A speculative artist talk by artist Lawrence Lek on digital technology, creativity, and future of art.
In the opening lines of The Story of Art, Ernst Gombrich declares that “there really is no such thing as Art. There are only artists.” Yet today, curatorial and creative decisions across all digital industries are increasingly made through statistical methods. From YouTube to Spotify, Netflix to Baidu, algorithms determine aesthetics, taste, and choice. At the same time, art no longer needs a physical presence to exist. The artist studio, the recording booth, and the film set are vestiges of the analogue age. When culture no longer has to obey anthropocentric perspectives or physical constraints, what new wave of creators will emerge?
Drawing from a background in architecture and music, Lawrence Lek uses simulation to create new narrative forms that explore the politics of creativity. His worlds are populated with characters who want to be creators—autonomous surveillance satellites, digital sculptors, pop singers—all searching for self-realisation as they grapple with the fragmented conditions of their existence. Truth is entangled with fantasy; there is no simple human/machine antagonism, or real/virtual divide. Using examples from his films, simulations, and soundtracks, Lawrence Lek will discuss how and why he uses fictional artists and artificial protagonists.