Through November 7, Ai-Da Robot, the world’s first ultra-realistic humanoid robot artist, takes part in a major contemporary art exhibition and sculpture trail at the great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt. Titled Forever is Now, the exhibition represents the first time in the 4,500 year history of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that an art exhibition has been staged at the world famous Egyptian Pyramids.
Forever is Now is presented by Art D’Egypt in partnership with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism and the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the patronage of UNESCO, and showcases works by leading Egyptian and international artists along a sculpture trail around the Giza plateau. Alongside Ai-Da Robot artists participating in the international exhibition include Russian artist Alexander Ponomarev; American artist Gisela Colón; Brazilian artist João Trevisan; French Artist JR; Italian-American artist Lorenzo Quinn; Egyptian artist Moataz Nasr; Egyptian born, Los Angeles- based artist Sherin Guirguis; British artists Shuster + Moseley; British artist Stephen Cox RA; and Saudi Arabian artist HRH Prince Sultan Bin Fahad. [View images of the Forever is Now installation.]
For the exhibition Ai-Da Robot presents a contemporary response to the famous Riddle of the Sphinx - What goes on four feet in the morning, two feet at noon, and three feet in the evening?*(see end) At a time when biotechnological interventions are starting to act directly on the human body, Ai-Da appears in sculptural form with three robotic legs inside a steel and glass sarcophagus. In this artwork, through her uncanny and awkwardly altered anatomy, Ai-Da encourages us to consider whether a world of such overt mechanical and biological intervention is something we really want.
Created collaboratively with her AI informed design, drawings and clay impressions, the sculpture titled “Immortal Riddle” plays on the ancient Egyptian considerations of the afterlife and our current obsession with using biotechnology to achieve immortality in the 21st century. At 2 meters high, 2.4 meters long, 1.5 meters wide, this larger than life sculpture is situated on the Giza Plateau with a backdrop of the Pyramids for the full run of the exhibition.
Running alongside the sculpture, Ai-Da Robot also presents a solo show of 15 original Scarab Beetle works that highlight the CRISPR technology that is used for Gene Editing.
Ai-Da Robot’s participation in what will be one of the world’s biggest international exhibitions of 2021, follows an extraordinary two years since she exploded onto the international contemporary art scene in 2019 as the world’s first ultra-realistic artist robot who uses her own specially designed artificial intelligence and robotics to create art.
Since her first solo exhibition Unsecured Futures’ at the University of Oxford in 2019, Ai-Da has presented a world-first Self Portrait solo show at The Design Museum London, been part of the United Nations group exhibition ‘WIPO: AI and IP, A Virtual Experience’, featured in the pop band The 1975’s art video Yeah I Know, collaborated with artist Sadie Clayton on a series of workshops titled Exploring Identity Through Technology at Tate Modern, given a TEDx talk at Oxford University and featured in the BBC documentary Kazuo Ishiguro: Remembering and Forgetting. This year Ai-Da also had an artistic residency at the iconic Porthmeor Studios in St Ives, the home of the St Ives artists who changed the course of modern art and sculpture.
Ai-Da was also a highlight of the 2021 London Design Festival, with a V&A Museum take over that saw Ai-Da debut her first ever Metaverse works foreshadowing the new 3D internet that will be coming next year. The highlight was a 240 million year old fossilised wooden Metaverse Egg, that Ai-Da helped gild in 24ct Gold called the Imperious Egg, highlighting the issues of control within the new Metaverse. A further feature included Ai-Da wearing an ultra-futuristic custom gown made by Auroboros. The dress itself grew in real-time through an oxidation process that hardens a special liquid into sparkling, colourful crystals, highlighting the rise of digital fashion in the Metaverse.
Currently Ai-Da has three works of art on display at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford as part of the exhibition Dante: Invention of Celebrity which runs until 2nd January and will feature performances from Ai-Da on 26th November.
Ai-Da was devised in Oxford by Aidan Meller (UK), built in Cornwall by Engineered Arts (UK), and programmed internationally. Her drawing arm and her drawing AI algorithms were designed by Salaheldin Al Abd and Ziad Abass, (Egypt). Her additional AI capabilities come from students and professors at the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham.
* Answer: A human, because a human being walks on all fours in early life, on two legs as an adult and with a walking stick in old age making three legs.