Elena Knox

Solo Exhibition

azarashi banashi

2023.6.3 (Sat.) – 6.24 (Sat.)

Open Tuesday – Saturday 12:00 – 18:00
Closed Sundays, Mondays, and holidays

Opening Reception: 2023.6.3 (Sat.) 17:00 – 19:00
* Artist will attend the reception
Previews by appointment

Artist Talk: 6.16 (Fri.), 18:00-
Speakers: Elena Knox, Hasegawa Ai (artist/designer)
For more information on the event, click here

Protective Seal 2020
7-channel video installation with robot performance ©︎Elena Knox


We at ANOMALY are pleased to announce a forthcoming solo exhibition by Elena Knox at our gallery. Titled azarashi banashi, the exhibition will be open from June 3 to June 24, 2023.

Elena Knox (1975, Australia) is a versatile artist who applies varied modes of expression, including digital media, performance, sculpture, music, and installations. Delving into issues under the surface of human society, she stages them in works of art with lacings of both humor and irony.

To date, her showings in Japan include Pathetic Fallacy, a video about aging and mortality featuring dramatic performances by an elderly woman and a humanoid robot, which was presented at Future and the Arts: AI, Robots, Cities, Life – How Humanity Will Live Tomorrow at Mori Art Museum in 2019. She presented a participatory project Volcana Brainstorm (making pornography for shrimp) at Yokohama Triennale 2020, and an interactive installation The Masters in the ICC Annual 2022 Life/Likeness at NTT Intercommunication Center Tokyo, where viewers could watch a love triangle evolve between an A.I. chatbot, a holographic virtual assistant, and Knox herself.

The Masters 2021
Interactive installation, Gatebox, live stream, soft furnishings (variable) ©︎Elena Knox
Installation view, ICC Annual Life/Likeness, NTT Intercommunication Center (ICC), Tokyo, 2022
Photo KIOKU Keizo, courtesy of NTT Intercommunication Center (ICC)


For this solo exhibition, her first at ANOMALY, Knox is reconstructing Protective Seal, a seven-channel video installation made with the companion robot PARO.(*1) This work was premièred last year at Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2022.

In creating Protective Seal, Knox made a long journey from Tokyo to the Arctic Circle together with PARO, an A.I. robot in the form of a harp seal pup that was developed to soothe the human soul. Since the onset of industrialization, Earth’s atmosphere has suffered depletion and global warming is now steadily worsening. As a result, real Arctic seals are being burned by ultraviolet radiation while areas of their habitat shrink due to ice melt. What are the “thoughts” of the robot seal when confronted with this situation? And how should we, who view this changing world through the adventurers PARO and Knox, feel about it, and act?

Protective Seal 2020
7-channel video installation with robot performance ©︎Elena Knox


Fusing science, storytelling, contact with locals, and climate data, Protective Seal finds a human–environment–machine link, and a medium for the theorization of sentient phenomena, in the A.I. sensory robot PARO.

As exemplified by this piece, Knox produces works that proactively investigate tough societal issues. The hallmark of her artistic output is her attempt to dismantle the very structure of an imbalanced condition, expose its distortions, and consequently implant an aversion to it in the minds of viewers, who had taken it for granted and are left with complicated feelings as a result. In addressing gender issues, for example, she accepts the task of dissecting the symbols assigned to women by society, instead of turning to sloganeering/symbolization as regards female empowerment or opposition to discrimination. The target systems were made by human beings but can no longer be controlled by us. Through her works, while making extensive use of robots and other technologies that are likewise made by human beings, Knox attempts to unravel these systems.

This exhibition will also present, for the first time in Japan, Chinoiserie (ode to Wuhan) (2019). This is a video performance work shot in a derelict hotel pool in the Chinese city of Wuhan, thought to be where Covid-19 first appeared. It captures the chaotic state of society in Wuhan, a scene of fast-paced economic development and mixture of the old and new. As the video unfolds, we can hear beeping horns and traffic noise as people go about their daily lives outside the building. Seen in conjunction with the footage of the unoccupied yet impacted Arctic tundra in Protective Seal, it conveys a sense of the futility of human actions in the name of “development.”

Chinoiserie (ode to Wuhan) 2019
Digital video, stereo, 18min 13sec ©︎Elena Knox


Today, entrenched systems are coming apart at the seams, and conventional outlooks on values are being shaken. In this context, we urge you to experience the world of Elena Knox, whose works have a multifaceted, open perspective intricately balanced upon subsurface conceptual layers.


May 2023

(*1)PARO is developed by Professor Takanori Shibata at The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST Japan).
A “mental commitment robot,” it was named World’s Most Therapeutic Robot by Guinness World Records.

Japan Science & Technology Agency (JST CREST)
Waseda University
Galleri Svalbard
Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale
Australia House at Echigo-Tsumari Art Field
Australia Japan Foundation
Australian Embassy Tokyo

Behind the scenes, Protective Seal shoot, Svalbard ©︎Elena Knox


Elena Knox

Born in Australia, lives and works in Tokyo. Ph.D. Media Art, UNSW Australia Art & Design

Solo exhibitions
Actroid Series II, TOKAS Hongo, Tokyo
Volcana Brainstorm (hot lava version), Yokohama Triennale, Kanagawa
Volcana Brainstorm, Koganecho Bazaar, Kanagawa
The Female is Future, Gallery Hashimoto, Tokyo

Group exhibitions
Foundation: A Web3 Media Art Festival, Videotage, distant.gallery
Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Niigata
Can You Fuck It? The Fembot Phenomenon, Apex Art (NY) International, Ningen Restaurant, Tokyo
Spectra, Australian Network for Art & Technology (ANAT) Science Gallery, Melbourne
Life/Likeness – ICC Annual, NTT Intercommunication Center (NTT: ICC), Tokyo Opera City, Tokyo
Art Machines 2: Constructing Contexts, Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, Hong Kong
Bangkok Art Biennale, Bangkok
Digital Power: Activism, Advocacy & the Influence of Women Online, Siggraph, New York
Future and the Arts: A.I., Robots, Cities, Life, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
AS-Helix: The Integration of Art and Science in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, National Museum of China, Beijing
POST-LIFE: Art & Technology in the Age of Intelligence, Chongqing Contemporary Art Museum, Chongqing
Women in Media Technology, Miltiadou Street, Athens
Synthetic Mediart, Taipei Expo Park, Taipei
Algorithmic Art: Shuffling Space and Time, Hong Kong City Hall, Hong Kong
Beijing Media Art Biennale, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing
9 Tomorrows, PowerLong Art Center, Hangzhou
A Better Version of You, Goethe Institut, 798 Art Zone, Beijing


News Archives


Pathetic Fallacy 2014
Digital video, stereo, 4min 12sec loop ©︎Elena Knox