Refik Anadol Transforms "Exosphere" in Las Vegas with AI Data Sculpture

Refik Anadol at Sphere Las Vegas

Las Vegas introduces the Sphere, the world’s largest LED screen and a 366-foot-tall globe-shaped architectural superstructure that serves as a new entertainment hub. Designed by the architecture studio Populous, it cost over $2 billion.

The venue's exterior, the “Exosphere,” spans 580,000 square feet and showcases about 1.2 million “hockey puck-sized” LEDs. It will debut on September 29 with a performance by U2. The Sphere also offers the world’s highest-resolution wraparound LED screen inside, designed for a completely immersive experience. From laser beam-like audio to advanced haptics, the Sphere offers a multisensory experience.

But even before U2 takes the stage, the Sphere has its first artist in residence. Digital artist Refik Anadol inaugurated the Exosphere’s art program with his artificial intelligence data sculpture titled “Machine Hallucinations: Sphere” on September 1. During a four-month residency, Anadol’s installation is an ambitious fusion of public data, machine learning algorithms, and large-scale animated abstractions focusing on outer space, nature, and urban environments.

“I am extremely honored to be the first artist to utilize the exterior of Sphere,” Anadol said in a statement. “It’s so exciting to be given such an architectural and engineering marvel as a canvas. This opportunity aligns perfectly with our studio’s long-term mission of embedding media arts into architecture to create living architectural pieces that constantly interact with their environments.”

Anadol has divided the installation into two chapters: The first showcases about 1.1 million publicly available images from satellites, the International Space Station, and NASA’s Hubble telescope. The subsequent chapter uses around 300 million images of flora and fauna from global national parks, supplemented with atmospheric data from Las Vegas. This project, Anadol shares, is “generative art,” with each visual dynamically programmed to match the Sphere’s complex surface, offering alternative realities constructed by unseen data movements.

Following Anadol’s residency, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky will take over with “Postcard From Earth,” an immersive movie that opens to the public on October 9 and is described as “a sci-fi journey deep into our future.”

With the Sphere, Las Vegas sets a new global standard in entertainment, embracing the synergy between art, technology, and architecture. As the city stakes its claim as a futuristic hub for creativity, the Sphere is undeniably its shining jewel, redefining the boundaries of artistic expression and audience experience.

This news was created in collaboration with OpenAI’s GPT-4.

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