Welcome to the 2021-22 Adam Reynolds Award Shortlist exhibition, Empty When Full.

This year, a cohort of artists were invited to respond to the gaming artwork GLUT created by 2021 awardee Johanna Hedva, which you can experience in full at its own site or watch the film on our YouTube.

Empty When Full exhibits artworks from Jay Price, MH Sarkis, Li Yilei, and Keira Fox, and you can find curator’s notes on the exhibition on our Information page. An insight into the production processes is available through the Process page. The artworks are displayed on this exhibition page.

This exhibition is intended for persons 14 years of age and above and contains adult themes, language and images. Some of the content discusses personal / emotional experiences and contains rapid changes to light and sound effects.

We recommend Google Chrome and a desktop computer for the best experience of this exhibition.

Introduction British Sign Language video

Introduction Audio Description

About GLUT: a superabundance of nothing

Empty When Full is part of the Adam Reynolds Award programme and took its inspiration from the 2021 recipient Johanna Hedva‘s ARA-supported artwork GLUT: a superabundance of nothing. Watch the GLUT film now.

GLUT is an inquiry into the knowings and unknowings of embodiment. It is a sound work composed with divination and AI, which manifests as both an immersive physical installation and videogame. The core of GLUT is a sound composition made entirely of Hedva’s voice, ranging from its rawest expression of screams, to two AI vocal clones that, in order to trick the surveillance tactics embedded in AI, have been manipulated to sound ever more de-human.

Disturbed that proprietary vocal-clone software services reserve the right to sell client voice data to governments and corporations, Hedva worked with artist, musician, technologist, and writer Jessika Khazrik to deceive the software, training it with Hedva’s voice disguised through multiple vocoding processes. Hedva and Khazrik created two vocal clones: Arid and Mud, neither of which are made from an actual human voice and therefore not actual vocal clones. In GLUT, these two AI voices speak a text corpus that Hedva built over four lunar cycles, and synthesized through various divination techniques. The corpus is composed of the writings of medieval mystics (mostly of the apophatic tradition); theoretical physicists, mathematicians, and philosophers writing about black holes, dark matter, night, and nothingness; poets and novelists on sleep, music, and the voice; and the algorithm of

One of the provocations of GLUT is the question of whether Amazon, in predicting our desires and shaping our future, is our latest divining tool, a kind of contemporary mysticism.

The physical installation of GLUT spatializes the sound in a subtly eerie, immersive room, large enough for one person only, which has been built into the existing architecture of the HKW Berlin. With a simple bench covered in Anti-Fatigue Foam (a material made specifically to trick workers into not noticing the exhaustion of their bodies), the installation draws on the dissociated ‘void room’ settings in films like Get Out and Under the Skin, a little pocket of a universe that amplifies the limits of the body by simultaneously erasing them. The goal is not for the viewer to transcend the walls, but instead to feel them acutely. The sub woofer and some of the speakers are built into the bench, with the aim to rattle the bones of the viewer. It’s a deceptive sensory deprivation chamber, a narrow closet in Hell.

In the GLUT videogame, users are a teratoma avatar that drags itself through an environment cheating at non-Euclidean geometry through a series of nesting black holes, intestinal tunnels, glittering caves, and oceans of black water. The videogame is a digital experience that mirrors the physical installation while producing a world that disorients as much as it confirms what knowledges are available to the body.

About GLUT: a superabundance of nothing British Sign Language video

About GLUT: a superabundance of nothing Audio Description