Culture

The Matrix repainted: LUX New Wave of Contemporary Art exhibition review

Waves crash at Starry Beach LUX New Wave of Contemporary Art

Offering visitors a peek inside the creative matrix, LUX is an extraordinary contemporary art show that uses cutting edge display technology consisting of curved LG OLED panels, digital signage and projection mapping, to give physical form to digital art informed by Artificial Intelligence.

Occupying the basement space at 180 The Strand, this thought provoking AI art fest features the work of a dozen creators, both established (Hito Steyeri, Carsten Nicolai, Refik Anadol, and Es Devlin) and up and coming (Cao Yuxi, Cecilia Bengolea and Julianxx).

Experiential, dark and disorientating, the exhibition features over 100 OLED screens and pounding audio soundscapes. It’s a trippy, sensory overload.

Experiential, dark and disorientating, the exhibition features over 100 OLED screens and pounding audio soundscapes…

The Flower Meadow of OLED petals at LUX New Wave of Contemporary Art
Blooming marvellous – the OLED Flower Meadow

Curved OLED screens, arranged like forever-blooming flowers, are planted at the entrance. This Flower Meadow, by Iart, is ever-changing. Replicating the randomness of DNA, the codebase is rewritten with each cycle, so no two days’ blooms are ever the same.

You enter the exhibition through ES Devlin’s Blue White Sky, a monolithic 24m tunnel, and head toward a piercing white light into an alternate universe; a baffling theme park of dazzling visuals and challenging ideas.

Two viewers covered in projected art at LUX New Wave of Contemporary Art
LUX is a trippy sensory overload

Visitors will have individual favourite works, but the obvious crowd pleaser is Starry Beach (pictured top), by A’Strict, a multi-sensory digital seafront with surging, crashing waves and a tide that sweeps up around your feet. The space is pitch black, save for stars, and enlarged by mirrors, the accompanying sound loud and immersive. Digital projection is used to deliver high resolution waves.

Morando, also by A’Strict, uses transparent OLED screens to present x-rayed Peonies (Morando in Korean) forever blooming and dying in a loop. Occasionally the images on the two screens overlap to form a single, more colourful flower.

A digital AI swarm at LUX New Wave of Contemporary Art
They’re watching you – the Algorithmic Swarm

Taking the idea of AI art to another level is Algorithmic Swarm Study, by Random International. The latest in an ongoing series by the artist, this triptych display envisages panels as a looking glass into the world of a randomly generated AI denizens, that we’re told are spatially aware of the physical barrier of their digital habitat. The swarms flits and surges like a school of faux fish, as if reacting in response to onlookers.

Transfiguration creature walking at the LUX New Wave of Contemporary Art
Transfiguration 2020:the stomping giant is fur-tastic

For the truly mesmeric, head to Transfiguration 2020 by Universal Everything. A reworking of the original Transfiguration from 2011, it features a giant walking figure that undergoes continual metamorphic change, from water to fire, rock to ice, wood to fur, the sound of his stomping gait changing to reflect his evolving composition.

This new iteration has been completely remade using the latest in procedural VFX software, with updated CG art. The incredible detail within the image, and the high volume soundtrack created by Simon Pyke, is weirdly captivating.

There’s more, of course, but that’s for you to experience… 

A wall of curved OLED screens at LUX New Wave of Contemporary Art
Over 100 OLED screens are used to bring LUX to life

LUX, New Wave of Contemporary Art runs at 180 The Strand until December 18 2021. You can book tickets to LUX here.  

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About Steve May

Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, and editor of The Luxe Review, Steve muses and reviews for Trusted Reviews, T3, Yahoo UK, Home Cinema Choice, Games Radar, Ideal Home, Louder Sounds, Channel News and Boat International. He’s also the editor of professional home cinema website Inside CI. He's on Twitter and Instagram as @SteveMay_UK

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