Future U – exhibition opening 23 July 2021

My latest exhibition Future U explores what it means to be human during a time of rapid technological acceleration and convergence. Opening 23 July 2021 at RMIT Gallery, Future U is co-curated with Jonathan Duckworth and explores what it means to be human in the 21st century and beyond, providing a glimpse of a contradictory, messy future that is both unlimited and unruly.

The exhibition presents creative responses by artists and researchers to the developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and biotechnology that are challenging our deeply held beliefs and values as a species. But while ‘Future’ can be defined as any time after the present, what do we mean by ‘U’?

‘Future U’ examines the increasingly urgent questions of what makes humans unique, and how our place in the world may change as a result of accelerated technologies. As curators, we are intested in how artists grapple with the potential, impacts and existential threat of rapid technological change, such as Uncanny Valley’s award winning Beautiful the World video which featured a creative collaboration with AI.

My academic research explores how far can we augment and manipulate our bodies with technologies until we are no longer human, and that became the starting point for Future U. I was familiar with Jonathan Duckworth’s arts and science research activities, speculative designs and experimental interactive media art works. By collaborating as curators, we were able to complement our research interests, combining my speculative fiction background with Jonathan’s work in digital media production, interaction design and associated technology.

Exhibition dates: 23 July – 23 October 2021

Artists, designers and researchers: Bettina von Arnim (GER), Holly Block (AU), Karen Casey (AU), Duckworth Hullick Duo (AU), Peter Ellis (AU), Jake Elwes (UK), Alexi Freeman (AU), Libby Heaney (UK), Leah Heiss (AU), Pia Interlandi (AU), Amy Karle (US), Mario Klingemann (GER), Zhuying Li (CH), Christian Mio Loclair (GER), Maina-Miriam Munsky (GER), Patricia Piccinini (SL/ AU), Stelarc (AU), Uncanny Valley (AU), and Deborah Wargon (AU).

Image: Uncanny Valley, Beautiful the World, 2020, video still. Acknowledgements to Julia Zemiro.