AI Lab Journeys

Abandoned IBM Country Club, Endicott NY

Tega Brain, Sam Lavigne, Hannah Jayanti (US)

Thu Sep 10, 2020, 7:40 am - 8:00 am
All times are given in Central European Summer Time (CEST / UTC +2).

Artists Tega Brain and Sam Lavigne discuss data, AI, and IBM’s toxic legacies with filmmaker Hannah Jayanti while exploring the abandoned IBM Country Club in Endicott, New York. IBM began its operations in Endicott in 1911, and opened its country club in the 1930s amidst the company’s expanding manufacture of punch card and accounting machines: data technologies that would go on to be used by Hitler’s Third Reich. The country club is preemptive of the modern day “tech campus” with swimming pools, tennis courts and luxurious recreational facilities for employees and their families. The company closed its operations in Endicott decades ago, but left behind a toxic plume of chemicals in the town’s groundwater. Amidst a landscape abandoned by humans but bursting with frogs, mosses and birds, this journey traces dark histories and material realities that haunt the use of AI and data today.

For more details on this site, read In the Shadow of Big Blue, by Ellyn Gaydos, published in Logic Magazine. Access online:

Wed, 09.09.2020, 15:10 – 15:30 Ars Electronica Voyages Channel
Thu, 10.09.2020, 07:40 – 08:00 Ars Electronica Gardens Channel
Fri, 11.09.2020, 11:15 – 11:35 Ars Electronica Selection Channel


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Project Credits / Acknowledgements

These video commissions are co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union in the framework of the European ARTificial Intelligence Lab.


Tega Brain and Sam Lavigne’s work examine the shifts in behaviors, desires, language and economics catalyzed by computational systems and the internet. In their collaborations they have simulated international organizations, run a real dating service in NYC, and shared the entire Enron email archive with online audiences. Recently works include The New York Apartment commissioned by the Whitney Museum of Art, Get Well Soon commissioned by Chronus Art Center and The Good Life commissioned by Rhizome and Smell Dating. Their work has been widely discussed in the media, in outlets such as Marie Claire, The Ellen Show, Art in America, The World Almanac, Slovenian Public Radio and India Today, and they have given collaborative talks at the Sonar Festival and the New Museum. In 2015, the UN filed a complaint with the US Department of State about their work.

European ARTificial Intelligence Lab