Film in the Age of Non-Human Authors

15 Sep 2017

Regular hours

11:00 – 19:00

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The Photographers' Gallery

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Just off Oxford Street so accessible by bus services to Oxford Street and a 2 minute walk from Oxford Circus Tube Station.
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This event will feature presentations from the artists Lawrence Lek and Alex Anikina. Lawrence Lek will talk about his use of fictional artists to explore the politics of creativity. Alex Anikina will present her ideas on automation and liveness in posthuman cinema.


This event will see the artists Lawrence Lek and Alex Anikina talk about their film and video-based practice. Lawrence Lek will talk about his use of fictional artists to explore the politics of creativity with a focus on his recent work Geomancerwhich features an AI that wants to become an artist. Alex Anikina will explore the ideas of automation and liveness in posthuman cinema with reference to her research and artistic practice in algorithmic generative film. Before the talks, there will be a screening of Geomancer starting at 6.15pm.

The event is part of a series designed to bring together artists, developers, designers, technologists and industry professionals to discuss the applications of artificial intelligence in the creative industries.


Lawrence Lek, Artist, lawrencelek.com

"First-Person: Fictional Artists and Non-human Authors"

Who will the artists of the future be? When AIs attain superhuman levels of creativity, will we embrace or exile these non-human creators? In Lek's science fiction film Geomancer, an international group of pro-human activists formulate the 'Anti-AI Art Law' because of their fears about the rise of creative AIs. While banning AIs from galleries, literary awards and art prizes might seem excessive, it might not be so far from reality. As automated digital technologies extend traditional notions of authorship, creativity in the new millennium will become an increasingly political frontier.

Using his most recent film Geomancer and other examples from his virtual worlds, Lawrence Lek will trace the development of his use of fictional artists to explore the politics of creativity. Drawing from his background in architecture, music and filmmaking, these works use video game engines to re-imagine real places within science fiction scenarios. These virtual worlds include Berlin Mirror: 2042 Retrospective (KW Berlin, 2016); QE3(Tramway, Glasgow International, 2016); Geomancer (Singapore, Jerwood/FVU Awards 2017); and Play Station (Art Night, London, 2017). The talk will also explore how digital artworks – themselves symptomatic of a neoliberal shift towards the experience economy - enable artists to construct new narrative forms that both celebrate and critique technology.

CREDIT: Geomancer was commissioned for the Jerwood/FVU Awards 2017.

Lawrence Lek is an artist based in London. He creates speculative worlds and site-specific simulations using gaming software, video, installation and performance. Often based on real places and fictional scenarios, his digital environments reflect the impact of the virtual on our perception of reality. Recent exhibitions include: Play Station, Art Night, London (2017); HyperPavilion, Venice Biennial 2017; Glasgow International, Tramway, Glasgow (2016); SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul 2016, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul (2016); Missed Connections, Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf (2016); Secret Surface, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2016); and The Uncanny Valley, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (2015). Lek received the Jerwood / Film & Video Umbrella Award in 2017, and the Dazed Emerging Artist Award in 2015.


Alex Anikina, Artist-researcher, red-in-blue.com

"Automation and liveness in posthuman cinema"

How to approach the idea of posthuman cinema? Anikina's research and recent artistic practice deal with the notion of algorithmic generative film - a concept bringing together the computational and the filmic cultures in order to suggest a hybrid form of moving image that creates space for technological empathy and affect. Drawing on philosophers of technology, media studies and critical posthumanities, this talk will introduce the philosophical dilemmas that we encounter when we speak about "living" and "thinking" machines, and the ones that arise when these machines produce and exchange images.

Alex Anikina is an artist-researcher, film-maker and occasional curator, currently a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths, University of London. She works with film, software, analog photography, book objects and language-based works. In her main practice as a film-maker, Anikina is screening and exhibiting internationally; notable shows include VI Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art; IV and V Moscow International Biennale for Young Art (2014); Rencontres Internationals film festival at Gaîté Lyrique, Paris, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; MAGIKALCHARM Experimental Video Festival (2014 and 2015) at Anthology Film Archives, New York etc. Her works are held in the collection of National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Moscow.


The schedule for the evening will be as follows:

6.15pm- 7pm Screening of Lawrence Lek's film Geomancer

7pm - 7.10pm Introduction

7.10pm - 7.45pm Lawrence Lek talk + Q&A

7.45pm -8.20pm Alex Anikina talk + Q&A



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Luba Elliott

Luba Elliott

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Lawrence Lek


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