Gaia.: Gene, algorithm, intelligent design, automata_A mirage self, The Other Realm

2022 / 02 / 12 Sat.

2022 / 04 / 24 Sun.

10:00 - 18:00

  • Curator

    Shen Bo-Cheng


Curator:Shen Bo-Cheng

Paul Gauguin once asked a grand eternal question by his master piece “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?” in 1899, in the dawn of modern technology era. Through art, artist tried to find the meaning of life and the Paradise of spirit in an industrial civilization world. Gauguin’s quest leads artists to a remote and primitive island, a place that old religion myth once promised in the long gone past.

10 years after Gauguin abandoned technological civilization, Emilio Marinetti launched a movement in his Manifesto of Futurism, which published on 5 February 1909. Marinetti expressed a passionate loathing of everything old, especially political and artistic tradition. "We want no part of it, the past, "he wrote, "We the young and strong Futurists!" Marinetti embraced the future and technology as the new territory and wonderland of human spirit and body, the Futurists admired technology and all that represented the technological triumph of humanity over nature. Gauguin and Marinetti represented two different kinds of attitude toward the cultural, spiritual impact of continually progressed science and technology. One struggling to return to the impossible mythical past; the other embraced the future and technology and tried to reinvention a new myth for modern day and modern man.

In art history, we may say that Avant-garde was actually born from the imagination and interpretation of science and technology, or more precisely from the invention myth of future which based on science and technology.

Comparing myth and futurology carefully, it is clear that both shared same imaginative quality. The real difference lies only in the arrow point of Time While myth continually weaves an universal interpretation about the origin of life and nature in the long gone past somewhere that human beings can never return, Sci-fi and futurology intend to fulfil the imagination in the yet to come future. The difference of two interpretation systems lies in the development of science and technology, or more precisely the development of numerical logic inference. The birth of Science and Technology makes Sci-fi and Futurology gradually replaced the interpretation of Classic Myth in the field of life and nature, meanwhile they became the new cannon of Myth in our time. Base on the above, if an exhibition which intent to present something about technology and the situation of life state in future, it’s in fact a conversation with the past and classic myth, to reveal a new world after the paradigm shift. Therefore, in the exhibition Gaia.: Gene, algorithm, intelligent design, automata _A mirage self, The Other Realm, “Gaia,” one of the Greek primordial deities and the ancestral mother of all life, would no longer just quoted from the old but rather begin with the redefinition. “Gaia” as a concept entity which composed by the technology of gene, algorithm, intelligent design and automata projects that “Technology” is now the new Maternal body of Genesis.

The second subtitle “a mirage self” and “the other realm” focus on two major concepts—one is about the definition of Human and life; the other is about the imagination of Paradise or Utopia.

The subtitle “a mirage self” is a quest about the attitude of Anthropocentrism and the development of technology. In some way, technology or the invention of tools is actually based on the extension of body function and abilities. This humanscale foundation makes the technology always a production of anthropocentrism. We imagine our better self and fulfill it through the invention of technology, and then such technology would reshape our self-imagination again. This loop became an infinite process to understand the ultimate realities of our life. However, through fulfilling each “mirage self” does not mean that we surely learn more about ourselves, but rather each fulfilled “mirage self” constituted the foundation of our self-comprehension or interpretation. For example, the gear, bearing constituted automata and mechanical theater clock in 17th century, influenced the philosophical concept of Mechanism, or IT technology and algorithm influenced the concept of epistemology about how we think and learn. The technological “mirage self” continually changes the imagination and understanding of our self-comprehension. We may invent technology; however, the truth is that technology shaped us.

If the subtitle “a mirage self” is about the definition of life and shape of body; the other subtitle “the other realm” focuses on the philosophy concept of Utopia. Be it the Garden of Eden in Bible or Plato’s “Res Publica” or even the “Sukhāvatī “of Buddhism, these philosophical meta-lands or Utopia are always somewhere a perfect world for human beings to live by and live for. However those promised “the other realm” is always a place that will never be able to arrive or achieve in this life, since those ancient Utopia exist only in the long gone “Past.” From a philosophical perspective, the interpretation of “the other realm” marks the end of the classical philosophy and the beginning of the modern philosophy. Francis Bacon’s 1626 New Atlantis turns “the other realm” from a mythical and unachievable Utopia to a scientifically and technologically achievable “Brave New World.” Moreover Bacon gave an absolutely new perspective of how a wonderland would be possible; unlike philosophers before him, Bacon’s Utopia was not founded at the base of virtue ethics frame but a scientific epistemology frame. Bacon gave the construction of wonderland a practical and physical instruction. Since Bacon, the dream of Utopia was able to fulfill through scientific method and the invention of technology. Since then, Utopia is no longer a place where it can only arrived by the bless from super nature Being, but a future which could be fulfilled through the progress of science and technology. Therefore, in some way, our contemporary world is in fact based on the Bacon’s imagination of future.

Science and technology have transformed the classical definition and image of our understanding of life, meanwhile the progress of science and technology continually construct “the other realm,” an Utopia drove and transformed by our imagination of future and the invention of new technology.

Exhibition Gaia.: Gene, algorithm, intelligent design, automata_A mirage self, The Other Realm is an attempt to invite audience to gaze and think about our contemporary world with the specific version of Bacon’s “Brave New World.” In a complex system of the technology of gene, algorithm, intelligent design, automata, the artists are the new myth interpreters to provide an insight of “a mirage self” and “the other realm.”




Ralf Baecker
Craig P. Burrows
Cheng Hsien-Yu
Juan Zamora
Paul Vanouse
Amy Karle
Chen Yi
Yu Siuan
Wu Tzu-Ning
Huang Yu-Hsiung
Huang Zan-Lun
Huang Hsing
Matt DesLauriers

Ralf Baecker (b.1977, Düsseldorf, Germany) is an artist working with the interface of art, science, and technology. Through installations, autonomous machines, and performances, he explores the underlying mechanisms of new media and technology. His objects perform physical realizations of thought experiments that act as subjective epistemological objects to pose fundamental questions about the digital, technology and complex systems and their entanglements with the socio-political sphere. His projects seek to provoke new imaginaries of the machinic, the artificial and the real. A radical form of engineering that bridges traditionally discreet machine thinking with alternative technological perspectives and a new material understanding that makes use of self-organizing principles. Since 2016 he has been teaching at the University of the Arts Bremen as Professor for Experimental Design of New Technologies in the Digital Media program.

Craig P. Burrows is a photographer based in Southern California, who started photographing nature in 2010, specifically details of insects and plants. He explores the world by altering the medium of light (infrared light and ultraviolet induced visible fluorescence), which has subsequently become the center of his artistic practice. He has been making ultraviolet induced visible fluorescence (UVIVF) photography since 2014. Deeply drawn to his photographic subject, he also dives into the world of horticulture. His garden houses plants more than one hundred species of orchids as well as many other types of plants. Furthermore, due to his interest in science, he hopes to engage more people in understanding his photographic themes, gaining more knowledge about the ecosystems inhabited by these botanical lives, and thus paying more attention to the natural world. One of the objectives of his art practice is to foster his audience’s interest and participation in their surrounding nature. In the future, he hopes to collaborate with more organizations related to nature and environmental protection while striving to document their efforts as well as endangered species.

Cheng Hsien-Yu (b. 1984, Kaohsiung, Taiwan) specializes in artworks in the formats of digital installation, software, bioelectronic experimental installation, where he explores human behaviors, emotions, relationships between software and machine. In a humorous way, he seeks to bestow the artworks with specific attributes of life or existential meaning, with metaphors about his own experiences and observations of the environment presented.

Juan Zamora (b. 1982, Madrid, Spain) adopts an ecological perspective to create art in an interdisciplinary space, in which visual art, music, science, education and social practice intersect. As an artist, the ways he utilizes natural materials, phenomena and forms allow him to transform the earth itself into a crucial source of art, life and knowledge through a process of incorporating a new sense of poetry, symbolism and meaning into matter. His primary goal of artistic creation is to bring forth new pathways to contemplate on the relationship between human beings and nature by taking adventures and embracing challenges. In terms of the forms and contents of his work, Zamora’s practice brings forward creative suggestions to collaborate with the environment in alternative, symbolic and practical ways.

Paul Vanouse is an artist working in Emerging Media forms. Radical interdisciplinarity and impassioned amateurism guide his practice. Since the early 1990s his artwork has addressed complex issues raised by varied new techno-sciences using these very techno-sciences as a medium. His artworks have included data collection devices that examine the ramifications of polling and categorization, genetic experiments that undermine scientific constructions of race and identity, and temporary organizations that playfully critique institutionalization and corporatization. These "Operational Fictions" are hybrid entities—simultaneously real things and fanciful representations—intended to resonate in the equally hyper-real context of the contemporary electronic landscape.

Amy Karle (b.1980, America) is an internationally award-winning artist whose work can be seen as artifacts of a speculative future where digital, physical and biological systems merge. She leverages body-based investigation, science and technology to create art that examines material and spiritual aspects of life. Projects probe who we could become through exponential technologies and how interventions could alter the course of the future.

In his interdisciplinary art practice, Chen Yi compares reality and virtual consciousness to explore issues related to existence, consciousness, desire, data, the environment, politics, economy and society. Appropriating methods of landscaping, he reconstructs ideas, media, issues and site-specific contexts to form a foundation, on which he adds philosophically dialectic and artistic vocabularies. In 2010, he co-founded LuxuryLogico with friends. Based on the concepts of hybridity and cross-over, the art group draws inspiration from diverse sources to explore human thinking in the society of spectacle and uncovers a harmonized balance between technology and humanism to create works of a range of media, including theater, film, dance, architecture, music and social action.

Yu Siuan’s(b.1984, Taipei, Taiwan)creative journey began in 2003, with him paying close attention to life’s dilapidated scenes. These worn-down objects that are tattered, corroded, or broken carry on them imprints of time and project a quiet beauty in imperfection. Referencing his personal aesthetic-related experiences, Yu seeks to use art to once again give these objects a meaningful representation and to express their intended imperfect but not transient beauty, seeking to experience eternity through ways of seeing.

Wu Tzu-Ning (b.1978, Kaohsiung, Taiwan) is an artist who has long paid attention to contemporary art and curating, with a focus on issues of technology and corporeality. Her oeuvre begins with mixed media spatial installations composed with theatrical and poetic literary elements and extends to her recent interactive works and performances created using new media digital audio-visual projections. Wu specializes in the arrangement of scenery and exhibition properties, which engages the artist, the artwork, and the audience in the scene. She also creates conceptual artworks to reflects on various issues and relationships observed in everyday life and society.

Huang Yu-Hsiung (Taipei, Taiwan) is a new media art educator and artist. His practice centers on the integration of interactive technology and new media art, which includes translating history and culture through technological media as well as interdisciplinary research into ways of connecting the virtual world with interactive technology. In recent years, he has focused on the conflicts and contradictions between media technology and arts and humanities, regarding which he utilizes AI, Machine Learning, programming language, sensors to interpret the relationship between human beings and media technology.

Huang Zan-Lun (b. 1979, Yilan, Taiwan) has observed technology civilization’s impact on the society for many years. He specializes in combining machines, installations, sculptures and paintings to discuss the nuanced development and relationship between new media and humanity. Focusing on issues related to cyborg and hybridization of living beings and machines, his practice unfolds a multilayered dialectic between self-cognition and the external environment.

Aluan is the first Taiwanese artist whose works are featured on Art Blocks, the art platform of non-fungible tokens (NFT). He specializes in multimedia video design and interactive programming, and his work is known for its sounds and images linked by programmable interconnections. Since 2010, he has actively promoted the free software, OpenLab Taipei, and endeavored in utilizing the free characteristics of open source code to engage the public for fostering an understanding of the approvability of digital art and popularizing the immersive perception of audio-visual art.

Huang Hsing (b.1988, Taipei, Taiwan) is a permanent resident of the digital world as well as a new immigrant in the crypto world.
He began exploring new media interactive art in 2014, and since 2017, he has started researching into AR and created a series of AR works, with which he won the official Facebook AR competitions multiple times. He stepped into the crypto world in 2021, and has since developed an application, published several works, and collected more than a thousand non-fungible tokens (NFT).

Matt DesLauriers is a Canadian-born artist now living in London, UK. His work focuses on a playful exploration of code as a creative medium, often driven by emergent, generative, and algorithmic processes. Matt DesLauriers work tends to focus on the algorithmic: sets of parameters and instructions that, when executed, realize a unique artwork. Often this involves generative processes inspired by nature: simulations, cellular growth, and other autonomous systems. There is a clear collaboration—not with the artist’s machine, but with the algorithm he builds and its possible parameter space—and while he messages it toward an abstract goal,he also allows it to guide him toward the unexpected. It is like taming and sculpting the edges of infinity, compressing a vast multidimensional set of probabilities into a beautiful and tangible artifact.


A Natural History of Networks / SoftMachine
UVIVF series
Game of Life
Air Cultures
Habitar un árbol / Cantar la tierra
America Project
Internal Collection



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