From radical individuality to connected subjectivity

Artistic research conducted during 2020 within SYSTEMS Artist in Residency/Remoteness Program by Science Gallery Dublin and The Dock-Accenture. Exhibited at SGD as part of the ‘In These Strange Times’ programe in 2021.

A.I.R. is an artistic research that explores the behaviour of human collective and individual agency using the notion of ‘closeness’ as a unit of measure, and through a language that we all can understand: the feeling of our own body. A breathing installation, a data visualisation, a systemic thinking toolkit and a poem were developed thanks to the exchange of knowledge with a diverse group of social, AI and data scientists, artists, designers, analysts and consultants during an artist in residency program at Science Gallery Dublin and Accenture’s The Dock.

In the installation, an artificial organism breathes at the rate of major events that took place worldwide during the first half of 2020. In this period, isolation and lock-down policies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic kept the physical world in stasis. In reaction, as if humans were longing for the touch they could no longer reach, the consumption of digital services reached unprecedented peaks. Inside a clear membrane, soft inflatable guts embody the main voices that resonated among the stream of the media during this time, re-enacting how rapidly mass attention shifted from one piece of news to the next, leaving no time to reflect.

When the organism inhales, it takes all the possible space; the system is relaxed and agency distributes loosely among individuals. In this state, activating collective responses requires great effort. When it exhales, the pressure within the system increases, bringing people’s attention together. Agency concentrates, showing us that, when we are close, our ability to trigger radical changes multiplies. By making these changes perceivable in a bodily manner, A.I.R. welcomes the viewer as one more agent in the experience, enabling new narratives and forms of knowledge. To speculate about how we can learn to move towards a more connected sense of being, A.I.R. starts by asking: how close do you feel?

All the research documentation can be freely accessed at www.a-i-r.online.

A.I.R. From radical individuality to collective subjectivity

Research conducted during SYSTEMS Artist in Residency/Remoteness Program by Science Gallery Dublin and The Dock-Accenture from March 2020-March 2021.

Exhibited at ‘In These Strange Times’. Science Gallery Dublin. Dublin.

INSTAGRAM: @multipl.sys

© Elisa Cuesta, 2020


Authors: Elisa Cuesta, Victoria de la Torre & Pedro Arnanz (AKA. Multiplay)
Technical support: Heri Batundi & David Mingorance
Videos: Hugo Plagnard
Photos: Lin Chun-Yao


Aisling Murray, Alberto Gonzalez Paje, Andrew Dalton, Anne Kearns, Autumn Brown, Cían Walsh, Claudia Schnaugg, Corrin Foley, Eamon Fox, Emma McLean, Eoin Ó Loideáin, Fionn Kidney, Jasper Roek, Jess Majekodunmi, John Mannion, Karen Hand, Katayoon Barzegar, Ken McKenzie, Louise O’Reilly, Mitzi D’Alton, Niall Morahan, Niamh O’Doherty, Paul O’Neill, Peter Crawley, Rory McCormick