A Mimetic Method

Rendering Artificial Intelligence Imaginaries through Enactment


  • Malthe Stavning Erslev




Mimesis, LARP, Sympathy, Artificial intelligence, AI, More-than-human, Imaginaries


How does a practice of mimesis — as dramatic enactment in a live-action role-playing game (LARP) — relate to the design of artificial intelligence systems? In this article, I trace the contours of a mimetic method, working through an auto-ethnographic approach in tandem with new materialist theory and in conjunction with recent tendencies in design research to argue that mimesis carries strong potential as a practice through which to encounter, negotiate, and design with artificial intelligence imaginaries. Building on a new materialist conception of mimesis as more-than-human sympathy, I illuminate how LARP that centered on the enactment of a fictional artificial intelligence system sustained an encounter with artificial intelligence imaginaries. In what can be understood as a decidedly mimetic way of doing ethnography of algorithmic systems, I argue that we need to consider the value of mimesis — understood as a practice and a method — as a way to render research into artificial intel- ligence imaginaries.