A group exhibition currently on display at the Sea World Culture and Arts Center in Shenzhen, China asks what it means to be a ‘digital citizen’ in a world heavily influenced by computation.
Designed by the Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing (CAFA), Design Society and Ars Electronica and curated by Qiu Zhijie, Martin Honzik, Jo Wei and Christl Baurthe, 40 Years of Humanising Technology presents varied works by leading international artists in a range of media and formats, which collectively consider influence of the digital on thought, decision-making, industry, governing infrastructure and invention. The intention of the exhibition is to shine a spotlight on how the digital is changing what it means to be a human, and to open conversations about how to be a thoughtful citizen in a digitally mediated age.
The exhibition also celebrates forty years of Ars Electronica as the organisation reaches a milestone anniversary. Throughout its history, the center has sought to interrogate the relationship between humans and technology; 40 Years of Humanising Technology showcases artists whose work explores this relationship in innovative, visually and sonically striking ways.
The exhibiting artists are Nelo Akamatsu, Refik Anadol, AnotherFarm, Chen Baoyang, Deng Biwen, Akinori Goto, Ai Hasegawa, Iris Long, Isaac Monté and Toby Kiers, Jiang Zhuyun, Kate Crawford, AI Now Institute & Vladan Joler, SHARE Lab, Vladan Joler, Bjørn Karmann and Tore Knudsen, Liu Wa, Xia Yubing, onformative and kling klang klong, Qiu Siyao, Qiu Zhijie and He Xiaodong, Quadrature, Quayola, Anna Ridler, Mariano Sardón and Mariano Sigman, Universal Everything and Wu Juehui.
Myriad (Tulips) by Anna Ridler.
Anna Ridler presents two works forming part of her long term project examining the dynamics of financial markets. The project connects the Dutch ‘Tulip Mania’ of the 1600s with the bitcoin phenomenon. Myriad (Tulips) and Mosaic Virus look at the relationship between data, power and value allocation, as well as considering how artificial intelligences form and evolve concepts and images.
Universal Everything's Walking City pays homage to Archigram, the neofuturistic avant-garde 1960s architectural group which created utopian visions of the future inspired by technological developments. The video work is a slowly evolving screen-based sculpture which draws in elements from architecture and the body to form a nomadic vision of the city. Walking City is a living, responsive and radical being who changes with her surroundings.
Walking City by Universal Everything
In Onformative and kling klang klong’s multi-screen work Meandering River, the digital art and design studio worked with a machine learning algorithm to interpret the behaviour of rivers. Slowly evolving real-time satellite imagery of riverbeds and the landscape surrounding them is accompanied by sound composed through a machine learning process. The work layers sound, visuals and timescales, merging the human, the geologic and the computational and leaving the viewer with a sense of being part of a landscape shifting in multiple directions and dimensions.
Meandering River by onformative and kling klang klong
Refik Anadol presents two works in the exhibition; Wind of Shenzhen: Data Paintings and Origin as part of the group show. Wind of Shenzhen was commissioned by Ars Electronica specifically for the exhibition and creates data paintings from the wind currents around Shenzhen. Data collected over one year recording the direction, speed, temperature and gust patterns of wind passing through the city’s airport was analysed using custom-made software and developed into paintings on digital canvas. Origin celebrates the legacy of Ars Electronica, in particular the center’s work at the meeting point of the arts and sciences. The work is both a history of the organisation and a suggestion of possible futures.
Top image: Wind of Shenzhen: Data Paintings by Refik Anadol
40 Years of Humanising Technology is at the Sea World Culture and Arts Center, Shenzhen, CN from 2 November 2019 to 16 February 2020.