Lawrence Lek

Sinofuturism (1839–2046 AD)

Blurred representation of a shining tunnel with red lettering »SINOFUTURISM« and Chinese subtitle
Lawrence Lek
Sinofuturism (1839–2046 AD)
#MachineLearning #GenealogyOfCode
#ArtificialIntelligence #Computing
Medium / Material / Technic
HD video essay
Size / Duration
60 min.

At the exhibition from March 21, 2018 to May 27, 2018

»Sinofuturism« is an invisible movement. A specter already embedded in a trillion industrial products, a billion individuals, and a million veiled narratives. It is a movement, not based on individuals, but on multiple overlapping flows. Flows of populations, of products, and of processes. Because »Sinofuturism« has arisen without conscious intention or authorship, it is often mistaken for contemporary China. But it is not. It is a science fiction that already exists.

»Sinofuturism« is a video essay combining elements of science fiction, documentary melodrama, social realism, and Chinese cosmologies, in order to critique the present-day dilemmas of China and the people of its diaspora.

In many Western media outlets, China is portrayed as exotic, orientalized »Other«; in its domestic media, China is portrayed as heroic and unified. But rather than counteracting these biased narratives, »Sinofuturism« presents a critical and playful approach to subverting cultural clichés. By embracing seven key stereotypes of Chinese society (computing, copying, gaming, studying, addiction, labor, and gambling), it shows how China’s technological development can be seen as a form of artificial intelligence.