Refik Anadol is a media artist and director. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where he owns and operates Refik Anadol Studio. Anadol is also a lecturer and researcher for UCLA’s Department of Design Media Arts from which he obtained his Master of Fine Arts. Commenting on how his artistic career has started, Anadol says “As a teenager I was very inspired by the science-fiction movie «Bladerunner». Eventually William Gibson, Philip K. Dick, Carl Sagan and all those heroes inspired me. I always had a very wide range of interests. Neuroscience and science fiction, AI world were always very inspiring for me, but I didn’t know how to enter this universe. Thirteen years ago I did my first project in Istanbul. It was the moment when I started using data in my work. Back then it was very well received. In 2014 I opened a studio, unifying a team of neuroscientists, AI-engineers, data scientists, architects, visual designers, computer graphic experts. In 2014-2015 we created many pioneering data sculptures and data paintings. Since 2011 I never stopped innovating and finding new ways of reinventing”.  

A pioneer in his field, and the first to use artificial intelligence in a public artwork, Anadol has partnered with teams at Microsoft, Google (Artist and Machine Intelligence), Nvidia, JPL/NASA, Intel, IBM, Siemens and Epson, to apply the latest, cutting-edge science and technologies to his work. Anadol’s site-specific audio/visual performances have been featured at iconic landmarks, museums and festivals worldwide, such as Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hammer Museum, International Digital Arts Biennial Montreal, Ars Electronica Festival , l’Usine | Genève, Arc De Triomf, Zollverein | SANAA’s School of Design Building, santralistanbul Contemporary Art Center, Outdoor Vision Festival, Istanbul Design Biennial, Sydney City Art, and Lichtrouten, among many others.

Anadol’s body of work addresses the challenges, and the possibilities, that ubiquitous computing has imposed on human kind, and what it means to be a human in the age of machine intelligence. He explores how the perception and experience of time and space are radically changing now that machines dominate our everyday lives. As a spatial thinker, Anadol is intrigued by the ways in which the digital age and machine intelligence allow for a new aesthetic technique to create enriched immersive environments that offer a dynamic perception of space. By proposing the possibility of “post-digital architecture” and re-defining the functionalities of both interior and exterior architectural elements, Anadol invites his audience to imagine alternative architectural realities. The artworks by Refik Anadol are a synergy of art, technology and architecture. Replying to a question “What is the role of architecture in your practice?”, Anadol answers:

I think space has a meaning beyond urban space or nature. I think architecture is one of the most inspiring fields of imagination, that resolves many problems: protects us from mother-nature, gives functions to our life. Those are very important points to think about. And I always think that architecture is beyond what it is – it should be beyond concrete, steel or glass. I think that light is the only material that can allow us to reshape it, give it a new meaning, create new alternative realities. Architecture is the place where I start imagining.

Talking about the scale of the projects by Refik Anadol, one can mention the light show on the surface of Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert hall in LA. Anadol worked with the Artists and Machine Intelligence programme at Google Arts and Culture to create the series. It involved machine intelligence to parse the philharmonic’s archival material – comprising 587,763 images, 1,880 video, 1,483 metadata, and 17,773 audio files – and turned it into data points. The artist adds: “I have zero fear of scale, I am more about the idea. The problem for me is the reason why I am doing something, not the scale. I’m letting the building dream and I am listening to it. What kind of dream does the building have that makes people watch and remember it?” 

Living Architecture by Refik Anadol Studio comes to life as Casa Batlló (Barcelona) makes history as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site to be transformed into a dynamic NFT, celebrating ephemeris with real-time climate data on its façade. An immersive project merged together AI, art, and architecture, with a portion of the proceeds donated to neurodiverse institutions.

The artist tackles this by not simply integrating media into built forms, but by translating the logic of a new media technology into spatial design. Residing at the crossroads of art, science, and technology, Anadol’s site-specific parametric data sculptures, live audio/visual performances, and immersive installations take many virtual and physical forms. Entire buildings come to life, floors, walls, and ceilings disappear into infinity, breathtaking aesthetics take shape from large swaths of data, and what was once invisible to the human eye becomes visible, offering the audience a new perspective on, and narrative of their worlds. The primary thread that runs throughout Anadol’s groundbreaking visualizations of the unseen world is data: for Machine Hallucination, Anadol harnessed 300 million publicly available images of New York City; for WDCH Dreams, he accessed 100 years of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s digital archives; for Oakland’s Sense of Place, real-time environmental data informs the work; and for Charlotte Airport’s Interconnected, he utilizes real-time airport statistics. The artist comments:

Understanding the AI is one of the most exciting quests. As a researcher, understanding consciousness raises big questions. We know many things about who we are, but we still don’t know a lot. I think understanding biology, neuroscience and consciousness, philosophy, psychology and physiology as interconnected disciplines is very important. It’s very hard to differentiate. But what is really inspiring is how we can understand ourselves better with the help of all the complex technologies.

Refik Anadol Studio creates public art that explores the potential for intersections of media, science, and technology to radically communicate data while also inviting audiences to visualize alternate architectures of space and perception. The studio focuses on space, especially as it relates to the domains of artificial intelligence, neuroscience, and architecture. It seeks to re-consider dialogic relationships between imagination and physicality, self and environment, technology and history. By merging these fields within the context of public art, the studio draws attention to the construction and recollection of our histories, memories, and dreams and in so doing finds the resources to encapsulate our interconnectedness. Dataland ( is the world’s first multi-sensory metaverse project. It’s a multidisciplinary collaboration between the Refik Anadol Studio and the world’s leading neuroscientists, architects, AI and computer graphics pioneers. Reflecting on the domain extension of Dataland, Anadol elaborates:

.ART makes people remember that they are visiting an art webpage and not a commercial one. It’s all about art. That’s why I felt .COM was not very accurate, while .ART is artful. It reminds us to not treat art like a product. That’s my hope.

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