“Worldbuilding for Non-Humans.” Artist talk by Lawrence Lek

“Worldbuilding for Non-Humans.” Artist talk by Lawrence Lek“Worldbuilding for Non-Humans.” Artist talk by Lawrence Lek


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.


Lawrence Lek (b. 1982) is an artist and filmmaker working in the fields of virtual reality and simulation. He creates site-specific virtual worlds and speculative films using game software, 3D animation, installation and performance. Often rendering fictional or nonhuman artists within alternate versions of real places, his work reflects the impact of the virtual on the politics of creativity.


Moscow International Experimental Film Festival was established in 2016 with a strong aspiration to create a new cultural institution that would provide a close look at a wide range of experimental practices with the moving image. MIEFF is an international showcase platform welcoming up-and-coming as well as experienced filmmakers from around the world and will lay the foundation for a new generation of artists in our country, facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue, and engage a wider creative young audience with this brave approach to seeing things differently in film.


Free admission with advance registration.

The talk will be delivered in English with simultaneous translation into Russian.