2024_Competition_Header_Speculative Futures

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We received ninety-six submissions from sixteen different countries from both undergraduate and graduate students. Although there were a number of fantastic works submitted, the jury selected the top sixteen pieces that best addressed the theme of the exhibition and competition – Speculative Futures.


Award Winner
Concordia University
Graduate Student

The Pond is an interactive multimedia installation that reimagines an alternate version to the diorama seen in natural history museums. Through themes of mimicry and evolution, it exposes the various artificial elements often concealed in traditional diorama displays, critiquing the exploitative notions that are unintentionally conveyed through its dishonest presentation. Using augmented reality, large scale video projection, multi-screen video, immersive sound, holographic display, and inkjet prints, The Pond mirrors the complex multi-layered artifice inherent in the diorama to create the illusion of a speculative pond ecosystem, inviting viewers to examine the interplay between both human-made and natural environments.


Award Winner
University of Europe for Applied Sciences
Graduate Student

“The Snow” is a digital sculpture that crystallizes the intricate beauty of a snowflake. In an era of rising temperatures and dwindling ice sheets, it embodies the quiet fortitude of snow. It offers a glimpse into a future where these crystalline wonders may become a rarity, gently prompting us to contemplate our responsibility in preserving nature’s fragile masterpiece.


Award Winner
School of Visual Arts
Graduate Student

Fruiting Bodies is an educational installation that combines fungi-generated audio with interactive projections of mushrooms and mycelia. This work aims to recontextualize human-centric perspectives within a broader and more inclusive, multispecies framework.


Award Winner
University of California, San Diego
Graduate Student

Created using a deep learning text-to-image model, Fulfillment of a Wish tells the story of how Sigmund Freud arrived at his theory of the dream as wish-fulfillment.

Artificial neural networks are trained on web-scraped images. Given that these models see” with the same biases of mainstream culture, what do so-called “neural net dreams” reveal to us about our own dreams and unconscious desires? In pairing Freud’s theories with animated AI imagery, the work suggests that such visualizations may also be the disguised fulfillment of a suppressed, repressed wish.”


Honorable Mention
Central Academy of Fine Arts
Graduate Student

The work “Normalized Gaze” uses a virtual space formed by the combination of the spatial structure of a circular prison and the operation of a smart campus big data platform to demonstrate that the monitoring system formed by big data goes against the inherent needs of education. The circular prison style management gradually homogenizes the behavior and thoughts of students. Remind people to not only enjoy the convenience brought by the era of big data, but also to think about the meaning of freedom and the moral shackles they are trying to break through, triggering people’s thinking about contemporary education.


Honorable Mention
Syracuse University
Graduate Student

Madness is not a natural phenomenon, but a product of civilization.”

When the animal world escapes the domestication of human symbols and values, revealing, in turn, the nameless rage and futile insanity hidden in the human heart, all kinds of so-called normal people, with ridiculous salvation and alienation methods, purify the world. While the continuous radical alienation, finally left behind only one human.


Honorable Mention
Pacific Lutheran College
Undergraduate Student

Relationships are all around us; the connection between humans and nature has, throughout most of history, been a symbiotic one. In the modern world, this relationship has been exploited through laboratory manipulation of cellular structures. Bio-emergence prompts us to confront the immediate implications of humans controlling their relationship with nature.

Bio-emergence serves as a visual representation of the evolving relationship between humans and nature, emphasising the delicate balance that has been disrupted through the modification of plants, animals and microbial cells. This prompts the question; How far can humans intervene before the natural becomes man-made?


Honorable Mention
University for the Creative Arts
Undergraduate Student

Новый мир (New World), is a video shot in the style of a video-game walkthrough, exploring the fictional dystopian world of the canniboterinas, once A.I. soldiers, forced into the spotlight of ballet by their soviet creators- a dark-humoured form of entertainment. This work reimagines Russian history through sci-fi and horror elements, attempting to decode our future of institutional control. The integration of technology within this narrative, inspects how A.I. may tainting our moral compasses’, especially within military contexts. The Soviet’s obsession with fostering a communist utopia became their downfall, and revealed the horrors of war, man, and power.


Finalist
York University
Graduate Student

The project is named ‘City of Artemis,’ after the Greek goddess of the Moon. It represents my design of a space city, whose shape is inspired by the moon and a scepter, which also serves as the origin of the project’s name. In envisioning the future, space immigration is always a hot topic. People often fantasize about journeying to the stars and living among them. This project is rooted in that idea, depicting the city I imagine people will inhabit in the future.


Finalist
Griffith University
Ph.D. Student

Untitled (Latvia) reflects on incomplete sets of information. The use of a greenscreen colour that fills spaces where information isn’t provided, hints at what might be missing. LiDAR scanning has transformed an ordinary shrub into something extraordinary.

Will this video become a record of foliage and sound that could be found in Daugavpils, Latvia when it was recorded in 2023? Or might it end up being a type of archive for future generations when our ecology breaks down and green shrubs no longer exist? These questions speculate on what might be…


Finalist
Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV)
Graduate Student

theWired is an audiovisual performance on a computer desktop, using malware-like software to control the machine and execute content. It tells a poetic story exploring existence, vulnerability, identity, and technology’s impact on humanity. The narrative suggests transcending physical bodies to join “Wired,” a superior entity connecting all consciousnesses and storing memories as proof of existence. The performance proposes that the body is merely an executable program, and ultimately, the attacker pushes for detachment from flesh, leading to decorporealization and destruction.


Finalist
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Graduate Student

Aesthusion is a wireless, portable wearable device merging art, tech, and neuroscience to reshape human perception and interaction. It combines robotics, VR, and brainwave analysis to convert thoughts into immersive experiences. Using VR headsets, it translates brainwaves into sound and visuals, inspired by auditory-visual synesthesia and Gestalt theory. With algorithms and AI, it creates dynamic images and sounds to introduce the concept of the “third ear,” inviting participants to explore consciousness and connect on a deeper level, aiming to inspire non-verbal dialogue and redefine human interaction.


Finalist
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Ph.D. Student

Hidden Incidents of Pet Food is a series of works that integrates artificial intelligence, data visualization, and archival research to reveal the complex and commercialized relationship between humans and pets under the influence of capitalism. The artwork focuses on pet food, representing the significant role of human affection for pets within the service-oriented market economy. The project investigates three chemical elements that impact the health of both pets and humans: Taurine, Melamine, and Pentobarbital. The creation of the artwork utilizes AI to assist in reconstructing truth and visualizing real incidents with data to remember those overlooked and forgotten lives.


Finalist
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Ph.D. Student

Tree Stories unfolds as a generative landscape shaped by the movement of three autonomous cursors. Each cursor creates and replaces map assets as it moves through the image. Overtime, the assets break free from their position in grid-space and become agents of passive destruction. Eventually, the system is brought back to balance by a recurring storm which reconstructs the image in a never ending sequence. Through this cyclic and simultaneous process of construction and destruction, the work offers a vision of precarious balance, one in which opposing actors dictate the future of a system forever on the brink of collapse.


Finalist
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Ph.D. Student

“Benefit Game: Alien Seaweed Swarms” is a real-time artificial life gameplay installation inspired by Saccharina latissima, a seaweed species cultivated for food and skincare. The artwork highlights the potential risks of environmental changes and profit-driven pursuits. It features a unique seaweed swarm cybernetic loop, with a system, sensor, comparator, controller, and effector. Real-time information on gameplay profit and “ecological condition” is influenced by audience interaction and real-world weather. Humans act as controllers, observing the consequences of their decisions. This artwork explores the delicate relationship between human activities and the environment, aiming to foster sustainable ecological balance through interactive gameplay.