The National Film Board of Canada and MASSIVart bring interactive virtual reality (VR) installation CHOM5KY vs CHOMSKY: A playful conversation on AI to North America

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere—from the photo enhancer in your smartphone to the virtual assistant in your kitchen. But what is it exactly?

From September 6 through October 15, the NFB Space in Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles is hosting the North American premiere of the interactive virtual reality (VR) installation CHOM5KY vs CHOMSKY: A playful conversation on AI.

Created by Sandra Rodriguez and co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and Germany’s Schnelle Bunte Bilder, CHOM5KY vs CHOMSKY is an engaging shared VR experience that lets participants take part in a fun and collaborative exploration of the promises and pitfalls of AI.

MASSIVart worked with Sandra Rogriduez for the scenographic aspects of CHOM5KY vs CHOMSKY, to be in synergy with the VR masterpiece. Deliberately accounting for the installation’s future touring plans, MASSIVart not only enhanced the visitor experience but also considered the practical aspects required for its seamless mobility.

MASSIVart - NFB - National Film Board of Canada - CHOM5KY vs CHOMSKY - Artificial Intelligence - Photo by Danny Goldfield

In preparation for the immersive journey, our team of creative minds ingeniously crafted an engaging yet low-tech onboarding experience. This introductory encounter allows visitors to familiarize themselves with virtual reality, setting the stage for the forthcoming experience. As participants transition into the virtual reality phase, MASSIVart created the physical monolith, serving as the VR experience’s striking backdrop. Every detail has been meticulously designed, keeping the installation’s technological requisites at the forefront. Following Sandra’s captivating VR installation, MASSIVart designed enlightening offboarding scenography for visitors. This post-VR phase invites visitors to delve deeper into the world of Noam Chomsky, gaining insights into his life and contributions.

CHOM5KY vs CHOMSKY invites us to critically question the automation of intelligent human behaviour. If machine intelligence is promoted as an inevitable future, we should all be able to ask: What are we hoping to achieve with it? And at what cost?

About the experience

    • CHOM5KY vs CHOMSKY: A playful conversation on AI by Sandra Rodriguez
    • Extended dates: September 6 to October 15
    • A four-person shared VR experience; 45 mins.
    • The NFB Space is located at 1500 Balmoral Street, facing Place des Festivals. Tickets are on sale now at
    • Producers: Marie-Pier Gauthier and Laurence Dolbec (NFB) and Schnelle Bunte Bilder

MASSIVart - NFB - National Film Board of Canada - CHOM5KY vs CHOMSKY - Artificial Intelligence

Visitors use VR headsets to enter the AI world, where they are greeted by CHOM5KY—an artificial entity inspired by and built from the vast array of digital traces of renowned professor Noam Chomsky. CHOM5KY is a friend and serves as a guide, inviting us to peek under the hood of machine-learning systems and offering thought-provoking takes on how artificial intelligence intersects with human life.

Through various forms of play, CHOM5KY vs CHOMSKY debunks the limitations and possibilities of machine learning while uncovering the human capacity for creativity, inquiry and collaboration. The experience reveals how little we know about the human mind. S, what is it exactly that we’re trying to replicate?

Why Noam Chomsky?

Professor Chomsky is a philosopher, social critic, historian and political activist, but is perhaps best known for his work in linguistics and cognitive science, the study of the mind.

As one of the most recorded and digitized living intellectuals, he has left behind an extensive wake of data traces, enough to create an AI system based on his legacy. Chomsky is also skeptical about the pompous promises made of AI. He is the perfect guide to encourage visitors to question everything they see—and help demystify AI.