Tate Liverpool has opened Sprung a Leak 2016, an exhibition featuring the new work of acclaimed artist Cécile B. Evans, in which two humanoid robots and a robot dog perform in the gallery to inspire an exploration of the movement of data, artificial intelligence, and the collaborative relationship between humans and machines. Sprung a Leak 2016 draws on research in the fields of science, technology, film and theatre. Visitors are invited into a narrative loop that unfolds across multi-screen synched video, robots, a fountain and other sculptural elements. Through conversations between the robots and human performers appearing on the digital screens, a story will unfold exploring our emotions and vulnerabilities in an ever evolving digital world.
This multi-dimensional work is the first solo exhibition in a UK public institution of London-based artist Cécile B. Evans (b. 1983, United States/Belgium) and examines the increasing influence that new technologies have on how people feel and act. With reference points ranging from Shakespeare to science fiction, the work draws on the recent history of data and robotics. Exploring the polarity between the data leak (‘too much information’) and the information blackout, the work considers the close relationship between the digital and the physical.
The exhibition, curated by Lauren Barnes, Assistant Curator at Tate Liverpool, draws inspiration from moments in recent history when personal data has been leaked on a global scale and the impact of how data circulates through society. A starting point for her is the idea that robots and humans might collaborate to combat external forces together, for example the failed attempt of a robot to fix the Fukushima reactor after 2011’s nuclear disaster. Evans comments, “The limitations of the machines we make give us an unparalleled view on our own limitations. In my opinion, these moments of joint failure create openings to imagine new possibilities and re-address old questions from an unstable but unique position.”
Cécile B. Evans’s recent projects include What the Heart Wants, 9th Berlin Biennale (2016), the group exhibitions CO-WORKERS – Network as Artist at Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2015), Follow at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool (2015-2016), Software, Hard Problem at Cubitt, London (2015), and AGNES, the Serpentine Galleries’ first digital commission (2014). She has also been recently shortlisted for The Film London Jarman Award 2016.