“Cleromancy”

“Cleromancy”

Daniel Gómez & José Moncada (Colombia)

Cleromancy is a divination ritual present in many different cultures and times that is used as a means to interact with the spiritual world. One of its expressions is based on the I-Ching (the book of changes), a fundamental book in ancient Chinese cosmology. The I-Ching is traditionally consulted by randomly creating a hexagram, obtained by tossing a set of four coins six times, which points to a specific chapter of the book.

The chapter contains a text that the person seeking meaning must read and interpret. Possible Futures is a cleromancy session in which the ritual used to consult the I-Ching is also used to stimulate an AI-based real-time music generation system.

The same hexagram is also used to give the AI a starting point to develop a generative piece of music. The performance repeats several times the creation of the hexagram, which activates the musical AI over which the I-Ching chapter is read. This piece explores the use of ritual practices, traditionally used to summon invisible spiritual forces, as an interface with the invisible and opaque procedures of an AI. Contemporary AIs are complex, black-box entities that require novel and practical interfaces to interact with them.

 

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