HYUNDAI COMMISSION ANICKA YI - IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD
Tate Modern - Turbine Hall
From Tate docs:
Magical experience watching how the pieces Yii calls "aerobes" 2021 as they navigate themselves around the huge space that is the turbine all. When watching from the ground the pieces, move effortlessly across the space 3 dimensionally, with their drone/ airship propellant and their ability to seem to interact with the humans and non- life forms in the space.
The scent scape on the day of the visit was to my nose, when i sneaked my mask down, a watery, /forest smell, like a woodland, musty with moss.
When viewing from the 2nd floor concourse, it is as if the viewer is watching another species, like an aquarium or a zoo. For me they move more of a sea creature. the pieces have agency, although limited AI in algorithm but they still bring a wish to want to understand the programming further.
The pieces rise from their base to the far end of the Turbine hall, from the 4th concourse it can be seen that the pieces follow a programme and have been programmed to follow a geographical course within the confines of the turbine hall, the pieces must have the ability to sense the spaces and the other pieces in the space and change routing. I will research this further.
from Exhibition guide:
What would it feel like to share the world with machines that could live in the wild and evolve on their own?
Anicka Yi offers a vision of a new ecosystem within the Turbine Hall, the large post-industrial space at the heart of Tate Modern. Originally part of Bankside Power Station, the hall was built to house electricity-generating machinery. Yi’s installation populates the space with machines once again. Floating in the air, they prompt us to think about new ways machines might inhabit the world.
At the start of the project, Yi asked herself what a ‘natural history of machines’ could look and feel like. She imagined machines evolving to become living creatures. Yi calls these machines aerobes, and based their shapes on ocean life forms and mushrooms. The hairy, bulbous aerobes are planulae. The aerobes with tentacles are xenojellies (xenos is Greek for foreigner or stranger). Combining forms of aquatic and terrestrial life, Yi’s aerobes signal new possibilities of hybrid machine species.
The aerobes’ individual and group behaviours develop over time, influenced by elements in the ecosystem. Like a bee’s dance or an ant’s scent trail, the aerobes communicate with each other in ways we cannot understand. By merging technology and biology, Yi asks if machines could evolve as independent forms of life.
CONNECTED BY AIR
As you walk around the Turbine Hall, you may smell different scents. Together, these form ‘scentscapes’ which transition from week to week. Yi selected the odours in each scentscape for their association with a specific time in the history of Bankside.
Depending on when you visit, you may smell marine scents related to the Precambrian period, long before humans inhabited earth, coal and ozone conjuring up the Machine Age of the 20th century, vegetation from the Cretaceous period or spices thought to counteract the Black Death in the 14th century. The scentscapes connect the aerobes with the site’s evolution and with other organisms sharing their habitat, including us humans.
The scents ‘sculpt’ the air, indicating that the space is not empty but filled with the air we all share, and on which we depend. Yi is interested in the politics of air and how this is affected by changing attitudes, inequalities and ecological awareness.
RE-IMAGINING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCEThrough her aerobes, Yi asks us to consider our conception of intelligence. As the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) continues, she asks why intelligence is often exclusively linked to the brain.
‘Most AI functions like a mind without a body, but living organisms learn so much about the world through the senses. Knowledge emerging from being a body in the world, engaging with other creatures and environments, is called physical intelligence. What if AI could learn through the senses? Could machines develop their own experiences of the world? Could they become independent from humans? Could they exchange intelligence with plants, animals and micro-organisms?
RE-IMAGINING MACHINE LIFEInstallation view of Hyundai Commission: Anicka Yi at Tate Modern, October 2021. Photo by Will Burrard Lucas
A team of specialists developed autonomous versions of uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) to bring Yi’s aerobes to life. UAVs do not require humans to pilot them. Here, they each follow a unique flight path generated from a vast range of options in the system’s software.
This software is called an artificial life program. Scientists use simulations of this kind to study processes of natural life, like evolution and collective behaviour. They are also used to create life like animation and visual effects.
The aerobes respond to changes in the environment, including the heat signatures of people nearby. They receive information from electronic sensors placed around the Turbine Hall, which act as stand-ins for their senses. This sensory information affects their individual and group movements, meaning they will behave differently each time you encounter them.
ABOUT ANICKA YI STUDIOFor Anicka Yi, the artist’s studio is a hub for collective intelligence and creativity. The members of Anicka Yi Studio collaborate with experts across many fields.
They believe that creativity is supported through cooperation with diverse partners. Collaborators include philosophers, fabricators, engineers, microbiologists, chemists, anthropologists, conservators and perfumers. They also count microbes, fungi, plants and animals as creative partners.
Yi’s practice explores the merging of technology and biology, breaking down distinctions between plants, animals, micro-organisms and machines. She asks how moving these divisions might challenge an understanding of humans as unique and distinct from other forms of life. The studio’s current research focuses on living organisms, digital technologies and the sense of smell. It is committed to both science and social science as ways to address social and environmental inequality.
"Most AI functions like a mind without a body, but living organisms learn so much about the world through the senses. Knowledge emerging from being a body in the world, engaging with other creatures and environments, is called physical intelligence. What if AI could learn through the senses? Could machines develop their own experiences of the world? Could they become independent from humans? Could they exchange intelligence with plants, animals and micro-organisms? "- Anicka Yi
Reading further i
"The installation was, she tells me tentatively, developed in collaboration with three different types of engineering teams."
"My job is not to articulate the phenomenon of art. I’m more interested in opening up these non-conceptual spaces. And that’s something that science and technology doesn’t purport to do."
I am really interested in the machines as a species, that the AI programming is a in itself a life form, a new type of life form, human created . The piece uses emerging technologies and programming to ensure that the aerobes appear autonomous, I would like to explore fiurther pieces that use tech in this way, LOOK into robotics and AI and Art.
This was a different kind os room, focusing on two female artists that have explored the textile ( Lenore Tawney) and plotting as part of their practice. Agnes Martin
Lenore Tawney uses textiles as a means of expression. in her works through weaving threads - noted as using repetition both known as a spiritual artist, the creation using repetition and weaving methods from different indigenous and historical time frames she created works that responded to different subject matter. The piece shown in the pictures The Queen ( 1962) named by Agnes Martin who produced the exhibition notes for this piece. It is open weaved.
"To see new and original expression in a very old medium, and not just one new form but a complete new form in each piece of work, is wholly unlooked for, and is a wonderful and gratifying experience …With directness and clarity, with what appears to be complete certainty of image, beyond primitive determination or any other aggressiveness, sensitive and accurate down to the last thread, this work flows out without hesitation and with a consistent quality."
(Agnes Martin, Lenore Tawney, exhibition catalogue, Staten Island Museum, New York 1961–2.)
"Consider the meditative processes of painting, weaving and drawing
In the Studio is a display about the close relationship between an individual and an artwork. It connects an artist’s process of making with a viewer’s experience of looking, both based on deep concentration. Abstract art is included to highlight the complex nature of seeing.
In this opening room, works by painter Agnes Martin and weaver Lenore Tawney have been brought together.
There are several connections between Martin and Tawney’s ideas and methods of making art. In the 1950s and 1960s, they both lived in Coenties Slip, New York. The area was popular with artists and writers at the time. Martin and Tawney developed a close friendship and working relationship. Both artists made use of the basic grid structure of weaving in which vertical warp and horizontal weft threads cross over. Sharing an interest in meditation and spirituality, they created works that invite careful, thoughtful looking.
Agnes Martin’s work draws attention to the woven stretched canvas onto which she painted. She carefully drew and painted new grids onto this underlying material. Lenore Tawney also used slow, precise and repetitive methods in her art. She used linen threads and ancient techniques to create weavings by hand, rather than on a loom."
This has led me to explore further use of textile and wire in my past works - the tactility of the making and the mediative process's involved in making the pieces, of binding objects - reminded me of ritual binding, use of natural fabrics to create. I use these methods and have done recently, the hanging is also a question to explore in my own practice. re-making comes into view as well at the present time following on from the participation in the Yoko Ono exhibition.