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AI exhibition Distributed Consciousness at ACMI

Visionary artist Memo Akten premieres the multi-screen AI exhibition – Distributed Consciousness at ACMI until June 16, 2024. Hosted in ACMI’s Gallery 2, the exhibition forms part of an ongoing international moving image art series, generously supported by ACMI’s Major Philanthropic Partner, Naomi Milgrom AC, and the Naomi Milgrom Foundation.


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AI exhibition Distributed Consciousness at ACMI
Image: Memo Akten Distributed Consciousness courtesy of artist

Through visually captivating installations, “Distributed Consciousness” invites visitors to explore the interconnectedness of all things, as it delves into human and non-human consciousness and their potential for collective good.

Akten’s artistic vision takes shape through the AI musings of octopus-like digital beings.

Memo Akten conceived this remarkable work in a remote Turkish fishing village, inspired by his daily encounters with octopuses during dives. Initially starting as a collection of online digital artworks, the project evolved into an eight-channel video installation featuring 256 unique images of Tentacular Creatures, reminiscent of octopuses. These captivating visuals are created using custom Artificial Intelligence software developed by the artist himself.

“We need to tell different stories. Stories of possibilities. Stories of hope. We need to cultivate new ways of being so that we can be present in the world as it is. We need to find the time to act, now more than ever.”

Verse 245 Distributed Consciousness

AI exhibition Distributed Consciousness at ACMI
Image: Memo Akten Distributed Consciousness courtesy of artist

Octopuses are incredibly intelligent; only 10% of their neurons are in a central brain, while the rest is distributed across their bodies. Distributed Consciousness draws parallels between the distributed computation performed by smart-contract-based blockchains and the distributed cognition of these octopus-like creatures.

Each image in the exhibition has hidden text encoded within it: a verse, invisible to the human eye but readable by computers, collectively forming a manifesto that spans consciousness, free will, life, death, art, technology, ritual, ecology, economy and sustainability.


AI exhibition Distributed Consciousness at ACMI
Image: Memo Akten Distributed Consciousness courtesy of artist

Immerse yourself in the exhibition’s environment, where human-sized screens display a 20-minute-long story featuring a selection of “tentacular creatures” and their accompanying verses. The vibrant and playful visuals serve as an entry point into Memo’s work. For those seeking a deeper exploration, the exhibition addresses key themes of ecology and equity, as the tentacular creatures guide us through the environmental challenges faced by our planet, urging us toward a more constructive, collaborative, and conscious future.

Memo Akten: Distributed Consciousness
Date: 16 June 2023 – 16 June 2024
Location: Gallery 1, Ground Floor
(inside The Story of the Moving Image exhibition), ACMI, Fed Square
Price: FREE


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