The Refik Anadol Studio Newsletter V.06

Friday 11th March, 2022 - Bruce Sterling

*An interesting example of a modern artist’s newsletter for his fans and devotees.

In the latter half of 2021, Refik embarked on a whirlwind tour traveling to New York, Miami, Milan, Dubai, London, Barcelona, Berlin, Abu Dhabi, and Glasgow for exhibition openings, installations, art festivals and even a climate conference! We have been extremely fortunate to show our works around the globe. What’s even more gratifying is the overwhelming positive reception we have received. For the sixth edition of the Refik Anadol Studio Newsletter we highlight our 2021 projects, and offer a preview of what’s to come this year – our studio’s biggest undertaking yet!

We recently announced our most ambitious project to date – DATALAND – the world’s very first multi-sensory Metaverse project. DATALAND will be a collaboration with the world’s leading neuroscientists, architects, AI pioneers, olfactory and real-time biosensing technologies as well as innovation leaders NVIDIA, Epic Games, L-Acoustics, LG Displays, and Firmenich. As we collectively face the quantitative and qualitative challenges of analyzing vast data sets using artificial intelligence to create a new paradigm of immersive aesthetics, we will architect unprecedented spaces and invent cutting-edge tools for new experiences in the Metaverse. Join our waitlist to become the first citizens of DATALAND, win a chance to be the first to experience it, and remember the future with us!

Machine Hallucinations: Coral Dreams was unveiled on Miami Beach for 2021’s Art Basel. The piece emerged from the studio’s ongoing research on data aesthetics based on collective visual memories of nature and urban environments. For this unique, site-specific data sculpture, Anadol and his team collected 1,742,772 publicly available images of coral, connecting a digital ecosystem of data and a landscape that is home to many living ecosystems. A multi-channel experience, Machine Hallucinations: Coral Dreams invited the audience to be immersed in a virtual underwater space while physically surrounded by water and sea creatures on the beach, further merging the beauty of reality with the sublimity of artistic imagination, and shining a light on the importance of ocean preservation and sustainability. Of the work, Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic Sebastian Smee wrote, “I loved it… Anadol’s work — visually stunning, intelligent, mesmerizing — amazed and moved me.”

Presented in collaboration with Sotheby’s, Machine Hallucinations — Space: Metaverse, a physical exhibition in Hong Kong and correlating NFT collection, brought together the studio’s richly diverse works to the Metaverse. Inspired by our five-year collaboration with NASA/JPL, and our long-term research into the photographic history of space exploration, we created a visual speculation of humanity’s historical attempts to explore its depths. The NFT collection contained yet another groundbreaking approach to media arts by presenting the first-ever immersive NFT. Thank you to all of our collectors for making this our most successful NFT offering to date.

Refik Anadol Studio in collaboration with MoMA, Feral File and Bitmark recently presented Unsupervised, an online exhibition and NFT sale of AI artworks using the metadata of The Museum of Modern Art’s unparalleled collection. The result was a series of works that captured the machine’s “hallucinations” of the one of the world’s foremost museums of contemporary art. The limited edition pieces in this very special collection sold out in a matter of minutes!

Machine Hallucinations: Nature Dreams, designed specifically for König Galerie, was an AI architectural exhibition inspired by fluid dynamics, which turned vast datasets of nature images into latent multi-sensory experiences to commemorate the beauty of the earth we share. Over 200,000 people experienced the gallery in just seven weeks, making it the most visited exhibition König Galerie has ever presented!

Refik Anadol Studio and luxury brand Bulgari collaborated for Metamorphosis, an installation that came to life in the world famous Duomo in Milan, Italy. The set of artworks that included data paintings, sculptures and the first immersive room to incorporate scent, were generated in collaboration with an AI with the goal of representing the infinite forms of transformation found in nature. The AI was trained on over 200 million images of actual flowers, and, to emphasize the symbolic importance of the theme of the serpent as a creative inspiration for Bulgari designs, a data set of approximately 120,000 snake images. We look forward to more collaborations with the amazing team at Bulgari.

Paying homage to the distinctive architectural features of the Alkazar Movie Theatre in the heart of one of Istanbul’s bustling urban centers, Alkazar Dreams is a groundbreaking visualization of the digitized archives of over 150 classic Turkish films. It exhibits a dramatic rethinking of Alkazar – both as a space and an institution – highlighting the creative potential of machines to enhance our cognitive capacities, and expanding the possibilities of immersive art, visual storytelling, and cinematic narrative.

Refik was invited to the Glasgow Climate Change Conference, COP26, at which nations made a range of decisions in the collective effort to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. At COP26, we showed a work called Machine Hallucination: A Data Visualization of Physical Climate Risk with data provided by S&P Global Trucost. The piece represented the many interlocking layers of nature, humanity, and technology in our age of global mobility and machine intelligence. To be able to present this work at a conference where the world gathered to share solutions to our climate change dilemma was truly an honor.

Refik was also honored to speak at the 2021 World Conference on Creative Economy in Dubai. During the conference, a global community of government officials, entrepreneurs, creatives and policymakers came together to join world-leading speakers and thinkers, reaffirming the UAE’s position as an important and leading hub for creativity for the region and beyond. The studio already has two permanent works, Wind of Dubai at the Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown and a curated AI Data Painting series focusing on geological data sets at the SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences. We are very excited to unveil more projects in this region in the near future.

It is always special to have the studio’s work recognized by our peers in the creative community. In 2021 Quantum Memories, the epic scale investigation of the intersection between quantum supremacy, machine learning, and the aesthetics of probability, commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria for its Triennial received five prestigious awards including: Best of Best Museum Exhibition at the C2A/Creative Communication Awards, Global Future Design Award, German Design Award, Excellent Architecture Fair and Exhibition, MUSE Platinum Winner for Experiential & Immersive Exhibition, and Fast Company Experimental Innovation by Design Honoree.

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