Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg (UK) The Substitute, 2019

Mat Collishaw (UK) The Machine Zone, 2019

Marco Barotti (IT/DE) APES, 2022


Opening Reception
Saturday, February 17
1:00 – 2:00pm | Artist Talk – North Ballroom; Anvil Centre, main floor
2:00 – 4:30pm | Opening Reception – Anvil Centre, third floor


The world is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper. 

—WB Yeats

The creative depiction of animals goes back millennia, often describing a shared relationship with technology. Animals have given us potent symbols and poignant representations related to changing socio-political conditions and philosophies of power, freedom, rational thought, belief and morality.

Extensive research into artificial intelligence or social media inform three extraordinary works by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Mat Collishaw and Marco Barotti. The works encourage us to consider the evolution of two formidable, hyper-transformative technologies, rooted in the 20th century and now blossoming in the 21st – Artificial Intelligence and Social Media.

Through the use of video & sound, code and robotics, we are presented with the suggestion of three animal species engaged in uncanny, ritualistic and performative actions and movements; each rooted in an uneasy, even dysfunctional association with AI or Social Media. The works allude to the tremendous potential of these technologies…at the same time presenting us with unsettling observations and information. None of the animals may be separated from its host; each is bound to its technologies in some way. There is a beauty, horror and pathos to these apparitions; the reactive apes, the conditioned pigeons and the critically endangered northern white rhino. Confined, subjected and diminished by technology, each animal body is disciplined and defined by a fraught relationship to AI or Social Media.

The works in ZOOVEILLANCE offer insights into the paradox of technological advancement. Open-ended, they leave us with no easy answers. Importantly, they encourage us to reflect on a digital world progressively restructured and governed by social media and artificial intelligence. Like the proverbial Canary in a Coal Mine, the works function as a sort of advance warning system; collecting, monitoring and forecasting an uncertain future.

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