Lawrence Lek

The Sinofuturist Trilogy: Sinofuturism (1839-2046 AD), Geomancer, and AIDOL

Date 10/26/20

Affiliation

Abstract

Interlaced with conspiracy theories and speculative fiction, Lawrence Lek’s CGI films, installations, and open-world games explore the geopolitical impact of automation and simulation. His cinematic universe is populated with dreamers—intelligent satellites, freedom fighters, fading superstars—all searching for autonomy in a future dominated by data. For this discussion about his work, Lek will integrate a live mix of excerpts from his recent films and video games, focusing on Geomancer (2017), and AIDOL (2019), his first feature-length film, which will be screened at ____. These projects revolve around the ideas theorized in Sinofuturism (1839-2046 AD), Lek’s 2016 video essay about the parallels between Chinese industrialization and portrayals of AI.


Bio

Lawrence Lek is a London-based artist, filmmaker, and musician who unifies diverse practices—CGI, audio-visual performance, gaming, and fiction—into a continuously expanding cinematic universe. Drawing from a background in architecture and electronic music, he produces simulations of real places within future scenarios and alternate geopolitical histories. These worlds are populated with characters who want to be creators - surveillance satellites, digital sculptors, pop singers - all searching for autonomy under uncertain conditions of existence. Truth is entangled with fantasy; there is no clear divide between the human and the machine, or between the real and the virtual.

Recent works include the feature-length CGI film ‘AIDOL’ (2019), the ongoing open-world video game ‘2065’ (2018-), the video essay ‘Sinofuturism (1839-2046 AD)’ (2016), the AI-coming-of-age story ‘Geomancer’ (2017), and ‘Nøtel’, a simulation of a fully-automated luxury hotel in collaboration with Kode9 (2016-). As a musician, Lek composes soundtracks and conducts live audio-visual mixes of his works, often incorporating live playthroughs of his open-world games. His most recent release is Temple OST, the soundtrack to his site-specific installation at 180 The Strand, London (The Vinyl Factory 2020).

Recent exhibitions include Farsight Freeport at HeK, House of Electronic Arts Basel, AIDOL, Sadie Coles HQ, London (2019); 2065, K11 Art Space, Hong Kong (2018); Play Station, Art Night and the Whitechapel Gallery, London (2017); Hyperpavilion, Arsenale Nord, Venice (2017); The New Normal, UCCA, Beijing (2017); Glasgow International, Tramway, Glasgow (2016); SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul (2016); Missed Connections, Julia Stoschek Collection, Dusseldorf (2016); Secret Surface, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2016). Lek received the 2017 Jerwood/FVU Award and the 2015 Dazed Emerging Artist Award.

-- As of 10/26/20