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Refik Anadol

Refik Anadol is a media artist and director born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1985. He is a lecturer and visiting researcher in University of California, Los Angeles’s Department of Design Media Arts.

He has been building upon the ideas of machine hallucinations and the melding of digital and physical space for a long time. Having spent time as a videographer, architectural photographer, and creative director, he brings these disciplines and ways of seeing to bear on his evolving algorithmically-based works.

Education

Refik holds a master of fine arts degree from University of California, Los Angeles in Media Arts, master of fine arts degree from Istanbul Bilgi University in Visual Communication Design as well as bachelors of arts degree with summa cum laude in Photography and Video.

Career

Refik Anadol is working in the fields of site-specific public art with parametric data sculpture approach and live audio/visual performance with immersive installation approach, particularly his works explore the space among digital and physical entities by creating a hybrid relationship between architecture and media arts with machine intelligence.

As a media artist, designer and spatial thinker, Refik Anadol is intrigued by the ways in which the transformation of the subject of contemporary culture requires rethinking of the new aesthetic, technique and dynamic perception of space. He builds his works on the nomadic subject’s reaction to and interactions with unconventional spatial orientations with data and machine intelligence. Refik's primary raw material is data.

Residing at the crossroads of art, science, and technology, Refik's site-specific parametric data sculptures, live audio/visual performances, and immersive installations take many virtual and physical forms. Entire buildings come to life, floors, walls, and ceilings disappear into infinity, breathtaking aesthetics take shape from large swaths of data, and what was once invisible to the human eye becomes visible, offering the audience a new perspective on, and narrative of their worlds.

The primary thread that runs throughout Refik's visualizations of the unseen world is data: for WDCH Dreams, Anadol accessed 100 years of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s digital archives; for Oakland’s Sense of Place, real-time environmental data informs the work; and for Charlotte Airport’s Interconnected, he utilizes real-time airport statistics.

Anadol’s body of work addresses the challenges and possibilities of ubiquitous computing, and what it means to be a human in the age of machine intelligence.

Refik Anadol started using light as a material as far back as 2011. He has been using architecture as a canvas, light as a material, data as a material, but having a studio has been a dream.

I was heavily inspired by cinema as a medium— which is an exciting medium because you can make a reality that people can become a part of. It’s very existential. [1]

Refik embeds media arts into architecture, he questions the possibility of a post digital architectural future in which there are no more non-digital realities. He invites the viewers to visualize alternative realities by presenting them the possibility of re-defining the functionalities of both interior and exterior architectural formations.

Refik Anadol's work suggests that all spaces and facades have potentials to be utilized as the media artists’ canvases. [2]

He creates art installations by seeking out interesting data sets and processing them into swirling visualizations of how computers capture the world and people in it. He does it by using techniques from artificial intelligence, specifically machine learning algorithms, to filter or expand on his raw material. [3]

Through explorations of space, achieved through immersive installations and experiences, his work examines the idea of memory.

Refik Anadol Studio

Refik Anadol Studio is known for transforming architectural spaces and façades into giant canvases for live media arts. Refik creates site-specific public art and data sculptures, often paired with live audio/visual performances and immersive installations.

Refik Anadol Studio employs a unique team of prominent computer scientists, software developers, architects, engineers, and designers to realize Refiik's vision. A pioneer in his field, Refik Anadol has partnered with teams at Microsoft, Google (Artist and Machine Intelligence), Nvidia, JPL/NASA, Intel, IBM, Siemens and Epson, to apply the latest, cutting-edge science and technologies to his work.

Selected AI Artworks

WDCH Dreams

WDCH Dreams, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to celebrate their Centennial, explores the orchestra’s 100-year history, and visualizes their future. Anadol and his team developed a unique machine intelligence approach to apply to the entire LA Phil digital archive – 45 terabytes of data. The results are stunning visualizations in two forms, a week-long public art installation projected onto the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall’s undulating exterior, and a season-long immersive exhibition inside WDCH at the Ira Gershwin Gallery.

This massive machine learning and projection mapping project brought to light years of video footage from one of the greatest musical institutions in the world, and transformed it into a dynamic and evolving canvas sharing these rich memories to the public. The project was a collaboration with Artists and Machine Intelligence (AMI), a program at Google Art & Culture that invites artists to work with engineers and researchers together in the design of intelligent systems, and Refik Anadol Studios.

Archive Dreaming

Archive Dreaming is a temporary immersive environment with architecture as a canvas, light as a material, and data as content. Commissioned to work with SALT Research collections, Anadol employed machine learning algorithms to search and sort relationships among 1,700,000 documents. Interactions of the multidimensional data found in the archives are, in turn, translated into an immersive media installation.

Melting Memories

Melting Memories is a series of digital artworks that explore the materiality of remembering by offering new insights into the representational possibilities emerging from the intersection of advanced technology and contemporary art. Comprised of data paintings, augmented data sculptures, and light projections, the project as a whole debuts new advances in technology that enable visitors to experience aesthetic interpretations of EEG data collected on the neural mechanisms of cognitive control.

Awards

Refik Anadol is the recipient of a number of awards, prizes including Microsoft Research’s Best Vision Award, German Design Award, UCLA Art+Architecture Moss Award, University of California Institute for Research in the Arts Award, SEGD Global Design Awards and Google’s Art and Machine Intelligence Artist Residency Award.

His site-specific audio/visual performances have been seen in Walt Disney Concert Hall (USA), Hammer Museum (USA), International Digital Arts Biennial Montreal (Canada), Ars Electronica Festival (Austria), l’Usine | Genève (Switzerland), Arc De Triomf (Spain), Zollverein | SANAA’s School of Design Building (Germany), santralistanbul Contemporary Art Center (Turkey), Outdoor Vision Festival SantaFe New Mexico (USA), Istanbul Design Biennial (Turkey), Sydney City Art (Australia), Lichtrouten (Germany).

His award winning projects explore how the perception and experience of time and space are radically changing now that machines dominate our everyday lives. [4]

Exhibitions

2021

  • Machine Memoirs : Space, Pilevneli Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey
  • AI Art Gallery, NVIDIA GTC 2021, Virtual
  • Seoul Haemong II, DDP Building, Seoul, Korea

2020

  • Quantum Memories – National Gallery of Victoria 2020 Triennial, Melbourne, Australia
  • Metamorphosis Returns – Machine Hallucinations, Seoul, Korea
  • Distant Arcades – Machine Hallucinations – Nature Dreams, MUTEK, Montreal, Canada
  • Melting Memories – Engram, Images Vevey Art Festival, Switzerland
  • Melting Memories – Engram, Taipei Digital Art Festival,Taipei, Taiwan
  • Machine Hallucinations – Nature Dreams, Beyond Film Festival, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Digital Dreams, Kurhaus, Baden-Baden, Germany
  • NEAR + FUTURES + QUASI + WORLDS, STATE Studio, Berlin, Germany
  • Melting Memories – Engram, Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, Norway
  • Melting Memories – Engram, Neurones, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
  • Infinite Space, Artechouse, Miami, FL, USA

2019

  • Machine Hallucinations – Earth ISS, SIGGRAPH Asia 2019, Brisbane, Australia
  • Winds of Shenzhen, 40 Years of Humanizing Technology – Ars Electronica, Shenzhen, China
  • Machine Hallucinations – Earth ISS, IEEE Visap 2019, Vancouver, Canada
  • Bosphorus, les Garages Numériques, Brussels, Belgium
  • Melting Memories, Open Codes, Azkuna Zentroa, Spain
  • Infinity Room, Daejeon Museum of Arts, Daejeon, South Korea
  • Machine Hallucinations – Mars, AS-Helix, National Museum of China, Beijing, China
  • Archive Dreaming, AS-Helix, National Museum of China, Beijing, China
  • Neuro Space, Society of Neuroscience, Chicago, IL, USA
  • Bopshorus, Les Garages Numeriques, Brussels, Belgium
  • Melting Memories, Volvo Art Session, Zürich, Switzerland
  • Infinity Room, Volvo Art Session, Zürich, Switzerland
  • Melting Memories, Florence Biennale, Florence, Italy
  • Infinite Space, Artechouse, Miami, FL, USA
  • Machine Hallucination, Artechouse, New York City, NY, USA
  • Latent History, Fotografiska, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Infinite Space, Artechouse, Washington, DC, USA
  • Macau Currents: Data Paintings, Art Macao: International Art Exhibition, Macao
  • Archive Dreaming, Symbiosis – Asia Digital Art Exhibition, Beijing, China
  • Machine Hallucination – Study II, Hermitage Museum, Moscow, RUS
  • Memoirs from Latent Space, New Human Agenda, Akbank Sanat, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Melting Memories – Engram – LEV Festival, Gijón, Spain
  • Machie Hallucination – Study I, Bitforms Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Infinity Room / New Edition, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Bosphorus, Pilevneli Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Infinity Room / New Edition, Wood Street Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

2018

  • Melting Memories, Species and Beyond, Kikk Festival, Belgium
  • WDCH Dreams, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Melting Memories, Open Codes, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Melting Memories, Pilevneli Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Infinity Room / New Edition, New Zealand Festival, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Virtual Archive, SALT Galata, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Liminality V1.0, International Art Projects, Hildesheim, Germany
  • Infinity Room / New Edition, Kaneko Museum, Omaha, Nebraska
  • The Invisible Body : Data Paintings, Sven-Harrys Museum, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Data Sculpture Series, Art Center Nabi, Seoul, South Korea
  • 1-2-3 Data Exhibition, Paris, EDF, France
  • Infinity Room, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona, USA
  • Infinity Room, Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA, USA

2017

  • Infinity Room / New Edition, MeConvention, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Archive Dreaming, Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria
  • Wind of Linz, Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria
  • Infinity Room / New Edition, Beijing, China
  • Archive Dreaming, SALT Galata, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Infinity Room / New Edition, Athens, Greece
  • Heterotopia, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Infinity Room / New Edition, SXSW, Austin, TX

2016

  • Warhol X Anadol, Young Projects, Los Angeles, USA
  • Radical Atoms, Ars Electronica – Computer Animation Festival, Linz, Austria
  • Infinity Room, The Conference, Malmö, Sweden
  • Infinity Room, TAG Festival, Mexico City, Mexico
  • MultipliCITY – Victor Vasarely, Fondation Vasarely, Paris, France
  • Cavity InfoComm, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
  • Infinity Room Mapping Festival, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Infinity Room VIA Festival, Paris, France
  • Infinity Room EXIT Festival, Paris, France

2015

  • Infinity Room Day For Night, Houston, Texas, USA
  • Cavity Monochrome, Akbank Sanat, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Liminal Room Istanbul Light Festival, Istanbul, Turkey
  • SIGGRAPH ASIA 2015 Art Gallery, Kobe, Japan
  • Expected Port City Talks / Istanbul-Antwerp, Europalia, Antwerp, Belgium
  • Wavelengths Digital Turkey Exhibition, Europalia, Antwerp, Belgium
  • Infinity Room Artnivo, Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey
  • SIGGRAPH 2015 : Electronic Theatre, Los Angeles, USA
  • Ars Electronica – Computer Animation Festival, Linz, Austria
  • The New Creativity: Man and Machines, MAK, Los Angeles, USA
  • Digital Couture / Epson, Industria SuperStudio, New York, USA
  • Waves, Blok Art Space, Istanbul, Turkey

2014

  • Cavity, RH Contemporary Art Gallery, New York, USA
  • Algo-Rhythms, Sonos-Studio, Los Angeles, USA
  • Adobe Creative Cloud Mosaic Project, New York, USA
  • UCLA DMA Media Arts MFA Exhibition, New Wight Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
  • Presentism: Light as Material, Young Projects, Los Angeles, USA
  • VitrA Contemporary Architecture Series: Dreams to Reaalities Istanbul Modern, Istanbul

2013

  • Parallel Threads, Ekavart Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Prefix, Media Arts MFA Exhibition, New Wight Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
  • Incidence, UCLA DMA MFA Group Show, Design Matters Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
  • The Active Apparatus and Liminal Landscapes, Young Projects, Los Angeles, USA

2012

  • Istanbul Design Biennial, istanbulmodern, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Sceptical Interventions, Pilevneli Projects, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Istanbul Summer Exhibition, Antrepo 5, Sanat Limani, Istanbul

2011

  • Minus Feld, American Hospital, “Operation Room”, Istanbul

2010

  • Human Landscapes, Goethe Institut&Contretype, Brussels, Belgium
  • Spagat, Marta Herford Museum, Herford, Germany
  • Untitled II, ULG, Liége, Belgium
  • Track 09, ÇSM – santralistanbul, Istanbul

2009

  • Untitled, Galeri 1 – santralistanbul, Istanbul
  • Academy Meets Photokina, Photokina, Köln, Germany

2008

  • Track 08, Contemporary Art Center – santralistanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

Personal

As at April 2021, he lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

Trivia

Refik draws his inspiration from the cinema, books and architecture.

“I’m very excited about cinema. I watch a lot of films, read a lot, and explore a lot of architecture. I’m intrigued by the limitations of the physical quality of life. I love monumental spaces, and I think archives are one of the most important physical spaces, because that’s where information turns into knowledge.”

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