The 58th International Biennale Arte in Venice opened this weekend under the title "May You Live In Interesting Times".
Its American curator Ralph Rugoff also curates London's Hayward gallery. He says much of the art on display reflects upon the precarious aspects of existence today, as well as the threats to the institutions and relationships of the “post-war order”.
"The spirit of the Biennale is exploration, experiment and openness," Rugoff said at the exhibition's opening on Saturday (May 11).
One scary but hypnotic — even voyeuristic — robotic piece from China is called "Can't Help Myself" by artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu.
A giant robotic arm repeatedly prevents a blood-like liquid from oozing out of a limited space on the floor.
It suggests the blood of migrants being spilt as they desperately and endlessly try but fail to cross international borders.
But are the artists mostly making this piece of art or is the robot? As work and other aspects of our lives become increasingly automated by robots, "the internet of things" and artificial intelligence, the question could be asked of so many things.
The exhibition has not one theme per se but highlights a general approach to making art and a view of art’s social function as embracing both pleasure and critical thinking.
Work from 79 artists from across the world is on display and it runs until November 24.