The Sense of Neoism?!

artificial counter-intelligence machine


The Sense of Neoism?! reimbodies the spirit of revolutionary avant-garde movements into a counter-intelligence machine that indefinitely generates neoist blurbs, reflexions, motos, and nonsense.


The Sense of Neoism?! is an Artificial Counter-Intelligence Machine created by internationally acclaimed new media artists Sofian Audry and Monty Cantsin? aka Istvan Kantor Amen. The installation explores the spirit of revolutionary avant-garde movements in the context of today’s technological society through a counter-intelligence machine that indefinitely generates blurbs, reflexions, motos, and nonsense.

Underlying the system is an artificial neural network machine learning algorithm with hundreds of thousands of synapses that was fed all existing neoist propaganda known to mankind, including The Book of Neoism?!, The Poetical Plunderground of Neoism?!, and Reclaiming the Bodymachine, allowing it to spy on the entirety of neoist texts and build its own understandings of Neoism?! resulting a new form of counter-intelligence brainwashing.

The work reembodies the collective brain of today’s “spider web network identity” into a technological substrate with a life of its own. The machine mimicks an audio gear box with dozens of jack plugs that reproduce the inner workings of the artificial neural network. At the top of the machine, an LED panel endlessly regurgitates its own new neoist verses into the eyes of the audience, equally brainwashing humans, cyborgs, robots, and other technobiological systems. Anyone can directly hack into the system’s artificial neural synapses by unplugging, replugging, and criss-crossing jack cables directly on the machine, thus deconstructing, reconstructing, and even destroying the generative capabilities of the system in real-time.

The simple fact that the outburst of Neoism?! coincided with the explosion of New Technology in the early 80s might have been by accident. But at the time when Neoism?! went amok and mutated into a world wide communication network, Artificial Intelligence was also heavily implemented in the increasing planetarian operations of computer control technology. Neoism?!, representing an ever growing independent multi-faceted network-entity, responded to the new rules of technology with both, refusal and vision, resulting in a platform of revolutionary subvertainment.

Technological Concept

The machine continuously produces text generated by an artificial intelligence algorithm akin to those used for speech recognition, automated translation and language analysis, namely a deep learning recurrent artificial neural network. This model has been pre-trained on a database of neoist texts comprising almost 2.5 millions characters. Once trained, the network is able generate new words and texts that resemble the style of the neoist database. The generated texts are not exact replicas of whole or parts of the original texts, but rather attempts by the neural network to create new neoist texts.

The artificial neural network is a purely digital structure that requires millions of calculations in order to generate each character. However, the physical hookups arranged on the machine correspond to connections on the neural net, therefore allowing visitors to manipulate these connections through a software called brainfuck specifically created for the work. Each cable unhooked on the machine disconnects several thousands synapses within the neural network, therefore enabling direct action on the artificial intelligence system; disconnecting, reconnecting and inverting the wiring allows to reconfigure the system and to immediately observe its effects on the generated texts.




Machine Learning Programming: Sofian Audry
Texts: Monty Cantsin? aka Istvan Kantor Amen
Hardware Design: Grégory Perrin
Research Assistance: Eliza Bennett
Technical Assistance: Matthew Loewen
The Sense of Neoism?! is a commission of Eastern Bloc.
Additional financial support: University of Maine



Berson, Amber. Amplification. Canadian Art, October 23rd, 2018.