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The cyborgs have arrived!

Come and meet the robots in an impressive line-up of programmes over two weekends

SINGAPORE (18 May 2017) – Step into the bold new world of artificial intelligence, life-like robots and genetic modification with the arrival of HUMAN+: The Future of Our Species at ArtScience Museum from 20 May 2017.

Meet the world’s first officially recognised human cyborg, Neil Harbisson, get up close and personal with the uncannily realistic humanoid robot, Nadine, and meet one of the world’s leading performance artists, Stelarc. They are all part of a cutting-edge exhibition of thought- provoking works from more than 40 international artists, scientists, technologists and designers at this exhibition.

A blockbuster exhibition not to be missed, HUMAN+ seeks to ask what it means to be a human in the present and future, and examines the moral issues and ethical conflicts raised in using technology to modify ourselves.

A co-production between ArtScience Museum, Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin and Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), HUMAN+ imagines the future of humanity with spectacular demonstrations of the latest robotic technologies, intriguing contemporary artworks, and remarkable innovations from local institutions.

A key highlight at HUMAN+ is the first public appearance of Nadine, one of the world’s most realistic female humanoid robots. Visitors will be able to interact with Nadine, a socially intelligent robot, who can recognise people she has previously met and can engage in conversations. She is living proof of what lies in the forefront of research into assistive technologies that are being developed for people with special needs in Singapore.

Nadine is created by Nadia Magnenat Thalmann, Director of Institute for Media Innovation (IMI) at Nanyang Technological University.

Visiting Singapore for the opening programme are two legends of art and technology. On 20 May, Neil Harbisson, best known for having an antenna implanted into his skull, will take part in the opening conference, Future Sapiens. As he was born without the ability to see colour, the antenna allows him to perceive colours via sound waves. On 27 May, ArtScience Museum will host Stelarc, a seminal performance artist from Australia, who works with his body, using prosthetics, robotics, virtual reality systems, and the internet. He is also well known for having an unnervingly realistic ear surgically grafted to his left forearm.

“Our perception of what it means to be human has been transformed by science and technology. Advances in genetic engineering, biotechnology and nanotechnology that not long ago seemed purely science fiction are now real. Cyborgs, superhumans and clones are alive amongst us today. What does it mean to be human now? Should we continue to embrace modifications to our minds, bodies and daily lives, or are there boundaries we shouldn’t overstep? HUMAN+ includes some of the most important and provocative artists working today, including Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, ORLAN, and Stelarc, who are showing alongside some of Singapore’s most brilliant minds, including Robert Zhao Renhui, Louis-Philippe Demers, and Nadia Thalmann. Our entire notion of what it means to be human, is shifting, evolving and mutating. HUMAN+ takes us on a thrilling tour of this brave new world,” said Honor Harger, Executive Director of ArtScience Museum.

“Are we enhancing our bodies, are we fundamentally transforming them, or are we letting our bodies be transformed? What started as a speculative question at Science Gallery Dublin with the first run of HUMAN+, finds now a spectacular new life in the magnificent ArtScience Museum. This exhibition is our most ambitious project to date, and we are very grateful and honoured to collaborate with ArtScience Museum for this new version of HUMAN+. It will entertain, surprise and ignite conversations on the most human of questions: who are we? With this exhibition, ArtScience Museum confirms its world leading role in exploring the interrelationship between art, science, technology and culture, and it is an immense pleasure for Science Gallery to be its partner for HUMAN+,” added Andrea Bandelli, CEO, Science Gallery International.

“The works on display seek to explore the evolution of humans. Presented through the expert views of surgeons, scientists, researchers, artists, designers, inventors, creative thinkers and entrepreneurs, we hope to respond to the ultimate question of our time – what is the future like for our species?” said Lynn Scarff Director, Science Gallery Dublin. “HUMAN+ is an exhibition about the evolution of our species and therefore about its future. But it is also an exhibition that considers science and technology as a factor in the evolution of the species itself. The idea is not that the species is the same as it was a million years ago and is surrounded by different things that have gradually generated in its environment, in its exterior. It is that the species is progressively becoming different based on an evolution that includes science and technology,” said Vicenç Villatoro, Director of the CCCB.

Spanning four themed galleries, HUMAN+ begins by exploring what we mean by human and super-human, and asks if you could enhance your abilities, what would you change? It includes Aimee Mullins, Sophie de OIiveira Barata, Corinne Mariaud, ORLAN, Marc Owens, Lorenz Potthast, Addie Wagenknecht, Chris Woebken and Kenichi Okada, Nina Sellars, Stelarc, Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas.

The second chapter asks what happens when we live side by side with our robotic companions. It explores how emerging technologies are changing the ways we encounter family, friends, co- workers and even pets. It includes daring artworks Louis-Philippe Demers, Addie Wagenknecht, Cao Fei, S.W.A.M.P, Yves Gellie, and Heidi Kumao. Also on show is a playful and sophisticated interactive installation developed by students from Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Interactive Design Media, called TEASE.

The third chapter asks if we change the environment, will we have to change ourselves in order to adapt to it? It features intriguing speculative artworks and design prototypes by Laura Allcorn, Antony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Superflux, Liam Young, The Centre for PostNatural History, Nikolaus Geyrhalter and Singaporean artist, Robert Zhao Renhui.

The exhibition ends by delving into the limits of human life. It explores whether the biotech laboratory is the art studio of the future, through compelling and controversial work from Agatha Haines, Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, Julijonas Urbonas, Zoe Papadopoulou, Jaemin Paik, James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau. Programmes over opening weekends of HUMAN+ In conjunction with the opening of HUMAN+, visitors can participate in a series of complementary programmes over the next two weekends.

These events will draw on unique insights from prominent figures in the fields of robotics, biotechnology, synthetic biology and artificial intelligence regarding the possible futures of human beings. They include Neil Harbisson, Nadia Magnenat Thalmann, Oron Catts, Agatha Haines, Louis-Philippe Demers and Stelarc.

As part of the opening programme of HUMAN+, two pioneers of art and technology will come together for one afternoon of riveting presentations. Stelarc is one of the true legends of art and technology performance. Steve Dixon is President of LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore, and a world-renowned scholar of technology in performance.

The event centers around the work of Stelarc, a seminal performance artist from Australia, who works with his body. His radical performance works undertaken over three decades include 26 body suspension performances with hooks in his skin, three films of the insides of his body made by customized robot sculptures, and a series of performances using prosthetics, robotics, virtual reality systems, and the internet, where his body is moved and controlled involuntarily. His is also well known for having an unnervingly realistic ear surgically grafted to his left forearm. Three of Stelarc’s recent performance artworks are presented in HUMAN+, as well as documentation of the Extra Ear project.

Free on a first- come-first- served basis, subject to capacity. Register in the lobby. HUMAN+ will run from 20 May to 15 October 2017.

Tickets are available at all Marina Bay Sands box offices and website.

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