Uncanny Lagoon, 2021only losers left alive
Uncanny Lagoon (2021)
Single-channel colour video without sound. Duration: 4m 29s
Available as NFT
Edition 2 of 3: SGD 4,000
Edition 3 of 3: SGD 6,000
In an era of mass extinction and ecosystem collapse, amidst the emergence of interventionist conservation practices and genetic engineering technologies that might resuscitate extinct species, what does the future of life look like? How might humans, nature, and technology interact to produce new forms? Juria Toramae’s The Uncanny Lagoon begins and ends with images of coral reefs, inspired by colonies of corals that regenerated in man-made lagoons formed off Singapore’s offshore islands. It uses generative adversarial networks (GANs) - unsupervised machine learning algorithms trained to make realistic images - on the artist’s personal documentation of marine species found in Southeast Asian waters and colonial taxonomic illustrations of the same species. What emerges are phantasmal metamorphic morphologies, ephemeral and hypnotic forms. The work explores the aesthetic and affective dimensions of a mutational sublime, in which the development of new forms of life are anticipated, appreciated, and even celebrated, as well as acknowledging our inescapable co-authorship with nonhuman organisms and technology, raising necessary questions about the limits of human agency and dominion, and the future to come.