art pioneer studio art in progress...

Living Amongst Robotics and Algorithms

As the moderator of the forum, Bi Xin first invited the guests to give a speech on their own opinions of the theme, according to the works in the exhibition and their own researches. AATB showed the audience their representative works and corresponding research themes in their careers. Hu Jieming shared his thinking on the meaning of images and explained the 'locality' and the creative method starting from the picture and image itself. Chen Baoyang explores the mode of human interaction with the machine under the recommendation algorithm based on his own works. Bogna Konior gradually proposes the possibility of a mechanical-centered thinking mode. Wang Yanran systematically explained the phenomenological structure of time-consciousness and the relationship between technology and memory. At the endof the forum, Bi Xin asked the guests about 'the Future of Humans and Robots' and the concept of 'meditation' in the works of artist Hu Jieming, and the guests also responsed thoughtfully.

Below we have compiled the selected contents of the discussion by the host and six guests in the forum.

Swiss Artist group AATB showed their representative works and the corresponding research themes in their careers.Their early works explored the possibility of human manipulation of industrial robots in time and space, thereby adjusting the physical space into a programmable space. After that, AATB tried to overthrow the pursuit of productivity in the context of capitalism by putting robots in the daily context, letting them be clumsy and lazy, and explored the "inefficient output" aspect of robots.

AATB- Big Players

The works 'Handshake' and 'Soap Opera' in the show 'STAINEDGLASS' explore the possibility of robots in time and space during the pandemic, explaining the concept of phenomenal pleasure and online presence 'telepresence'. When human behavior is completed by non-humans, humans will turn their attention to the phenomenon itself. The work 'Big Players' further discusses their focus on the phenomenon. Two robotic arms shake the rope while people participate in rope skipping. The cooperation between humans and machines reveals the phenomenon of invisible connections between humans.

The artist Hu Jieming expressed his thoughts on the meaning of images from his ongoing work 'Image Sentences'. This work uses pictorial information that spans hundreds of years, and when these information meet, the meaning of the familiar images are changed. Nearly a hundred years ago, Aby Warburg revealed the secrets of the image in his study 'Mnemosyne atlas', giving us a great revelation. Now when the ways of combining images in digital systems are becoming more and more abundant, the artist Hu Jieming tries to 'make sentences' of famous images spanning a century, and recreates 'perceivable images' and 'perceptible meanings'. The research for the new work 'Image Sentences' confirmed that the meaning of images is fluid, and the artist found that the meaning of the 'Image Sentences' in the timeline will quickly disappear, narrating a process of meaning consumption, where the meaning of the work lies in.

Mnemosyne atlas
The process of 'make sentences'

Then, the artist brought his thoughts back to the time he made wroks for the show 'STAINEDGLASS', expounding the working method of 'locality' and the consideration from the picture itself. Based on the APSMUSEUM site, the artist put environmental factors in the main position. The materials for all works are from L+MALL.

The works in the exhibition are divided into three parts, digital photography, video installations and algorithms to generate dynamic images. The digital photography part is created directly from the shooting in the mall. Photographic works are used as materials for image and algorithm creation. The outdoor video work 'Meditation Someday' interacts with dynamic images, shopping mall information and weather information.


Artist Chen Baoyang believes that 'we are in the era of Information Cocoons and being wrapped in algorithms'. The first part of the AI car series was an AI car walking through a projection maze, and the second part was two AI cars chasing each other. In the work, the views of the cars were limited, and people could change the situation by interacting with the car in chasing. In this work, artist Chen Baoyang explored the human-based thinking mode of humans in the interaction with machines or algorithms under the recommendation algorithm.

AI car series

Chen Baoyang's second work explored the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence by replacing one of the two faces in the movie plot, following the thinking of the former AI car series. Later, he mentioned a project in collaboration with scientists to generate calligraphy chapters through AI to further illustrate the relationship between human art and robots.

Finally, he mentioned that the work 'Solar Protocol' by artist Tega Brain overturned the general idea that digital technology is environmentally friendly, and reflected on the relationship between humans, machines, and the earth's environment through this work.

Bogna raised a question: when we face art and culture that can be automatically written by machines, can AI still maintain humanism in the process?

To illustrate, Bogna introduced a work independently created by AI that was auctioned by Christie's and was auctioned at a high price. When the entire history or art history of human beings can be analyzed or reorganized by AI to create, what will be the value of human creation? Focusing on the question of 'whether AI will replace artists in creativity someday?', Bogna believes that AI's artistic creation will not completely replace that of humanartists, because the objects they serve and the subjects in which the actions occur are completely different.

'Edmond Belamy, from La Famile de Belamy'- artificial intelligence art piece, auctioned at $350,000, massively exceeded the estimated price $7,000- $10,000

Humankind, as a collective group, may be used as a training material to train another species, like machines, to nurture their own new culture and new works. Under this imagination, human beings are no longer the center of cultural creation and historical writing. Instead, our behaviors will become a kind of nourishment to feed another species.

Wang Yanran first introduced the structure of time-consciousness. Husserl explained in 'The Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness' that the first retention is perception, which means the experience of the living present; the second retention is the specific memory activity, which is the perception of the past. The process of recalling and imagining experience does not require technical support. Stigler invented the tertiary retention. Compared with the subjective activity of recall, tertiary retention is all forms of ‘objective’ memory. It is built on technology. Human beings need to rely on technology for self-preservation, and technology actually constitutes the essence of human beings.

the structure of time-consciousness

However, if human beings rely too much on the tertiary retention, a memory crisis may occur. This increasingly standardized and externalized technical system will dominate our cognitive system. Stigler called this result the "proletarianization" of universal cognition.

Xu Yu further invented the concept of tertiary protention as a supplement to the tertiary retention. He mentioned that the predictive function of the algorithm shows that the 'tertiary protention' of industrialization is very likely to deprive human beings of the imagination of the future. When imagination is limited by the expectations that algorithms provide us by collecting data and effective calculations, our lives are actually disciplinedby algorithms. This encoded memory will become a 'negative memory'.

BI Xin is a curator and writer based in Shanghai. Her curatorial practices focus on the intersection of arts, decentralised technologies and contemporary social-culture/subculture.

AATB is the collaborative practice of Andrea Anner and Thibault Brevet, both graduates from ECAL. Having previously worked on interactive objects and installations, they encountered an industrial robotic arm three years ago. This crystallised an ongoing research around human/ machine interactions and led them to investigate the potential of robotics and industrial automation to exist outside the realm of factory floors.

Their practice involves a tight connection and understanding of manufacturing processes, ranging from software programming, electronics to mechanical engineering and precision machining. Reflecting on the dissemination and assimilation of robotics into mundane activities, their work critically explores novel situations arising from these shifts.

AATB has received many awards, including Swiss Federal Design Awards in 2002, Hublot Design Prize in 2018 and Design Museum’s Design of the Year in 2014. AATB’s artwork has been exhibited in V&A Museum, Milan Furniture Fair, Shenzhen Design Week, and Ars Electronic Festival.

Hu Jieming was born in 1957 in Shanghai and graduated from the Department of Art and Design of Shanghai Light Industry Industrial College in 1984. He is currently a professor and head of the Digital Media Art Department at the School of Fine Arts, Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts. He is one of the pioneer artists of digital media and video installation in China today. Hu Jieming has a preference for other disciplines, often mingling those disparate fields. Hu's experiments come from an expression of concern for internal physiology, transforming physiological diagrams, gestures, architectural spaces, identities and pentagrams into a synthesis of visual experiences.

Hu's work has been widely exhibited. Exhibitions include: "City on the Edge", UCCA EDGE, Shanghai (2021); "The Things 2020", Magician Space, Beijing (2020); "14 Days", DRC No.12, Beijing (2020); "The Return of Guests: Selection of the PSA Collection", PSA, Shanghai (2019-2020); “Hu Jieming: Hypermage,” Poly Sunny Walk, Shanghai (2018); “Art in Motion. 100 Masterpieces with and through Media,” ZKM, Germany (2018); "Lights of Time – Solo Exhibition of Hu Jieming,” Aurora Museum, Shanghai (2016-2017); "Hybridizing Earth, Discussing Multitude,", Busan Biennale, KISWIRE FACTORY, Korea (2016);“Thingworld , International Triennial of New Media Art 2014,” National Art Museum of China, Beijing (2014); "Jeffrey Shaw and Hu Jieming Twofold Exhibition," Chronus Art Center, Shanghai (2014);“100 Years in 1 Minute,” Hu Jieming Solo Exhibition, ShanghART Main Space, Shanghai (2014); "Reactivation - The 9th Shanghai Biennale", PSA, Shanghai (2012); “010101: Art In Technological Times,” San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art, San Francisco (2001); “Live In Time,” Nationalglerie Im Hamburger Bahnhof Museum Fur Gegenwart, Berlin (2001); etc.

Chen Baoyang, artist. He received a master's degree from Columbia University, porsche Artist Award, and Hyundai Blue Prize Curatorial Award. His artistic creation is closely combined with science and technology: he not only reflects on the relationship between science and technology, artists and the public through the research of science and technology ontology, but also manipulates part of the power of creation on algorithm and technology itself in practice to explore a real coexistence with technology. His research has been published in IJCAI, IEEE, ACM and other conferences and journals. He is also the chair of MMEDIA AI+ART and a member of the review Committee of EMNLP. He has held many solo exhibitions and curatorial activities in Zhejiang Art Museum, Shanghai Cc Art Center, Quantum Gallery, Wuhan K11, Yang Gallery, New Museum of Art in New York, Shanghai Ming Museum of Contemporary Art, Modern Automobile Culture Center and other places.

Bogna Konior is a writer. She is Assistant Arts Professor at the Interactive Media Arts department at NYU Shanghai, where she teaches After Us: Posthuman Media and other classes on emerging technologies, philosophy, humanities and the arts. With Anna Greenspan and Benjamin Bratton, she co-directs the Artificial Intelligence and Culture Research Centre. Previously, she taught in the Media Studies department at the University of Amsterdam, and conducted a research project at the International Research Institute for Cultural Techniques and Media Philosophy at Bauhaus University in Weimar. Her work can be found at

Wang Yanran, an art critic and translator, is a doctoral candidate in the department of Art Philosophy at Fudan University. His research interests include 20th century French philosophy, media philosophy and digital aesthetics.