UCCA Beijing

“The New Normal” Screening + Conversation series:
AI, Geomancers, and Techno-Shamans


Cinema Arts
Location:  Auditorium
Language:  English with Chinese subtitles

Departing from last week’s talk at UCCA where electronic music producer Steve Goodman and “The New Normal” participating artist Lawrence Lek discussed the contemporary manifestations of Sinofuturism in dance music, UCCA welcomes Lek back for the Asia premiere of Geomancer, a new work commissioned for the 2017 Jerwood/FVU Awards. Geomancer is a CGI film by Lek about the creative awakening of artificial intelligence; featuring video game animation, a neural network-generated dream sequence, and a synthesized vocal soundtrack, Lek explores the aesthetics of post-human consciousness in this work of science fiction. The screening will be followed by a conversation between Lek and writer and editor Jacob Dreyer, moderated by “The New Normal” co-curator Alvin Li. Together they will delve deeper into the proliferating fascination with distinctly Chinese (and Asian) futures in public discourse based on their shared interest and research into China’s architecture, technology, and future-oriented representations.

Ticketing: Free


*Collect your ticket from reception 45 minutes before the event begins;

*Please no late entry;

*Seating is limited, and tickets must be collected individually;

*Please keep mobile devices on silent.

UCCA Membership Benefits

Scan the QR code below to sign up for UCCA membership and enjoy exclusive member benefits.


For this event, UCCA members will enjoy:

• Exclusive seats reservation service

• Members-only guided tour

For UCCA members, please send us your name and mobile number to RSVP (ve@ or call UCCA membership hotline: +86 10 5780 0200


13:30-13:50 Ticket pick-up at the reception desk (for UCCA members who RSVPed)

13:50-14:20 Exclusive UCCA members-only guided tour

14:00-14:30 Ticket distribution at the reception desk (for UCCA members who didn’t RSVP and non-members)

14:30-15:30 Screening of Geomancer (2017)

15:30-17:00 conversation

*Please arrive promptly.


Lawrence Lek (“The New Normal” Participating Artist)

Lawrence Lek (b. 1982, Germany) is a contemporary artist living and working in London. He is a graduate of the Cooper Union, the Architectural Association, and Trinity College, Cambridge. Lek creates speculative worlds and site-specific simulations using gaming software, video, installation, and performance. Often based on real places, his digital environments reflect the impact of the virtual on our perception of reality. Contrasts between utopia and ruins, desire and loss, and fantasy and history appear throughout his work to symbolize this exchange. Lek’s recent exhibitions include “All Channels Open” (Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, 2017); “SeMA Mediacity Seoul Biennial” (Seoul Museum of Art, 2016); “Secret Surface” (KW Institut, Berlin, 2016); “Software, Hard Problem” (Cubitt Gallery, London, 2015); and “The Uncanny Valley” (Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, 2015). He is recipient of the Jerwood/FVU Awards 2016, the Tenderflix/Tenderpixel Artist Video Award, and the 2015 Dazed Emerging Artist Award.

Jacob Dreyer (Writer, editor)

Jacob Dreyer is a Shanghai-based writer and editor. Educated at the College of William and Mary, at the London Consortium, and New York University, he is currently an editor at Palgrave, focusing on economic and political research in East Asia. He has presented his research at TU-Delft, Oxford University, Harvard University, Renmin University, Beijing Design Week, and a variety of other venues; in addition to his 2014 novel The Nocturnal Wanderer (Eros press), his writing has appeared in The Guardian, Nature, The Architectural Review, Domus, The Atlantic, among others. In the past two years, he has guest-edited several special issues of LEAP and Modern Weekly. His research at the moment focuses on Chinese science(s) and the ways that technology impacts political discourse, particularly in the sphere of environmental politics and climate change; and the role of sites of knowledge production, such as museums, universities, and media organizations, in articulating political alternatives to the dystopian present.

Moderator: Alvin Li (“The New Normal” co-curator)

About the Film


Year: 2017

Runtime: 48’15”

Geomancer is a CGI film by Lawrence Lek about the creative awakening of artificial intelligence. On the eve of Singapore’s 2065 Centennial, an adolescent satellite AI escapes its imminent demise by coming down to Earth, hoping to fulfil its dream of becoming the first AI artist. Faced with a world that limits its freedom, Geomancer must come to terms with its militarised origins, a search that begins with a mysterious syndicate known as the Sinofuturists…

As the geopolitical axis tilts further to the East, and as once-dominant technological models are cast into doubt, Geomancer alights on a longstanding tension between the place of the human and the role of the machine, sharpened by contemporary hopes and anxieties around the rise of East Asia, and by speculations that new forms of artificial intelligence, already outperforming mere mortals in matters of automation, will challenge us in more creative skills as well.

Featuring video game animation, a neural network-generated dream sequence, and a synthesized vocal soundtrack, Geomancer explores the aesthetics of post-human consciousness.