A Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing show explores the evolution of play 

A Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing show explores the evolution of play 

The three-part group exhibition connects human, animal and artificial intelligence through the act of ‘play’, curated by the 2019 Hyundai Blue Prize winners

The Hyundai Motorstudio gallery space in Beijing, which opened in 2017 with a focus on contemporary art, technology and environmental sustainability, is holding an exhibition exploring the discrepancies between network society and individual experiences. This narrative exhibition titled, ‘Play societies: wolves, lynx, and ants’ is open until 16 August and explores information technology, social media, artificial intelligence, and how social relationships are shaped through games.

Following the 2018 Hyundai Blue Prize ‘Creativity’ winner Wei Ying’s ‘Quasi-Nature: Bio art, borderline and laboratory’ exhibition, which looked at biotechnology, the focus for the 2019 award turned to social intelligence. Chen Min and Zhang Yehong, winners of the 2019 edition of this annual award for emerging Chinese curators, are multimedia artists with backgrounds in photography and painting. In curating this exhibition, they have sparked a dialogue around one of the most instinctual behaviours of both humans and animals: play, which forms the innovative and interactive theme for the exhibition.

Chen Baoyang, Congrat, but I was his next door, 2019, sees a motorised car – dictated by an AI computer programme – move continuously through a maze

The exhibition explores this notion in humans, animals and technology, focusing on interactions between humans through sharing technologies such as video games that create group awareness and collaboration.

The curators have divided the exhibition into three allegories: ‘Steppenwolf on the info Superhighway’, ‘The Lynx Refuge Island’ and ‘The Ants Arcade’. These three creatures symbolise humans experiencing phases of development in media technology. Tracing back to the very beginnings of the era of the ‘Information Highway’ and taking us through the development of social media and artificial intelligence, the works look at how these technological advancements affected human interaction through shared digital experiences. One the topics explored is the relationship between elements of social and animal intelligence, such as intuition, and artificial intelligence, presented through algorithms and data.

Loopntale (Hoyoun Cho, Youngju Kim & Gangil Yi), Hidden Protocol, 2019, an interactive multiplayer game, draws viewers into the world of AI agents

Among the 14 Chinese and international artists featured are Chen Xin and Huang Yuwen who have created an artificial intelligence installation using a somatosensory interaction device, multimedia artist Zhang Wenxin who maps out internet innovations in the 1990s, and art game collective Loopntale who bring us into the world of AI agents using with their interactive simulation for smartphone. The exhibition is a true multimedia experience, and sees installations range from the use of AI to interactive games, as well as video and sound digitalisations. 

With information technology becoming ever more prevalent in our lives, particularly in the face of recent restrictions on physical interaction, this exhibition forms a timely dialogue around the sociological outcome of these forces that drive our cultures today. §

Zhang Wenxin, Info Highway 2020

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