Cao Fei’s Duotopia is a pixelated trip into the future of technology

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    The Chinese artist’s show at Spruss Majors is a ‘journey into the depths’ our connection”

    the title of Cao Feilatest show of Duotopia It comes from the Mandarin word duō, which means “many.”express the layering Covering many possible futures, environments and aesthetics, and featuring video works both old and new, the show takes COVID-19 as a starting point. Coincidentally, Fay’s Serpentine Retrospective was the last show I saw before the pandemic. Technology for reality.

    The Chinese artist has spent the last two decades investigating rapidly changing social disruptions and urban environments.using virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, It explores themes of man and machine, virtual and physical, past and future. An early pioneer of the digital world, her first avatar, China Tracy, debuted 15 years ago in Second Life’s online virtual world, RMB City.and DuotopiaFei embraces a variety of emerging technologies and concepts, from Metaverse to Post-Humanism to Technosen – “It’s a journey into the depth of our connection,” she explains.

    Based on her exploration of temporality – her 2020 exhibition blueprint Using Soviet science fiction to turn the concept of time and space upside down – the video installation “Duotopia” opens with a quote from the Manifesto of Futurism. “Time and space died yesterday. Urban environments are “fused with speed,” alluding to a post-pandemic surge of accelerationist ideas, while robotic jellyfish float through pixelated environments, i.e. non-human intelligence. It is said to be a utopian representation of the impact of technology on

    These post-human themes are further expanded with the introduction of her new avatar, Oz. Oz is literally an androgynous figure entwined in protruding tentacles, revealing exposed mechanisms as he moves through the clouds. Or, as Faye puts it, “Looking at a world that’s wounded but resilient, it represents a tipping point in the ever-expanding realm of technology.”

    Your show on the Serpentine happened to be the last show I saw before the pandemic. How do you think your artistic practice has developed since then?

    Cao Fei: My artistic practice has evolved and grown in response to the transformative events of the past three years. The COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid rise of the Metaverse are having a major impact on our lives. My latest work is a kaleidoscope of emotions, a collision of personal stories and universal themes. I have several new works involving family and friends. It’s a journey into the depth of our connection.

    My new work delves into the intersection of virtual reality, technology and contemporary culture. I have been fascinated by how the digital realm influences our understanding of reality and the transformation of the human experience.

    What is the main inspiration behind it? Duotopia?

    Cao Fei: Duotopia Inspired by the rapid advances in virtual reality technology built on China’s Metaverse platform. I question the very fabric of reality and explore how the Metaverse can engage with its audience in innovative ways. The distinction between the physical and the virtual blurs. I want to explore how virtual environments shape our experiences, identities, social interactions, the nature of reality, and the role of technology in our lives.

    Duotopia We also have a healing space. I wanted to create an immersive experience that provided a sense of healing and recovery.

    I’d love to hear the ideas behind the new Avatar Oz? suggests.

    Cao Fei: Oz represents the fusion of machine and human elements, and technology and humanity. The octopus-like nature of sea creatures evokes a sense of floating and mystery. Unlike China Tracy, Oz takes a calmer, more introspective demeanor.

    Faced with this tipping point in technological development, it becomes imperative that humanity navigates the complexity of a technology-driven world. Humanity must find a new sense of purpose and blaze new trails.

    The relationship between humans and their environment is a recurring theme in your work. What is it about this topic that draws you in, and how do you see this reflected in your overall work?

    Cao Fei: I am interested in the interaction between individuals and the spaces in which they live. My work has always revolved around the exploration of human emotions and experiences. As an artist, I embark on a journey of self-exploration, questioning my place in the world through my own experiences and perspectives.

    Over time, I have incorporated different angles into my work, using different mediums, in order to capture the essence of the relationship between humans and their environment. From documentary films to virtual reality and the metaverse, I adapt and experiment with different art forms to convey different emotions and perspectives.

    What role do you think the metaverse plays in our lives? How do you think it can be used for good?

    Cao Fei: As an artist, I cannot give any conclusions about the metaverse’s role. I think it’s an experience that we have to personally work on. The Metaverse has the potential to permeate many aspects of our lives, continually evolving and shaping our experiences.

    I hope that the Metaverse will allow individuals to exercise their agency and retain the right to choose to enter and exit this virtual realm. The influence and importance of the metaverse varies from person to person.

    How do you see the role of emerging technologies in navigating life beyond the Anthropocene?

    Cao Fei: As we slowly move into the post-human age, it becomes imperative to re-evaluate the human role as the central figure in the world. Emerging technologies play a key role in this process, giving us new tools and perspectives to navigate life’s challenges and possibilities beyond the Anthropocene.

    Finding new meaning and purpose is very important for humans. We need to think about our relationship with the world and how our actions affect it.

    What are your thoughts on recent advances in AI? Do you see this being incorporated into your work, and what do you think of AI within art circles more generally?

    Cao Fei: As an artist working with digital media for many years, I am constantly learning new technologies and media and applying them to my work. When it comes to recent advances in AI, I approach it with curiosity and a willingness to explore its possibilities. I’m in the observation and research phase. I am interested in understanding how AI can be used as a creative tool and how it can be involved in the creative process.

    The question of whether AI can be considered art itself is still a hot topic in the art world. Some see AI-generated works of art as a form of creative expression in their own right, while others express concerns about issues such as authorship, intellectual property, and the role of human creativity in the art process. Some people do.

    Some comparisons have been made with non-human intelligences such as AI, God, or higher consciousness. How do you see the relationship between AI and spirituality?

    Cao Fei: The relationship between AI and spirituality is a complex and multifaceted subject. It is important to note that the development of AI and related technologies is often driven by capital gains, which can affect the perception and use of AI in society. Humans tend to seek higher consciousness and direction in life. It is natural for people to explore different avenues, including spirituality, philosophy and, in the future, AI.

    Spirituality is a highly personal and diverse aspect of human life, encompassing a wide range of beliefs and practices. It takes many forms and is shaped by cultural, social and personal factors. AI can contribute to certain aspects of human life and decision-making.

    duotopia is on display at Spruth Magers until August 19, 2023.

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