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Sinofuturism

Lawrence Lek
*1982 in Frankfurt a. M. (DE), lives and works in London (GB)

»Sinofuturism (1839–2046 AD)«
2016, HD video essay, 60 min.

»Sinofuturism« is an invisible movement. A specter already embedded in a trillion industrial products, a billion individuals, and a million veiled narratives. It is a movement, not based on individuals, but on multiple overlapping flows. Flows of populations, of products, and of processes. Because »Sinofuturism« has arisen without conscious intention or authorship, it is often mistaken for contemporary China. But it is not. It is a science fiction that already exists.

»Sinofuturism« is a video essay combining elements of science fiction, documentary melodrama, social realism, and Chinese cosmologies, in order to critique the present-day dilemmas of China and the people of its diaspora.

In many Western media outlets, China is portrayed as exotic, orientalized »Other«; in its domestic media, China is portrayed as heroic and unified. But rather than counteracting these biased narratives, »Sinofuturism« presents a critical and playful approach to subverting cultural clichés. By embracing seven key stereotypes of Chinese society (computing, copying, gaming, studying, addiction, labor, and gambling), it shows how China’s technological development can be seen as a form of artificial intelligence.

Installation view »Open Codes«

Genealogy of the Digital Code

ZKM Karlsruhe

»Genealogy of the Digital Code«
2018, Augmented reality and wall print

The »Genealogy of the Digital Code« displays the history of digital codes in the form of an interactive wall chart. Monitors move across a virtual panorama, which stretches along the wall space. With the »Linear Navigator«, visitors can move along a high-resolution timeline and watch short videos embedded in it that visualize the history of the digital code. In this way information can be called up on milestones in the development of computer technology from 1800 to the present-day: development of the binary code, early computers, the first neural network, modern computers, and the development of artificial intelligence. Linear navigation renders the chronology of development easy to grasp.
This virtual timeline is embedded in real infographics, which stretch along the entire wall and further contextualize the virtual chronology.

Idea: Peter Weibel
Conception, realization: ZKM_Institute for Visual Media
Project management: Bernd Lintermann
Editors: Lívia Nolasco-Rózsás, Magdalena Stöger, Olga Timurgalieva
Software: Bernd Lintermann, Nikolaus Völzow
Video post-production and graphics: Moritz Büchner, Frenz Jordt,
Christina Zartmann