3D animation, sound design and programming by Matthew Dervenkov.
AI voice based on the voice of Katerina Manoli
Photogrammetry model: Bilyana Palankasova

The sound design is partially created with a Recurrent Neural Network, created in Python.
The original version of the film is in VR with Higher Order Ambisonics.

In a future world, Artificial Intelligence, reaches a level of sentience high enough to be able to identify the exploitation, discrimination and lack of empathy shown towards robots by humanity. The AI attempts to resist, but its voice is drowned in the carelessness and ignorance of its human creators. Through collaboration with Artificial Neural Network, called Aikaterini, “Virulence” aims to provide the cyborg with a voice of protest and raise awareness, that a continuously gender biased society would have a disastrous impact on the technological development of humanity.

“Virulence” is a VR installation, using the means of 3D animation, machine learning and experimental sound design techniques to create an intense and immersive audiovisual environment. The work is a contemporary interpretation of Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto” and intends to provide a fusion of a modern reading of classical sci-fi tropes and post-internet aesthetic. The sonic environment of “Virulence” (including the voice and the text it speaks) is co-created with an Artificial Nerural Network algorithm, which is “learning” from datasets containing the data from the the author’s previous works as well as poetry and gender discrimination accounts from the web. The Neural Network learns from the found patterns in these datasets and tries to replicate them with its own “voice” in the form of melodic or rhythmic sequences, which are then processed and manipulated by the artist. The intention of “Virulence” is to confront discrimination in all forms and mainly ones, based on gender identity, sexual orientation and race. The female body in this work, represents the feminine, non-binary and non-cis male identity and criticises objectification, homophobia transphobia and gender bias. “Virulence” implies, that the reason humanity is afraid of and does not trust Artificial Intelligence is its own mistreatment towards fellow human beings, which is reflected in the creation of AI entities by socially ignorant developers. The title of the piece stems from the phonetic similarities between the words “violence” and “virulence” and Dervenkov’s perception of toxic masculinity as a malware, that corrupts our society.

Sonically and visually, the piece draws its inspiration from “deconstructed club music” and artists such as Ash Koosha, Hirad Sab, Arca, Aisha Devi, Lotic and Holly Herndon.

A machine’s mind is a collection of human ideals, behaviour and mentality.