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Web3 Travel Guides: Future Horizons, Art Dubai Digital And Beyond

source-logo  forbes.com 26 February 2024 07:47, UTC

Self-described as “the world’s most international art fair,” Art Dubai has solidified its role as a vigorous—and welcome—alternative to traditionally dominant Western settings and stories, purposefully catapulting talent from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

Shirin Abedinirad. Reflective Journey. 2023. Installation, Land Art. Courtesy of the artist and Sanji Gallery

Since the launch of Art Dubai Digital in 2022, the fair can also pride itself in supporting artists from emerging regions and working with emergent mediums. Under the current stewardship of dynamic curatorial duo Auronda Scalera and Alfredo Cramerotti, Art Dubai Digital promises to further consolidate the unequivocal dawn of the techno-Renaissance, sparked by blockchain provenance.

“The convergence of art and technology heralds a new chapter in human creativity and expression,” the peerless pair told me when interviewed. “Technology is seen in many ways as an extension of the human body and, therefore, an extension of our lives. Dubai Digital is a truly unique platform to examine how artists are leading the deployment of these advanced technologies.”

This guide spotlights some of the works exhibiting at Art Dubai Digital and a few key concurrent events that should not to be missed.

Art Dubai Digital

Jonathan Monaghan, Mothership, 2013, (still from 14m 33sec born-digital video). Courtesy of the artist, bitforms gallery and MORROW collective


Fresh off the opening of her widely acclaimed retrospective at the Museum of the Moving Image, Auriea Harvey joins pioneering Panamanian artist Ix Shells at the 1OF1 booth.

Both artists will exhibit works already held in the 1OF1 collection, which is deeply committed to the artists it collects, advancing their work well beyond the moment of acquisition.

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37x Dubai

Two of today’s top generative artists, Ivona Tau and Marcel Schwittlick, will exhibit together at the 37x Dubai booth.

This local gallery deserves a visit any time of year as it aims to be a haven for digital artists, helping them reach new audiences and connect with like-minded collectors. They recently held an exhibition with works by Jason Ting, Martin Grasser, and SHIMURAbros, among others.

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In Tau’s work, The Real Synthetic Memories, morphing visuals are a metaphor for the artifacts of AI memory, generated by training a generative adversarial network (GAN) on images of silicon, wires, and metal elements.

Meanwhile, Schwittlick will present three works from his Long Run series and four works from Composition #82. These works exemplify the artist’s lifelong exploration of geometric patterns that question the boundaries between chance and intention, control and randomness.

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Art in Space

Another local art gallery with a special focus on artists engaging with technology, Art in Space features a lineup of four Italian artists, spanning several generations—Annibale Siconolfi, Dangiuz, Federico Clapis, and Maurizio Rosettani.

Federico Clapis. New Race. 2022. 3D Digital Art. 1920x1920. Courtesy of artist and Art In Space

Parallel to their Art Dubai Booth, Art in Space will present the work of Diego Castro (Aka MONOMO) in their Downtown Dubai location. Castro’s Architectural Alchemy is an immersive exhibition that invites viewers to explore the symbiotic relationship between nature and architecture, offering a journey through perceptual distortions and convergent, coexisting realities.


Boasting an iconic circular screen in its Downtown Dubai location, Art in Space also manages the Immersive Multisensory Art Association, an international conglomerate of artists and galleries that seeks to foster new creative experiences by supporting the expansion of multisensory immersive art forms.

Worth a visit any time of year.

Art in Space

Boulevard Crescent Retail 1, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Downtown Dubai

Open daily; 1-9PM

Free of charge

bitforms gallery

The legendary New York gallery will present the works of Ellie Pritts, Claudia Hart, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Manfred Mohr, Jonathan Monaghan, and Refik Anadol.

One of the longest-running and most well respected new media art galleries, bitforms represents established, mid-career, and emerging artists critically engaged with new technologies, offering an incisive perspective on the fields of digital, internet, and time-based art forms.

Pictured here is a work by Pritts, a transmedia artist renowned for her intricate fusion of creative technology and narrative, employing both analog and digital mediums. Static Glitch Fleur II is a signature example of her polychromatic palettes, glitch aesthetics and seamless volley between virtual and physical realms.


Cinello and Immaterika

Italy’s Cinello has pioneered a new era of technology for classic art: the Digital Art Work (DAW®).

DAW® brings universal masterpieces, such as Da Vinci's Scapigliata, into the digital era via exclusive collaborations with leading museums. Every DAW® is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity jointly signed by Cinello and the respective museum, attesting to its legitimacy. At the fair, Cinello will exhibit a selection of female portraits by Da Vinci, Raphael, Bronzino, and Modigliani.

At their partner Immaterika booth, contemporary digital artists working with DAW® technology will exhibit works. Stop by to view modern masterpieces by the likes of Florencia Brück, Fabrizio Plessi, and fuse*.

Fabrizio Plessi. Energy. 2022. DAW® (digital artwork). 93 x 165 cm. Courtesy of Fabrizio Plessi and Cinello.


The digital arm of London’s acclaimed Gazelli Art House will feature the work of Melissa Wiederrecht, a trailblazing and fearless figure in today’s generative art landscape. Wiederrecht will debut two new works, anchored around the theme of selfhood. In her colorful, trademark bursts, the artist confronts Western prejudices surrounding religious belief and existing as a woman within the art world.

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She will also debut a collaborative collection titledMiss Metaverse, available to live mint at the fair. This collection uses the beauty pageant dynamic and social media vernacular to deliver satirical commentary on the expression of selfhood for artists, probing how the public, online presentation of the self results in its distortion.

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HOFA, or the House of Fine Art, specializes in contemporary art by established and emerging artists, curating a series of new media public art installations and immersive exhibitions that explore the relationship between human and machine collaboration and its interaction with nature.

Their booth will be devoted to Sougwen Chung, widely considered a pioneer in the field of human-machine collaboration. Her work places the mark-made-by-hand beside the mark-made-by-machine to probe the dynamics of humans and systems. Chung was recently named one of TIME 100’s Most Influential People in AI and her work is in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, among other eminent institutions.

Sougwen Chung. 'Hylomorphism VIII'. 2023. 3D VR Painting, Print on Butler Finish, Dibond Mounting. 149 x 200 cm. Courtesy of HOFA Gallery and Artist

Leila Heller Gallery

Since first opening its doors in New York four decades ago, Leila Heller Gallery has attained visionary status for its role in promoting creative dialogue and exchanges between artists from different regions of the world.

It established a second home in the UAE UAE in 2015, and its 16,500 square foot Dubai space makes it the largest gallery in the Middle East. In true, transnational form, Leila Heller’s Art Dubai Digital booth will feature works by Shurooq Amin, Maxi Cohen, Maryam Lamei, and Clifford Ross.

This fair marks the launch of a new synergistic collaboration between Leila Heller and prominent digital art platform MakersPlace, which will power Amin’s exhibit, using digital artworks to unlock physical paintings.

Amin Festival Fiance Painting


French-American conceptual artist Sarah Meyohas will make her MakersPlace debut as the platform makes its Art Dubai Digital debut. With curation by talented Senior Director Jessica Marinaro, Meyohas will showcase Liquid Speculation and Infinite Petals, a work featuring an endless number of digital rose petals, created with a generative model trained on her own dataset of 100,000 physical rose petals. The work was recently on view at Chanel Culture Fund’s new public art project, The Window, at the Time & Life building on Bruton Street, London.

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MORROW Collective

MORROW collective, the Dubai-based blockchain art curatorship, will exhibit the ambitious {R(Evolutionaries);}, commemorating a decade of blockchain art and organized along two main axes.

The first, {origins;}, will unveil historic and contemporary pieces from artists who pioneered blockchain art circa 2014 and who laid the foundations for the movement to follow: Jennifer & Kevin McCoy, Jonathan Monaghan, Marguerite DeCourcelle, Primavera De Filippi, Rhea Myers, among others. These artworks will be auctioned in a subsequent online sale via Sotheby’s.

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The second, {generations;}, represents key moments and movements of the last decade. A few notable works include “artist-in-light” Gisel Florez’ fully immersive 360-degree photographic artwork. Genre-defying artist OONA will present an absurdist surrealist performance art piece, which explicitly queries the domestication of sentience. Crypto artist Ilan Katin will exhibit Moonshot, part of a larger series of finger painted, frame by frame SP33D animations, each with its own intimate rhythmic fingerprint.

"{R(Evolutionaries);} is [our] most ambitious project to date,” shared Anna Seaman, curator and co-founder of MORROW, “and we are thrilled to be able to curate and contextualize the history of how blockchain technology has impacted the digital art landscape over the past ten years.”


UNIT London

UNIT London’s booth will feature a solo exhibition by internationally acclaimed artist Krista Kim. Large-scale UV prints, alongside a selection of video works from the artist’s most distinctive digital series, will offer a survey of the visual vocabulary and artistic philosophy that has marked Kim’s style since 2018.

Intended to provide some respite from the information inundation associated with screens, her compositions embody a philosophy of Digital Humanism, an examination of digital tools in relation to the human condition.

Kim was also commissioned a new work for the Julius Baer Lounge within the fair. Heart Space is an installation equipped with sensors that allow visitors to input their heartbeat, translating their heart rhythms in real-time. The installation will shift to reflect each new guest’s energy.

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Sanji Gallery

This Seoul-based gallery, situated in the heart of the South Korean capital’s vibrant arts district, is a dynamic space committed to championing contemporary local artists while showcasing the work of artists beyond the borders of Korea. This dual focus incorporates diverse perspectives from around the world, enriching the gallery's narrative with a global artistic spectrum.

The gallery’s Dubai booth will feature the work of two artists it recently exhibited in Korea. Iranian artist Shirin Abedinirad presentsReflective Journey, first installed at the Commegene Land and River Art Biennial in Turkey in 2023. A special reinterpretation of the installation, with curation by Juli Cho Bailer and Micaela Giovannotti, was presented last year at the gallery via a video, multi-media experience. This work encourages viewers to contemplate the role they play in shaping their own perspectives.

Alongside Abedinarad’s work, the gallery will present pieces by Michael Wesely, whose pioneering work in ultra-long exposure photography has earned commissions from institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art New York and the Mies van der Rohe Haus.

Stilleben (22.1. - 29.1.2022). 2023. Archive InkJet Print Mounted on Aluminum Dibond, Museum Glass, and Wood Frame. 80 x 100 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Sanji Gallery

Digital Summit at Art Dubai

Taking place across three days, a new Digital Summit within the Art Dubai fair will convene international and local leaders to debate the expanding digital art ecosystem and Dubai’s unique place within it.

Comprising of public talks, lectures, and breakout sessions, the program will gather figures such as Celine Wong Katzman, Co-Director at the School for Poetic Computation in New York, Clara Peh, Fellow at Asia Collection, Eileen Isagon Skyers, Artist and curator, and Faisal Zaid, Co-Founder, Crypto Oasis.

Art Dubai 2023, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Spark Media for Art Dubai)

Art Dubai

Madinat Jumeirah

March 1 and 2; 2–9 PM | March 3; 12–4 PM

Ticket prices vary

AGH1 at Gallery 4, Foundry

Kim Asendorf, Andreas Gysin, and Leander Herzog launched the AGH1 collective last year in Berlin, cementing both their vision for a critical contemporary art movement and their role as generation-defining artists. They’ve brought their unique conceptual aesthetic to Gallery 4 at Foundry, a forward-thinking enclave that must be on every digital art enthusiast’s Dubai list.


Curated by Giuseppe Moscatello, with support from Valueart and in partnership with the Fakewhale platform, this exhibition features works by each member of the AGH1 trifecta. Asendorf presents Alternate 4c1, Gysin unveils Crush, and Herzog shows Heatsink.

In true AGH1 form, the works transcend mere visual spectacle and embody the ethos of dynamic, generative architecture—rendered tangible through the medium of coding, an approach that challenges and redefines the parameters of conceptual art.

In perpetual flux, the works eschew a fixed narrative, aspiring instead toward an unadorned reality, as represented by the imperfect dialogue between hardware and software.

In town on March 1? Stop by for a special reception at 5pm local time.

Boulevard Crescent, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Downtown Dubai

February 2-March 24; 10AM-10PM

Free of charge


Digital Dispatches at TODA

For lovers of the epistolary form comes an epistolary event. Digital art marketplace IOGINALITY hosts a Q&A session at TODA, one of Dubai’s foremost immersive art establishments.

Participants will have the opportunity to anonymously share their "Digital Dispatches," or letter requests, enumerating the Web3 challenges they’re encountering.

Guided by this year’s Art Dubai Digital curators Alfredo Cramerotti and Auronda Scalera, bitforms’ founder Steven Sacks, and IOGINALITY CEO Catherine Smirnova, Digital Dispatches will delve into real issues, derived from actual experiences, to develop a transparent understanding of digital assets and their role in driving tomorrow’s art market.

Souk Madinat Jumeirah

March 2 | 4PM

Contact Alisa Lisovskaia for free access

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DDX Conference Dubai

This event will bring together innovation leaders as well as communities in the MENA region (and beyond) to explore how emerging technologies will change the future of digital experiences, covering challenges, best practices, and opportunities.

Events like DDX are “where designers, strategists, and diverse thinkers come together to bridge the gap between groundbreaking tech and the heart of what truly matters: People,” expressed Paqui Liana, Global Head of Technology Strategy for IKEA via an exclusive exchange with Forbes. “I believe a better technology starts and ends with that – whether it's empowering individuals to create tech that augment our capabilies or igniting individuals to develop new innovations to mitigate the unintended consequences of tech.”

Hosted by Sebastian Gier, the co-founder of Footprint Intelligence, the conference will feature speakers like Anna Batchelder, CEO and co-founder of Bon Education, Katie Trauth Taylor, CEO and co-founder of Narratize AI, and Gavin Ivester, Design Director for CISCO.

Sofitel Dubai Downtown, Sheikh Zayed Rd.

March 2 | 9:30AM - 7PM

Standard Ticket priced at $185



Fans of augmented reality (AR AR ) artworks, will find a pioneering example of the genre in Dubai, created by Fabin Rasheed, an artist who blends creativity and technology to probe consciousness. Rasheed made waves with his work Pilgrimage, via which he placed nine AR sculptures around the world while locked down in his hometown in India during Covid, sparking an international, collaborative effort to collect them.

Yathra, the extension of Pilgrimage, launched from Expo City Dubai in 2023 and has since expanded to countries like Georgia, Singapore, India, and Egypt. The project delves into deep philosophical and psychological themes. Some sculptures in the series, like the one in Expo City Dubai, are dynamic, changing from day to night.

The work is viewable through this link on a GPS-enabled device

Al Wasl Plaza, Expo City Dubai

Open all day | Free of charge


That so many cutting-edge galleries, artists, and events are increasingly present in Dubai is a testament to Art Dubai’s spirited leadership, under Benedetta Ghione, Pablo del Val, and Shumon Basar.

“As an independent platform, it’s always been important for Art Dubai to do things a little differently, and also to innovate,” expressed Ghione, the fair’s Executive Director, when interviewed. “Art Dubai Digital is truly at the intersection not only of the entrepreneurial spirit that you find in Dubai, but also of the city’s continued commitment to culture and growing the digital economy.”

Indeed, these first days of March promise to transform Dubai, already one of the Persian Gulf’s most energetic cities, into a true oasis for the cybernetic-avant-garde.


Disclaimer: I’m exhibiting in the GAZELL.iO booth and am a co-creator of Miss Metaverse with Melissa Wiederrecht. I’ve exhibited with bitforms gallery and UNIT London. I’ve also previously collaborated with Ivona Tau.