“Machine Memoirs: Space”
March 19 - April 26, 2021
PILEVNELI, is pleased to present Refik Anadol’s new solo exhibition after three years. On view through March 19 - April 26, 2021 at PILEVNELI’s location in Dolapdere, the exhibition includes Anadol’s new body of works to be exhibited for the first time. “Machine Memoirs: Space” is the artist’s third exhibition under PILEVNELI’s roof. Anadol’s first gallery exhibition “Sceptical Interventions” was also presented by PILEVNELI in 2012.
“Machine Memoirs: Space” is realized with the special support of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and is sponsored by BMW distributed by Borusan Otomotiv in Turkey, IMM subsidiary Kültür AŞ and Samsung Galaxy S21 Series. Also supported by Beyoğlu Municipality, the exhibition’s contributors are ABC Deterjan, Atelier Rebul, Fuudy, Jotun, Kahve Dünyası Algötür, MG International Fragrance Company, Swissôtel the Bosphorus Istanbul, its media sponsor is Joy Fm and its advertisement and publicity sponsors are City’s, IstanbulArtNews, Just Work, Kentvizyon, Panoffect and Panout.
As the symbiotic relationship between human life, science and technology continually transforms, the role of machines in pushing the boundaries of imagination generates intriguing discussions about successful human-machine teams. Refik Anadol, who sees artificial intelligence as collaborator rather than a mere tool, has been exploring interrelated key concepts for challenging our conventional understanding of the cosmos, human senses, machines, and the mind. Machine Memoirs: Space, the most comprehensive solo exhibition by Refik Anadol Studio in Istanbul to date, speculates a new conceptual framework to turn the spotlight on the vast photographic archives that document the history of space exploration.
In Machine Memoirs: Space, machine-based visual speculations about space, and humanity’s historical attempts to explore its depths unveil intricate connections between obscurity and openness, creating an alternate data universe of abstract forms where reams of information produce open-ended aesthetic possibilities. In 1980, in an episode of his TV show Cosmos, astrophysicist Carl Sagan said, “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” Forty-one years after Sagan’s statement, Refik Anadol Studio presents yet another speculation of imagining a (data) universe as a first step to reach its unseen dimensions with a poetic flow of metaphors that connect photographic astronomic data with observable human emotions formed around public art.
Exhibition consists of two chapters
The exhibition consists of two interrelated chapters titled Memoirs and Dreams both of them approaching humanity’s explorations of space from a distinct aesthetic perspective and thematic orientation. Revealing the artistic expressions of the Studio’s long-term groundbreaking research projects on space-related data visualization through machine learning, these chapters will walk the audience through simulations of how an artificial intelligence generates novel experiences to be perceived collectively.
The first chapter, Memoirs, will exhibit a series of Anadol’s un-interpreted, raw datadriven installations, each with a unique path and journey throughout our machine's collection of space-related visual data. These data paintings utilize over 2 million images that were captured and recorded by the ISS, Hubble, and MRO telescopes and other sensors and satellites – the largest dataset ever used to train a generative adversarial network (GAN) on the possible shapes of varied celestial bodies. When viewed together as the most advanced astronomic “machine memories,” these works disclose the functionality of the tools that give rise to their aesthetic content in an interactive component that allow the audience engage with raw data. The aim is to expand our sense of the universe not only through abstract images, but also through fragmented evidence of a sublime totality that we can only imagine.
The second chapter, Dreams, will feature 3D data sculptures and a 15-minute immersive AI cinema installation. The sculptures generated by the latest 3D printing techniques to represent synthetic landscapes inspired by the Hubble, ISS, and MRO telescope’s visual memories. These sculpture pieces exhibit multiple flow of networks between data points made up of Earth’s and other celestial objects’ topologies. Storytelling with data to reach the collective unconscious has been a foundational aspect of Refik Anadol’s body of work since his first exhibition in Istanbul in 2011. The cinematic part of this chapter, titled Machine Memoirs v.2, explores this theme in the form of a 15-minute immersive AI cinema that invites the audience to step into the mind of a machine. Experiencing a multi-dimensional, dynamic visualization of how artificial intelligence makes connections between these vast data clusters, the audience finds themselves in an expanding data universe. This space not only represents the interpolation of photographic space archives as synthesis, but also becomes a latent cosmos in which dreams are the main currency of artistic creativity. As a masterfully curated multi-channel experience, Dreams offers an avant-garde form of multi-dimensional cartographic aesthetics. The installation’s intricate and abstract layers of machine-generated space dreams allude to a connection with a cosmos of unimaginable vastness while its natural pigments trigger a sense of belonging to the earth and to our immediate environments.