Oil on Canvas
The Entropy series interrogates the meaning of the expression “the eye is the window to the soul.” Each of the six paintings features a closely cropped facial feature of a robot. While some are more abstract than others, they share an emphasis on the representation of eyes, sharply gazing outward, resting, between furrowed brows. Steely expressions are matched by the metallic materials with which such bodies are composed. Yet despite the solidity of their frame, the AI bodies evince a remarkable range of dramatic—even human—emotions: anger, intent, focus. Drawing on Gestalt theory, which claims that a certain amount of alienation accompanies processes of objectification, Song turns with great interest to the act of painting metal bodies. Their precise, unified, and reflective surfaces contradict the depth of their gazes, prompting moments of reification by picturing more than the eye can see. Meeting the image eye to eye, a viewer is led to ask: can an artificial being harbor an independent intelligence, let alone a soul? If AI is a product of human desire and making, in what ways is its gaze a reflection of human desire?