Welcome to the ESC 2031 SS exhibition! ( → )
This spring, we embarked on an exhilarating journey, inviting artists to envision the future of art a decade from now. We’re thrilled to have 274 artists from diverse corners of the globe, including Chile, Japan, Hawaii, and India, join us in this exploration. Your enthusiasm has turned the ESC into a vibrant hub for contemporary and emerging art. Keep an eye out; our next wave is just around the corner!
At 0→1, we aim to do more than just display art; we’re committed to sharing the ideas and concerns that fuel these creative endeavors. We hope these perspectives will ignite internal dialogues among our audience and heighten awareness about the future, particularly concerning nature.
The impact of COVID-19 and lockdowns: This pandemic has acted as a global pause button, forcing us into isolation and prompting deep introspection. It’s as if we’re undergoing a form of ‘genetic engineering,’ perhaps setting the stage for a new kind of humanity.
The digital age: As we emerge from this isolation, we find ourselves in a world overflowing with data and groundbreaking technologies like NFTs, AI, and blockchain.
This new digital frontier is not just a challenge; it’s an arena for creative expression and collective evolution.
The role of nature: But even as we delve deeper into this digital realm, we can’t lose sight of the physical world. Our encroachment on green spaces with ever-expanding concrete jungles brings the issue of ecological sustainability to the forefront. It’s not just about surviving in this new world; it’s about thriving and coexisting with nature in an ever-changing environment.
Here are some of the artist’s questions that resonated with us the most: Can we hack Earth to make it more sustainable? Will we be able to distinguish between the real and digital worlds? Will our own data eventually overwhelm us? How soon will networks hold more power than traditional institutions? Can cities be designed in harmony with nature rather than against it?
We’re delighted you’re here to dive into the future of contemporary art. The works below have been carefully curated by 0→1 & JOEY RAMONE.
Enjoy the exhibition!
Artists & works
↑ Lucia Tieff, MIRROR / 2020
Visual artist Lucia Tieff (Lucia Lopez Garcia-Montejo) was born in Uruguay and is currently based in Berlin. She considers the medium as a bridge of expression, key to research on gender and identity. At this moment she studies Arts & Aesthetics at Bard College in Berlin. Hybridity sets her pathway.
Her work MIRROR (on artificial transmigration and the modern womb) is a type of world-building, through which she explores relationships between the body, de/colonization, and technology.
‘By submerging myself in a Virtual Reality platform called VRchat, I dive into artificial worlds as a way of escaping the restrictions that our current present forces us to inhabit. MIRROR opens the door to what seems like a dystopian future but is part of our instant reality. It explores our post-colonial times by detaching the self into immersive virtuality that questions the limits of nature and artificiality.
According to Paul B. Preciado ‘Technology is the colonizer’s criterion for determining the degree of culture, rationality, and progress reached by a certain human community’, and I wonder, can a world ruled by technology ever be fully decolonized?’
↑ Antonello Matarazzo, POLITIK / 2017
The exponent of Medialism, artist Antonello Matarazzo lives and works in Avellino, Italy. In his practice, he utilizes his skills as a painter, director, and video artist. The core of his research is based on the ambiguity between still and moving images. His tendency to the exploration of introspective and anthropological aspects creates the link between his paintings, videos, and installations. Welcomed in many Italian and international film festivals his work was also shown in the editions 53° and 54° of the Venice Biennale.
In his video POLITIK, he shows 101 insects between immobility and transformation. It is the polis of insects in an interconnected world before the internet. In fact, in the animal world, the complex structure of bee society is the most similar, if not superior, to man’s efficiency. Once venerated, a source of life, in essence, the death of a bee would be the one of humanity.
↑ Frederique Scholtes, The future will look exactly like 20th century 90s movies predicted it to be / 2020
Frederique Scholtes works with photography-based imagery, video, and sculptural installations and is currently based in Tilburg, Netherlands. Through those mediums, she mediates nostalgic futurism between offline glitches, aesthetic inconsistencies, and Western visual culture. The works are set up as an inward gaze into the practice of self-preservation throughout history. They investigate concepts of moral ecology by etching similarities in visual, societal, and relational patterns. Overexposure, tokenism, and other willful digital or analog flaws became familiarities for each of her projects. They function as uncanny mediators between the context and the spectator.
‘The future will look exactly like 20th century 90’s movies predicted it to be’ is an ongoing project that conveys visual research into the prediction of the human ecological footprint. A response to a gradually increasing global sense of foreboding of human disturbance of the biosphere.
Every autonomous work draws inspiration from popular science-fiction movies that attempt to illustrate an era of the future. The way in which the works, as well as the subjects, are treated let them indulge in a photographic deterioration, losing their function, stressing the uncertainty of their position in the present culture. Elements that connect intermediate relational aesthetics are given an emphasis in order to find out how hopeful or dystopian these predictions in hindsight are and what perspective on the world to come they implicate today.
↑ Diego Orihuela, A-sepein / 2021
Peruvian artist and researcher Diego Orihuela Ibañez lives and works in Lima, Peru. He holds a Bachelor’s and License degree in Visual Arts — painting from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), Master’s CCC degree (Critical Curatorial Cybermedia). Also, he won the Excellence Prize awarded by the Haute École d’Art et Design (HEAD) in Geneva, Switzerland. At this moment he studies for a PhD at the Cergy-Paris University in Paris, France. His interests lie in issues around cultural studies, algorithmic logic, queer ecology, theory/fiction, and critical methodologies for artistic praxis.
The Covid19 pandemic proposes a series of challenges to the cohabitation of anthropocentric progressivism in tension with certain invisible entities. Global policies and protocols in the face of planetary illness force us to think about means of control for the viral other.
In the 1980s, the HIV-AIDS pandemic changed the relationship between bodies and fluids in primarily non-heterosexual sex to this day. The private sphere of sexual dynamics became one of the public and political interests displaying new objects that act as intermediaries between bodies (contraceptives, PreP, etc). Therefore this sanitized the aesthetics of carnal desire in the following decades promoting safe intercourse and, therefore, the domestication of radical pleasure practices. Currently, new policies are being deployed from virality penetrating biopolitics. Intermediary objects appear, and the body semantically loads again.
‘What new aesthetic regimes would drive this new relationship between bodies and sociability under the current pandemic? How do these means of viral control shape our social interactions and intracorporeal consciousness?’
↑ Leon Billerbeck, Cleansing and how the archive relates to your body / 2021
Born in Hamburg, Germany in 1995, young artist Leon Billerbeck discovered photography as an artistic medium in 2015, while studying Media Arts at the Bauhaus University in Weimar. Since then, he ambitiously developed his art and himself by traveling around the world, photographing, filming, writing, and making music. Currently, Leon Billerbeck studies photography in the field of contemporary art at the Academy of Arts in Leipzig, Germany.
He experiments with a diverse spectrum of media in his work and develops intimate and often improvised artistic gestures as transformative open processes (Bakhtin). The reflection of digital phenomena in contemporary society plays an important role in his practice. As well as the opposed materiality and tactility of physical/corporal experiences.
In our increasingly digitalized world, the term ‘matter’ in the sense of ‘material’ has lost its clear definition. Moments of physical experience and involvement of the human body are outsourced into digital spaces on computers, phones, servers, and the internet — the cloud. Looking at the imagery in general, it became a part of mass production and mass consumption losing its individual value and merging into the vast spheres of overloaded digital archives and storages. This affects how we define ‘experience’.
The limitation is the past, we can now stockpile everything and hold on to it. All disappearing in our folders and clouds. At the same time, we lose touch with our bodies, the materiality of things, the flesh of them, while we scroll through ‘sterile’ landscapes. The digital archives keep growing and build their own ‘body’ and voice. Perhaps even forming their own poetry of unlimited interlacing and transformative identity.
‘In this work, I want to create and explore the physical and poetical qualities that lay behind desktop folders and digital archiving in general. What does it mean to interact with it with the human body, to confront it with materiality, and what forms can it assume once you detach it from digital space? An absurd collision of the transitory and the solidified evoke new spheres of thought about existence and raise awareness on our position within the field of tension between digital and material — technology and nature.
The project understands itself in the sense of Mikhail Bakhtin as part of a ‘becoming’. An unstable stream of repeating events, always open for transformation and comment, determines the artistic approach as an ‘open-endedness’. Working on this conceptual basis seems to be necessary in order to respond to the self-multiplying, ungraspable digital horizons.’
↑ Michael Filimowicz, Virtual Photography / 2021
Dr. Michael Filimowicz is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) at Simon Fraser University in Canada. He has a background in computer-mediated communications, audiovisual production, new media art, and creative writing.
His research develops new multimodal display technologies and forms, exploring novel form factors across different application contexts including gaming, immersive exhibitions, and simulations. He has exhibited new media art internationally including SIGGRAPH Art Gallery, Re-New, Design Shanghai, Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography, and ARTECH.
‘My most recent digital art is what I call ‘virtual photography’ in which I produce high-resolution digital images (in 4K and 8K) utilizing the game design environment, Unreal Engine. Through this work, I am pursuing a wide range of aesthetic interests, including the reimagining of photographic practices within virtual environments, and better understanding and working with the new forms of mimesis and semiotic indexicality involved when manipulating virtual objects that are textured with ultra-high-resolution scans of real objects and environments.
Thematically I am interested in exploring a very wide range of human dimensions through narrative, psychological and philosophical themes unique to each image or image set (some of the works are diptychs and triptychs).
Another aspect of this work is that I engage with audiences extensively through social media and entrepreneurial platforms. The virtual photography images, for example, are also available on the NFT platform OpenSe. Through my blogs (Sound and Design and Main Frame) I have presented my work to tens of thousands around the globe. I believe that blockchains in general and NFTs in particular have permanently altered the socio-economic structures of the art world (i.e. I don’t believe these innovations are in any way a ‘passing fad’) and I aim to keep my digital arts practices current with the transformations and disruptions wrought by new media technologies.’
↑ Jorge Isla, Still Life / 2021
Spanish artist Jorge Isla in his art practice focuses on observing and analyzing reality as well as on the modes of production and consumption of contemporary society. His works are a meeting point between sculpture, video art, and photography.
‘If I start from a social base, my practice examines the political, social, and economic mechanisms of contemporary society. Which subverts their state through the following dichotomies: reality and fiction, cause and effect, presence and absence.
In 2005, Rosalind Krauss wrote A Voyage through the North Sea: Art in the Age of the Post-Media Condition. Where the hybridization approach — implemented particularly in the language of the installation — implied a dissolution of art in capitalist logic. In recent years, the appearance and diffusion of new (re) production tools, used by both the commercial sphere and the artistic sphere, update this observation. Hence leading to reconsider it from the perspective of reproducibility and to question the uniqueness of work.’
The work Still Life is defined through a set of recovered broken mobile screens that reflect the modes of production and consumption of contemporary society. This set of broken mobile screens denies the figurative status of the image because of the fractured surface that, in fact, also generates abstraction.
Based on its accumulation and linear arrangement, the means of the pressure (metal clamps that prevent the work from falling to the ground and collapsing its meaning) represent a recontextualization of a consumer article. So when this used article has already fulfilled its mission and became obsolete, useless, and far from a production system, it establishes a new meaning formed from a narrative that is based on the imposed physicality of those mobile screens and in the face of a dematerialized society and oppression, exerted by the digital environment and capitalism on the human being. That is in addition to the almost absolute and vital dependence on the daily experience of our own community.
↑ Jochem Rotteveel, Branch, bud and background / 2021
Dutch artist Jochem Rotteveel explores the picturesque and sculptural qualities of foil and tape. He feels inspired by the hard-edge painting tradition of the 1960s and 70s, among others. Rotteveel searches for the undefined boundaries between materials, dimensions, and high art versus low art. Rotteveel works both on Dibond panels and directly onto the wall.
His murals are temporary: after an exhibition has finished, Rotteveel takes them down and they are gone forever. This statement demonstrates that art should not necessarily hold eternal value and that true value exists at the moment.
‘At the Van Gogh Huis, I investigated the color palette by Vincent van Gogh. And then translated the color palette for the Almond blossom into a site-specific installation, a mural. Where the four panels depict detailed abstractions of the Van Gogh painting.’
↑ Laura Ma, HORSCHAMPS / 2021
‘The photography reminds us that we are all human and mortal.’
Artist from Paris, France, Laura Ma through esoteric and almost mythical atmospheres crosses influences without distinction of genres, cultures, or origins. Whenever an artist takes a sensitive look at our current iconography, fashion invariably knocks on the door.
Inspired by the current global health crisis her work HORSCHAMPS means ‘out of frame’ in French. In particular, what interests her is how humans dematerialize themselves and tend to a numeric humanization as HOMO NUMERICUS.
‘The roots of this series are my own art photographs. I pick and divide my work, one for the shapes, and one for the colors. And with the help of artificial intelligence, the AI reprograms pictures and creates another one totally unique, according to the criteria that I have been programmed.’
Explore the interactive artwork here →
↑ Sohyun Lee, *I better save again / 2021
Sohyun Lee is a multi-discipline, multimedia, 3D video, and installation artist. She studied painting in South Korea and moved to Germany to develop her art practices further. In her work, she contemplates the concept of hospitality between people and extends it to the scope of the gift economy and exchange.
Exploring hospitality from multiple perspectives, she approaches works culturally, biologically, and technologically. Sohyun Lee recently complicated the time definition with more highly developed research. For her, the exchanges between people include time from the past to the future. So now she experiments more with time warp and futuristic ideas such as wormholes or digitization.
Nowadays we save our data online or on a hard drive. However, in the near future with highly developed technology, our brain will take this role, and we will get a digital brain. Her 3D imagination project ‘*I better save again’ investigates how people lose their memorizing ability and depend on digitization. In the end, we all will become pancake people*.
‘The idea has been inspired by the sci-fi novel Fahrenheit 451 (by Ray Bradbury) and Johnny Mnemonic (by William Gibson). Through the short 3D video, I try to explore the past to the future with a question of how we remember things. In the past, we memorize and write down, which includes a form of a book. At present, the internet platform is prominent. How would it be like in the future? As a human, who is part of nature, we should look back on our own memorization ability and think of futuristic technology development. Would we just insert chips in our brains to make us more digital humans with Neuralink technology, which leads to Digital Nature Hybrid?
As an example of memory, there is a humanoid body, Pepe the Frog, which is very well-known in the meme market. The creator, Matt Furie, killed it, but we have been using it continuously as if it were not dead. The things in the past are intermingling in virtual reality, which affects the present as well as the future. We should consider our pancake life in 10 years in the future. Will everyone be pancake people?’
* Pancake people — individuals with wide access to information but have no intellectual depth via the virtual internet. They are an internet-dependent generation.
↑ Juls Gabs, The Terrace of Gloucester / 2021
‘I dream to paint a .gif on a canvas.’
London-based artist Juls Gabs has a multidisciplinary approach that includes crypto experience, painting, augmented reality, web art, social media art, and NFT. She creates the dialogue between the physical and the digital.
Living online produces a fluidity of the cultures, the persona, and the medium. Particularly in this hybrid of mixing techniques, one into another, Juls’ creations take place. By scanning the painted canvas and printing repeatedly she develops paintings that belong neither to this world nor the digital.
Juls’ art aims to provide the most accessible experiences for her audience and play with the complex and fun lives of her characters. For that, she introduced her paintings to Social Media art and Virtual Reality. She hopes to provide an immersive experience of the imagery and stretch the concept of the painting; and perhaps… to discover new ‘truths’ in our everyday lives.
The Terrace of Gloucester explores through digitalization how to restore and live together with Nature. Many social advances are installed online, however, fear stops its natural progress in physical life. Things like borders vanish; a sustainable human life with nature; free information and expansion of our personas on social media, and fluidity into non-gendered/hybrid/non-humanized/bit-or-pixel versions of each of our personas exist online.
‘By merging the digital and physical, I demand the progress we all imagine and already own. My work is always a portrait. I portray political situations/comparisons between history and the immediate future/desires of society/versions of the past that add something to the future. I paint rights and possibilities. Visibility to minorities that I am close to…
Invading your life by using everyday Apps like Google Maps I create the world we want to have. By creating these lies I hope to encourage my audience to think how is the planet that we really want and start working to have it.
I like to consider these works as Public Art. They are pieces you can own as an NFT but they will remain in Google Maps for everyone to see. They are introduced as a 360° in the location. Street View also has the option to open a 360° image with your phone as Augmented Reality and/or with AR glasses for a fully immersive experience. The paintings are political & social reflections of today. They aim to criticize parts of the current life by bringing a positive alternative.
I see My Painting invading the streets. I see exhibitions in atypical locations where the walls of the gallery are no longer needed, but we continue to bring people together. I see the audience personally branding the works by deciding when and where they watch them. The aim is to connect society using my works and collectively create limitless dialogues.’
Explore the interactive artwork here →
↑ Michele Bazzoli, Transition / 2020
Artist from Italy, Michele Bazzoli currently lives and works in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. In his practice, he explores the creation of visual language as a way to relate to the fast-changing and uncertain present we live in. The growth and decay for him are the main forces that currently shape our times. Their paradoxical co-existence means a transition leading towards a yet uncertain state of things: either catastrophic or harmonious.
Mainly working with sculpture and installation, he combines different methods and interweaves signs of growth and decay into blurred transitions where real and speculative, local and global dimensions melt together.
‘The uncertainty and turbidity that characterize our present seem to derive from the simultaneous, and paradoxical, state of constant development and worsening of today’s society’s environmental conditions. This work explores the area of intersection between contemporary art and ecological discourse, advocating ambiguity as an answer as well as a proposition.
Are these shapes, this material, those of an empty container? Or is it the sole content itself? Is it growing or decaying? Depiction of the ruins or of new paths of meaning? In ten years we’ll maybe know where and towards what today’s transitions are leading to, and I will know what I was doing today.’
↑ Liang-Jung Chen, the egg rack made a disclaimer / 2020
Liang-Jung Chen (陳亮融) a Taiwanese-born, London-based interdisciplinary artist focuses on the political dimension in artifacts. Originally trained as an industrial designer, she currently works in the integrative realm of research, installation, and narrative environment.
Her series of interactive artworks ‘The egg rack made a disclaimer’ explores vulnerability, personal boundaries, and the invisible tension between the two. A series of 16 egg holders and egg racks examines the accountability structure between the creator, the object, and the user.
‘I looked forward to something genuine and subtle, a new medium to investigate the power structure between individuals. The outcome turned out to be a rather passive, yet aggressive self-disclosure. A series of egg racks make it clear that they are hypersensitive.
They replicate the awkward moments in social events.
They offer a glimpse into tragic scenarios.
They solicit tenderness.
They predict broken hearts.’
Liang-Jung Chen explains further: ‘Eggs are interesting. They are everywhere yet they are so fragile and breakable. As humans, we have learned to handle them with extra care since we were kids and with some help from many well-designed egg-protecting devices. The behavior itself is interesting to my eye. That is why I think the egg rack is the perfect tool to demonstrate the invisible tension between holding back and deciding to interact.’
Also, she wanted to offer a user an unforgettable experience — the potentially shocking moment of breaking eggs. The guilty feeling of hurting someone or causing damage.
‘It replicates those accidental and helpless moments in our daily lives, which may be frustrating and stress-relieving at the same time I guess. I think it also depends on the visitor’s own state of mind. As if you walk into the head of a hyper-sensitive stranger, every act and thought amplifies, so you are not sure how to behave properly.’
↑ Michael Dohr , About walnuts, brains, computers and rockets / 2020
Austrian artist Michael Dohr explores the tension between nature and technology. His work captures a transitional period marked by the erosion of the organic due to rapid technological progress. Using silicone casting molds, Dohr creates landscapes that blur the lines between the organic and artificial. His art pieces, like rockets that resemble trees, offer a visual commentary on society’s impact on natural systems.
‘About walnuts, brains, computers and rockets’ was Dohr’s first project at Chelsea College of Arts that utilized multiple silicone molds. ‘I actually liked the casting mold more than the sculpture itself. It allows associations of mass production but also deals with negative space,’ he says.
The work is a mix of silicone, foam, cardboard, walnuts, and sugar, symbolizing the intersection of nature and technology. The rocket centerpiece, made of walnuts and caramelized sugar, serves as a metaphor for both technological advancement and organic life.
‘The sugar being the fuel for our brain and no rocket would have lifted off without lots of brains having been fueled by lots of sugar…,’ Dohr notes. He also points out that walnuts, resembling brains, have been linked to slowing down the effects of dementia.
Dohr extends this organic-technological connection to walnuts as storage units, akin to small computers. ‘In the year 2031, every human brain will be substituted by a computer or uploaded to a cloud. Walnuts can be uploaded too and even ice cream! Today this is only a fictional process… but I’m afraid it will become a reality!’
↑ Julia Da Costa, Mutual Skin and Endo-gaze / 2021
By questioning the relationship between the physical and the virtual, Julia Da Costa’s practice focuses on the realities and sensory experiences of the non-human being. Particularly intrigued by in-between life forms that challenge notions of the imaginary, her work spans animation, sculpture, painting, film, text, and performance. Inspired by rhythms of biological movement and sound, this approach aims to create immersive situations that envelop and challenge conventional ways of looking and listening.
Bringing the viewer into this world, technology allows for the merging of image and sound, creating an encounter of real and virtual gazes where the gallery becomes more than flat ground. Like the slimy body of a mollusk against its hard shell, Da Costa’s work involves the interaction of CGI and tactile materials. As a way of creating what she calls ‘VR beyond VR’: spaces of real objects where the virtual can be encountered with the breathing body.
‘Mutual Skin and Endo-gaze’ is a multimedia installation consisting of sculpture and digital animation. In Donna Haraway’s concept of the ‘techno-remora’ (When Species Meet, 2008, pg.254) primitive notions of animal companionship/kinship collide with the image of a slick, technical cyborg. This work draws upon this heterotopic idea, where technological and organic sounds and textures are combined to a point where they are not opposed, but symbiotic. The sculptures form an impression of an ambiguous ecosystem — an environment of techno-organs for the viewer to experience in various proximities.
‘Speculating on how technology is often seen as parasitical or dehumanized, the animations challenge the idea of a fixed anthropocentric narrative. Instead, a collection of weird forms takes hold, forming a space where the viewer can be in contact with the virtual and physical simultaneously. Hope for the future or a glimpse of a primordial past?’
↑ Kathryn Maguire, Entropy of Air / 2021
Kathryn Maguire works in London and currently studies Sculpture at RCA. She holds a BA in Fine Art Sculpture from CCAD and an MA in Art in the Contemporary World from NCAD. Her practice engages text, sculpture, video, and installation; making diverse cultural references linking past with contemporary; seeking to highlight potentiality in historic moments. Increasingly, her work engages processes of making, informed by her earlier training as a jewelry maker and sculptor.
Her current practice engages questions arising in the Greek Philosophers and an understanding of materials as means to both artistic production and revealing of laws in the physical world. Using performance as ‘survey/workshop/lab’ she explores the connection between artist and scientist. She does that by creating and presenting demonstrative elements in the gallery and the field. Often she involves an expert, a source of knowledge rooted in real scientific phenomena. Attempts to reveal fundamental and invisible forces and energies, explored by scientists and experts alike, are central to Maguire’s practice.
The short film ‘Entropy of Air’ is about a discarded Quartzite quarry, also known to have incredibly clean air. The artist placed her man-made Jesmonite crystals into the disused and filmed the incredible otherworldly location. This could be a distant past or future, we know its Earth as there are sheep in the background.
‘The poem found is about Negative Entropy and is titled Negative Entropy or The Third Law of Thermodynamics or How It is We Keep Alive. For me, the poem sums up everything I am trying to explain or achieve in my practice. For in the end, there is only love, that is how we shall survive inclusive of rocks, minerals, animals, landscapes, and lastly humans.’
‘Each greedy of life resists death,
Sucks sustenance from the desert;
Devour the rock and the ruby.
Until we cool to our end
And dying to provide new fires
For love and fresh generation.’ — from The Lightning-Struck Tower, by Sheila Shannon (published by Frederick Muller Ltd, 1947.)
↑ Melle Nieling, Alison / 2021
Melle Nieling’s (UK) work centers around the concepts of authority and authenticity, how they function, and how they influence each other. This research involves the deconstruction of power structures. At times very explicitly, through the emulation of their modus operandi, and other times much less explicitly, through questioning how truth and identity are defined.
‘All my work is set in a parallel world — a hyper-real reflection of our reality — ruled by sects. Led by wizards and necromancers, these sects fabricate false truths to exert control over the masses. My work consists of spatial installations that extend into the digital (including online) space and incorporate video and performance elements.’
The work Alison is the start of a series that explores the transition from reality to virtuality and the complexities inherent to that transition. In the future, AI will utilize Coherent Extrapolated Volition to decide the best course for humans, beyond humanity’s own understanding of their needs and desires. The true truth, beyond the truth that we envision to be true.
It chronicles the birth of the AI ‘Alison’, as we move from a corporeal reality — reminiscent of lo-fi cinema such as The Blair Witch Project and Dogme 95 — to an algorithmically generated stream of consciousness — that echoes the temporality of video games.
After making ‘Alison’, there was ‘Pre-Alison’. A work in video game format that asks questions about the difference between humans and machines, and whether eternal progress is sensible and even desirable.
‘My intentions are to question human authority and authenticity — who decides what is true, and what is the true reality? It sounds frightening to have machines define truth and decide on the best trajectory for us; but the current functioning of politics, the media, and echo chambering communities appear equally dystopic. In ‘The Matrix’ AI uses humans as a resource, sucking the energy out of them, just like we suck dry the planet right now.’
← Sam Hutchinson, Construction with Found Horse / 2021
Sam Hutchinson, a visual artist based in Leeds, UK, is a graduate of Leeds Arts University and the School of the Damned. Specializing in photography and photographic sculpture, he also explores appropriation, installation, and publishing. His thematic focus is on the politics of images, dissecting how reality is portrayed through capitalist aesthetics such as stock photography and corporate design.
All of Hutchinson’s works are crafted in-camera, avoiding digital post-production. One such work, ‘Construction with Found Horse,’ serves as a layered commentary on the fluidity of an image’s truth. Originating as a sculpture intended for sale, the piece has undergone multiple transformations, from a jpeg on eBay to a re-photographed and altered physical object, and finally to a digital display in this exhibition.
‘We view these abstract ideas through fragmented aspects of learning, relatable only in broken chunks, feeling endlessly disconnected from the constantly updating technologies made to record these progressions.’
The work also draws inspiration from the ephemeral nature of technology, underscored by a meme featuring a floppy disk, which humorously points out the rapid pace of technological obsolescence.
‘The selected works demonstrate a variety of approaches that combine storytelling, theory or poetry, and artistic practice. The 18 artists show great skill in unfolding their personal context in relation to current issues. Topics such as fantasies and desires, identities, virtual realities, crypto experiences, reflections into the natural world, nature, and technology are explored and brought together in order to shed light on the main questions that ESC has been asking: What is to come? Will technology help nature to survive? Can those two exist in harmony? Do we do enough to preserve natural resources?
The challenges are urgent and ever growing and the question of how to take them into account and link them with one’s own artistic language and personal stories is everlasting. The selected works emanate concern and reflection, interest and contemplation urging us to discover ‘new truths’ about our environment, about our society, and about ourselves.’
— Kiki Petratou, co-director JOEY RAMONE →