SAR - Speciesism | Ageism | Racism

We all share three universal claims: I am. I live. I die.
But by means of a rather opaque process we, humans, have evolved into the belief that deciding whether the life of A is more deserving, more important, more suitable to be cherished, valued or preserved than the life of B, is a normal, ethical and sound procedure. History has shown that judgment based on ethnicity, skin colour or gender is biased and usually endorsed by a dominant faction that enslaves or disregards weaker factions, entrenched on a phobia of a particular difference: gender, skin colour, age, sexual orientation or species. Seeing a face alone is usually all it takes for most of us to automatically label it: black, Asian, sheep, dog, woman, boy, etc.

What if it were not so simple?

Speciesism | Ageism | Racism is born of similarities across gender, age, race and species, through the millennia-old practice of mask making and totemism, and lays claim to the fact that there is richness in diversity: large or small mouths, two or four eyes, multi-coloured fur, gender-bending looks, smooth or rugged skin, young or old, happy or enraged.

All masks are generated by a computer process that combines three different sections: eyes, nose and mouth. The end result can be totally human, totally non-human or a hybrid/chimaera, remixed into a lively display of diverse (animal) life. All of them exist from the moment they are generated and seen. All of them live. All of them die.

The generated masks are surrounded by samples of the faces being used, reminiscent of Petri dishes with all the cultures and combinations that occur in the largest laboratory of all: nature.

This rich setting is reinforced by a real-time soundtrack, composed from samples that overlay ethnic rhythms and instruments, atmospheric sounds, animal sounds and human voices stating “I AM” in different languages.

All interpretations and assumptions are exclusive to the audience. The system evolves in a crescendo, both visual and acoustic until it reaches its peak: pulsating, vibrating life, surrounded by spirit (represented by willful actions, on the left) and matter (represented by organs and body parts, on the right), common to most living beings. Life slowly fades into death and is followed by a renewal of the cycle.

Speciesism | Ageism | Racism is a cinematic generative artwork entirely coded in Processing 3.*, open for participative collaboration from the audience (by submitting their or their animals’ face photos). All the digital masks are generated without bias, meaning or purpose, by algorithmically composing the different parts in real-time, and the same applies to the soundtrack. This implies that the artwork can potentially generate never-ending, continuous, non-repeating cycles.

The pre-calculated film version results from a real-time screen capture of the generative system in action.

More information available here:

  • Pedro Alves da Veiga
  • Pedro Alves da Veiga
  • Pedro Alves da Veiga
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Experimental, Short, Web / New Media
  • Genres:
    Experimental, Video-art
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes 20 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 20, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    500 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • function(), digital and electronic art festival Mallorca, Casa Planas, Palma de Mallorca.
    May 24, 2019
    Mallorca, Spain
    Selected for the first edition of function(), digital and electronic art festival Mallorca, which took place on May 24th and 25th, 2019 in Casa Planas, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
  • AVANCA | CINEMA 2020 International Conference Cinema - Art, Technology, Communication
    July 19, 2020
Director Biography - Pedro Alves da Veiga

Pedro Alves da Veiga is a Portuguese transdisciplinary artist and researcher who creates generative digital media artworks and installations. Pedro seduces the viewer into a world of ongoing equilibrium between the stream of daily events and moments that punctuate clarify our existence, only to find or question poetic meaning in everyday life.

His digital artworks sometimes radiate a cold and latent conflict through which disconcerting beauty emerges. The inherent visual seductiveness, along with the conciseness of the exhibitions, creates overlapping channels of reception of their manifold layers of meaning. By studying semiotics, signification and communication, his works references post-colonial artivism theory as a form of resistance against the global aestheticization logic of neoliberalism that turns everything and anything into entertainment.

His works are an investigation into representations of (seemingly) concrete facts and situations as well as depictions and ideas that can only be realised through media art. By demonstrating the omnipresent lingering of a mindless world, that constantly demands and shatters attention, he makes work that deals with the documentation of ideals and the question of how they can be presented. His works try to metaphorically express this through aesthetics and technology, while letting the audience tell the story.

His works question the conditions artistic creation in the context of contemporary visual culture in which images, representations and ideas are aestheticised and consumed as commodities. By emphasising the communication of ideas and ideals, he makes work that generates diverse meanings and interpretations, albeit along a clear line of intervention. Associations and meanings collide. Space becomes time and language becomes image.

His works demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over recent years or decades. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilised’ selves.

Pedro currently lives and works in Estoril, Portugal.

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