Artist statement

My work involves the creation of artist-software-systems in order to explore the impact of new technology paradigms. I’m particularly interested in the relationship between the embodied and the virtual; our evolving sense of what it is to be human and the social/psychological impact of living in a world of connected objects and nascent AIs.

I use sculptural installation and online channels as means of presenting and recording these explorations.

Since the beginning of 2016 I have been documenting the global phenomenon of self-surveillance through my work “Backdoored” which collects and archives images taken by bots through unsecured security cameras. This work explores the underpinning anxieties and privacy implications, as well as notions of agency and authorship.

My latest work “The Seeker” is an exploration of the emerging machine gaze. “The Seeker” is a machine entity which travels the world virtually, and describes for us what it sees. Named for Ptah-Seker, the artist/technologist god of the Ancient Egyptians, who generated the world by speaking the words to describe it, this project will look at how the action of describing the world might establish a whole new worldview for machines and humans alike.

“Nye Thompson attempts to reveal to us the visual nature of the physical and virtual internet. In this journey she shows us beautiful things.

I see her as rather like a contemporary Jacques Cousteau, the 1970’s TV marine biologist. She is showing us glimpses of quite extraordinary networks, structures, debris and possibilities that somehow we know exist but ordinarily we have no access to.

Thompson is an important member of a new generation of artists who are opening up ideas and concepts, which are transforming our society. The role of the artist in issues affecting free speech connected with the digital age is quite daunting. Institutions want to harvest our data but when we want access to that data, artists and activists start going to prison from Ai Wei Wei to Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

Thompson reminds us that the past and the future is about controlling imagery. The artist’s role in the mediation of that imagery is now more than ever contested. ”

Bob & Roberta Smith, artist, Royal Academician, trustee for the National Campaign for the Arts, and a Patron of the National Society for Education in Art and Design.


My childhood was spent in the quiet, isolated Welsh seaside town of Aberystwyth. Growing up I headed straight to London and have lived there ever since. My first degree was in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, where many of my classmates went onto become YBA superstars. I took a different path and started working with computers. When the Web was invented in the early 90s I was in the first wave of creatives to get involved. I worked for many years in web technologies, specialising in Human Computer Interaction, software design and ‘big data’.