We Can Do It!

  • installation, 2023

The starting point for Karolina Szymanowska’s work is the poster under the same title created in 1942 by J. Howard Miller, commissioned by the Westinghouse Electric company. The same poster was later attributed to the Rosie the Riveter movement, as the figure it depicts was meant to symbolise women working in American factories during World War II. In the 1980s it became a symbol of the feminist movement, and in 2008 it was part of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The mass entry of women into the labour force in the 1940s generated social anxiety and created psychological barriers resulting from men’s sense of loss of control. Similar reactions can be observed with the AI revolution. In Szymanowska’s subversiv view, this critical moment is illustrated by four words written in a font reminiscent of a programming language and revolving around the axes in the centre of the work: We can do it!

What will happen once artificial intelligence ceases to merely mimic the human sensory and conceptual experience of the world? Perhaps, in light of this hypothetical event, it is worth rereading the story of the demiurge who did create the world, but subsequently became indifferent to its fate? In this new scenario, it is the created entity that eludes the creator, exceeding the limits of human cognition and the language for describing it. The human demiurge has done his best – the rest will therefore result not from a lack of will, but from the exhaustion of potential.

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