Your eyes and ears on the world of art and culture. We remind you that 15 years of back issues of eMusings can be found on our archives page.

We bring you first a lecture by the inimitable Stephen Fry. Delivered at the Oxford Union in 2015, it is as witty and pertinent today as it was then.

At first glance I think you will find this robotic dog amusing. It is clear that Boston Dynamics knows what they are doing. But as the video progresses there is also a chilling understanding that robotics and A.I. are entering our lives in increasingly disruptive ways.

Even more amazing is this virtual assistant created by Magic Leap. Her name is Mica, and if you wear the company's augmented reality glasses she is stunningly human-like. Even on a 2-dimensional monitor the likeness is eerie.

Take a look at these copper and glass sculptures made from plumbing parts and objects found in a laboratory. Artist Katrin Spranger paints them with conductive paint and then runs an electric current through the pieces. She also uses materials like moss, sea fern, and steel to create these other-worldly forms.

Immerse yourself in the projects created by Studio Swine, a collaborative venture set up in 2011 by Alexander Groves of the U.K. and Azusa Murakami of Japan. Describing themselves as "Super Wide Disciplinary New Explorers", the two combine sculpture, cinema, and installations to create unusual immersive experiences. Check out, for example, Metallic Geology and Hair-Highway and you will see why these two innovators have received numerous awards for their films.

There is so much ado today about fake news, unverified facts, unsubstantiated hyperbole, that it sometimes helps to look back at other eras, like the 1970's, for example. In a book called "The Jean Freeman Gallery Does Not Exist", from the MIT Press, author Christopher Howard recounts the existence of a gallery that never was, and never intended to be. It gave out an address in Manhattan that was not there. It place ads for shows in prominent magazines like ARTnews; there were no shows. It claimed artists with impressive art/speak statements, like one named Idra who wrote of collaborating with dolphins and reindeer. It appears to be a kind of performance art by a man and his wife who ventured to Manhattan from Kalamazoo, Michigan and managed to, at the very least, create a minor chapter in art history.

An interactive poetry pavillion is in the works for the U.K. exhibit at Dubai Expo 2020. Created by British set designer Es Devlin, the pavillion will use artificial intelligence to write poems. This will be the first British UK pavillion made by a female artist. Some 25 million visitors are expected at the Expo, and they will be invited to contribute to the poetry. The poetry will scroll across the structure, illuminated by LED lights.

Vienna will be the host for the largest exhibition ever assembled on the works of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The Kunsthistorisches Museum has been able to bring together 3/4 of the known works of the artist, in spite of the fragility of the pieces. The show will mark the 450th anniversary of the artist's birth and will include loans from major museums around the world. If you can't travel to Vienna, I urge you to look at these works: their detail and perspective are remarkable.

You won't want to miss the haunting figure on the roof of the Met Museum in Manhattan. Artist Huma Bhabha, born in Karachi, Pakistan, was selected for the sixth commissioned work on the Cantor Roof Garden. The figure appears somewhere between human and abstraction, with disturbing elements of primal art that will set your teeth on edge.

Chinese artist Jin Shan is currently having a solo show at BANK in Shanghai. It is impossible to look at these works without chills on your spine. Called "Divine Ruse", Shan's pieces evoke an immediate fear response in the viewer. Savagery lurks not far below the surface and breaks out sporadically, shattering any illusion of glamour. These are strong works from a young and promising artist.

Gagosian in Los Angeles is showing "Collaborating Is Evidence of Being Human", featuring the work of Virgil Abloh, men's artistic director for Louis Vuitton, and artist Takashi Murakami. This collaboration of artist and designer has been given the moniker "colab culture". 35 pieces, subtitled "America Too", are on display at the Beverly Hills Gallery. For me the surface interest in these pieces is stronger than any deep philosophical meaning, glitzy rather than thought-provoking. Perhaps that is appropriate in a society that reads headlines rather than articles, reacts to knee-jerk slogans, and forsakes meaning for one-liners.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2018