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Refik Anadol



Headshot of Refik Anadol

The Demo Day 2023 visual theme is based on the ISS Dreams project by Artist Refik Anadol.

Refik uses data as pigment in his explorations of the aesthetics of data and machine intelligence. He is the Director of Refik Anadol Studio in Los Angeles and a Lecturer in UCLA’s Department of Design Media Arts. Using the data that surrounds us as primary material, and the neural network of a computerized mind as a collaborator, Refik offers radical visualizations of our digitized memories and expands the possibilities of interdisciplinary arts. His site-specific data paintings and sculptures, live audiovisual performances, and immersive installations encourage us to rethink our engagement with the physical world, collective experiences, public art, decentralized networks, and the creative potential of AI. 

Refik’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Art Basel, National Gallery of Victoria, Venice Architecture Biennale, and the Hammer Museums. He has received awards and prizes including the Lorenzo il Magnifico Lifetime Achievement Award for New Media Art, Microsoft Research’s Best Vision Award, German Design Award, UCLA Art+Architecture Moss Award, Columbia University’s Breakthrough in Storytelling Award, and Google’s Artists and Machine Intelligence Artist Residency Award.

About ISS Dreams 

Transforming more than 2 million images from the archives of the International Space Station (ISS) into a dynamic data painting, ISS Dreams offers an avant-garde form of cartographic aesthetics. It is an artwork emerging from a human-machine collaboration, presenting a visual speculation of humanity’s historical attempts to explore the depths of space. It unveils intricate connections between obscurity and openness and creates an alternate data universe of abstract forms where reams of visual information produce open-ended aesthetic possibilities. While the paintings’ intricate and abstracted layers of machine-generated dreams allude to a connection with a cosmos of unimaginable vast data, its natural pigments trigger a sense of belonging to the earth through an immersive experience.

In addition to viewing space exploration archives through the lens of artificial intelligence, one of the goals of ISS Dreams is to create a metaphor for the idea of looking at humanity “from outer space."

    • A grid of various images from a satellite

      Satellite image archives.

    • An abstract colorful image made of thousands of smaller indistinguishable images

      Image cluster.

    • An illustration of a large canvas of abstract colors simulated to appear in a room with three humans much smaller as if its in a museum

      Image courtesy of Refik Anadol Studio.