Interview: Manas Bhatia
Luca Curci talks with Manas Bhatia during HYBRID IDENTITIES, first appointment of BORDERS ART FAIR 2023, held in Venice, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Manas Bhatia is an Architect and visual artist from India who currently works as an Associate Architect at Ant Studio, India. He specializes in designing innovative organic spaces that bridge human creation with nature through ancestral knowledge and technology. Manas earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Manipal University Jaipur and possesses a robust background in graphic design and visual communication. His involvement in various projects, such as residential, commercial, institutional, cultural, and urban design at Ant Studio, showcases his versatile skills. He also heads the marketing for Ant Studio’s product group CoolAnt. Manas is passionate about exploring the potential of artificial intelligence in architecture and design. He has created several innovative conceptual projects using AI imaging softwares, such as “AI x Future Cities” and “Symbiotic Architecture,” which gained global recognition from prestigious design publications including Designboom, Dezeen, and Colossal. His work has also been profiled by CNN and featured by BBC, national newspapers, and other media outlets. Furthermore, Manas’s work has been showcased at the “Dream the City” exhibition at Palau Robert in Barcelona as well as at the Borders Art Fair 2023 which was a part of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023.
Luca Curci – We were attracted by the project you have shown, has it been created for the festival or is it a part of preexisting works?
Manas Bhatia – No, the images are part of the preexisting project titled “AI x Future Cities,” which was developed to explore the potential of AI in shaping the future of architecture. This project aimed to stimulate ideas about sustainable architecture in an ideal future, envisioning a city that is a green energy utopia with modern structures and devoid of pollution.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
MB – Borders Art Fair provided an excellent platform for me to present my vision to the design community at a significant level. It served as a valuable forum for the direct exchange of ideas and contacts among collectors, artists, photographers, designers, and art professionals. Participating in this festival has been an invigorating experience that is bound to give a substantial boost to my artistic career.
LC – What are the three hashtags essential to define your poetics that you could not give up?
MB – #organicarchitecture #surrealism #fluidic
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
MB – I draw my inspiration primarily from nature. Nature, being the epitome of exquisite design, serves as a constant source of inspiration for me. The designs found in nature are based on mathematical principles and embody sustainability. I am fascinated by the ingenious architectural creations of living creatures, such as bees constructing hexagonal structures, ants forming complex underground networks, and the adaptive survival strategies of desert-dwelling cacti. The arrangement of petals in a flower, among many other aspects of nature, is truly inspiring to me.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
MB – The most challenging aspect of working with AI is the abundance of iterations it produces, which can make the decision-making process confusing. Additionally, I initially created these artworks using older versions of AI tools, which were less advanced compared to the current versions. Overcoming the lack of control over the output was a significant hurdle. It often required numerous iterations, sometimes reaching up to 100, to select a satisfactory final image. Gaining control over the output generated by AI tools remains a constant struggle in our creative process.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
MB – The artworks on display in the exhibition were created using the AI tool Midjourney. These artworks are part of the “AI x Future Cities” series, which explores the possibilities of sustainable infrastructure in the context of rapid urbanization. The series envisions a future utopian city characterized by green skyscrapers adorned with algae and foliage facades. These biophilic air-purification and cooling towers serve as sustainable architectural marvels, offering numerous benefits to the environment and society by reducing carbon emissions and regulating local climates. The “AI x Future Cities” project presents a vision of sustainable architecture in a perfect future, where modern structures coexist harmoniously with nature, free from pollution.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
MB – I find the idea of collaborating with the ITSLIQUID group quite intriguing. It would be worthwhile to explore the possibility of organizing events specifically dedicated to AI artists and designers. Additionally, I believe there is immense potential in organizing virtual reality exhibitions that allow audiences to experience AI-generated designs in a more immersive manner than static images. I appreciate the proactive approach of ITSLIQUID group in promoting artists and designers through their platform, and I think their commitment to supporting creative individuals is commendable.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
MB – I would suggest that in addition to providing a platform for artists to reach a global audience, the group could explore avenues for facilitating art sales. Enabling participating artists to monetize their artworks and designs, rather than solely displaying them, would provide greater incentive and support. This additional aspect would be highly beneficial to the artists involved.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
MB – I hold ITSLIQUID GROUP in high regard for its remarkable efforts in connecting artists and designers worldwide. Their dedication to fostering connections among artists, art critics, designers, and other influential figures in the international art, architecture, and design community is truly commendable. The organization plays a vital role in facilitating collaboration and promoting creative dialogue on a global scale.