Anicka Yi Unveils A Robotic Ecosystem At Tate’s Turbine Hall – Studio Voltaire Reopens – documenta fifteen Announces Participating Artists


Tate Modern has unveiled a significant new work by artist Anicka Yi. This captivating installation is Yi’s largest and most ambitious project to date, transforming the Turbine Hall at the heart of Tate Modern with her vision of a new kind of ecosystem. 

Yi is known for her work which explores the merging of technology and biology

Yi’s commission populates the space with machines once again, referencing the hall’s original purpose of housing Bankside Power Station’s turbines. Moving through the air, her floating machines – called aerobes – prompt viewers to think about new ways machines might inhabit the world.

Yi has become known for her experimental work, which explores the merging of technology and biology, focusing on breaking down distinctions we hold between plants, animals, micro-organisms and technology. Through this work, she asks viewers to think about how removing these distinctions affects our understanding of ourselves as humans and the ecosystems we live in. For her new commission at Tate Modern, Yi began with the question of what a ‘natural history of machines’ could look and feel like. Her project builds on previous work speculating on the possibilities of machines evolving into independent forms of life.

Two species of aerobes explore the Turbine Hall, exhibiting individual and group behaviours in response to different environmental elements. ‘Xenojellies’ have semitransparent bodies, each with another coloured top and patterned tentacles, while ‘planulae’ are bulbous and covered by short yellow hair. Both species are filled with helium, propelled by rotors and powered by a small battery pack. Their biomorphic forms reference both ocean lifeforms and mushrooms, reflecting the varying roles and levels of complexity amongst organisms in an ecosystem. These aerobes allow Yi to imagine new possibilities for artificial intelligence, inspired by the diverse ways that organisms learn through their bodies and senses.

Integral to Yi’s commission, as well as her broader practice, are scent and air. She is interested in perspective politics and how this is affected by changing attitudes, inequalities, and ecological awareness. She approaches scent as a medium for subtly shifting perceptions and giving presence to the air we all share and on which we depend. For Tate Modern, the artist has created unique scentscapes that transition from one week to the next, evoking odours linked to a specific time in the history of Bankside.

Visitors may smell spices thought to counteract the Black Death in the 14th century, marine scents related to the Precambrian period long before humans inhabited earth, coal and ozone conjuring up the Machine Age of the 20th century, or vegetation from the Cretaceous period. These scentscapes create an environment that connects the aerobes with the history of the site and all other organisms that share their habitat. As the odours change between each unique scentscape, the aerobes’ behaviour and interactions will develop in response.

Studio Voltaire
Studio Voltaire

Studio Voltaire Reopens 

Studio Voltaire reopens this week following the completion of a £2.8 million capital project. The project is the most ambitious transition in Studio Voltaire’s 27–year history and has transformed its site, facilities and public spaces.

Addressing the current London–wide shortage of artists’ workspace, the project has significantly increased the amount and quality of support the organisation can offer to artists by creating 42% more artists’ studios, providing affordable, high–quality spaces. New onsite facilities at the organisation include an artists’ kitchen, workshop, project studio and two residency studios which will host a new international programme.

Over 60 artists are now based at Studio Voltaire, including ActionSpace, a leading organisation supporting artists with learning disabilities, which has increased its studio provision and workspace.

The project has transformed how visitors experience the organisation’s buildings and programmes – more than doubling public spaces. Anthea Hamilton has designed a garden, which forms the new entrance to the site, and Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan have created a vibrant installation across the public toilets. Studio Voltaire’s gallery, a Victorian former mission hall, has been sensitively restored.

Other new public spaces include The Studio, dedicated to learning and events, a café and the first permanent House of Voltaire – Studio Voltaire’s celebrated art and design shop.

documenta 15
documenta 15

documenta fifteen Announces Participating Artists
Documenta has announced the lineup of participating artists for their 15th event. Documenta is one of the world’s most important art events, which take place every five years. It was initially launched in 1955 by professor of art Arnold Bode to draw attention to works banned by the Nazis as degenerate. The events latest guest Artistic Directors ruangrupa, a collective of artists and creatives from Jakarta, Indonesia, with a ten-member core, is in charge of the Artistic Direction of documenta 15. It was nominated unanimously by the International Finding Committee.

Artists Participating 

ikkibawiKrrr (KST), ook_reinaart vanhoe (CET), Richard Bell (AEST)

Taring Padi (WIB) Wakaliwood (EAT), Arts Collaboratory (diverse time zones), Black Quantum Futurism (EST), Chimurenga (SAST), Jumana Emil Abboud (EET), Nino Bulling (CET), Agus Nur Amal PMTOH (WIB), Subversive Film (CET, EET), Cinema Caravan und Takashi Kuribayashi (JS), Kiri Dalena (PHT), Nguyen Trinh Thi (ICT), Safdar Ahmed (AEST) Sakuliu (TST), Atis Rezistans / Ghetto Biennale (EST, WET), Marwa, Arsanios (CET), Sourabh Phadke (WET,IST), Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh (BT, WT), *foundationClass* collective (CET), Another Roadmap Africa Cluster (ARAC) (WAT, CAT, EAT), Archives des luttes des femmes en, Algérie (WAT), Asia Art Archive (HKT), Centre d’art Waza (CAT), El Warcha (WAT), Graziela Kunsch (BRT), Keleketla! Library (SAST), Komîna Fîlm a Rojava (EET), Sada (regroup) (AST), Siwa plateforme – L’Economat at Redeyef (WAT), The Black Archives (CET), Baan Noorg Collaborative Arts, and Culture (ICT), Dan Perjovschi (EET), Fehras Publishing Practices (CET), Nhà Sàn Collective (ICT), The Nest Collective (EAT), Hamja Ahsan (WET), Jimmie Durham (CET), La Intermundial Holobiente (WET, ART, EST), Pinar Öğrenci’ (CET), Saodat Ismailova (UZT), Amol K Patil (IST) BOLOHO (CST), Cao Minghao & Chen Jianjun (CST), CHANG En-man (TST, Sa Sa Art Projects (ICT), Alice Yard (AST), Erick Beltrán (CET) LE 18 (WAT), MADEYOULOOK (SAST), Party Office b2b Fadescha (IST, EST), Serigrafistas queer (ART)

documenta fifteen June 18 – 25 September 2022, Kassel, Germany

Top Photo: Anicka Yi Tate Turbine Hall Photo P C Robinson n© Artlyst 2021

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