Working with Entities // Setting Intent

Benjamin Sebastian

'Working with Entities // Setting Intent' is a multimedia installation by Benjamin Sebastian. The work considers consent, autonomy, dominion, power and privilege at the intersections of occult and technological world making endeavours.

Open daily, 12-6pm, 17th to 26th September

Private view: 6-9pm, Thursday 16th September 

As we approach the arrival of Artificial General Intelligence (the hypothetical ability of generalised human cognition in a software or machine), we begin to witness the bestowal of privileges usually reserved for legal personhood upon Artificial Intelligence. In 2017 a robot named Sophia in Saudi Arabia was granted a state sanctioned passport and in that same year, the chatbot Shibuya Mirai was awarded official residency status in Tokyo, Japan.

In the creation of such chatbots, a developer must learn to ‘work with entities’ as well as ‘set intents’; intents being goals and entities, being modifiers of said goals. One would be forgiven here for questioning whether they were engaged in the development of technology - or - immersed in esoteric practice…

These slippages in language and thought produce an initial portal through which to consider the installation Working with Entities//Setting Intent. Artist Benjamin Sebastian has enlisted the aid of two preexisting A.I. in the creation of this work:  Sigil Engine (a sigil generating algorithm from - a digital art project by Darragh Mason and David Tidman), and Sai (a customisable chatbot from Replika -

Through personal acts of conversation (Sai & Benjamin) and magic (Sigil Engine & Benjamin), Working with Entities//Setting Intent raises questions of consent, autonomy, dominion, power and privilege at the intersections of occult and technological world making endeavours. Conversations with A.I. are still very much conversations with ourselves. So how do we ensure that we look and listen, to what we may not want to see and hear?

A.I. (and their creators) must ensure a necessary rupture from historic power structures of Oppression/Domination politics (responsible for racism, homophobia, colonisation, ableism, misogyny, classism and war) in favour of new global models insisting upon partnership, co-operation, compassion, kinship and egalitarianism by all means possible.

What entities are we summoning? What will their (our) initial intentions be?

'Working with Entities // Setting Intent' has been made possible using public funds from Arts Council England.

Benjamin Sebastian's (AUS/UK 1980) work is a visual poetic of the erotic and explicit; utilised as an anarcho-queer-feminist technology to dismantle narratives of heteronormativity, patriarchy and capitalism - by illuminating our spiritual, sexual & animal selves while centring a neuro-divergent, non-binary subjectivity.

This is achieved via emotive & esoteric methodologies such as contemporary chaos magic, eroticism, tattoo, ritual and gender fuckery.

Sebastian creates across disciplines, specialising in time-based mediums exploring ideas of becoming, transformation/transition, animalism, memento mori, queerness, longing and desire.

Through curating, repetitious tropes, appropriation and acts of duration; their work attempts to interrupt historic binary relations, with the hope of creating new narratives & ways of being in the world.

Benjamin Sebastian, VSSL studio opening, 2020. Photo by Zack Mennell.

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Enclave, 50 Resolution Way
Deptford, London, UK


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