Jul
26
2021
Future U explores what it means to be human in the 21st century and beyond. Bringing together Australian and international artists, the exhibition examines the increasingly urgent questions of what makes humans unique, and our place in the world during a time of technological acceleration.Future U opens at RMIT Gallery on Friday 23 July until Saturday 23 October 2021.Rapid developments in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and biotechnology are challenging deeply heldbeliefs and notions of what it is to be human.Future U brings together a broad range artists, designers and researchers and includes:  Bettina von Arnim, Holly Block, Karen Casey, Duckworth Hullick Duo, Peter Ellis, Jake Elwes, Alexi Freeman, Libby Heaney, Leah Heiss, Amy Karle, Mario Klingemann, Pia Interlandi, Zhuying Li, Christian Mio Loclair, Maina-Miriam Munsky, Patricia Piccinini,  Stelarc, Deborah Wargon. Curated by Assoc. Prof.Jonathan Duckworth and Dr.Evelyn Tsitas. The exhibition presents creative responses to the potential implications of rapid technological change. It is both speculative and poetic, wonderous and grotesque, with dark humour and provocation in many of the works.The potential of artificial intelligence to replicate and replace human creativity and desire is explored in works including Jake Elwes’ Machine Learning Porn, a video work that records the pornographic fantasies of an AI. Christian Mio Loclair’s Blackberry Winter uses custom machine learning to reproduce human movement digitally.Uncanny Valley’s Beautiful the World won the inaugural AI song contest.The ability of technology to enhance and extend human life is investigated in Amy Karle’s video Amy Karle: Bringing Bones to Life that depicts scientific research and cutting-edge technologies used to transform stem cells into bone. Karen Casey’s video Transplanted interrogates the moral and ethical dilemmas of using medical technology for organ transplantation. Stelarc’s installation StickMan/ mini Stick Maninvolves Stelarc’s body being controlled, augmented and manipulated by a machine.Rapid technological change presents exciting possibilities and potential risks.Alexi Freeman’s BioTextiles uses the power of science to transform micro organisms into sustainable textiles. Bettina von Arnim’s prints from the 1970s examine the dehumanising effects of rapidly advancing technology.‘In curating this exhibition, we did not seek out artists with a shared vision of the future. We found ourselves drawn to diverse artists whose work grappled with key questions about human endeavour, transformation, and relationships. We sought works that opened debate rather than offered answers,’ says co-curators Associate Professor Jonathan Duckworth and Dr. Evelyn Tsitas. The works inFuture U first posit that rapid advances in AI, machines, robotics, and biotechnologies have disrupted the definition of what it means to be human. The exhibition’s second premise explores the impact of technologies on our relations with our environments, and with each other.The third idea Future U considers is the extent that humans can augment and manipulate their bodies with technologies until we are no longer human.