Amidst a climate of uncertainty and social distancing due to COVID-19, writer and e-flux journal contributing editor Elvia Wilk and artist Anicka Yi discuss various changing global ecologies, viral and otherwise. Their original in-person conversation was planned on the occasion of Tate Modern’s selection of Yi for the annual Hyundai / Turbine Hall commission.
A symbiotic organism in its own right, Anicka Yi's work fuses multi-sensory experience with synthetic and evolutionary biology to form lush bio-fictional landscapes. Utilizing a “biopolitics of the senses,” Yi challenges traditional approaches to the human sensorium, emphasizing olfaction as well as microbial and embodied intelligence. Through her research and “techno-sensual” artistic exploration, Yi is opening new discourse in the realms of cognition, artificial intelligence and machine learning, introducing concepts of the sensorial ecology of intelligence, the machine microbiome, machine ecosystems, and “biologized” machines. Maintaining a practice focused on co-subjectivity, Yi’s projects include collaborations with engineers, robots, synthetic and microbiologists, computer scientists, perfumers, ant and bacterial colonies, algae, tempura-fried flowers, and snails.
Anicka Yi lives and works in New York City. Her recent solo exhibitions include Gladstone Gallery, Brussels; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Fridericianum, Kassel; Kunsthalle Basel; List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts; The Kitchen, New York; and The Cleveland Museum of Art. Yi’s work was also featured in the 58th Venice Biennale, 2019. Yi has screened her film, The Flavor Genome, at the 2017 Whitney Biennial and the International Film Festival of Rotterdam, 2017. In 2016, she was awarded the Hugo Boss Prize for outstanding achievement in contemporary art. She is represented by Gladstone Gallery and 47 Canal, New York. Yi's Hyundai Commission at Tate’s Turbine Hall is scheduled to open in October 2020. It will be curated by Mark Godfrey, senior curator; Petra Schmidt, production manager; and Carly Whitefield, assistant curator.