Megafauna

Megafauna

Deakin team:
Stefan Greuter, Thuong Hoang, Simeon Taylor, Scott Jackson, Paul Hammond, Renee McMillan-Tolley, Leanne Willis
NGV team:
Pip Wallis, Tamsin Henley, Maylise Dent, Kadiesha Gary, Ewan McEoin and Tabor Robak

Description
Tabor Robak is a new media artist who graduated in 2010 from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Since this time he has participated in over 60 exhibitions worldwide, including seven solo shows in the US and Europe. Robak’s art has been exhibited in over 15 countries and has been acquired by a number of major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich. His work examines the relationship between humanity, nature, and technology, often blurring the lines of the real and artificial.  

Tabor Robak’s artwork Megafauna which was exhibited as part of the NGV Triennial 2020 at the National Gallery of Victoria. Tabor Robak’s highly detailed computer-generated animations comprise imagery derived from varied digital and organic sources such as microbiology, advanced robotics, data storage and sacred iconography. Around the walls are the ‘Magi’ – lifeforms that evoke the technologies that artificial intelligence (AI) is most likely to emerge from including geo-imaging and cartography, military science and weaponisation, high-frequency trading and healthcare. Tabor Robak, Megafauna, 2020 was commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria and supported by Deakin University and Paul Cross and Barry Jane.

Glowing and cavernous, Megafauna creates both a sacred space and a sci-fi dystopia reflecting the mythology and deitylike importance we place on AI in our present trajectory as a society. The aesthetic represented in the installation – digital, organic, imagined and real – evokes the sensation of the concurrent risks and benefits of advanced technology. Through this complexity, Robak invites reflection on the ethical and philosophical implications of our relationship to technology.

In collaboration with the artist, researchers at the Deakin Motion Lab have meticulously reconstructed Tabor Robak’s Megafauna installation into an interactive digital format. Visitors can enter the virtual exhibition via a VR headset where they can freely walk through the exhibition space and access a virtual artist tour of the artworks on display.

Megafauna is an installation comprising a series of computer-animated sculptures exploring themes of artificial intelligence and the almost mythical importance we place on technology in our society. It raises ethical and philosophical questions to bear in mind as we design for the future. This event will interest designers wishing to see how virtual reality is being harnessed to represent artists and physical exhibitions.