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Unlocking the Secrets of Insect Life: Artist and AI Join Forces to Create Mind-Bending Sculptures

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Unlocking the Secrets of Insect Life: Artist and AI Join Forces to Create Mind-Bending Sculptures

Photo credit: Ollie Hammick and White Cube

Text: Oxana De Castro

May 16 2023

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French artist Marguerite Humeau challenges the perception of artificial intelligence (AI) by reimagining it as a form of collective intelligence akin to that found in insects like ants, termites, or bees. In her latest solo exhibition titled “meys” at White Cube Bermondsey in south London, Humeau collaborates with AI to produce thought-provoking artworks. One notable creation is the video piece called “Collective Effervescence (2023),” where the fusion of Humeau’s artistic vision and AI’s computational power results in a captivating exploration.

Additionally, Humeau showcases a ceramic mural as part of her exhibition, which remains open until May 14th. Through these innovative collaborations, Humeau invites viewers to reconsider the relationship between technology and nature, offering a fresh perspective on the potential harmony between the two realms.

Inspired by eusocial insects, the exhibition showcases remarkable feats achieved through cooperation. These intricate artworks embody the power of the “hive mind,” inviting viewers to ponder the lessons we can glean from seemingly insignificant pests.

Within the exhibition’s initial room, Marguerite Humeau revives and expands upon the intellectual legacy of Polish artist Adam Kossowski. In 1965, Kossowski crafted an expansive mosaic, titled “The History of the Old Kent Road,” for the Peckham Civic Centre, situated in south London. Unfortunately, this remarkable piece is now slated for demolition. However, Humeau undertakes a daring initiative by infusing it with an AI-infused update. Employing the GPT3 algorithm, she collaborates with artificial intelligence to envision a post-apocalyptic rendition of the city. This revitalized portrayal is exhibited through a collection of meticulously hand-sculpted tiles, resembling fragmented remnants of a dystopian era. By blending historical artwork with cutting-edge technology, Humeau invites visitors to witness the convergence of past and future in a visually striking display.

umeau delves into traditional collaboration, partnering with diverse craftsmen skilled in glass, terracotta, wax, and wood. Together, they craft intricate sculptures inspired by the organic realm. These mesmerizing “totems” or “Guardians,” displayed in a dimly lit gallery, evoke the branching coral, grooved mushrooms, and honeycomb’s porous surface.

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