Josh Kline, By Close of Business (Maura, Small-business Owner), 2016 / Astrup Fearnley Collection, Oslo, Norway / Photo Malle Madsen
The Irreplaceable Human
Nov 23, 2023 – Apr 1, 2024
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Humlebæk, Denmark

With works by more than 60 artists, this large-scale, interdisciplinary exhibition seeks to define the phenomenon of creativity from a broad, humanistic perspective. What are the conditions for creativity in society today? And is there reason to fear that artificial intelligence will take over and surpass human creative abilities?

The exhibition The Irreplaceable Human – Conditions of Creativity in the Age of AI aims to create the foundation for a conversation about the role of creativity in our society – and thus also for a discussion about what is really valuable to us. The exhibition presents works by more than 60 artists – with the main emphasis on art from the past 20 years – combined with references to cultural history, science, and literature.

A central motif throughout the exhibition is human beings reduced to their functionality in a system. For example, as in the Japanese artist Tetsuya Ishida’s masterpiece Mebae (Awakening) from 1998. Here we see schoolboys with identical faces sitting in perfect rows. Some have even become the microscopes being used in the teaching, like children turned into instruments.

Creativity can be seen as a broad phenomenon that defines what it means to be human. When we talk about the irreplaceability of humans, it is mainly about what we can do that the machine/computer cannot handle. Here, one of the answers, also historically, has been the phenomenon of creativity. As the exhibition seeks to show, creativity is more about how you work than what you work with. Thus, it becomes something that we all have a potential for and defines us as people: we do not endlessly do the same thing but develop and reinvent ourselves and our needs all the time.

The exhibition looks not only at the field of culture but also at society in general, revealing how creative processes are crucial in every ‘backwater’ and at every level. In other words, it is not a tribute to art but an investigative story about the value of creativity, which is as vital in the laboratory as in the studio. The aim of the exhibition is to create the foundation for a conversation about the role of creativity in our society.

The second part of the exhibition – divided into two chapters, Time and Cross-pollination – revolves around garnering respect and appreciation for actions and abilities that are often considered a waste of time, redundant, unimportant, bad for business, or just difficult to valuate. Altogether, creativity here emerges as something inherently crucial for our society’s positive development and survival. As a whole, the exhibition argues that we need to take the long view: to prepare the ground beyond what seems immediately lucrative and to dare to believe that something new and valuable will emerge from it.

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