Structures and systems of order are the predominant themes of Berlin based artist Menno Aden, known for his cartographic photographic works. Aden's photo series deal topographically and analytically with our built environment.
"The best way to predict the future is to design it," said Buckminster Fuller, and Menno Aden's latest series DEVICES takes this idea to a whole new level. For Aden is showing images of speculative devices for "improving our lives“, that he has created using AI-based text-image generators. In doing so, Aden explores the possibilities of shaping the future through artificial intelligence and offers a reflection on the often unquestioned belief in technology as progress and solution to our problems. By highlighting the limitations of AI-generated objects as oddly pleasing but non-functional or nonsensical, Aden opens up a slightly disorienting space to think critically about the role and meaning of technology in our lives and the future we wish to create.
The specific-but-random devices were generated from text-prompts to improve human living conditions, such as safety, freedom, or nutrition ("bionic devices to ensure safety“, "devices for stabilization of freedom“, etc). Based on the premise of the AI, the devices are created from a pool of pre-existing objects, a process that again implies human desires and fantasies. After all, technology not only helps us, it influences us, or as Marshall McLuhan famously said, "We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us."