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Hypnotized by the Machine: Refik Anadol’s “Living Paintings”

AI Generated Art

AI seems to be everywhere these days. With the wide scale availability of numerous AI-generated imaging and text softwares, we’ve reached the tipping point. What was once the purview of programmers and scientists can now be used by anyone, anywhere. Artificial intelligence has been a presence in our lives for some time– but it is now quickly becoming incorporated onto the surface of how we live and work. The collaboration between human and machine is ever more apparent and undeniable. And this is what makes Refik Anadol’s “Living Paintings” such a timely and fascinating exhibition.

AI generated art

“Living Paintings” is Refik Anadol’s first major solo exhibition in Los Angeles, on view at Jeffrey Deitch until April 29, 2023. Truly hypnotic, Anadol’s AI-generated paintings transform data– images of national parks, ocean currents, electrical impulses of the brain– into abstract digital works that seem to leap from the confines of the LED framed screens that hold them. Colors and textures roil together, reminiscent of the natural world and also wholly distinct from it, like a landscape from a dream. It is both familiar and new, an unsettling combination that mimics the experience of conversing with a chatbot that’s so human you almost forget it’s not.

AI generated Art

The exhibition forces us to consider the collaboration between human and machine, but also brings up interesting questions about different ways of seeing and knowing. What does it mean to see data like this? How does putting numbers or electrical impulses into these visualizations change their meaning? Don’t miss the large scale video in the room to the left of the gallery entrance– a 30 minute loop, its immersive scale, dazzling colors, and intricate animation feel like entering a new dimension.

refik anadol Ai generated Art

Anadol’s body of work addresses the challenges, and the possibilities, that ubiquitous computing has imposed on humanity, and what it means to be a human in the age of AI. He explores how the perception and experience of time and space are radically changing now that machines dominate our everyday lives. Anadol is intrigued by the ways in which the digital age and machine intelligence allow for a new aesthetic technique to create enriched immersive environments that offer a dynamic perception of space.

AI generated art

Refik Anadol (b. 1985, Istanbul, Turkey) is an internationally renowned media artist, director, and pioneer in the aesthetics of machine intelligence. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where he owns and operates Refik Anadol Studio and RAS LAB, the Studio’s research practice centered around discovering and developing trailblazing approaches to data narratives. Anadol is also teaching at UCLA’s Department of Design Media Arts from which he obtained his Master of Fine Arts.


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