On October 12, Tate Modern unveiled its newest Hyundai Commission inside the famous Turbine Hall. Created by Anicka Yi, who is best known for her experimental work which explores the merging of technology and biology, this ambitious work represents the vision of a new ecosystem and encourages us to think about new ways machines might inhabit the world, and this weekend (January 16) marks your last chance to see the stunning display.
Named In Love With The World, you’ll find it at the far end of the Turbine Hall – and, really, you can’t miss it. Yi’s giant floating machines— called aerobes—are based on ocean life forms and mushrooms. The installation poses the question “What would it feel like to share the world with machines that could live in the wild and evolve on their own?”, prompting us to think about further understanding ourselves as humans and the ecosystems we live in.
The robotic-like machines are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and work in wondrous ways: They don’t require human direction or control, instead following a unique flight path generated from a vast range of options in their software. Their individual and group behaviours are said to develop over time, influenced by the ecosystem, such as the heat signatures of people nearby.
So, what does all this mean? Well, the aerobes demonstrate new possibilities of hybrid machine species, some of which are beyond our imagination. They’re a new take on what artificial intelligence could look like, which Anicka Yi explains further: “Most AI functions like a mind without a body, but living organisms learn so much about the world through the senses. Knowledge emerging from being a body in the world, engaging with other creatures and environments, is called physical intelligence. What if AI could learn through the senses? Could machines develop their own experiences of the world? Could they become independent from humans? Could they exchange intelligence with plants, animals and micro-organisms?”
Now that you’ve been faced with all these mindbending questions, it’s time to (quickly!) go and see these floating AI creatures for yourself! To make the experience even cooler, Yi has created unique, weekly changing “scentscapes”, with odours linked to a specific time in the history of Bankside.
© All images credit to Tate, Will Burrard-Lucas, unless otherwise stated.
Also published on Medium.