DïaloG, the First Aliens' Encounter

MindSpaces project participated in the Art Gallery of the International Symposium of Art Machines 2 . Art Machines 2 is 5-day symposium on the topic of Machine Learning and Art between 10-14 Jun 2021. The symposium was presented by School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.

Within the framework of the Art Machines 2 Symposium, the Art Gallery acts as a spatial condition, a field in which artworks are not seen on their own or showcased in a vacuum devoid of meaning and critical perspective. Instead, Art Gallery brings together 27 artworks to form a context in which art is evolving and through which we can articulate further frames of understanding. This context, therefore, allows us to establish a new and more advanced discourse, one based less on stylistic mannerisms or medium, and more on how essential cultural questions and societal concerns can be re-evaluated and re-articulated through the lenses of emerging technologies and computational tools.


MindSpaces participated in the Art Machines 2 Exhibition with the project of DïaloG. DïaloG is an artwork created by MindSpaces artists Maurice Benayoun and Refik Anadol and the contribution of the MindSpaces project.


The first Aliens’ encounter

by Refik Anadol and Maurice Benayoun

Public art interactive installation,
Size to be adapted to the venue (usually 2-4m/screen).
2 Video displays (projection or LED screens) Sensors, AI, real-time generative graphics, behavioral design, voice recognition, text generation, sound.

Production: MoBen, Analog Native, Neuro-Design Lab, ACIM, SCM, CityU HK, MindSpaces S+T+Arts European Program, and MindSpaces HK, RGC HK

Première indoor for ART MACHINES 2 conference and exhibition,
June 10-20 2020,
School of Creative Media, Creative Media Center, CityUniversity of Hong Kon
Curators Tobias Klein, and Carlos Rodrigo.

DïaloG is an interactive urban media art installation exploring the themes of alterity, strangeness, and immigration, in a performative way. The work presents two pieces that are at the same time artworks and aliens. They are confronted to a new environment where they don’t belong to… yet. They will have to adapt their language, build common knowledge, integrating all new artifacts and natural phenomena that constitute now their environment. This includes the other living beings moving around them, and, eventually, they will have to understand each other. While we use the concept of language very broadly to include speech, performance, gesture, utterance, and even data, we focus on strangeness from an ontological perspective, trying to mark a terrain of possibilities for the intersection of interpersonal and digital experiences in the urban sphere. MoBen and Refik Anadol take the notion of “dia-logos” (through-word, through speech) embedded in the etymological roots of the word “dialogue”, more understood as an informational thread processed through an iterative feedback loop between perception, and expression, and push it to a level of transactional complexity activating the potential difference between virtuality and visuality. In this way, we aim to create a unique, site-specific language between each of both works we are presenting as living entities and their unknown public, and also, between our works that are initially alien to each other – a language of unexpected and indefinable machine expressions that adapt themselves to the constant flow of data representing real-time environmental, societal, and human actions.


DïaloG is made of two “living” visual dynamic entities facing each other in the public space. They don’t look like the living beings we know. They don’t speak any language we know. They are aliens, strangers, immigrants. They are clearly – and desperately – trying to understand each other, to understand their new environment and their strange public. DïaloG reflects on the difficulty of building a mutual understanding beyond social and cultural differences. All that make living beings what they are: their morphology, their behavior, their ethology, and, beyond language, their cognitive functions make the laborious process of learning from strangeness and alterity a reality. Dotted with ever-growing perceptive and cognitive capacities, aware of its environment, the artwork is now able to adapt itself, to evolve and to communicate as would a more advanced living entity do. DïaloG tries to epitomize the emergence of the artwork as a subject, not only able to learn from its environment but also to dialogue with its public, and even, it may be a bigger challenge, trying to understand other artworks.


DïaloG will be on display until June 20 2021
You can learn more about the event in the link below:

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