Anicka Yi at 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

11 May – 24 November 2019

The Bagri Foundation has supported a new commission by the Korean-American artist Anicka Yi at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. The new works, titled Biologizing the Machine (terra incognita) and Biologizing the Machine (tentacular trouble) are shown across both exhibition sites – the Arsenale and the Giardini – and contemplate how new channels of communication can be established between artificial intelligence (AI) entities and organic life forms.

In Biologizing the Machine (tentacular trouble), the artist uses a stretched leather-like kelp to create hanging incandescent sculptures that conjure up images of organisms such as human organs and insect eggs through chrysalis-like pods within which animatronic insects flutter about. The use of this material calls attention to the ecological history and exciting potential uses of algae, a powerful and shapeshifting entity comprising the largest biomass on the planet. The ground beneath evokes a swamp (not too dissimilar from the watery underbelly of Venice) from which these organisms and other primordial beings may have come.

In Biologizing the Machine (terra incognita), Yi uses soil from Venice combined with a bacteria that emits a specific smell. The hanging acrylic panels will change colours over time depending on the AI controlled temperature, light and water level. The AI entity learns to understand the smell of the bacteria in all its forms: stasis, decay and growth, amending the environment in response. The implications of this type of learning could be far-reaching, but whilst the colourful display sits  within an ‘agitated symbiosis’ the mutual benefit could easily lead to unpredictable results.

The work was additionally supported by the Gaia Art Foundation who is organising a talk by the artist with curator Ralph Rugoff and special guests. Please check back soon for a date.

About Anicka Yi
Anicka Yi lives and works in New York City. Yi’s practice relates to synthetic biology, bio engineering, extinction, and bio fiction. Her work examines concepts of “the biopolitics” of the senses or how assumptions and anxieties related to gender, race, and class shape physical perception.

Recent institutional solo exhibitions of her work include the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Fridericianum, Kassel; Kunsthalle Basel; List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts; The Kitchen, New York; and The Cleveland Museum of Art. Yi’s work will be featured in the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. She has screened her film, The Flavor Genome, at the 2017 Whitney Biennial and the International Film Festival of Rotterdam, 2017. In 2016, she was awarded the Hugo Boss Prize. She is represented by 47 Canal, New York and Gladstone Gallery, Brussels.

La Biennale di Venezia 
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