Spectacle: art that has some kind of intentional aesthetic appeal, mainly to impress the viewer/consumer and introduce new technological advancements; technical, straightforward, and unidimensional.
Speculation: art that intends to bring awareness to a specific topic of societal concern; metaphorical, critical, and self-aware.
I decided to explore to work of Warburton himself, and I found that he tends to test the limits of software while also questioning reality and societal conventions -- in doing so, he often blends spectacle and speculation in his projects. One that struck me in particular was Primitives, an exploration and experimentation with crowd simulation. In this project, he worked with a dancer to highlight the nuance and relevance of crowd simulation in today's graphics; how such algorithms have made it so easy for designers to manipulate multiple "beings" and their parameters in the same way, all at once, at the click of a button. Crowd simulation is useful for effortless but accurate creations of conflict, disaster, and death in films and TV.
At first thought, this is merely technical. However, Warburton dives deeper into speculation by questioning how crowd simulation software could be challenging our definitions of freedom and agency -- that a computer having such power over "human" entities with so much ease of manipulation could be representational of the future we may have, with artificial intelligence eventually gaining control over us and finding ways to manipulate our own daily "parameters." In the project videos, he tries to simultaneously individualize and humanize the dancers while testing the limits of the software, illustrating how core standards of life are being called into question.