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Film and Video Umbrella: Lawrence Lek

Exhibitions: FREE

Film and Video Umbrella: Lawrence Lek


Monday 2 October - Thursday 30 November 2017


As part of a new partnership, Firstsite is screening selected works from Film and Video Umbrella’s (FVU) impressive back-catalogue based on the gallery’s yearly programme themes. In 2017/2018 Firstsite is exploring identity and the second film to be shown in this series is Lawrence Lek’s Geomancer (2017).

Lawrence Lek creates speculative worlds and site-specific simulations using gaming software, video, installation and performance. Often based on real places and fictional artists, his digital environments reflect the impact of the virtual on our perception of reality.

Geomancer is a CGI film by Lawrence Lek about the creative awakening of artificial intelligence. On the eve of Singapore’s 2065 Centennial, an adolescent satellite AI escapes its imminent demise by coming down to Earth, hoping to fulfil its dream of becoming the first AI artist. Faced with a world that limits its freedom, it must come to terms with its militarised origins, a search that begins with a mysterious syndicate known as the Sinofuturists.

As the geopolitical axis tilts further to the East, and as once-dominant technological models are cast into doubt, Geomancer explores a longstanding tension between the place of the human and the role of the machine, sharpened by contemporary hopes and anxieties around the rise of East Asia, and by speculations that new forms of artificial intelligence, already outperforming mere mortals in matters of automation, will challenge us in more creative skills as well.

Geomancer was commissioned for the Jerwood/FVU Awards 2017: Neither One Thing or Another, a collaboration between Jerwood Charitable Foundation and FVU.

About the artist

Lawrence Lek is a graduate of the Cooper Union, the Architectural Association, and Trinity College, Cambridge. His work has been featured in recent exhibitions at Hyperpavilion, Venice; UCCA, Beijing; Tramway, as part of Glasgow International 2016; Seoul Museum of Art, as part of Seoul Mediacity Biennial 2016, KW Institut, Berlin, Germany; ICA, London; Cubitt Gallery, London; Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge and the Delfina Foundation, London. Prior to the Jerwood/FVU Awards, he received the Tenderflix/Tenderpixel Artist Video Award and the 2015 Dazed Emerging Artist Award.

About Film and Video Umbrella

Film and Video Umbrella (FVU) commissions, curates, produces and presents artists’ moving-image works that are staged in collaboration with galleries and other cultural partners. Since the late 1980s, FVU has been at the forefront of this vibrant and expanding area of practice, promoting innovation through its support of some of the most exciting figures on the contemporary scene. During this time, the organisation has commissioned and produced nearly 200 different artists’ projects, ranging from ambitious multi-screen installations to shorter film and video pieces, as well as numerous online commissions.

The selected films for 2017/18 are:

Patrick Hough
And If In A Thousand Years
Saturday 17 June – Monday 31 July 2017

Lawrence Lek
Monday 2 October – Thursday 30 November 2017

Lavinia Greenlaw
The Sea is an Edge and an Ending
Thursday 1 February – Saturday 31 March 2018


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