The title of this exhibition refers to the technological term “overclocking”, which describes a hacking technique in which a computer component such as a CPU is configured to run at a faster speed than specified by the manufacturer. This hack allows the computer to run at a higher speed at a lower price, but like pushing film to a higher ISO, overclocking can lead to instability in the system and unpredictable behaviour.
Employing this metaphor, the artist alludes to hacker culture and the “high-tech low-life” of cyberpunk, yet there is something distinctly missing from Tian Xiaolei’s VR-generated scenarios . . . perhaps it’s the “life”. We see a figure of Venus sprouting prostheses, a man caught in a loop of eternal/infernal ecstasy, and two CCTV cameras in a passionate embrace. Bodies are present in all of their magnificent VR/3D splendour, ready to fulfil our every command as we wield the joystick, prompting them to destructive acts.
Tian’s animations make it easy to envision the dystopias of “technological singularity” — the nightmare of runaway technological growth fuelled by a new form of artificial “superintelligence”. When AI allows for machines to upgrade themselves, who is holding the joystick?
About the exhibition
Dates: November 18, 2016-December 9, 2016
Opening Ceremony: November 18th 2016, 7:30 p.m.
Opening Discussion: November 18th 2016, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Venue: Department for Culture and Education of the German Consulate General in Shanghai (AKuB)
Curator: Rebecca Catching
Courtesy of the artist and Department for Culture and Education of the German Consulate General in Shanghai (AKuB).