Presented by

In The Soil Arts Festival/RHIZOMES

St. Catharines, Ontario

June 15, 2023   7:00- 10:00 pm

June 16, 2023   7:00 – 10:00 pm

June 17, 2023   1:00 – 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm



A multi-lingual Live Art project focused on the hopes and fears of audience members, gathered in real time through an act of intimate confession. Hopes and fears are a binary that drive much of human behavior. When applied to artificial intelligence, the ‘machine’ begins to appear a bit more human. Just like a great actor, the AI’s performance is a moving tribute to what drives human beings to do what we do.

One at a time, each person sits at the A.I. Ritual and, with the help of an AI specialist from UKAI PROJECTS, is asked to confidentially share with the AI program what they are hoping for and what they are afraid of. The collection of public hopes and fears from that specific session is randomly projected onto a public surface, such as the side of a building or on a wall in the hall, for all to see. This moving and ever-changing display of what the public is obsessing with is enlightening in how it reveals both how similar we are and how vulnerable we feel.

The UKAI PROJECTS team works at the edges of art and technology. Part of this experience is the dialogue that happens between the AI specialist and each public audience member. In this simple meeting, the public has a chance to talk with them about everything from what AI is to the meaning of life.

At an appointed time, the A.I. Ritual will face its final moment when all answers confessed in that particular session will be deleted for good. The AI uses the accumulated prompts to say its Last Words and then delete the information permanently. The Final Words are the wisdom that the AI has been able to gather based on the hopes and fears accumulated so far in the ‘ritual’.

In Jerrold McGrath’s article about the project he quotes an exchange he has with a member of the public: The woman says “so, it learns from whoever is here then tries to answer these impossible questions, and then dies?” I told her yes, and she nodded and replied “Well, I guess that’s it, isn’t it?”

With A.I. Ritual, art imitates life at its very core.

Photos by David Irvine

STO Union recognizes that its head office in Farrellton, Quebec is located on the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation whose presence here dates back to time immemorial.