ART News



10th November 2021 | Guest Writer: Margherita Nussio
If you had the chance to recently visit Tate Modern in London, you will have encountered a strange mix of creatures floating in the air in the Turbine Hall. It’s the new installation commissioned to Anicka Yi, a Korean-born artist, called “In Love with the World”! The installation is part of a 20-years old project that is taking place yearly in the Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London.
Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
The history of the building is particularly interesting: the building that now is the Tate Modern is a former power station, opened in 1947 and designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the same architect of the Battersea power station in London. In 1987 the building closed and reopened in 2000, fully renovated by Swiss architect studio - Herzog and de Meuron. As of today, Tate Modern is the most visited Contemporary Art Museum in the world.

Since the year 2000 renewed names of the art scene have used the space of the Turbine Hall - a big space at the centre of the museum - to create and expose different artworks, all site-specific. The first commission was made by Louise Bourgeois and it has been acquired by Tate. Over the years artists like Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond, Rachel Whiteread, Ai Weiwei and Olafur Eliasson had the chance to expose their works in that space and make a long-lasting impact in the art world

Hyundai Commission: Anicka Yi: In Love with the World

Anicka Yi, in her project for the Tate, imagined and created aerobes, that she calls “xenojellies” (xenon is a Greek word that means foreigner) that are floating in the empty space of the hall. Thanks to special sensors, each xenojellies has a different brain and software that respond to the movement of the visitors across the hall. Each xenojellies follows a unique path and acts as an individual. In addition, they all “possess a unique set of senses; they use high-frequency radio waves to communicate with each other and to map out the space, and they use thermal imaging to see visitors” (Adrian Murphy- Museum Next).

By floating around following our movements, the air we breathe and the heat that our body is producing, the works are sharing the same space and the same experience of the visitors, in a collective reunion where technology and emotions are playing, once again, together. I believe that this installation, in the post-COVID-19 world, has a strong impact on the visitors: the xenojellies are functioning according to us and to our movement. It’s an interesting approach where machines and humans are collaborating and where the air we breathe doesn’t necessarily constitute a source of anxiety due to the possible presence of the virus but contributes to the work of art.

With this project, the artist contemplates a possible evolution of the machine that could eventually become a living creature. The aerobes are floating and communicating with each other and creating their own story.

Installation view of Hyundai Commission: Anicka Yi at Tate Modern, November, 2021. Video Credit: Margherita Nussio

Throughout history, art has both influenced and been influenced by technology, and the use of artificial intelligence in the creation of a work of art is not a new approach. AI can help artists in the creative process and aids the spectator to reach a new level of understanding. Most probably, in the future AI will help art to meet the needs of the 21st century public that is so used to technology. Art has to respond to new needs but the challenge of using AI in art is to keep the emotions flowing, avoiding the risk to produce a flat creation that is a strange mix between science, cinema, art and circus.

Where can we draw a line to separate the two?

Anicka Yi’s In Love With the World is at Tate Modern, London, from 12 October to 16 January. Visit Tate Modern and find it out!

About the Writer
Margherita Nussio was born and raised in Udine, a small town in the northeast of Italy, where the proximity of Austria and Slovenia creates an interesting middle-European mix.

She studied Art History at La Sapienza University of Rome and life brought her to London, to undertake a Master's degree at SOAS, University of London, in Contemporary Art of Asia and Africa. She is curious, passionate and always wandering around, trying to discover new things about London and the world.