Terminal Care

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Event Series Event Series: Terminal Care

Terminal Care

March 8 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Terminal Care exhibition opens at the Public Space One North Gallery (229 N. Gilbert, Iowa City) this coming Friday, March 1st (6-8p) and closes on April 12th. This exhibition includes live performance and multimedia installations exploring themes around machine learning, artificial intelligence, surveillance, human choice and desire.

Big data algorithms have permeated every aspect of daily life, yet we remain achingly human in an increasingly complex and abstracted world mediated by accelerating technologies. Drawing upon a formal background in machine learning research, X. A. Li co-opts advanced artificial intelligence methods to create uncanny environments confronting the distortion of personhood under systems of supposed optimization. Her practice frequently applies custom algorithms to recontextualize the human desires and tragedies reduced to sterile rows in public datasets, using AI simultaneously as a tool of creation and as a subject critiqued by its consequent absurdities and contradictions.


Terminal Care comprises two multimedia installations spanning video, sound, text, and software, exploring the nature of aspiration, labor, and individual choice within the constrained logic of quantitative models. In Instruction (2023) a chorus of nonexistent speakers read ecstatically from self-help videos, promising optimistic salves for yearnings large and small. In FULL-TIME (2024) a pair of disembodied hands cycle through grotesque gestures, attempting to type a taxonomy of body parts from workers compensation documents while interactive devices read out endless fatalities and deaths incurred on job sites. We collectively proceed through motions of agency and self-improvement within an unforgiving framework of measurable value, but what is truly gained and lost? Terminal Care considers the inherent instability of these fragile efforts – what follows the collapse already underway?

X. A. Li (b. 1991) is an artist and computer scientist based in Chicago. Using video, sound, text, and software, she creates installations and performances excavating contemporary systems of power by applying dominant technologies in atypical ways. She holds an M.S. from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where her research focused on generative artificial intelligence, and a B.A. from the University of Chicago. She has presented work across the United States and internationally, including audiovisual performances as Post Consumer Material with sound artist Estlin Usher.

Visitors can experience the exhibition at 229 N. Gilbert during regular gallery hours:
Fri 4-6p and Sat 12-3p, or by appointment: gallery@publicspaceone.com


March 8
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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Public Space One
229 N Gilbert St
Iowa City, IA 52240 United States
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