7x7 January 27, 2024

New Museum, 235 Bowery, NYC

7x7 presented by Rhizome and Hyundai Motor pairs seven leading artists together with seven visionary technologists, giving them a simple assignment: make something new. The results of these creative collaborations are presented at a public conference. 

Founded in 2010, 7x7 returns on January 27, 2024, with a new edition focusing on AI. This edition is co-curated by Michael Connor, Co-Executive Director of Rhizome, and Xinran Yuan, independent curator and producer. Organized with presenting partners Hyundai Motor and New Museum of Contemporary Art, project partner SMK – National Gallery of Denmark, and research partner APOSSIBLE, this year’s 7x7 draws together creative pairings from across disciplines to consider how AI may alter our understanding of love, humor, and improvisation; biology, politics, and histories.

Dr. Stephon Alexander

Quantum physicist

Reggie Watts

Comedian, Artist, and Musician
  • Stephon Alexander is a theoretical physicist, musician, and author whose work is at the interface between cosmology, particle physics, and quantum gravity. He works on the connection between the smallest and largest entities in the universe pushing Einstein’s theory of curved space-time to extremes, beyond the big bang with sub atomic phenomena.

    Alexander is a Professor of Physics at Brown University, with previous appointments at Stanford University, Imperial College, Penn State, Dartmouth College and Haverford College. Alexander is a specialist in the field of string cosmology, where the physics of superstrings are applied to address longstanding questions in cosmology. In 2001, he co- invented the model of inflation based on higher dimensional hypersurfaces in string theory called D-Branes. In such models the early universe emerged from the destruction of a higher dimensional D-brane which ignites a period of rapid expansion of space often referred to as cosmic inflation.

    In his critically acclaimed book, The Jazz of Physics, Alexander revisits the ancient interconnection between music and the evolution of astrophysics and the laws of motion. He explores new ways music, in particular jazz music, mirrors modern physics, such as quantum mechanics, general relativity, and the physics of the early universe. He also discusses ways that innovations in physics have been and can be inspired from "improvisational logic" exemplified in Jazz performance and practice. Alexander is also a professional touring jazz musician, and previously served as President of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSPB).

  • Reggie Watts is an internationally renowned Musician/Comedian/Writer/Actor who most recently starred as the bandleader on CBS’s The Late Late Show with James Corden. Using his formidable voice, looping pedals, and his vast imagination, Watts blends and blurs the lines between music and comedy, wowing audiences with performances that are 100% improvised. He was the DJ at the 2021 Emmy Awards, which saw a 15% ratings boost from 2020. 

    Reggie’s memoir, Great Falls, MT was recently released by Penguin’s highly curated Tiny Reparations imprint, founded by Phoebe Robinson.

    Watts’ first Netflix special Spatial released to massive critical acclaim, with the New York Times calling it “a giddy rush of escapist nonsense” and dubbing Watts “the most influential absurdist in comedy today.” The A.V. Club described Spatial as “signature Watts, meaning it’s alternately exhilarating, silly, exhausting and transcendent,” and Exclaim! Magazine called his performance “engaging, absurd, thoughtful and, most importantly, wholly unpredictable.” As a solo performer, Watts brand of musical/comedy fusion has led to sold out headlining tours in the U.S. and Europe, including festivals such as Bonnaroo, SXSW, Bumbershoot, Just For Laughs, Pemberton and more. 

    In 2020, Watts released his own content app called, WattsApp, a techno-savvy look into his life, work, and techno junk drawer. WattsApp has all original content including a show called Droneversations, where he interviews guests while it’s filmed by drones along with other fun content. 

    In 2010, Watts released his debut comedy special, Why Shit So Crazy? on Comedy Central Records, and is now available to stream on Netflix. Why Shit So Crazy? featured Watts in live performances at New York venues such as Galapagos, The Bellhouse, and Le Poisson Rouge, bookended with brief sketches and music videos. Later that year, at the invitation of Jack White, Watts recorded Reggie Watts: Live at Third Man Records which was released in limited edition vinyl. In 2012, Watts recorded his second comedy special, Reggie Watts: A Live At Central Park, which was released by Comedy Central. 

    Watts was born in Germany, raised in Montana, and currently resides in Los Angeles. 

Eugenia Kuyda

Founder and CEO, Replika AI

Lynn Hershman Leeson

project partner SMK – National Gallery of Denmark
  • Eugenia Kuyda is the CEO and founder of Replika, an AI companion designed to build deep emotional connection and help people feel better, and has been at the vanguard of AI for the whole of her career. Eugenia started working on conversational AI in 2012 - and launched the first publicly available chatbot fully powered by generative AI in 2015. Prior to that she was an investigative reporter and journalist.

    Replika is backed by Y Combinator and Khosla Ventures and has been recognized as one of the “Five Technologies that will Rock Your World” by New York Times AI tech reporter Cade Metz.

  • Over the last five decades, artist and filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson has been internationally acclaimed for her art and films. Cited as one of the most influential media artists, Hershman Leeson is widely recognized for her innovative work investigating issues that are now recognized as key to the workings of society and the use of media as a tool of empowerment against censorship and political repression. She is noted for pioneering contributions to the fields of photography, video, film, artificial intelligence and bio.tZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany, mounted the first comprehensive retrospective of her work titled Civic Radar. A substantial publication, which was cited in The New York Times “one of the indispensable art books of 2016.” and the publication "Lynn Hershman Leeson - Antibodies" (published by Hatje Cantz) was noted as "a major book on art" in 2019. A survey of her work was at The New Museum in 2022 and a retrospective of her films will occur in 2024 at Moma, Her work is in the permanent collection of Moma, The Whitney and The Tate, as well as other public and private collections. She is represented by Altman Siegel Gallery, SF and Bridget Donahue, NYC.

David Robert

Director of Human-Robot Interaction at Boston Dynamics

Miriam Simun

  • David Robert is a human-centered robot designer and the Director of Human-Robot Interaction, a transdisciplinary design group at Boston Dynamics that integrates UX, UI and Industrial Design practices to make robots safe, simple to understand and intuitive to use. David's graduate research at the MIT Media Lab's Personal Robots Group focused on creating Blended Reality robot-characters for playful informal learning environments. He's a tech-ethicist who advises EU policy makers on the pro-social design of embodied AI, a passionate educator, social venture mentor and a robot literacy advocate. David lives in the Boston area where he maintains an art research practice focused on exploring interspecies communication between human and non-human intelligences. Together with composer Hannah Elizabeth Cox, David records and releases music as Animated Matter.

  • Miriam Simun is a visual artist whose multidisciplinary practice uses science, somatics, scent, power, poetry and humor to create art works in various formats, for example - video, installation, painting, performance, and communal sensorial experiences.

    Simun’s work has been presented internationally, including Gropius Bau, New Museum, MIT List Center for Visual Art, Momenta Biennale, New Museum, Himalayas Museum, Rauschenberg Project Space and Bogota Museum of Modern Art. Recognized internationally in publications including the BBC, The New York Times, The New Yorker, CBC, MTV, and Flash Art International, the work has been supported by Creative Capital and the Foundations of Robert Rauschenberg, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Gulbenkian and Onassis.

Harry Halpin

CEO and Co-Founder, Nym Technologies

Tomás Saraceno

  • Harry Halpin is the CEO and co-founder of Nym Technologies, a startup building a decentralized mixnet to end mass surveillance. Prior to founding Nym, he worked at MIT, where he led the standardization of the Web Cryptography API across all browsers, and at Inria de Paris where he led interdisciplinary research on socio-technical systems and privacy. He has a Ph.D. in Informatics from the University of Edinburgh and also teaches cryptocurrency at the American University of Beirut.

  • Tomás Saraceno (b. 1973, he/him/his) is an Argentina-born, Berlin-based artist whose projects dialogue with forms of life and life-forming, rethinking dominant threads of knowledge and recognizing how diverse modes of being engage a multiplicity of vibrations on the Web of Life. For more than two decades, Saraceno has worked with local communities, scientific researchers, and institutions around the world, and has activated open-source, interdisciplinary, collective projects, including Museo Aero Solar (2007–), the Aerocene Foundation (2015–), and Arachnophilia, towards a society free from carbon emissions, for intra and interspecies climate justice.

    Saraceno has been the subject of solo exhibitions and permanent installations at museums and institutions internationally, including The Serpentine Gallery, London (2023), The Shed, New York (2022), Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2018); Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires (2017); K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Ständehaus, Dusseldorf (2013); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2012); and Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2011). Saraceno has participated in numerous festivals and biennales, including the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale (2020) and the 53rd and 58th Venice Biennales (2009, 2019).

Christina Agapakis

Head of Creative at Ginkgo Bioworks

Xin Liu

  • Christina Agapakis is a synthetic biologist and artist whose work brings together biologists, engineers, designers, artists, and social scientists to imagine different futures and cultures of biotechnology. She has made cheese using starter cultures collected from the human body, resurrected the smell of extinct flowers, and photosynthetic animals. Christina is the head of Creative at Ginkgo Bioworks, a publicly traded synthetic biology company based in Boston. At Ginkgo, she leads a dynamic interdisciplinary team working at the interface of synthetic biology and society to build more ethical and equitable technology, through design, strategic communication, and public policy. Her artwork has been exhibited in institutions such as the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, Centre Pompidou, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. She has a PhD in synthetic biology from Harvard University, was a L’Oreal For Women in Science Postdoctoral Fellow, and named one of Fast Company’s most creative people in business in 2016.

  • Xin Liu (1991, b. Xinjiang) is an artist and engineer.

    Xin is the Arts Curator in the Space Exploration Initiative at MIT Media Lab and an artist-in-residence at SETI Institute. Her recent institutional solo exhibitions include Seedings and Offspring at Pioneer Works, New York, and At the End of Everything at ARTPACE, San Antonio. She is an advisor for LACMA Art+Tech Lab and a researcher at Antikythera, Berggren Institute.

    Her work has been shown at Shanghai Biennale, Thailand Biennale, M+ Museum, Yuz Museum, MoMA PS1, MAXXI Rome, Sundance Film Festival, Ars Electronica, and Onassis Foundation, among others.

Cristóbal Valenzuela

CEO and Co-Founder, Runway

Ana Fabrega

Comedian, Writer, and Actor
  • Cristóbal Valenzuela is the CEO and co-founder of Runway, an applied AI research company building multimodal AI systems to create new types of artistic and creative tools. Before Runway, Cris was a researcher at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

  • Ana Fabrega is a writer, comedian, and actor in NYC. She co-created, co-wrote, and co-starred in the HBO series Los Espookys, among other things.

Alan Steremberg

Engineer and Entrepreneur

Rindon Johnson

  • Alan Steremberg is a computer engineer and entrepreneur who enjoys creating consumer products. He co-founded the Weather Underground, a leading weather website in 1995 while completing his Bachelors in Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan. Alan completed a masters degree at Stanford University in Human Computer Interaction. After graduating, he became President of the Weather Underground and grew the company to become the second largest weather website, with 50 employees and over 20 million unique monthly visitors. In 2012, Weather Underground was sold to The Weather Channel. In 2014 Alan worked as a Presidential Innovation Fellow at NOAA to help the government copy data to modern cloud services, so that private companies could build innovative new products on this treasure trove of environmental data. He currently advises startups in San Francisco and has been helping teach computer science classes at local high schools. Alan still finds himself out in the rain without an umbrella.

  • Rindon Johnson is an artist and poet. In 2022, Johnson was awarded the 12th Ernst Rietschel Award for Sculpture by the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Johnson has presented solo exhibitions at Albertinum (Dresden), Chisenhale Gallery (London), The Julia Stoschek Collection (Düsseldorf), and the SculptureCenter (Long Island City), among others. He is the author of four books of poetry and prose. He was born on the unceded territories of the Ohlone people and lives in Berlin.

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Additional support for 7x7 is provided by Refik Anadol, Rudy Austin, and Fred Benenson.