Stand-alone device that manages grains of rice. Electronics, rice.
The imagery that we see projected here at scale, and in the fishbowls of cathode-ray televisions, is not a series of videos, but rather the environments of Rahal’s artificial intelligence program. Antraal 2019 roughly translates from Sanskrit to mean an ‘interstice’, or a space between, and is home to Rahal’s cast of lanky characters, who have been devised by the artist, but are ultimately making their own ‘decisions’ about how they move through this world, based on the scripted poetry of algorithmic instruction. Riffing off a new materialist and post-humanist decentring of the human in thinking about the world in which we live and the future we could enter, Rahal asks us to consider the possibility that these creatures are capable of sentient thought, but that we as human viewers are not capable of comprehending their intellect due to the current limitations of our own.
The role of the loop or cycle in Rahal’s working methodology is most literally apparent in the relationship between the sculptures and AI programming. The abstract forms of Rahal’s armatures are initially informed by the shapes and movements of the characters that he first began coding in his first AI in 2018, Juggernaut. The shapes that the Juggernaut made in turn inspired new sculptural forms, which fed into the creatures we see in Antraal as well as these three newly-commissioned sculptures. The skeletons of Rahal’s sculptures are always comprised of found or discarded matter, ranging from furniture to industrial waste specific to the location in which they are made – in this case wooden offcuts from student graduate projects at Monash University’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, where Rahal undertook a residency in November 2019.
— Source: Feedback Loops exhibition catalogue, by Miriam Kelly