Worshipping technology in a temple of art
When artificial intelligence appears at the center of an art exhibition, you have to admit that the curator must have some guts. It is not easy to juxtapose high art with futuristic technology.
“Mind Temple” features works by 20 artists from home and abroad, and dares visitors to enter into a metaphysical dialogue with the status quo.
The exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art at People’s Park also celebrates the 13th anniversary of China’s first private art gallery.
At the entrance to the exhibition stands the colossal “Mind Temple” itself, an installation created by calligraphic performer Wang Dongling and an AI team.
The work proposes that when traditional culture meets new technology something is lost and something is gained. There is both inheritance and disruption.
The museum’s second floor is occupied by 398 androids. “Windows to the Soul” is an exchange of glances and stares between human and man-made eyes which asks new questions about perception. We no longer look passively at a work of art. The art can now look back at us.
It is not just the art itself which makes use of AI, guide robots provide an entirely new visitor experience based on the application of science.
Bioscience and technology help artists explore the ultimate topic of existence. Videography and interactive installations discuss issues such as DNA engineering, cell reproduction and cosmic shifts, questioning the pursuit of immortality by technical means.
Miriam Sun, curator of the exhibition and executive director of MoCA, spoke with Shanghai Daily about her hopes for the exhibition.
A: “Mind Temple” embraces anthropological topics by providing a perspective that connects science and art, injects multi-disciplinary dynamics into contemporary art and expands the boundaries of artistic exploration and expression.
The exhibition fuses artificial intelligence with art, questioning how technology will (or will not) change the nature of art.
By referring to Martin Heidegger’s arguments, we hope to return to the field of “aletheia (reality),” covering and uncovering, while questioning technology. knocking at the door. Are you ready?
Whether dumbfounded by AlphaGo or daunted by HBO’s “Westworld,” we are witnessing chaotic change in art, in our lives and in how we think of society.
A: Simply keeping up with the times. Balancing art and science and how to discuss technology with professional artists, how to push or drag them out of their comfort zones, to make them do things that the others haven’t done. I like the lines (by Egyptian Greek poet Constantine Peter Cavafy) “As you set out for Ithaka, hope your road is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery.”
A: Oh, it’s too difficult to just choose one piece. All the work on display are the products of deep discussion and exploration. Each piece is a treasure. All the artists together made it possible for us to open this mind temple.
A: I have forced myself to read books on new subjects and visited scientists, anthropologists, musicians, religious leaders and big data experts. I have discovered new aspects to my vision and my spirituality.
It was a journey to Ithaka (a Greek island in the sea), filled with difficulty and challenge. I am grateful to every one of my team who accompanied me on this crazy trip.
A: Contemporary art has always been and will always be the DNA of MoCA. Art has no boundaries. “Crossover+” will open unlimited artistic communication with the public.
Paintings feature historical changes
AS MoCA in the People’s Park celebrated its 13th birthday, a new art gallery was born nearby on the Bund.
Shanghai Jiu Shi Bund Art Museum opened last month, occupying 1,400 square meters on the sixth floor of The House of Roosevelt, one of the historical buildings on the Bund.
“Symphony of the Century — Oil Paintings of the Historical Changes of the Bund,” the opening exhibition, perfectly echoes with the view over the Huangpu River outside the windows.
The exhibition features oil paintings by a group of artists from Shanghai that reflect the many changes that have taken place along the Bund in the last century, and will run through January.
According to Gong Deqing, president of Shanghai Jiu Shi Group, “this museum provides a opportunity for more ordinary people to step into the historical building and appreciate art at the Bund, raising the quality of the public services offered by a state-owned company.
For the future, we are thinking about the possibility of opening more space inside these beautiful buildings on the Bund for public art displays.”
“River without Ranks, No.3” by artist Fei Yunfei — Courtesy of MoCA