Announcing Collusion 201911 March 2019

This April, a new public art exhibition invites the public to explore society’s relationship with emerging technology in a series of six interactive artworks.

The perception-shifting experiences include a house party hosted by a virtual assistant set in 2030, an animated and live-action film driven by artificial intelligence, a totem-style memorial that broadcasts hidden messages excavated from the Bitcoin blockchain, the opportunity to create a personal avatar with an AI-assisted generator, “consuming” objects of desire using augmented reality, and swooning in the middle of a fully immersive 360° dance film.

All six artworks – commissioned by Collusion to showcase the culmination of its three-year talent development programme in_collusion – explore the impact on society of exciting and increasingly pervasive new technologies, touching on issues of privacy, control, and themes raised by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, such as consumption and social justice.

The showcase also taps into the technological expertise of Collusion’s partners Arm and Cambridge Consultants, who supported the year-long research and development phase of all the commissioned artworks, at times as direct collaborators and participants. For example, Cambridge Consultants lent their AI demonstration project The Aficionado to drive Jo Lawrence’s animated film Datacosm, allowing it to morph according to live music being played in the installation. The AI team even appear as characters in the film.

“Over recent years we’ve seen the emergence of highly sophisticated ‘deep’ technologies that hold world-changing potential and significant social impact,” says Richard Traherne, project sponsor and chief commercial officer of Cambridge Consultants.

“We’ve provided experts – from disciplines ranging from user experience to artificial intelligence – to collaborate with Collusion to help explore these implications and prompt artistic reflection and debate. We’ve found the project fascinating – an unusual combination of technical and artistic perspectives examining the potential of technology, resulting in thought-provoking art that’s accessible to a broad audience.”

The build of the show at Cambridge Leisure, outside Cambridge Junction, will begin in late March. Passers-by will be able to watch as the pavilions – designed by renowned architect Charles Holland – emerge ahead of the show’s public launch on 12 April.

Participating artists include Jo Lawrence, Crowded Room, Adham Faramawy, Doomsday Blockchain, Above&Below, and Henry Driver & Barbara Dougan. To learn more, visit the project pages linked above and view the teaser trailer below.

The showcase is funded by Arts Council England, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, Cambridge Consultants, Arm, and Anglia Ruskin University with support from venue partners Cambridge Leisure and Cambridge Junction.