A techno-dystopian fantasy of a new world order.

Closed-world game series

As virtual landscapes and experiences become increasingly corporatized, artists constructing intentional realities through digital worldbuilding offer urgent alternatives for our collective imagination. Worldbuilding refers to the process of creating a new or imaginary world, both its physical environment and the social structures which will govern narrative and gameplay. Working with games and time-based media, artists are harnessing the possibilities with virtual worldbuilding to center marginalized and underrepresented narratives, while calling attention to urgent conditions of the present and near future.

Set in 2042, Chong Yan Chuah’s TOWKAY’S HORIZON warns of a future where Malaysia’s nationwide food supply has fallen into the hands of a privatized monopoly. Here, residents are made to trade their data and digital cache for survival on enteral feeding tubes at the kopitiam, where the neighborhood coffee shop has been transformed into a server farm. Keyboards, consoles, and VR headsets are scattered across the tables and floors, in place of where food and plates would have been. Walking through the kopitiam, the viewer discovers individual residents’ information and data flashing on monitors installed above, many of whom are modeled after real people in the artist’s communities in present day Malaysia. In building this world, Chuah stretches current uncertainties in the nation’s food security, the failing global economy, and the rapid rise of techno-capitalism to demonstrate the dystopic reality that may befall upon us if we allow current trends to persist.

Extracted from Worldbuilding by Clara. The Brooklyn Rail

{What if our nation food supply falls to a privatized monopoly. Entangled into a hyper-dense digital kopitiam system housing the population of the district?} ︎︎︎ {TOWKAY’S HORIZON describes a kopitiam set on the year 2042 in Malaysia.} {The first of it, XIIN Kopitiam, located in Taman Cyber, a monument for the first rebellion and protest against the tyranny of the ruler.} {A near future condition.} {A defunct food center part of a simulated reality we can inhabit.} {A techno-dystopian fantasy of a new world order.} ︎︎︎ {Based on a totalitarianistic, capitalist future, these imaginative condition paints an area barely a hundredth of a square meter in size.} {Within that space floats 42 seats, occupied by 42 residents, virtual reality lens, enteral feeding pumps into the bodies of them.} {This technology completely blends in with their lives like an addiction, all signed into the network of Quantum.} {Buried in Quantum lies the decay of the residents digital waste, stored in servers, mined and sold as assets.} {At the center, it’s founder Hisham, also the newly appointed leader of the Unite Malaysia Berhad (UMB) campaigning the city of dreams on his fantastic future.} ︎︎︎ {These condition glimpses into the nature of consciousness, experiences and the consequences of digitally simulated existence.} {A fiction extracted of a KOPITIAM.} {An extraordinary image of tomorrow and an urgent examination of the environmental questions facing us today.}

Kopitiam  / (ˈkoˌpiˌtjam) /
A traditional style of eatery having public seating and multiple vendors selling Chinese, Indian, and Malay food.

Towkay  / (taʊˈkeɪ) /
A business owner; boss (especially a Malaysian Chinese or a Singaporean Chinese).

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ASSETS. Quantum Dataset

XIIN Render Passes


Muzium Telekom, Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia
Immersio 2023


Generating / Iterating. TheUpsideSpace.
Following the release of text-to-image models such as Stable Diffusion and DALL-E 2, coupled with language models like ChatGPT this year, many discussions surrounding authorship and authenticity in the age of artificial intelligence (AI) have resurfaced. “Generating / Iterating” is an attempt to respond to these pressing concerns by bringing together artists who utilise AI as part of their iterative process and as narrative building tools, often collaborating with AI without resigning agency over to pre-trained models.

The exhibition provides an insight into how these five Southeast Asian and South Asian artists’ practices make use of and collaborate with artificial intelligence(s). Their works range from using text-to-image generation, language generation models (such as GPT-3), generative adversarial network (GAN) models and more, to illustrate the wide-ranging possibilities that AI as an area of technology can offer, towards defining a more concrete shape and form to what “AI art” can look like in our growing lexicons and collective consciousness surrounding the technology.

Curated By : Clara Che Wei Peh