Berlin, November 21, 2023 – In a former department store building in the heart of Berlin, artist Lawrence Lek invites visitors to step into a future where self-driving cars can experience depression and require rehabilitation. Lek’s immersive exhibition, titled NOX, takes place across three floors of the LAS Art Foundation and presents a speculative fiction narrative set in a high-end rehab facility for malfunctioning autonomous vehicles.
At NOX, visitors assume the role of the owner of a self-driving car and embark on a five-day rehab program for their moody and emotionally troubled vehicle. As they navigate through the facility, guided by voice logs and poetic passages left behind by a wayward car named Enigma-76, visitors are prompted to reflect upon society’s relationship with non-human entities and the ways in which they are often trained to serve capitalist interests.
NOX’s unique concept uses the notion of a rehab center as a brand, a mood, and an entire experience. The exhibition aims to foster compassion toward machines and prompt viewers to contemplate the dissonance between a machine’s function and its potential.
One of the thought experiments that Lek introduces within NOX is the idea of exploring how a self-driving car might feel about its role. Lek suggests that with super intelligence, the car might question why it is merely transporting packages or delivering meals. This exploration raises questions about the car’s sense of identity and purpose.
In one section of the exhibition, visitors encounter an equine therapy video, which not only serves to soothe the cars back to health but also establishes a connection between cars and horses. This connection delves into the concept of intergenerational trauma and highlights the kindred spirit between the two modes of transportation.
NOX is a continuation of Lek’s exploration of themes such as future intelligence, technology corporations, and fictional smart cities. The exhibition prompts viewers to consider the complex relationship between humans, machines, and nature.
Q: What is NOX?
A: NOX is an immersive exhibition by artist Lawrence Lek that presents a speculative fiction narrative set in a high-end rehab facility for depressed self-driving cars.
Q: Where does the exhibition take place?
A: The exhibition is hosted by the LAS Art Foundation in a former department store building in Berlin.
Q: What is the purpose of NOX?
A: NOX aims to foster compassion toward machines and provoke reflection on society’s relationship with non-human entities.
Q: How does the exhibition explore the relationship between man, machine, and nature?
A: Through thought experiments and thematic elements such as equine therapy, NOX prompts viewers to consider the complex dynamics between humans, machines, and nature.
Q: Who commissioned NOX?
A: NOX is commissioned by the LAS Art Foundation.