Collective Intelligence

Collective Intelligence is a series of deep dive sessions up to one month long; encounters where artists, thinkers and activists work on parallel and shared projects, influencing each other in a convivial frame.

Collective intelligence can be defined as shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration, joint effort, and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision making. How to trigger and to manage collective intelligence at its best is an experimental process itself.

In 2016, during our festival Interfaces for Empathy we have found several investigations providing evidence that collective intelligence is the most effective tool to work through tasks, to solve problems and to create interactive experiences. (A. Woolley & T. Malone, What makes a team smarter? More women, Harvard Business Review, 2011)

Several sessions, held during 2017-2020 in Palermo Sicily, in Cervignano del Friuli close to Venice, and in other regions, focus on governance seen as an inclusive process, use and misuse of digital tools favoring cooperation and social cohesion, and interspecies collaborations. The trans-disciplinary practice is based on the experience of the artists, in a context that is equally unknown to them. The facilitators of the project having familiarity with the context, will help the participants to connect with the local resources during the sessions.

What do we seek? Unexpected assemblages, intuitive actions and heuristic knowledge.

"Identity can be difficult to pinpoint in the digital age, though it is easy to project multiple personalities online and interaction becomes both intense and fluid, both on and offline. It’s fascinating how design is often used to create a sense of identity, whether it’s gender-based, cultural or personal. Our material possessions no longer last, and the ways in which we once expressed ourselves through the things that we owned is gone. Digital design is able to find ways to replicate this experience, and it often intertwines private and collective identity." (Catherine Chapman, The International New York Times, 2013)

Each participant has been chosen based on their long experience with trans-disciplinary projects: Alan Bulfin, Antti Ahonen, Egle Oddo, Erika De Martino, Johanna Fredriksson, Krisjanis Rijnieks, Marjatta Oja, Milla Martikainen, Saša Nemec, Timo Tuhkanen, Jytte Hill, Ionas Amelung. Collective Intelligence is a project developed by an informal workgroup, supported mainly by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, and Fondazione Orestiadi supports the artist’ residence in Sicily in 2018. While Collective Intelligence production team independently seeks the collaboration and patronage of local and international institutions to finance the activity, the distribution of the results benefits from Pixelache Helsinki network.

Other experts will join during the process. The activities involve grass-root organisations and local institutions in the dialogue.

Pixelache Festival 2016, video of the panel discussion about collective intelligence here.

"Throughout history, collective intelligence has secured the survival of our species. The vital importance of collaboration is resonated in the numerous neural mechanisms we have that give rise to empathy, comprising of skills for understanding other people’s thoughts, feelings, and for acting altruistically.

At the moment humankind is facing problems of tremendous urgency and scale. Simultaneously, we have been able to devise a fantastic tools that have made humans more connected than ever before. However, our digital tools for collaboration are still in their infancy. Ironically, they do not support many things that are highly important for functional human interaction such as feeling of shared context, physical touch, synchronisation and rich expression of emotionality. Very often, these shortcomings seem to inhibit the emergence of empathy in digital environments, and as a consequence, collective intelligence." (Cognitive neuroscientist Katri Saarikivi, extract from the panel discussion)

The first public launching will be at Manifesta 12, in Palermo from June to November 2018.