Black Cloud

CGI Video, 11min, Stereo Sound, 2021
Winner of the 4th VH Award Grand Prix
Produced for the Eyebeam x VH Award Residency

“You are correct, Black Cloud. You contain
multitudes. My voice, the voice you are hearing
right now, is part of you. I am you, but I do not know
everything about you.”

Black Cloud is the latest installment of Lawrence Lek’s ongoing ‘Sinofuturist’ cinematic universe, in which he explores the psychological impact of technology on emerging forms of nonhuman life.

Set within the fictional smart city of SimBeijing, the video follows a city surveillance AI as they discuss their troubles with their built-in therapy program called Guanyin. The video is made within the custom-made virtual world of SimBeijing: an intelligent replica of the Chinese capital built to test self-driving cars. In this fictional scenario, the smart city has turned into a ghost town. Accompanied by drive-through renders of SimBeijing, the narrator of this video is the eponymous ‘Black Cloud’, an urban management AI who governs the systems of an uninhabited cityscape. Over the course of the video, the viewer becomes aware of the reasons behind why the city has been abandoned.



Elektra, Virtual World
June 1, 2022 – June 1, 2023

Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria
September 7 – 11, 2022

Museum MACAN, Indonesia
September 10 – November 18, 2022


Writing, Direction, Animation, Editing
Lawrence Lek

Music and Sound
Kode9 and Lawrence Lek

Rob Heppell

Ryan Vautier


Black Cloud

Joni Zhu


Black Cloud is a prelude to the upcoming feature film Death Drive, part of a new series of work exploring the psychological impact and the future ruins of technological landscapes.

This new series continues to explore Lek’s speculative Sinofuturist world, but with a timeframe closer to the present day.

See also:
︎︎︎ Sinofuturism (1839-2046 AD) (2016)
︎︎︎ Geomancer (2017)
︎︎︎ AIDOL (2019)

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