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Neural Swamp (still), 2021, by Martine Syms (American, born 1988). © Martine Syms, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London, and Bridget Donahue, New York.
Neural Swamp (still), 2021, by Martine Syms (American, born 1988). © Martine Syms, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London, and Bridget Donahue, New York

Martine Syms: Neural Swamp / The Future Fields Commission

Through October 30

This exhibition is the first in the United States to feature Martine Syms’s newly commissioned multichannel video installation, Neural Swamp. Embracing the tactics and technologies of sport, cinema, and surveillance, Syms’s work challenges racial and gender stereotypes and investigates what it means to be Black and a woman in a hyper-digitized world.

Created for the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media, Neural Swamp builds upon the artist’s research into machine systems that erase and exploit Black bodies, voices, and narratives. Blurring the lines between humor and horror, Syms uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to question the politics of images and the technologies that allow for their production and consumption. This exhibition will also feature selections from Syms’s Kita’s World, a series of videos that further explores how our everyday lives are increasingly mediated by technology.

Syms is the second recipient of the Future Fields Commission, which supports groundbreaking new work in film, video, digital media, sound, and performance by contemporary artists. The Commission is a joint initiative between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy.

Main Building

Free with museum admission

Pay What You Wish admission on 1st Sunday of the month & every Friday night

Preview the Exhibition

Get a sneak peek at works in this exhibition.

About the Artist

Martine Syms (American, born 1988) is based in Los Angeles. Her interdisciplinary and research-based approach bridges the mediums of film, performance, installation, and publishing. Weaving together ideas of the Black radical tradition, Afrofuturism, and Cyberfeminist theory, Syms’s work employs avant-garde technologies to explore the ways in which identity and power are constructed, performed, packaged, and consumed. Through the Future Fields Commission, Syms is extending her multifaceted approach towards new and increasingly experimental techniques to investigate representations of Blackness across generations and technologies.

the artistPortrait of Martine Syms. Photo by Hedi Slimane. Courtesy of the artist and Bridget Donahue, New York


Martine Syms: Neural Swamp has been made possible by the Daniel W. Dietrich II Fund for Excellence in Contemporary Art and the Robert Montgomery Scott Endowment for Exhibitions.

The accompanying publication has been generously supported by Sadie Coles HQ.


Amanda Sroka, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Irene Calderoni, Chief Curator, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
Explore More

Discover additional stories and items related to this exhibition.

Artist Statement
Artist Statement
Learn more about this exhibition from Martine Syms in her own words.
Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes
Syms discusses machine learning technology and the inspiration behind Neural Swamp with Google Arts & Culture.
Read essays offering critical insight into the commission and Syms’s body of work.
Exhibition: <i>Wil-o-Wisp</i>
Exhibition: Wil-o-Wisp
Learn more about the first Future Fields Commission by artist Rachel Rose.

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