Future Worlds: Aurora Dallas 2018 to Converge Art and Innovation With Its New Forward-Looking Theme

Aurora Dallas will take over downtown this weekend, with featured exhibits all centered around engaging the public and creating a dialogue of where the future is headed. One site-specific exhibit intends to do this by combining humans and robotics.

Hey downtown Dallas, it’s your time to shine — literally. For the first time since 2015, Aurora, the public biennial exhibition of light, video, and sound art, returns this weekend to illuminate the city. With 17 installations to explore, the expected 50,000 guests will want to see it all. Especially when a piece specifically created for Aurora displays something like a collaboration between human and robotics. 

Circulation (2018) is a site-specific performance piece in which a human being and a robot take turns scooping water from a pond, then bringing it back to the place of origin. Media artist group teamVOID and artist Youngkak Cho created the display, and this weekend will be challenging viewers to imagine a series of possible futures. In the midst of technological, environmental, and political change, the artists intend to encourage attendees to actively participate in the creation of the world, as well as in the performance of the display.

The piece plays into the theme of this year’s event: Future Worlds. Aurora 2018 aims to engage the public, posing the question of what direction the future will take through creative artistic inventions. Stretching throughout downtown Dallas, and centering around the iconic I.M. Pei-designed City Hall, the free-admission evening from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. will be full of food trucks, bars, and of course, art.

“Our aim is to be a city-wide project that expands through and beyond the scope of downtown Dallas,” Aurora Co-Founder Joshua King said on the event website. “By shifting the central exhibition footprint, the artist will have a fresh canvas to work with, while bringing attention to an iconic public space in the city.”

Last time Aurora was in town, D Magazine reported that it garnered 50,000 attendees. And, despite 2018’s version featuring fewer exhibits than previous years, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is still describing it as “a cornerstone event for the arts in North Texas.”

Meet the artists

teamVOID is a Korean trio formed by new media artists Junbong Song, Jaehyuck Bae, and Booyoung Seok. Each of their features is intended to create systematic artworks and involve modern-day technologies. They regularly incorporate robotics and emerging tech in their art, intended to be a playoff of artificial intelligence. With the everchanging world of technology, it is not unreasonable to think robots could create works of art themselves, and teamVOID plays off this concept frequently in their work.

Youngkak Cho is a South Korean new media artist who explores the interactions between machines and systems. Cho has presented many collaborative exhibits all around the world before, like ELEKTRA in Montreal, Le Safran in Amiens, the Art Center Nabi Museum in Seoul, and QUT Art Museum in Brisbane. Additionally, he has presented numerous solo exhibitions at spaces like Cyart Space in Seoul and Gallery MEME in Seoul.

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