Anna Dumitriu

29 Mar

“ArchaeaBot: A Post Climate Change, Post Singularity Life-form” (2018-19) is an underwater robotic installation by Anna Dumitriu and Alex May that explores what ‘life’ might mean in a post-singularity and post-climate change future. Based on new research on archaea (a group of unicellular micro-organisms believed to be the oldest form of life on earth adapted to life in extreme conditions) combined with the latest innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning, the artists have tried to create the ‘ultimate’ species for the end of the world.

Documentation of the first version of the robot as shown at Ars Electronica and LABoral in 2018

The Collaboration

The work is the result of collaboration with researcher/cryomicroscopist Amanda Wilson within the framework of the EU MARA project, which is based at Imperial College. Additionally the artists are collaborating with Daniel Polani, Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire. Anna Dumitriu and Alex May have developed this work through an artistic residency at LABoral.


The residence is part of the first edition of the European Media Art Platform (EMAP), aimed at European artists working with new technologies. The EMAP programme aims to encourage collaboration between artists and institutions using these media. LABoral is part of the network of members of the platform along with ten other prestigious European institutions.

Project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, and The Arts Council England.

The making of ArchaeaBot

Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions 2020

Kunstpalais Erlangen, Germany 

ArchaeaBot at Kunstpalais Erlangen (image credit to Alexandre Karaivanov)

“ArchaeaBot” is part of “Survival of the Fittest” at Kunstpalais Erlangen, Germany. The exhibition opened 29th February 2020 and following the COVID-19 lockdown it reopens from 15th May – 5th September 2020, check website for access details.

SUPERNATURAL: Sculptural Visions of the Future at Kunsthalle Tubingen from October 2020

“ArchaeaBot” will be part of SUPERNATURAL: Sculptural Visions of the Future at KUNSTALLE TÜBINGEN, Germany, from 10th October 2020 – 3rd July 2021. The exhibition explores the future of physicality in the age of the Anthropocene.

CAFA Art Museum (CAFAM), Beijing, China

“ArchaeaBot” will be part of “Topologies of the Real” at CAFA Art Museum, as part of the CAFAM Techne Triennial in Beijing, China. The opening of the exhibition has been temporarily postponed due to the novel Coronavirus outbreak.

Past Exhibitions 2020

Meta.Morf – Digital Wild, The Trondheim International Biennale for Art & Technology

“ArchaeaBot” was part of Meta.Morf – Digital Wild, The Trondheim International Biennale for Art & Technology which ran from 5th March – 3rd May 2020 in Trondheim, Norway.

The Science Gallery Bengaluru, India 

ArchaeaBot” was part of “Submerge” the inaugural exhibition at the Science Gallery Bengaluru in India. The exhibition ran from 15th December 2019 – 31st January 2020.

Past Exhibitions 2019

Growing at the Zhi Art Museum in Chengdu, China

“ArchaeaBot” at ZHI Art Museum, Chengdu, China

Growing, co-presented by ZHI ART MUSEUM and Chronus Art Center (CAC), dissects dissects the phenomenology of the living and the growing into the precarious zones of the uncanny, the borderline between the animate and the subliminal, through the lens of the techno-fantastical, foreshadowing a future which is as fascinating as it is ominous. The exhibition runs from 28th September 2019 – 5th January 2020

Furtherfield in London, UK 

“ArchaeaBot” is on show as part of “Time Portals” which opened at Furtherfield on 9th May 2019 and ran until 20th October 2019 as a public exhibition.

“Time Portals” at Furtherfield

HeK in Basel, Switzerland

“ArchaeaBot” at HeK Basel

The latest version “ArchaeaBot” premiered at HeK (Haus der elektronischen Künste) in Basel as part of “Entangled Realities – Living with Artificial Intelligence” from 9th May – 11th August 2019 with an opening on 8th May 2019. 

WRO 2019 Biennale in Wroclaw, Poland

ArchaeaBot” is on show as part of the WRO 2019 Biennale “Human Aspect” which opens during the period of the 15th-19th May 2019 and runs until 28th July 2019. The exhibition takes place in the Four Domes Pavilion Art Museum.

Anna Dumitriu and Alex May also spoke in the “Human Aspect/Non Human Aspect” conference programme at Wroclaw School of Art on the 17th May 2019.

Silbersalz Festival in Halle, Germany

“ArchaeaBot” at the Kunstmuseum Morotzberg

Anna Dumitriu and Alex May will exhibit “ArchaeaBot” at the Kunstmuseum Moritzburg as part of the Silbersalz Festival in Halle Germany from 20-23rd June 2019.

On/OFF at Museum of Ethnography, Lviv, Ukraine for the TETRAMATYKA Festival

“ArchaeaBot” was exhibited as part of the exhibition “On/Off” at the Museum of Ethnography in Lviv, Ukraine, curated by the WRO Media Art Center (Wroclaw, Poland) from 4th – 20th October 2019.

Oceans 4.0 at FACT in Liverpool

“ArchaeaBot” was part of Oceans 4.0 an exhibition exploring the environmental challenges facing our planet. The show presented three projects that monitor, reflect and imagine the future of our threatened oceans and rans at FACT in Liverpool from 11th – 27th October 2019.

Past Exhibitions 2018

“Error in Progress” at Ars Electronica Festival 2018, Linz, Austria

“ArchaeaBot” premiered to acclaim as part of “Error in Progress” at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, 5th – 10th September 2018 in the Bunker at POSTCITY. The artists also gave a talk as part of the Artists Talks series from 6:00 – 7:30pm on the Workshop Stage at POSTCITY on Saturday 8th September 2018. ArchaeaBot was included in the highlights video and best of Ars Electronica review.

LABoral,  Gijón, Spain

ArchaeaBot” returned to be exhibited LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Gijón, Spain (where it was first developed) from 20th September – 11th October 2018. Anna Dumitriu, Alex May and Amanda Wilson also discussed the project in the event “Future Life”.

“Unstable Reality and Shifting Knowledges: Mending the Fabric of the World” at Bandits-Mages, Bourges, France

“ArchaeBot” at the Bandits-Mages Festival

From 15th November to 2nd December 2018 “ArchaeaBot” was on show as part of Rencontres Bandits-Mages “Unstable Reality and Shifting Knowledges: Mending the Fabric of the World” in Bourges, France, curated by Annick Bureaud.  To accompany the exhibition Dumitriu and May gave a talk “Collaboration Across the Three Domains” about their work at 6pm on 16th November and a collaborative practical and theoretical workshop about the ArchaeaBot project from 11am to 5pm on the 17th. Anna Dumitriu then lead a solo “BioArt and Bacteria” workshop on the 18th November.

“A World Without Us” at IMPAKT, Utrecht, Netherlands

“ArchaeaBot: A Post Climate Change Post Singularity Life-form” was then exhibited  at IMPAKT in Utrecht, Netherlands as part of “A World Without Us” from 23rd November 2018 to 3rd February 2019 alongside “Antisocial Swarm Robots” and with a showcase of “BioComputation Robots” also by Anna Dumitriu and Alex May in an exhibition curated by Arjon Dunnewind. The exhibition also included a symposium curated by Anna Dumitriu on the theme of Future Life.

Media coverage

Asturian Regional Television reported the opening of the exhibition on their lunchtime news show and interviewed the artists (Spain), September 2018.

El Comercio featured the opening event of the exhibition at LABoral, (Spain), September 2018.

Postinterface featured the article “Spain. Artists create artificially intelligent underwater robots based on ancient life at LABoral“, (Italy), September 2018.

The Japanese magazine Axis featured “ArchaeaBot” and an interview with the artists in their Report on the Ars Electronica Festival 2018, (Japan), November 2018.

Utrecht Central featured the presentation of “ArchaeaBot” in “A World Without Us in an article “New IMPAKT in Utrecht, (Netherlands), November 2018.

Lead image credit: Vanessa Graf/Ars Electronica