normally be experienced as that of David and Goliath.
Since 2015 ICIA has invited artists to examine various perspectives of the Aesthetics of Law. This overall thematic has aimed at investigating the modernity and its organisation of people through laws, norms and aesthetics. The rise of modernity; the enlightenment and colonialism by the end of 18th century and its view on humanity, sorting of classes and races and its simultaneous proclamation on human rights have been examined in relation to contemporary society. What are our possible spaces of action from an artistic practice today? The Rob Law exhibition concludes these years of examining the aesthetics of law by literally entering the world of law using artistic strategies to challenge it. Lagrymden makes the law accessible through the aesthetics. Prior Art Automaton uses the aesthetic space – the art exhibition – to democratize the patent law by making ideas public thus enabling small companies or individuals to claim agency over today’s patent system. With the Rob Law exhibition, Studio Alight creates robot lawyers as well as robbing the law from the constitutional law system and its explicit power of our lives and showing ways of using A.I. to give back the power to the people.