“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.
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 residency was 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.
Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions 2021-22
SUPERNATURAL: In the Same World at Oulu Museum of Art, April – September 2021
“ArchaeaBot” is part of SUPERNATURAL: In the Same World at Oulu Museum of Art in Finland, which runs from 29th May 2021 – 17th October 2021. SUPERNATURAL is an international exhibition of contemporary art. Its core is formed by hyper-realistic sculptures, which are complemented by various kinds of sculptural objects, installations, video art and photographs. SUPERNATURAL reflects on humanity, its future and the relationship between humans and their living and technologically produced companions. The big question is what will the conditions for living on this shared planet become.
CAFAM Techne Triennial in Beijing 2021-22
“ArchaeaBot” will be part of the CAFAM Techne Triennial at CAFA Art Museum in Beijing in the exhibition “Topolgies of the Real”. This major exhibition also includes works by Joseph Beuys, Chris Burden, Jenny Holzer, Valie Export, Mike Kelley, Yoko Ono, Peter Weibel and Nam June Paik, and contemporaries such as Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is now slated to take place between 18th December 2021 and 27th February 2022.
Past Exhibitions 2021
SUPERNATURAL: Sculptural Visions of the Future on now at Kunsthalle Tubingen until March 2021
“ArchaeaBot” was part of SUPERNATURAL: Sculptural Visions of the Body at KUNSTALLE TÜBINGEN, Germany, from 10th October 2020 – 7th March 2021. The exhibition explored the future of corporeality in the age of the Anthropocene.
Roots and Clouds, Sapporo International Art Festival 2020
“ArchaeaBot” was part of “Roots and Clouds“, the Sapporo International Art Festival SIAF 2020 (Japan) which took place online this year between 19th December 2020 and 14th February 2021 via a special festival website which generated a unique experience for each visitor as well as a YouTube stream. An interview with the artists is available here.
Past Exhibitions 2020
EFECT DE LA MICRO LA MACRO as part of Quantum Questions 2020 in Cluj-Napoca
“ArchaeaBot” was exhibited on the site of the former Hotel Continental Cluj part of EFECT DE LA MICRO LA MACRO in the QUANTUM QUESTIONS 2020 Festival by Centrul Cultural Clujean in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, from 24th November to 12th December 2020. The exhibition used the window spaces of this historic city centre building in innovative ways to enable visitors to view the work live during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Manifestations at Dutch Design Week
Touch Me Festival at the Nikolai Tesla Technical Museum, Zagreb, Croatia
“ArchaeaBot” was exhibited as part of the EMAP Exhibition “OPEN – Living Beings and Their Dangerous Liaisons” as part of the Touch Me Festival by Kontejner, from 17th September – 3rd October 2020 in HALA V of the Nikolai Tesla Technical Museum, Zagreb, Croatia.
QUARANTINE as part of the Ars Electronica Adriatic Garden in Dubrovnik, Croatia
“ArchaeaBot” was part of the EMAP exhibition by Kontejner entitled QUARANTINE (as part the Ars Electronica Garden Dubrovnik) from 9th – 13th September 2020 at Art Workshop Lazareti in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Kunstpalais Erlangen, Germany
“ArchaeaBot” was part of “Survival of the Fittest” at Kunstpalais Erlangen, Germany. The exhibition opened 29th February 2020 and following the COVID-19 lockdown it reopened from 15th May and ran until 5th September 2020.
Meta.Morf – Digital Wild, The Trondheim International Biennale for Art & Technology, Norway
“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.
Submerge at The Science Gallery Bengaluru, India
Past Exhibitions 2019
Growing at the Zhi Art Museum in 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 ran from 28th September 2019 – 5th January 2020
Time Portals at Furtherfield in London, UK
“ArchaeaBot” was shown as part of “Time Portals” which opened at Furtherfield on 9th May 2019 and ran until 20th October 2019 as a public exhibition.
Entangled Realities at HeK in Basel, Switzerland
The updated 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.
Human Aspect at the Four Domes Pavilion in Wroclaw, Poland as part of the WRO 2019 Biennale
“ArchaeaBot” was 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 at the Kunstmuseum Moritzburg in Halle, Germany
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, UK
“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 (UK) 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 the place where it was created and was exhibited LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Gijón, Spain 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
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.
NU.nl reported on “A virtual tour of sustainable designs at Dutch Design Week” and featured “ArchaeaBot: A Post Climate Change, Post Singularity Life-form” as part of the Manifestations Programme of the online 2020 Dutch Design Week (Netherlands), October 2020.
TPortal reported on the opening of the “Touch Me” festival with “ArchaeaBot: A Post Climate Change, Post Singularity Life-form” as the lead image (Croatia), September 2020.
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