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Art & Photography

Neurons: Simulated Intelligence

The Centre Pompidou
February 26 – April 20, 2020

Through the "Mutations/Creations" exhibition and program series, the Centre Pompidou creates a laboratory for creation and innovation at the frontiers of art, science and engineering, bringing together practitioners from each field.

For the series’ fourth edition, titled “Neurons: Simulated Intelligence,” the museum presents an “archaeology” of artificial intelligence through reviewing research endeavors in neuroscience and neuro-computation over a 50-year period. The aim is to demystify popular ideas of artificial intelligence and put the technology in historical and social contexts, highlighting the links between the research by artists, architects, designers and musicians, as well as that by major scientific laboratories or the industrial sector.

One of the works featured in this exhibition is Mutation VR, by artist William Latham and his team, including Stephen Todd, Peter Todd, and Lance Putnam, who have been creating VR artworks since 2015 and exhibiting in St. Petersburg, Dusseldorf, Kyoto, Shanghai, Manchester, and Venice. Mutator VR puts the audience in an organic immersive VR space where they intuitively interact with the continuously mutating 3D forms that resemble sea anemones, ancient fossils, viruses and strange toadstools. In this new both synthetic and natural VR world, the viewer’s body movements shape the outcome of the mutation process, creating a direct dialogue between viewer and their evolving sculptural content. 

William Latham says: “In VR, the artist can put the viewer in the artist’s own personal immersive space, where the viewer is entirely focused on the artistic content, with no distractions. Once in that immersive space the artist can then play with the illusion of space, creating a synthetic reality for the viewer where the ‘surreal’ appears ‘real’. This enables rich interaction for the public including enabling them to play with the physics of the forms in ways not possible in reality.”


Artist William Latham


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