The performance the machine is learning is a theatrical performance highlighting the process of training a machine with realtime gestures: the labour that is absent from most dialogues on machine learning. In an attempt to livecode with gestures, the performer finds herself directed by the machine to repetitively make gestures to generate time series data samples for the machine to learn from.

Machine learning is both hailed as the solution to our current day problems, as well as claimed as one of the most threatening things to life as we know it. The popular discussion on AI criticizes issues of privacy with regard to data collection and the use of this data to take decisions that affect the life of people in possibly negative ways. At the same time, with the possibilities of AI further automating work, jobs are at danger and the fear is that this will leave many without a job in the future. On the other hand, the labour involved in making machine learning algorithms work, is less prominent in the popular discussion. The labour involved in AI consists not only of designing and programming algorithms, but also in generating and categorising these data samples. The working conditions of these tasks are generally not known.

This performance evolved out of the development of GeCoLa during the MIMIC residency at Sussex University.

Video trailer created by Erfan Abdi, financed by iii & Creative Industry Fund NL.