Kenophobia (Horror Vacui)
an interactive installation by Paweł Janicki

Kenophobia (Horror Vacui) @ WRO Art Center (as a part of the Point Nemo solo show), 2020

"Kenophobia (Horror Vacui)" is an interactive installation by Paweł Janicki, a part of the "Point Nemo" solo show at the WRO Art Center (2020).

An image classifier (i.e., one of the most common applications of artificial neural networks) analyzes frames from a camera fixed over the monitor in an effort to name everything it sees. The names are articulated and displayed on the screen, using the Lovecraftian alphabet of Nug-Soth, which features, for ex-ample, in the “Necronomicon”.

Kenophobia relies on the capacious metaphor of a magic mirror which, in this particular case, reflects the liminal state between being and non-being, and between an object and the subject. It encapsulates the emergence of agency and existence as such, both of which are conceived of as trauma, rather than as glory; of naming as the primary intentional act constitutive of chains of relationships and fictions of experience. For its part, the alphabet of Nug-Soth evokes the mental antithesis to panpsychism which insists that an immanent and uncontainable otherness is inscribed in the universe.

Kenophobia is also a conceptual reset and – in the vein of two Thomases: Ligotti and Metinger – a dismantling of the multilayered intellectual superstructure that contaminates thinking on awareness, intentionality, and AI.

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Video documentation from the Point Nemo by Mira Boczniowicz courtesy of the WRO Art Center.