Performing the System:
Operator on st_age

Operator (Artist Duo, 2023)
TBA21 on st_age

We embarked on the creation of this artistic documentary to challenge the entrenched dualities of digital worlds and confront the societal implications of technology's current trajectory. Exploring the dynamic practice of the artistic duo Operator (Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti), this episode of TBA21 on st_age aims to illuminate the intersections of art, technology, and societal discourse. By showcasing their diverse body of work, ranging from experiential installations to thought-provoking performances, it seeks to elicit a critical reflection on the role of technology in shaping our collective future. 

At the core of this exploration and the documentary co-produced for st_age is Operator's project, Soft Evidence, a slow synthetic cinema series that challenges traditional ideas of truth and reality, presenting viewers with immersive vignettes of synthetic media. The documentary draws us in with intimate interviews and compelling visuals, exploring love as the central force behind art creation and addressing themes such as the invisibility of technology, the instability of reality, and the transformative potential of art in the digital era.

By navigating themes of plausible deniability and the violent potential for sexual violence enabled by deep fakes, Operator on st_age invites viewers to confront the ethical complexities of our increasingly digitized world. This commission, showcasing Operator's innovative approach and artistic practice, aims to inspire viewers to rethink their relationship with technology and envision a world where creativity, empathy, and innovation converge to shape a more inclusive and equitable society. 

Performing the System premiered on April 11, 2024, at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum as part of the public programming of Organismo | Art in Applied Critical Ecologies. 

Performing the System

This episode of TBA21 on st_age strives to challenge the entrenched dualities of contemporary times and confront the societal implications of technology's current trajectory. As we explore the dynamic artistic practice of Operator on st_age, this research cluster aims to illuminate the intersections of art, technology, and sociopolitical discourse. Through publications, articles, and other sources, this collection of resources delves into the power and politics of AI, synthetic media, and immersive and digital art.

Decoding Deep Fakes: AI, Ethics, and the Power of Media
Contributors: Henry Ajder and Sam Gregory
Conducted by Marta Peirano

With the rise of artificial intelligence, a new frontier emerges in human cognition and experience. Concepts such as consciousness and creativity are constantly redefined by algorithms and code performances. Extraction, manipulation, and radicalization are some of the intensified side effects of applying computational techniques to traditional media. Can adopting radical transparency, decentralization, and the inclusion of non-human perspectives help us steer this new media toward becoming a productive force of sustainability and regeneration? 

One of the central topics of this episode is the concept of deep fakes, an emergent technology with profound societal implications. The episode further delves into its intricacies through a podcast hosted by Marta Peirano, a journalist specializing in technology and power, who is joined by researcher specializing in deep fakes Henry Ajder and human rights advocate and technologist Sam Gregory. Together, they offer invaluable perspectives on the opportunities and challenges posed by synthetic media. 
Watch on TBA21 on st_age HERE.
Ania Catherine (b. 1990, USA) and Dejha Ti (b, 1985, USA) are an award-winning experiential artist duo who founded their collaborative practice, Operator, in 2016.  The duo has been called "the two critical contemporary voices on digital art's international stages" by Clot Magazine, with their expertises colliding in large-scale conceptual works recognizable for their signature nuanced integration of technology. Ti’s background as an immersive artist and human-computer interaction technologist, and Catherine’s as a choreographer and performance artist make for a uniquely medium non-allegiant output, bringing together environments, technology and the body. Their exploration into privacy and extractive technologies began with their installation, On View (2019), and continues with the Privacy Collection, a durational release of works exploring the tension between privacy and transparency in blockchain technology. For their most recent work, Human Unreadable, the artists developed an on-chain generative choreography method. Operator has been awarded two Lumen Prizes (Generative Art in 2023, Immersive Environments in 2021), ADC Gold Cube, S+T+ARTS Prize (Honorary Mention), and MediaFutures (EU Commission program). They’ve spoken and appeared in BBC Click, Bloomberg ART+TECHNOLOGY, Christie’s Art+Tech Summit, SCAD Museum of Art, Art Basel, MIT Open Doc Lab, HEK, University of Cambridge, Ars Electronica, ZKM, Universität für Angewandte Kunst (Vienna), Francisco Carolinum Museum. In MoMA’s 2023 Postcard Project, Operator was included as one of the first 15 artists to launch the project to the public. The duo are originally from LA and currently based in Madrid.
Operator on st_age: 
Performing the System

Produced by Walden Studio
Commissioned and co-produced by TBA21 for st_age

Ania Catherine, Dejha Ti
and Claude

Director and DoP: Pedro Bringas
Concept: Michal Kučerák, TBA21 
Script: Pedro Bringas
Editor: Aitor Saavedra
2nd Cameraman: Luis García 
Camera Assistant: Alberto Rodrigo
Producer: Olivia Cabello
Production Assistant: Elena Nieto
Gaffer: Julia Carballada
Sound Technicians: Daniel Bravo and David Rodríguez
Production Manager: Nina Šperanda, TBA21
Curatorial Assistant: Jon Aranguren Juaristi, TBA21
Executive Producer: Petra Linhartová, TBA21

Special thanks
Teatro Albeníz
Navarro Valero family