Notes from the Ether – Artist Talk by Memo Akten

Visionary artist, creative technologist and philomath, Memo Akten, discusses the interconnectedness of humans and machines and what AI means for the human experience.

Akten works with emerging technologies and computation as a medium to create images, sounds, films, large-scale responsive installations and performances. In trying to understand the nature of the world around us and the human condition, he draws inspiration from fields such as physics, molecular and evolutionary biology, ecology, abiogenesis, neuroscience, anthropology, sociology and philosophy.

In this artist talk organised as a highlight event of Notes From The Ether: From NFTs To AI exhibition at ArtScience Museum, Akten will talk about his creative practice and unravel the themes, process and motivations behind his artworks Deep Meditations: A brief history of almost everything in 60 minutes (2018) and All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (2021).

Deep Meditations celebrates life, nature, the universe and the personal experiences of humanity in relation to the world. The work is a contemplative and spiritual journey, where the visitor witnesses continuously shifting images and sounds that reflect the imagination of a deep artificial neural network.

Taking its title from a 1967 poem by the late American poet Richard Brautigan, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace is a short experimental film about humanity’s obsession with technology as it continuously strives for growth, progress and the pursuit of perfection. This film was made using custom software, based on state-of-the-art Machine Learning AI algorithms.

After Akten's talk, he will be joined by Deborah Lim (Curator, Exhibitions at ArtScience Museum and co-curator of Notes From The Ether) and Clara Che Wei Peh (guest curator of Notes From The Ether) in a Q&A. The programme will be chaired by Honor Harger (Vice President, Attractions & ArtScience Museum).

About the Artist

Memo Akten is a multi-disciplinary artist, musician, and researcher from Istanbul, Turkey, who is currently based in Los Angeles. He creates speculative simulations and data dramatisations investigating the intricacies of human-machine entanglements, perception and states of consciousness, and the tensions between ecology, technology, science and spirituality.

For more than a decade Akten’s work has been exploring artificial intelligence, big data and our collective consciousness as scraped by the Internet to reflect on the human condition, drawing connections between intelligence in nature, intelligence in machines, perception, consciousness, neuroscience, fundamental physics, ritual and religion. He writes code and uses algorithmic, data-driven design and aesthetics to create moving images, experimental animations, sounds, large-scale responsive installations and performances.

Akten received his PhD from Goldsmiths University of London, specialising in creative applications of artificial intelligence (deep neural networks) with meaningful human control, and in this field he is considered one of the world’s leading pioneers. He is currently Assistant Professor of Computational Art at University of California San Diego (UCSD).

Notes from the Ether: From NFTs to AI
About the exhibition

Notes from the Ether: From NFTs to AI

Notes from the Ether is an exciting and timely exhibition that offers a glimpse into the future of digital art. Working with the emerging technologies of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), contemporary artists today are pushing the boundaries of what art is and what it could be.

View details

16 Sep (Sat)
2pm – 3pm
ArtScience Cinema, Level 4
Free admission with registration on a first-come-first-served basis. Limited capacity.

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