Lawrence Lek’s largest exhibition to date invites audiences to explore near-future scenarios shaped by the integration of artificial intelligence in urban life
NOX is a work of speculative fiction set in a smart city on the brink of conscious awakening. It takes the form of a game which merges a physical multi-floor installation with a virtual world and locative sound experience.
The project forms part of the artist’s ongoing series of games and films that explore the problems and promises of AI. Set during the aftermath of a roadside crash, it focuses on sentient self-driving cars that question their role in the wider networks of sensing and control. Human and non-human perspectives encountered throughout the exhibition prompt audiences to consider the reasons and implications of the cars’ decisions. Grounded in the history of conversations around AI psychology – from the Turing Test to chatbots – NOX shapes nuanced debates around agency, ethics, surveillance and empathy between human and non-human entities.
NOX expands Lek’s Sinofuturist cinematic universe, which includes the trilogy Sinofuturism (1839–2046 AD), Geomancer and AIDOL; his more recent SimBeijing series; and the open-world games 2065 and Nøtel (a collaboration with sound producer Kode9, with whom Lek is working for NOX’s soundtrack).
Lawrence Lek is an artist, filmmaker and musician working in the fields of virtual reality and simulation. He explores worldbuilding as a form of multi-dimensional collage that can incorporate elements from both material and virtual worlds. His work develops narratives that reflect on alternate histories and possible futures. Recent solo exhibitions include QUAD, Derby (2022–3); ZiWU The Bund, Shanghai (2022); HeK House of Electronic Arts, Basel (2019); arebyte, London (2018); and K11 art space, Hong Kong (2018).