Memo Akten is an artist from Istanbul, based in London, UK. His work explores the collisions between nature, science, technology, culture, ethics, ritual, tradition and religion. Combining critical and conceptual approaches with investigations into form, movement and sound he creates data dramatizations of natural and anthropogenic processes. He studies and works with complex systems, behaviour, algorithms and software; and collaborates across many disciplines spanning video, sound, light, dance, software, online works, installations and performances. Alongside his practice, he is currently working towards a PhD at Goldsmiths University of London in artificial intelligence and expressive human-machine interaction, exploring collaborative co-creativity between humans and machines for artistic expression.
Akten received the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica in 2013 for his collaboration with Quayola, ‘Forms’. Past exhibitions and performances include the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Royal Opera House, London; Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow; La Gaîté lyrique, Paris; Holon Design Museum, Israel and the EYE Film Institute, Amsterdam. His work has also been featured in books, academic papers, magazines and websites such as Wallpaper*, Dazed, Eye magazine, Guardian, BBC, Financial Times, Wired and Dezeen.
Today I will be talking about inspirations, motivations, processes, problems, solutions and frustrations. I'll mostly focus on personal, self-initiated projects; then talk about how these projects - or components of these projects - make their way into commercial work; whether it be visualising cosmic rays, abstracting olympic gymnasts, choreographing flying robots.
I'll be touching upon various hot topics of my world, including "brands commissioning art" - or as I like to rephrase it: "brands funding artistic research"; and the "art vs technology" debate, which still shocks me that it's still being seriously considered a topic to discuss. Was there ever a moment in human history where we were not living at the cusp of technological innovation?