Image Courtesy Refik Anadol Studio

Neural Net Aesthetics

New Museum Theater, 235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002


6pm screening, 6:30pm panel

This event has SOLD OUT! However, you can still attend via the free livestream


On October 26, 6:30pm at the New Museum, Rhizome will present Neural Net Aesthetics, a panel exploring AI and its relationship to digital art practice. Panelists including Refik Anadol, Maya Man, and Eileen Isagon Skyers will join in a conversation moderated by Rhizome Co-Executive Director, Michael Connor

The event will begin at 6pm with a screening of two video works, Ryan Clarke’s Rhizome-commissioned Shirley Sound and Nouf Aljowaysir’s Ana Min Wein.

The panel will discuss Ted Chiang's prompt to consider AI a compression technology for training data, but it will propose that compression and copying have been important aspects of creative practice, long before the emergence of AI. These tools become harmful when they're part of larger oppressive and extractive relations, but they can also be harnessed for empowerment and expression. 

Neural Net Aesthetics is the latest edition in a series of panels that Rhizome initiated in 2005, called Net Aesthetics. Each of these panels has attempted to capture a current conversation in artistic practice as it relates to changing internet culture and technology. The series has included Net Aesthetics 2.0, which explored artistic responses to “web 2.0”; Post-Net Aesthetics, which helped launch a wave of interest in “postinternet art,” and NFT Aesthetics.

About the Speakers

Refik Anadol (b. 1985, Istanbul, Turkey) is an internationally renowned media artist, director, and pioneer in the aesthetics of data and machine intelligence. He is the Director of Refik Anadol Studio in Los Angeles and Lecturer in UCLA’s Department of Design Media Arts. Anadol’s work locates creativity at the intersection of humans and machines. Taking the data that surrounds us as primary material, and the neural network of a computerized mind as a collaborator, Anadol offers us radical visualizations of our digitized memories and expands the possibilities of interdisciplinary arts. Anadol’s site-specific data paintings and sculptures, live audio/visual performances, and immersive installations take many forms, while encouraging us to rethink our engagement with the physical world, collective experiences, public art, decentralized networks, and the creative potential of AI. Anadol’s work has been exhibited at venues including MoMA, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Art Basel, National Gallery of Victoria, Venice Architecture Biennale, Hammer Museum, Arken Museum, Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Ars Electronica, Istanbul Modern, and ZKM | Center for Art and New Media. Anadol has received a number of awards and prizes including the Lorenzo il Magnifico Lifetime Achievement Award for New Media Art, Microsoft Research’s Best Vision Award, German Design Award, UCLA Art+Architecture Moss Award, Columbia University’s Breakthrough in Storytelling Award, and Google’s Artists and Machine Intelligence Artist Residency Award.

Michael Connor is Co-Executive Director of Rhizome, where he oversaw the Net Art Anthology initiative, an effort to retell the history of net art through 100 works, presented as an online exhibition, gallery exhibition, and book. He is also curatorial advisor for KADIST, and ArtBlocks, an NFT platform. His first online curatorial project took place in 2003 at FACT, Liverpool, where he organized an edition of the traveling exhibition Kingdom of Piracy with Shu Lea Cheang, Yukiko Shikata, and Armin Medosch. Connor is currently editing a book by Gene Youngblood about the work of Kit Galloway & Sherrie Rabinowitz.

Maya Man is an artist focused on contemporary identity culture on the internet. Her websites, generative series, and installations examine dominant narratives around femininity, authenticity, and the performance of self online. She is the creator of the browser extension Glance Back and the Art Blocks curated collection FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT. She has exhibited internationally at bitforms, NYC; SOOT, Tokyo; Verse, London; Power Station of Art, Shanghai; and Feral File, online. Her work has been featured in Art in America, Forbes, Zora Zine, Dirt, Various Artists, and more. Maya holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Computer Science and Media Studies from Pomona College and an MFA in Media Art from UCLA. 

Eileen Isagon Skyers is a writer, curator, and artist with a decade of experience specializing in media art. Skyers has been at the forefront of groundbreaking online exhibitions and digital programming at prestigious venues like David Zwirner, Rhizome, and the Whitney Museum. Skyers currently advises The Kitchen’s L.A.B. Research Residency x Simons Foundation x SFPC and serves as a feature editor for Pioneer Works. With a strong background collaborating with web3 organizations including Foundation, Feral File, and Friends with Benefits, she has successfully led projects with distinguished partners like the Museum of Modern Art, LVMH, and Uniswap. She is also the author of Vanishing Acts, a book that delves into network-based art practices as a critique of seamless and undetectable interface technologies. Her writing has appeared in publications like Hyperallergic, Outland, Frieze, and the Net Art Anthology. In spring 2023, Skyers delivered a TED talk titled “In the age of AI art, what can originality look like?” The presentation covers how AI can stretch the scope of human imagination and help create worlds we could never design alone.

Rhizome's public programs are supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York legislature.