Existence is absurd. Life has no meaning. Death is the ultimate absurdity: it undoes everything that life has been building up to.
Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre draws a sharp distinction between being and existing: if one chooses to act, one is said to be; when one chooses not to act, one merely exists. The universe, being irrational and absurd, has no meaning. Man is free to choose, hence to act, hence to give his life personal meaning. One must make use of freedom; only freedom of choice can allow one to escape ‘nausea’.
Non-Playable: After-Intelligence is a real-time generative artwork based on Sartre’s existentialist play No Exit, representing three characters stuck in their own personal hell. Using the language of video games, non-playable characters, and notions of artificial intelligence (AI), Marija Avramovic and Sam Twidale reinterpret Sartre’s play in a simulated artificial world, populated by story-telling AI characters imbued with algorithmic emotions.
The characters in the simulation are programmed to make their own choices and therefore to put their existence before their essence. In doing so they become autonomous – free from their observers and even their creators. The narrative of the piece is determined in real time and follows the ever-changing whims of the characters, accompanied by a soundtrack from musician and sound designer Robin Ngi.
Visual artist Marija Avramovic and digital artist/programmer Sam Twidale explore Ideas of storytelling and characterisation from film and video games, especially the ability of these medias to concentrate complex human emotions into a concise experience.