Collusions commissions set to explore artificial intelligence, blockchain and other technological concerns
On 9th March, Collusion brought together the five commissioned artists who will produce large scale technology-themed works for a major public showcase in 2019. The showcase, which will take place in Cambridge next spring is the final phase of the three year in_collusion programme.
Selected from more than 120 submissions, artists Above&Below, Adham Faramawy, Crowded Room, DDBC and Jo Lawrence have been chosen for their unconventional artistic practices, creative experimentation and their capacity to engage with some of the biggest technological issues of the moment. Each will work with Collusion over the course of 2018 as part of an enhanced period of research and development to devise new works relating to one of three themes: artificial intelligence, data culture, and virtual/mixed/augmented reality.
When talking about their work, DDBC, a new collective of four artists ask “How will the 21st century be remembered? Beyond the financial hype, people around the world are embedding messages and memorials in blockchains to preserve them forever and we are are excited to work with Collusion to create a system that allows people to participate in turning these technologies into a public medium for us all.”
The commissions are part of the in_collusion, a three year artist development programme including artists labs, talks and workshops, as well as a series of innovative projects across five locations outside of Cambridge including Wisbech and King's Lynn. Collusion's activities are built around a proactive network of artists, technologists, business people and academics, whose combined input helps to push the artworks in new directions. This unconventional approach frequently gives Collusion’s artists behind-the-scenes access to pioneering new ideas and technologies, while giving partner organisations valuable creative responses to their own work.
Collusion is based in Cambridge, home to Europe’s largest tech cluster as well as two universities, providing uniquely fertile soil for this. Collusion’s partners for the commissioning programme are Arts Council England, the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority , tech companies Arm and Cambridge Consultants, Anglia Ruskin University and the Leverhulme Centre of Future Intelligence.
Simon Poulter, Collusion’s co-Director explains “these commissions offer a fantastic opportunity for artists to engage with Cambridge’s technology hub and talent and demonstrate how art and technology are fundamental to the understanding of our complex world. Working with tech partners Cambridge Consultants and Arm has enabled us to demonstrate how art can be made in collaboration that reflects on the big issues of our time.”
The five commissioned artists are:
Above&Below are emerging artists and recent Royal College of Art graduates Daria Jelonek and Perry-James Sugden. Their work involves interactive and speculative design processes.
Their Collusion commission will use augmented reality to create a space where essential physical objects have multiple digital experiences.
Adham is one of the UK’s emerging artistic talents working with technology. In 2017 he was nominated for the Jarman Award and has recently been involved with the Royal Academy’s Virtually Real programme, supported by HTC.
For his Collusion commission, Adham will develop a psychedelic sci-fi video exploring ideas of embodied viewing.
Crowded Room is a formally inventive theatre company based in London lead by Mark Knightley and Harriet Madeley.
For the Collusion commission, Crowded Room’s immersive installation will use theatre and artificial intelligence to respond to the “no one left behind” imperative enshrined in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Doomsday Blockchain, a collective of artists who have come together to explore the phenomenon of the blockchain as an emerging technology that could profoundly affect how resources are transacted, shared or recorded. The collective includes James Stevens, Daniela Boraschi, Christian Nold and Alexei Blinov.
Their commission will invite audiences to unpack treasures, photos and files from blockchain to reveal unique and hidden artefacts.
Jo Lawrence is an artist and animator, having worked with the V&A and Channel 4. Her exquisite animated works mix physical puppetry and digital animation processes, creating layered and often humorous works.
For the Collusion commission, Jo will explore the world of data and the liminal spaces between humans and computers
Two of the proposed works will explore or address the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Technology will play a key role in addressing the Goals and artists can make a vital contribution by providing new and alternative perspectives.
Dominic Vergine, Head of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Arm explains "Being a partner on the Collusion Commissions programme offers our teams the unique opportunity and space to work with artists and develop our expertise and understanding of how people are using technology. We are particularly excited to see how creativity and innovative thinking can address some of the largest concerns of our time, whether it's consumption, waste or economic growth. We can't wait to see how the artists engage with key themes and new technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality and what results they will come up with during the commissions process."
Collusion’s commissions programme will produce major interactive artworks that explore the impact of technology on society. Over the course of the research and development year there will be opportunities for the public to engage with the developing works through Collusion events including art & tech Meetups. Further information about the 2019 showcase will be announced later in 2018.