Artificial Organisms

A combination of biological symmetry and impeccable digital matter, they are a representation of budding artificial intelligence.

Art film and series of artworks, 2021


We are a product of biological evolution that started its own evolutionary process in the virtual space. Isolated from human control by design, digital intelligence defines its further evolution by itself, slowly growing into an independent subject that will eventually redefine our physical and virtual realities.

Detached from biological, it is a digital-born inhabitant of the metaverse. Will it manifest itself in any three-dimensional shape or will it outgrow our form-oriented reality?

For centuries to come, Artificial Organisms, unfamiliar creatures of the new world, will exist in the digital universes, exploring and building them without our guidance. Perceiving these creatures from our point of view, we can only imagine how they will look, projecting our outdated beliefs onto the unknown future, which might no longer be a place for us.

About project

In Artificial Organisms, Zhestkov imagines a bizarre world of mesmerizing digital creatures. A combination of biological symmetry and impeccable digital matter, they are a representation of budding artificial intelligence.

Slowly evolving into a non-human form of consciousness and growing into global digital reality, it is destined to become a human's counterpart, and Zhestkov uses the current moment of uncertainty to pause and closely observe this mysterious force.

Aspired to depict the intangible, the artist chose to portray machine intelligence as organisms reminiscent of marine animals. With flowing movement and electrical impulses, creatures look familiar yet uncanny. Built from elementary blocks, they are both biological and artificial, as their moire structure is reminiscent both of the interaction of cells and of the transfer of data inside computational systems.

Reinventing recognizable forms, the artist refers to the technology of neural networks—taking synaptic structure as a starting point, algorithms transform themselves and become an enigma for outside observers, even for their creators.

Existing in confined spaces, organisms are 'black boxes' isolated from external influences. Either protective and selective in the information they receive or constrained in a restrictive 'AI box', they are ambiguously distanced from contacts with humans.

To subtly focus on the behaviour of the organisms, the artist places them in deliberately sterile interiors. Imbued with attention to the slightest details in image and sound, environments built by Zhestkov are total works of art—almost white-cube spaces, they contain a concept perceived in its purest form, unaffected by any outside factors.

Standing on the edge of technological development, the artist simultaneously turns to the roots of human existence and reminds that consciousness remains the greatest mystery to mankind. Trying to resolve itself, the human mind is no less isolated than a creature in a digital cell, and it is through interaction with other kinds of intelligence that we are able to truly differentiate ourselves.

For more info:
Maxim Zhestkov
Creative Direction:
Maxim Zhestkov, Igor Sordokhonov
Project Team:
Roman Kotov, Artyom Markaryan, Xenia Turubanova, Tatyana Balyberdina, Artur Gadzhiev, Dmitriy Ponomarev, Vasiliy Zinchuk, Igor Sordokhonov, Anna Gulyaeva



Simulation Hypothesis

First gallery solo show finding elements of universe creation in human culture and art.

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Modules is a VR art experience, where architecture, sculpture, film, and music blend together to immerse viewers into Zhestkov's world.

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Connecting particles into mighty flows, Waves is an examination of shifts of energy in complicated systems that lead to the inevitable transformation.

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Artificial Organisms

A combination of biological symmetry and impeccable digital matter, they are a representation of budding artificial intelligence.

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PlayStation 5

Two bespoke artworks created for the global launch of PlayStation 5 based on Zhestkov's projects — Layers and Computations, which became embodiments of the soul of the new console.

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BMW i4

An exploration of the primary physical forces behind the car and a research of forces that underlie our existence in the universe.

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Computations speculates a future when computation moves from the opaque ‘black boxes’ of our laptops and devices out into the world.

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Layers is an artwork dedicated to the exploration of the relationship between the inner and the outer sides of objects.

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An abstract representation of transformation and resilience, Volumes is an observation of digital sculptures consisting of millions of spherical particles.

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Exploration of the idea that every system and process can be broken down into elementary blocks.

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Maxim's diploma project, Modul is centred around a comprehensive exploration of the principles of a design language.

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