July 2021

Brody Condon, Philip Corlett, and Hito Steyerl: Prediction Error

Blend&Bleed: On Transreality and Pervasive Play

During the “Prediction Error” workshop by Brody Condon, participants embodied elements of the hidden states underlying our delusions and hallucinations. After an introduction by cognitive neuroscientist Philip Corlett, director of the Belief, Learning, and Memory Lab at Yale University, the presenters simulated a predictive coding model by “playing” a neural node in the brain. These models provide a mechanistic description of delusion formation as a result of overactive prediction error systems that can no longer accurately contextualize our surrounding environment. The interactive performance is followed by a conversation with Condon, Corlett, and Hito Steyerl.

Brody Condon is an artist born in Mexico in 1974 and based in Berlin. His work has featured investigations of shifts in the narrative self, instigated by durational role-play at the Berlin Biennale (Level Five, 2016); futuristic group encounter sessions led by a monumental sculpture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Future Gestalt, 2012); mortality salience experiments with participants at the Athens Biennale (Response Priming, 2018); and existential therapy with craftspeople focused on objects relevant to their practice, such as a bowl linked to a past trauma or a shaman’s fractured selves, at the Anyang Public Arts Project (Four Sessions, 2014). These embodied but dematerialized works, often game-like and made in consultation with psychologists, consider the subjective experience of active participants not as a residual response to a constructed situation but as the medium itself. The artist here functions as a catalyst or a facilitator with the potential to offer the participating subjects critically reflective access to a specific experiential spectrum.

Philip Corlett trained in experimental psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. As director of the Belief, Learning, and Memory Lab at Yale University, he investigates the neural basis of human associative learning and belief formation, relating these processes to the formation of delusional beliefs. Dr. Corlett’s findings have shaped the development of a novel mechanistic model of delusion formation.

Hito Steyerl is a filmmaker and writer based in Berlin where she teaches New Media Art at University of the Arts and founded the Research Center for Proxy Politics. Through her work, she focuses our gaze on the intersection of media, technology, political violence, and desire. She has steadily developed her very own politics of the image, twisting the politics of representation around the representation of politics. She has worked extensively with predictive neural networks, pointing to their prophetic service in the military-industrial complex and the data-sucking and -digesting tech companies, and highlighting the unpredictable ways that artificial intelligence creates imaginary futures that already affect us gravely in the present. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions including Documenta 12, the Taipei Biennial 2010, the 7th Shanghai Biennial, and the 58th Venice Biennale.


Research supported by ARTEC 2020 Cloud-based AiR at Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, and Interaction Design with Participation Design Agency, Malmö.

00:05:31: Introduction to “Prediction Error” by Brody Condon
00:30:15: Presentation and Q&A on delusion formation and predictive processing by neuroscientist Phil Corlett
01:10:23: Interactive workshop facilitated by Brody Condon
02:06:40: Conversation with Brody Condon, Philip Corlett, and Hito Steyerl

Preview image: Brody Condon, Prediction Error, 2020. Associative card deck.

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