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Newsticker, link list, time machine: HOLO.mg/stream logs emerging trajectories in art, science, technology, and culture––every day

Anicka Yi’s solo exhibition “A Shimmer Through The Quantum Foam” opens at Esther Schipper, Berlin, evolving the Korean-American artist’s notion of the “biologized machine” with new works. Visitors enter a hybrid ecosystem of fleshy landscapes created with machine learning models and suspended luminescent pods resembling Radiolaria. As the soft glow of an aqueous ooze—indicative of life’s marine origins—sprawls across the gallery floor, a custom-made scent by perfumer Barnabé Fillion fills the air.

“Neither communities or rivers need AI ‘to speak for them.’ This promotes ‘ecological AI’ by theoretically-informed sleight of hand, gesturing to the more-than-human while materially relying on Large Language Models.”
– British AI critic Dan McQuillan, on the ventriloquism and limitations of Superflux’ aspirational Ecological Intelligence Agency (2023). Whereas the speculative governance model suggests that AI can make river health legible and aid policy, McQuillan argues that “you can’t discuss sewage without mentioning privatization and debt.” [quote edited]
“If the last-ever California tiger salamander shuffles off this mortal coil, the odds are decent that it will happen on rain-​slick blacktop one damp spring night.”
– Environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb, on how traffic accelerates extinction. “Every year American cars hit more than 1 million large animals, such as deer, elk, and moose, and as many as 340 million birds,” Goldfarb writes, with at least 21 species under direct existential threat from traffic. The poster groups for roadkill’s hidden toll: reptiles and amphibians, which are vital for local ecosystems.

London-based future connoisseurs Superflux reveal The Ecological Intelligence Agency (EIA) (2023), a speculative proposal for an autonomous inter-departmental government agency that uses localised AI models to align labour, climate and data justice for eco advocacy. Commissioned by the UK Policy Lab and Defra Futures, and shown at “Changing Course” in June, EIA gives voice to fresh water systems to aid decision-making by “making river health sense-able and situating policies within wider contextual ecosystems.”

“(Re)connecting.earth (02)—Beyond Water” the second Biennial of Art and Urban Nature opens in Geneva (CH). Building on the 2021 urban gardening theme, water ecologies are foregrounded through programming that activates shoreline Lake Geneva sites. Artists including Marie Griesmar, Denim Szram, and Pinar Yoldas (image: An Ecosystem of Excess, 2013-) present works addressing aquatic biodiversity. Of note: the staging of Life Airborne System (1965) and two 1970s works by Hans Haacke.

“I’m not opposed to satellite imaging, but I’ve been in quite a few climate meetings where people suggested that if only we had more data and better images we’d finally address the crisis. That’s not true.”
– Canadian tech critic, author, and Tech Won’t Save Us host Paris Marx, pushing against the notion that better tools like Satlas, the Allen Institute for AI’s machine learning-powered forest monitor, will lead to climate action. “Our data has been getting better for decades,” Marx argues, “and emissions have kept rising that whole time.”
Jay Owens
Anthropologist Owens explores the material effects of how capitalism has ground down the natural world “from air pollution and nuclear fallout to desertification, dried-up seas, and melting glaciers.”

Pairing artists and scientists in the Experiments in Art and Technology tradition, “EXPERIMENTAL ECOLOGY” opens at Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger (KBH.G) in Basel (CH). Five artist-scientist duos including Sissel Tolaas & Christina Agapakis, Michelle-Marie Letelier & Karin Pittman, and Zheng Bo & Matthias Rillig articulate ecology and climate research in installation, fashion, and video. “What may, what should, and what must art do?,” write curators Martina Huber and Gianni Jetzer.

“Scientists have discovered plastic-eating microbes at sites around the world, including a cemetery compost heap in Leipzig, Germany; a waste disposal site in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad; and debris washed up on two beaches in Chania, Greece.”
– Science journalist Sandy Ong, on the search for bacteria and fungi capable of breaking down the millions of tonnes of plastic piled up at landfills worldwide

The Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (IFA) launches ARE YOU FOR REAL, a cosmic-themed web publication organized by curators Giulia Bini and Lívia Nolasco-Rózsás. Artists including Weihao Qiu & Guo Cheng, Theodoulos Polyviou & Loukis Menelaou, Tatyana Zambrano contribute a ‘planet’ pondering the ascent of “virtual realities as our lifeworld diminishes.” The Rodina’s Poring the Ecocide, for example, presents an eco-disaster timeline that is part CGI abstraction and part jump-off point for further research.

“By 2025, unless a radical rethink takes place in how we develop AI systems to better account for their environmental impact, the energy consumption of AI tools will be greater than that of the entire human workforce.”
– British journalist Chris Stokel-Walker, citing a 2022 Garner study in his tally of AI’s exploding ecological costs. To mitigate, he suggests to treat AI more like a cryptocurrency: “with an increased awareness of its harmful environmental impacts, alongside awe at its seemingly magical powers of deduction.”

In her review of Oceans (2023), a new Whitechapel Gallery anthology of sea-centric artworks and texts gathered by Pandora Syperek and Sarah Wade, critic Régine Debatty highlights favourites. Picks include Shimabuku’s octopus diaries, Saskia Olde Wolbers’ 2017 film Pfui – Pish, Pshaw/Prr, and an interview with Brian Jungen, whose “large sculptures of whale skeletons, made of mass-produced plastic garden furniture, allude to the threat of uncontrollable pollution.” (image: Cetology, 2002)

“While the show claims to operate under a framework of ‘ecologies of hope’ to ‘invite audiences to consider the unique and evolving role art has to play in today’s climate crisis’, the viewer is left with the impression that this art hasn’t really done much.”
ArtReview’s Marv Recinto, pondering the current “Dear Earth” show at London’s Hayward Gallery and ecological art writ large. “Given the current state of ecological degradation, perhaps it’s time for a more concerted effort towards action,” he writes, suggesting more focus on praxis and activism.
“European scientists seem to be quite captivated that this time period starts very recently. For Indigenous and other displaced and dispossessed peoples who were impacted by violence over the last 600 years, everything that leads up to what makes this global shift possible starts much earlier.”
– Métis Anthropologist Zoe Todd, problematizing debates about how recently the Anthropocene began [quote edited]

Intermediae Matadero Madrid inaugurates a year-long research program on climate adaption rituals with the group show “Climate Fitness.” Expanding on their 2019 essay “Planet Fitness,“ exhibition designers Common Accounts and curator Maite Borjabad stage works by Faysal Altunbozar, Itziar Barrio (image: Robota MML, 2016-), Ibiye Camp, Irati Inoriza, and Mary Maggic as a gym—a place for visitors to test bodily and planetary boundaries, exercise mutuality, and build up agency.

“Working With Waste,” a show presenting the outputs of an eponymous working group led by British artist Lucy Beech, opens at Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art in Oldenburg (DE). Presented is Beech’s recent video art exploring waste and transformation (image: Warm Decembers, 2022) alongside contributions from Riar Rizaldi, James Richards, and Steve Reinke. The works consider notions of flow and blockage relative to “not only individual guts and urban drainage networks, but also to understandings of creativity.”

“Some specimens are selling for hundreds of thousands to millions of pounds each. That’s why the most valuable cycad—the E. woodii—in South Africa’s Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is secured inside a cage.”
– British bio artist and C-LAB co-director Laura Cinti, on the rarest—and loneliest—plant on Earth. In her project The Living Dead: On the Trail of a Female (2022–), Cinti searches the South African Ngoye Forest for a mate for the remaining male Encephalartos woodii, all clones from a single specimen found in 1895.

“Nature Scene,” a screening program of CGI ecologies, takes over the media façade of UC San Diego’s Mandeville Art Gallery, featuring digital artworks commissioned or specifically adapted for the space. Mandeville director Ceci Moss selected pieces by Anna Carreras, Entangled Others (Sofia Crespo & Feileacan McCormick), Tiare Ribeaux, Nicolas Sassoon, Clement Valla, and Qianqian Ye, that use AI, generative algorithms, and 3D scanning to untangle “the evolution of technology and the mediation of the natural world.”

“At the bottom sat four lone digits—2.913. That’s the number of breeding birds in billions that had disappeared since the early 1970s.”
– Investigative reporters Anders & Beverly Gyllenhaal, narrating Canadian biostatistician Adam Smith’s discovery of the dramatic collapse of North American bird populations in their new book A Wing and a Prayer: The Race to Save Our Vanishing Birds (2023). Smith’s findings, documented in a 2019 paper, reveal “an astounding third of the adult birds that not long ago filled North America are now gone.”
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