In partnership with UCLA, renowned artist and alumnus Refik Anadol has created a multi-sensory experience that commemorates the beauty of nature and seeks to contribute to our collective renewal through the power of art. The multimedia installation entitled “Moment of Reflection” will be presented from April 19 to 22 at the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden.
Free and open to the public, all are invited to discover a unique media installation designed especially for UCLA. Viewing hours are 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily. An opening night reveal with remarks from Anadol and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block will take place Tuesday, April 19 at 7 p.m.
Anadol is a media artist, director, and pioneer in the aesthetics of artificial intelligence. He received an MFA from the Department of Media Arts in Design at UCLA, where he is currently a lecturer. His work addresses the challenges and opportunities that pervasive computing has imposed on humanity. In his art, which often features colorful, moving images in a constant state of dynamic transformation, Anadol explores what it means to be human in the age of artificial intelligence.
Tens of thousands of Angelenos experienced Anadol’s “WDCH Dreams,” a week-long public art installation created for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 2018-2019 Centennial Season, at both as a 15-minute multi-sensory show that was projected onto the exterior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall accompanied by music and in a season-long immersive exhibit inside the Ira Gershwin Gallery.
Anadol, and the team of artists, architects, data scientists, and researchers that make up Refik Anadol Studio, created the data sculpture specifically for the UCLA campus by powering machine learning algorithms into a set data of more than 300 million photographs of nature (landscapes, flowers, trees, clouds, water, lakes and ocean). These massive, publicly available datasets, which Anadol calls “memories of humanity,” are the foundation of what AI learns before it can dream of nature from an alternate perspective, or what the artist calls “the mind of a machine. ”
The “Moment of Reflection” event was designed in partnership with the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture.
“While there is a lot to look forward to in the months ahead, we also have a lot to reflect on now that it has been more than two years since COVID-19 turned our lives upside down,” Block said. “Since we can come together again in person, I would like to invite members of our community to join us for a special event that can help us overcome some of the difficulties we have endured, as well as create hope. and the connection that keeps us all moving forward.
The arts are a vibrant part of life at UCLA, with year-round research and public programs from the School of the Arts and Architecture, the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, the School of Theatre, Film and Television, from the Film & Television Archive, the Hammer and Fowler museums, and the public presenter of performing arts on campus, the Center for the Art of Performance, all under the auspices of the Go Arts UCLA initiative.
“Having our works exhibited at my alma mater is an honor,” Anadol said. “I hope people find healing from their moment of personal reflection while experiencing art.”
Anadol’s work is at the intersection of art, architecture, science and technology. One piece in particular, “Melting Memories” from 2018, has sparked particular interest in neuroscience.
“When my uncle was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and I saw his memories literally melt away, I figured out a way to honor those memories and give them new life,” he said. “In collaboration with brilliant minds in the field of neuroscience, we collected data from people at the time they remembered and used that data as the basis for the artwork.”
Anadol remembers hearing people say that his art helped them in some way.
“My art has always been intentionally created for all audiences – transcending age, culture and background,” he said. “If one of our works helps someone find peace, relaxation or improve their mood, that’s very inspiring to me.”
Since embarking on this journey of artistic practice, Anadol has also collaborated closely and continuously with members of the UCLA scientific community, advancing the value of art as critical research.
For an upcoming project, UCLA neuroscientists will show selections of Anadol’s video creations to research study participants while mapping their brain activity during an MRI scan. They will collect data on participants’ mood, anxiety, stress and sleep levels, looking for evidence on how the art might affect brain function.
“We are intrigued by the notion of whether viewing and experiencing art could foster new brain connections, leading to improved cognitive and mental well-being,” said Professor-in-Residence Dr Helen Lavretsky. of psychiatry.
Lavretsky’s ongoing research relates to integrative mental health using mind-body interventions. She is part of a group collaborating with Anadol that includes Taylor Kuhn, assistant neuroscientist in the department of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences.
“If we are successful in demonstrating a significant link between art and mental disorders such as anxiety and stress, this study could serve as a basis for evaluating immersive artwork as digital neurotherapy,” Kuhn said. .
Kuhn is the coordinator of the Lifespan Human Connectome projects, which are affiliated with both the UCLA Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and the UCLA Brain Mapping Center. He previously collaborated with Anadol on a one-of-a-kind 3D printed and map projection installation titled “Sense of Space”, which was shown at the 2021 Venice Biennale. This work featured Anadol’s AI-generated art based on MRI data from the Lifespan Human Connectome Project which revealed the structure and function of healthy brains throughout human life.
The installation “Moments of Reflection” will take place in the meditative environment of UCLA sculpture garden, located between MacGowan Hall and Bunche Hall. Operated by the Hammer Museum, it is one of the most distinguished outdoor sculpture installations in the country. Spanning over five acres of campus, the space features more than 70 sculptures by artists including Hans Arp, Deborah Butterfield, Alexander Calder, Barbara Hepworth, Jacques Lipchitz, Henry Moore, Auguste Rodin and David Smith.