__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

digital art & new media Antoni Abad_David Byrne & David Hanson_ Antoni Abad_David Byrne & David Hanson_ ´ ´ Daniel Canogar_Vuk Cosic_Evru_Harun Farocki_ ´ ´ Daniel Canogar_Vuk Cosic_Evru_Harun Farocki_ Paul Friedlander_Pierre Huyghe_Theo Jansen_ Paul Friedlander_Pierre Huyghe_Theo Jansen_ Natalie Jeremijenko & Ángel Borrego_ Natalie Jeremijenko & Ángel Borrego_ Sachiko Kodama_Rafael Lozano-Hemmer_ John Maeda_ Sachiko Kodama_Rafael Lozano-Hemmer_ John Maeda_ Chico MacMurtrie / Amorphic Robot Works_ Chico MacMurtrie / Amorphic Robot Works_ Antoni Muntadas_Daniel Rozin_ Antoni Muntadas_Daniel Rozin_ Ben Rubin & Mark Hansen_ Ben Rubin & Mark Hansen_


0A_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:12

P谩gina 1


0A_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:12

P谩gina 2

Sponsored by

With the assistance, as a technological partner, of


0A_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:12

P谩gina 3

From June 26 to October 13, 2008


0A_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:12

P谩gina 4


0A_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:12

Página 5

César Antonio Molina Sánchez Minister of Culture

Digital technology is bringing about a profound transformation in our kind of society. If all of the world’s computers had stopped working in the early 1960s, few would have noticed. At that time, the less than one thousand computers in existence were restricted to scientific and military areas. They were large, primitive and had limited capacity. However, if all the computers in the world stopped today, we can safely assume that the world would stop with them. Over recent decades, computers have infiltrated multiple aspects of our lives, from our communications and financial systems to our means of transportation and networks. Everything relies on them – especially the Internet, with nearly 1.4 billion users at present. Consequently, we are witnessing a progressive change in the kind of society, which is evolving from a model based on the exchange of industrial goods and services to a new type of technological society based on the exchange of information. This transformation is also apparent in the world of art and culture. In a few short decades we have seen the emergence of a new kind of creativity whose future we have only begun to glimpse. The exhibition Souls & Machines revolves around this new kind of art, created with digital tools, and it places particular emphasis on the most human and creative aspects of these new technologies. This focus is motivated by an awareness of the fact that the new tools are called to enhance our humanity rather than limit it, and that, when fascination with the new media begins to fade, we will pay less attention to technology and more to what it allows us to do. I would like to highlight the important effort of Bancaja, which offered further proof of its commitment to culture by generously sponsoring this exhibition, as well as congratulate all of the participating professionals and artists for the excellent work they have done.


0A_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:12

Página 6

José Luis Olivas Martínez Chairman of Bancaja

T his exhibition, which Bancaja is proud to sponsor, is an excellent showcase of the tremendous and often overlooked possibilities that are made available to art through a proper use of new technologies, the advances of experimental sciences and other resources related to the social life of our time. This use has been made possible by a profound and complex cultural change that took place in the last century, perhaps in the 1920s and 30s, when machines and their aesthetic energy and visual power began to be viewed in a different light. They went from merely utilitarian objects to being seen, in certain contexts, as elements with the ability to contain and transmit impressions of beauty. This exhibition presented by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, an irreplaceable protagonist in the dissemination of contemporary culture from Spain, features the work of diverse artists united by the fact that their work has exploited these possibilities and, based on each artist’s own unique creativity, has integrated them in a context of powerful artistic, technological and scientific content. In sponsoring Souls & Machines, Bancaja maintains its permanent support for projects that revitalise the visual arts, based on rigour and qualitative discernment. This is a fundamental part of our institution’s commitment to the society for which it works–the desire to serve it through culture, humanity’s highest form of expression and, coincidentally, its best path toward the future.


0A_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:12

Página 7

Manuel J. Borja-Villel Director of Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Ipersonal n the last thirty years, the impact of information technologies, communication networks and computers has affected every level of society, not only bringing about profound transformations in the fields of economics and politics but also in the realm of human relations. Artists have equally felt the repercussions of this phenomenon, being quick from the very outset to explore the meteoric development of these new media and their expressive potential. Initially, they investigated the aesthetic capacities of languages such as interaction and matters such as computer code, which challenged some of the basic principles of art and its institutions. Subsequently, they have increasingly focused their interest on the translation of the processes and phenomena that have developed as a direct consequence of the socialisation of these tools, and on the creation of mechanisms to facilitate participation and collective action. Above and beyond the numerous labels that have been used during this long period to define the fruitful activity that has emerged from the convergence of art, science, technology and society, the new media aspire to create a new type of dialogue between artists and other knowledge generators. This is an important chapter in a larger programme which, since the second half of the 20th century, has regarded the traditional distinctions between empirical and humanistic sciences as obsolete and destined to be replaced by a “third culture” capable of formulating a new type of paradigm. The exhibition Souls & Machines is the result of two years of research into the principal formal revolutions and conceptual preoccupations apparent today in the cultural space of the new media. Despite having been produced in this century, the projects featured are the result of extended periods of work by artists with consolidated and acclaimed reputations on the international art and technology scene. The exhibition includes seminal pieces from the last decade, which have never been shown in a single space, plus new works receiving their first viewing. Based on a variety of deeply inter-related disciplines, such as robotics, generative software, data visualisation and BioArt, the exhibition explores themes like control, the simulation of life and intelligence, the transformation of the concepts of identity, ownership and privacy in the connected era, and the representation of the complex structures underlying social and political processes. The new media also present numerous challenges for the exhibition space and museum language. I would like to express my gratitude for the huge efforts invested by all the teams involved in the project: the architecture studio PocA and the lighting studio La Invisible, the technical management staff at La Agencia, the various Museum departments, and, last but not least, the artists who have made this exhibition possible. Our thanks to all of them.


0A_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:12

P谩gina 8

in dex _


0A_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:12

Página 9

Curators_11 Montxo Algora, Souls & Machines_11 José Luis de Vicente, New Media and Old Institutions_17 Cultural and Historical Contextualisation_27 At—or Beyond—Fingertips: Contemporary Art, Exhibition Practices, and Tactility, Erkki Huhtamo_29 Syncretic Art and the Technology of Consciousness, Roy Ascott_37 Art and Reality in a Liminal World, Rebecca Allen_41 Whose Soul, What Machine?, Derrick de Kerckhove_44 The Medium of Response, Christiane Paul_47 Art, the Museum and the 2.0 Public, Roberta Bosco y Stefano Caldana_50 On Art, Science and Technology in the Network Society, Pau Alsina_53 Artists_58 Antoni Abad_60 David Byrne / David Hanson_78 Daniel Canogar_86 ´ c_92 Vuk Cosi´ Evru_100 Harun Farocki_114 Paul Friedlander_122 Pierre Huyghe_136 Theo Jansen_140 Natalie Jeremijenko / Ángel Borrego_152 Sachiko Kodama_170 Rafael Lozano-Hemmer_182 John Maeda_188 Chico MacMurtrie / Amorphic Robot Works_194 Antoni Muntadas_206 Daniel Rozin_212 Ben Rubin / Mark Hansen_222 List of works_232


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:18

P谩gina 10


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:18

Página 11

Souls & Machines Montxo Algora

ArtArt is like blood; it must flow constantly to maintain its strength. And when the media through which it is expressed do not expand, almost by art of magic, it finds new channels that take it to a higher level. Magic Flanders, mid-15th century. Bruges. An enormous megalopolis with over 45,000 inhabitants that has been reborn thanks to the wool trade. This is a historic moment. The appearance of a new technology—the printing press—will shake all of Europe. Private citizens will be able to store up knowledge and a new social class will emerge: an educated class, neither clergymen nor aristocrats, consisting of craftsmen and merchants. Jan Van Eyck and his brother Hubert, with the commercial patronage of the Duke of Burgundy, stumble upon a new glazing technique in oil paint. By mixing the new pigments directly with linseed and walnut oil, they achieve what tempera paint had never been able to do. The brush slides almost magically, generating glazes and colours never seen before. Jan paints a portrait of the Arnolfinis, a prosperous Italian merchant couple; ahead of his time, he signs the work like a true graffiti artist: “Johannes de Eyck fuit hic 1434.” Just above the mirror. Virtual spaces of two-dimensional perspective. Would the Italian Renaissance and the Spanish Golden Age have been the same without the creative genius of Leonardo and Velázquez? Undoubtedly no. Would they have been the same without the Van Eyck brothers, chance and the new technologies of the time? No again. In a few short decades, oil painting would spread like wildfire across the Old Continent. Chance Barcelona. January 1990. The multiple combinations of fate crash crazily into each other like neutrons escaping from the nucleus. Eighteen years ago, when we began that vague project called ArtFutura, the Internet as we now know it didn’t even exist. Tim Berners-Lee was still designing his World Wide Web and the scientific community who used the network barely outnumbered 100,000 people. A village.

< 2008 © ArtFutura


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:18

Página 12

Festivals like Ars Electronica and fairs like Siggraph created a new awareness in the art community and lead to the birth of festivals like ArtFutura, inspired by a new technology called Virtual Reality and guided by the ideas of a writer named William Gibson. William visited Barcelona several times with his entire family (nanny included) and dedicated more time to Gaudí’s work and the long nights at the “El Otro” bar than to his new book-inprogress, The Difference Engine. This alternative novel—co-written with Bruce Sterling—tells how the English scientist Charles Babbage could have realised his project for the Difference Engine (a prototype of a mechanical computer that was never built). Something that would have altered the course of history and launched the digital revolution over one hundred and twenty years earlier. The Digits London, summer 1940. The “Eagle Day” operation begins. The German Luftwaffe perpetrates a massive bombing raid on airfields in English territory. On 24 August—some say by mistake—several bombs fall in central London. Two days later, Churchill orders British airplanes to attack Berlin. The aerial reprisals against the civilian population begin. Terror is served. That same year, a British research group called Ultra created the first totally electronic computer with the participation of Alan Turing and based on the experiences of Babbage, Byron and Boole. The computer was dubbed “Robinson” and it was designed to decode the German messages generated by Enigma, a cutting-edge cipher machine. Three years later the same group developed the “Colossus,” which used electronic tubes and ran one thousand times faster than the “Robinson.” The German messages were completely deciphered. The machine would play a decisive role in determining the war’s outcome. Seven years pass and, in the middle of the Cold War, the first transistor appears. It is 1947 and the world is captivated by the popularity of a new medium—the television. However, it would not be until the 1970s that computers reached a new level with the advent of the microchip. Goodbye to tubes, goodbye transistors; from now on we will have a new magical element at our fingertips. In April 1976, Steve Jobs meets Stephen Wozniak and, in a garage in Los Altos, California, they found a company bearing the same name as the Beatles’ record label. Their first project, the Apple I, is considered the first fully equipped personal computer in history. Jobs and Wozniak market 200 units and they sell. One year later they present the Apple II, the machine that would change the world. They end up selling millions of units and putting technology in the hands of individual citizens, who are now able to store knowledge—and process it. Four years later, in 1981, IBM puts its own personal computer (PC) on the market. Over the next twelve years, personal computers would spread around the globe, exponentially multiply their processing speed and be put to a wide variety of uses. In the early 1990s, with the appearance of the World Wide Web, a new era is ushered in: in another twelve years, the number of Internet users would jump from one hundred thousand to 1.2 billion.

12


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:18

Página 13

The Net February 2007, the sun rises in Trancoso, Brazil. An old fishing village on the coast of Bahía. Unspoiled beaches, golden sands, mangrove swamps and palm trees as far as the eye can see. It is summer high season, right around when the tourists from Sao Paulo begin to invade their beaches. Beside the Quadrado—the square built by the Portuguese four hundred years earlier—is the local cybercafé, full of tourists eager to read their emails. Supposedly, they are on holiday—probably on the way to Praia dos Coqueiros—but the cybercafé is something more than a computer and a cable that breaks down regularly. It is a social space, where rent is discussed, friends say hello and people meet. From the offices-with-a-view of Wall Street skyscrapers to the narrow streets of Singapore’s Chinatown, from the nameless telephone booths in central Madrid to the tropical cybercafé of Trancoso, computer networks complete us and broaden our senses. They multiply us, nourish us and generate parallel lives. 1.4 billion human beings latched on to the udder of global knowledge and continuous chats. Machines that emit registers and emotions hitherto unknown to us. Emotions. Machines and emotions. Virtual spaces of three-dimensional perspective. The Machine Boston, 1984. Sherry Turkle, MIT professor, publishes The Second Self, a crucial work for understanding the power of computers and their influence in the new era: “The computer is a new mirror, the first psychological machine. Mirrors, literal and metaphorical, play an important part in human development. In literature, music, visual art or computer programming, they allow us to see ourselves from the outside, and to objectify aspects of ourselves we had perceived only from within.” The computer goes beyond the industrial machine. Its ability to process information and its ubiquity have made it a constant companion in practically every area of our lives. An industrial machine mechanically repeats the same function, but the computer’s virtual nature makes both its codes and its functions infinite. And the crucial element in the new technological discontinuity is our humanity. Without it, everything else would be meaningless. Computers do NOT think. They replicate thoughts. Computers do NOT feel. They replicate our emotions. They are, in effect, the psychological mirror in which we see ourselves reflected—mirrors where we play, where we feel, where we stretch our imagination, and also where we learn. Mirrors. And what about souls? Can they be replicated? The Soul Japan, 1760. In the monastery of Shoin-ji, on the slopes of Mount Fuji, Hakuin Ekaku writes a letter to his feudal lord (another terrible politician with a penchant for art). Between recommendations to treat the peasants of the Hara Valley with honesty and human decency, Hakuin writes: “The mind is heaven, the mind is hell and the mind has the ability to become one of them. People continue to think that they exist somewhere else, outside of them… But heaven and hell are not at the end of life, they are here and now.” 13


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:18

Página 14

Here and now. Hakuin developed his painting style in the final years of his life, after he had already turned sixty. He created over one thousand paintings and calligraphies in twenty-odd years in such a wide diversity of styles that it is often hard to believe they were made by the same person. Hakuin was famous for breaking out into fits of laughter during his enlightenment experiences. He once said, “Meditation in the midst of activity is a thousand times superior to meditation in stillness.” In other words, inspiration should come while you are working. This was well ahead of his time. No wonder he burst out laughing. Souls & Machines June 2008, Madrid. Museo Reina Sofía. The exhibition Souls & Machines attempts to explore the fact that, at the dawn of the 21st century, art and science are travelling parallel paths. And it achieves this through the work of a group of artists selected for their ability to combine art, philosophy, technology, creativity, mystery, emotion and beauty. All of them use digital technology as a tool in multiple ways: as a medium, as a developing element, as a research method or as springboard to new sensibilities. But their computers themselves do NOT create. And without the emotion and creativity of its authors, digital art is nothing. It would be like talking to a mirror. Sachiko, Paul, David, Theo, Rafael, Antoni, John, Evru, Pierre, Daniel, Vuk, Ben, Chico, Natalie... working from Tokyo, London, New York, Delft, Vancouver, Barcelona, Boston, Paris, Madrid, Ljubljana, San Francisco… they amaze me, they make me think, discover, ask questions, investigate, they make me feel, they move me… in a new way. Virtual spaces of infinite perspective. Here and now. Here It was Paris in the 1920s. New York in the sixties. The capitals of art also pick up and move with their luggage, their artists, their galleries and their museums. But how do Internet and digital technology affect the art world? At the beginning of the 21st century, the neurological centre of the new Cultureburg seems a bit confused. It is no longer necessary to walk the streets of Montmartre or the New York Soho to feel like an artist. We can’t even say that West Chelsea is the new global node. It isn’t. The centres and nodes have multiplied and are everywhere, from Shanghai to Berlin, from London to Tokyo, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Moscow… we are all here. What is more, the new global artist spends more time searching for inspiration online than visiting the studios of his competitors, riding the wave of chrome pixels instead of comparing palette knives. Could it be that the new capital of art is moving to the Internet? Where is the luggage? And Now In Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Wassily Kandinsky wrote, “Every work of art is the child of its age and mother of our emotions. In the same way that each time produces an art of its own which can’t be repeated.” Why is it that we need new stimuli to move us in a new way? 14


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:18

Página 15

The present constantly demands new ways of feeling, of asserting that we are alive. Virtual reality, Internet, social networks, synthetic images, artificial life… these are just the tip of the iceberg. The world we know will transform even more rapidly in the coming years. Our museums will be different, our art will be different, our ideas, our lives and our relationships will be different. It is the vital impulse that drives us to generate new forms and new experiences, to grasp reality in a broader, more real way. Because, at the end of the adventure, that is what we are: souls yearning for new experiences and new emotions. Here and now. And art? Where will art go from here? José Miguel Monzón, that other great philosopher of our century, once said, “Time is the perfect usher: It eventually puts everyone in his place.”

15


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:18

P谩gina 16


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:18

Página 17

New Media and Old Institutions José Luis de Vicente

Itandis impossible to address a project like Souls & Machines—an exhibition that brings key works figures of artistic creation related to new technology to the Museo Nacional Reina Sofía— without considering its specific context: namely, that of the relations between the art institution and a peripheral yet tremendously active field of production. Over the course of nearly four decades, these two elements have maintained a complex relationship, characterised by mutual incomprehension as well as necessity and investigation. The museum’s fascination and interest in approaching and assimilating the discourses and strategies that have emerged in the area of new media is no longer a novelty. This exhibition has arrived after a period of several years in which the major fairs, biennials and impressive new centres, driven by political motives, have made efforts to legitimise digital arts, with varying degrees of success. Their interest may be genuine, but their methods have failed to address and assimilate the crises and short-circuits that these arts produce, and they have not sought answers to or seriously considered the questions they pose. Some of these stances reveal that, in many cases, interest has not been accompanied by an understanding of its keys and basic principles. Despite their efforts, the assertion that art institutions can assimilate new media art in the same ways and with the same strategies that they have used with other artistic languages is debatable, to say the least. The cultural space occupied by the new media extends well beyond the boundaries of the art market and its institutions; they maintain a constant dialogue with fields such as science, technological research and business innovation, and it is impossible to conceive their existence without such ties. The economic model of digital creation, for example, has historically been that of an economy of services, based on activities requiring personal attendance (festivals, conferences) and education and production initiatives (workshops, research programmes, university posts). In this context, the transference of objects continues to play a marginal role. In addition, as much as all of the parties involved—artists, centres and gallerists alike—try to forget it, the specific characteristics of these languages threaten structural principles that are fundamental in the cultural context of contemporary art. It is difficult to apply the economy of artificial shortage to works that only exist as software, a medium in which concepts such as original, copy and series have


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:18

Página 18

no meaning. Other more objectual lines of work, such as interactive installations or robotics projects, pose another set of problems. Accustomed to having a relatively stable and predictable relationship with technology, it doesn’t usually occur to us that the projects created by artists who work with this medium are actually more like prototypes than products. The creators do not represent an industry, and they do not have industrial standardisation and intensive testing procedures. Thus, in many cases these pieces are fragile and very hard to maintain. Yet despite all this, and regardless of the inherent difficulties, it is undeniable that an increasing number of artists are looking to find a space for their work in galleries, collections and museums, attracted by the possibility of additional funding and the legitimacy they confer. The desire for history On the other side of the fence, in recent years the new media have undertaken the task of retracing their origins in order to assert their identity with their own genealogy. Defying the statement formulated by Lev Manovich—“contemporary art is too historical […] digital art has the opposite illness: it has no memory of its own history”—the last five years have witnessed the emergence of a historical awareness in the new media, which claim the existence of an independent tradition beyond their usual discourse, based on the criticism of the continuous present or the utopian projection toward tomorrow. This search has materialised in the birth of academic disciplines such as media archaeology, practised by individuals such as Erkki Huhtamo or Siegfried Zielinksi, the celebration of events such as the symposia series Refresh! and Replace, on the origins of media art, and exhibitions such as Feedback (one of the inaugural shows at the LABoral centre in Gijón), Automatic Update at the MoMA or the exhibits held at recent editions of the Berlin festival Transmediale. All of these developments represent attempts to draw an unbroken and logical line connecting 20th-century art movements and schools with the creative forms that emerged from the shock wave of information and communication technologies. Thus, academics and scholars interested in this discipline began to define a consensual genealogy for the first time that included past milestones such as the collaboration between artists of the New York avant-garde with Bell Laboratories engineers that took place under the name 9 Evenings in 1966, the exhibition Cybernetic Serendipity (1968) at the London ICA or, in Spain, the work of the Computing Centre at the Complutense University of Madrid, also in 1966. Numerous theoretical bridges have also been built between contemporary art and digital art in its multiple forms through paternity claims that link the strategies and modes of action of the new media to the work of artists as diverse as Oskar Fischlinger, Sol Lewitt, Moholy-Nagy and Muybridge, to name but a few. The second generation Based on these coordinates, Souls & Machines is not a historical exhibition that aims to create a linear, all-encompassing genealogy—something that would not only be impossible but also absurd in such a hybrid and interdisciplinary space of production. Yet, at the same time, the museum tempo requires a narration of the history of the transformations that underlie the practices of these artists, of the radical impulses that have motivated their work.

18


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:18

Página 19

The artists included in the exhibition are located at a very specific crossroad. In a way, they represent the second generation that has defined the boundaries of the medium discourse, those who have propelled it forward from its speculative beginnings and cemented the bases of its strategies and languages. Throughout their prolonged careers, these artists have developed their voice and, at the same time, the cultural territory they travelled. Their work is a testimony to the relevance and maturity of languages that are called to pave the way for the transformation of 20th-century art into 21st century art. Science as an aesthetic horizon The exhibition’s first point of departure could only be that of the relationships between art and science. The intellectual tradition that has worked since the mid-20th century to forge a new culture combining the empirical and the humanistic finds its natural continuation in practices in which the boundaries between aesthetic exploration and scientific investigation disappear. This is true of the work of Sachiko Kodama or Paul Friedlander. Kodama’s work is based on the study and manipulation of specific substances—ferrofluids—whose properties seem almost magical at first glance. Ferrofluids are liquids whose metallic content gives them magnetic properties, and they respond to the proximity of magnetised fields by vibrating and changing shape. A computer system is used to control the strength of these magnetic fields in order to precisely control the liquid’s response. Protrude, Flow, the project that earned her reputation and is presented in a new version at the Reina Sofía, uses this technique to create a liquid sculpture that changes constantly before the eyes of surprised spectators. In this installation, a plate containing a solution of water, oil and ferrofluids is placed between two large magnets. The liquid in the plate responds to the environmental sounds. The sounds made by visitors produce alterations in the magnets’ magnetic fields, which in turn cause the liquid to defy the laws of gravity and physics and rise up from the plate, forming three-dimensional shapes that mutate every second. Curiously, these images do not seem entirely strange to us. They remind us of the synthetic images generated by computers, with their shiny surfaces and ability to change volume and shape in a single second. This approximation to virtual aesthetics through the use of a physical substance we can see directly before us is one of the most intriguing aspects of this project. Paul Friedlander has spent more than two decades investigating all kinds of technologies and procedures with the goal of making light a malleable and flexible material that can take on any shape or volume. Friedlander’s “kinetic light sculptures” owe much to the work of other great names that preceded him in the field of light or kinetic art, from László Moholy-Nagy to Flavin or Turrell, using computer lighting control systems to enhance the impression of incorporeity and dynamism that his sculptures give. Although works like The Wave Equation or The Energy Core are not strictly holograms, what the observer discovers when standing before them are large incorporeal shapes in motion, suspended in mid-air, and when they spin around they give light a three-dimensionality we are unaccustomed to seeing in the proximate physical space. The names of Friedlander’s kinetic light sculptures often contain references to different aspects of modern science, from quantum physics to string theory. However, their aesthetic construction and the way observers take in his work are inevitably reminiscent of the spiritual 19


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:18

Página 20

and the magical. After all, the physical elements that comprise Friedlander’s sculptures remain veiled by the mystery of a basic yet impressive optical effect. Like many other artists who have pursued a career at the intersection of art, science and technology, Friedlander situates his work in a hybrid space. On the one hand, his works rely on the extensive tradition of kinetic art in the 20th century, which he does not hesitate to claim. Yet on the other hand, this British artist cannot separate his experience from the field of largescale stage lighting where his career began and which, in recent decades, has been a decisive factor in the progress of illumination technology. The visual legacy of the former and the procedures of the latter have allowed Friedlander to develop an instantly recognisable body of work. The work of Kodama and Friedlander is an example of how scientific research can expand the expressive vocabulary of present-day artists, allowing them to mould physical reality and create images that we once would have thought possible only in the realm of imagination and dreams. Interaction - The aesthetics of cybernetics While the convergence of the methodologies and discourses of art and science is one of the basic frames of reference for understanding the new media, in more concrete historical terms the most important conceptual leap was taken in the 1950s with Wiener’s formulation of the foundational theories of cybernetics and the study of complex systems, a revolution that led directly to the implantation of the computer as a “universal systems machine” at every economic, political, scientific and military level, and to the development of man-computer interface protocols. The criticism and study of the language of interaction largely dominated theoretical reflections on the new media throughout the 1990s. At its most basic level, the interaction between a person and a computer system consists of involving both in a shared dynamic process; however, few artists have examined this phenomenon as closely as Daniel Rozin. Over the course of his career, Rozin has developed physical systems that reduce the process of the interactive to its most basic elements: a user standing before a system that merely identifies, reproduces and reinterprets the movement of that user. Taking inspiration from genres such as portraits, and perpetuating the tradition of kinetic sculpture, Rozin creates pieces in which technology remains hidden to preserve the mystery and magic of an experience that seems impossible at first glance. Rozin develops sophisticated interactive installations that are able to change shape and respond to the presence of the spectator. In some of them, the spectator is actually the theme of the piece; in others, his active participation is required in order for the piece to make sense. The subject’s self-perception is the most commonly recurring theme in Rozin’s work, and it is most often formalised through the use of a mirror. The principles of interaction as manifested in Rozin’s work are in a way “reflected” in the exhibition in Palimpsesto, a new production by Daniel Canogar that seeks to identify the keys of 20


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:18

Página 21

this new “magic” with long-standing historical traditions. The work makes reference to the phantasmagoria of the 17th century, a proto-cinematographic show that used magic lanterns to create spectral figures. Palimpsesto consists of a sculptural screen made of burnt-out light bulbs. Points of light in motion are projected onto this screen and, at the moment an observer draws near, they come together and form the shape of his silhouette. When it falls on the light bulbs, the projector’s ray of light seems to make the burnt-out bulbs come alive again. The presence of the audience metaphorically gives them back their brilliance. As in the past, our modern-day digital phantoms continue to bewitch us. The architecture of the information society The effects of the legacy of cybernetics as an agent of transformation and the impact of computer technologies on society are other primary concerns that have been addressed by new media artists, who have striven to imagine ways of presenting the dilemmas and situations that these technologies generate to the public. In their projects, Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen have explored the creation of systems that visualise the underlying processes and dynamics of the Net society and have worked to reveal the architectures of information which, thanks to the omnipresence of computer code at every level of society, literally keep the world running. Their most famous piece, Listening Post (Golden Nica Ars Electronica 2004) is a device that gives voice to the “collective buzz” of the Internet, that immense conversation that millions of people are having at any given moment via e-mails, forums and blogs. The project compiles fragments of texts from chat rooms, forums and other web spaces in real time. The texts appear on a grid made of over two hundred small LED screens, while a voice synthesizer reads the fragments aloud. The system goes through six different stages, six “movements” in which the text and audio elements are arranged according to different principles. For Rubin, Listening Post is “a visual and sonic response to the content, magnitude and immediacy of virtual communication.” For the new media critic Lev Manovich, the predominant cultural form of the 21st century (the successor to the novel and the cinema as a vehicle that will serve to portray an era) will be the database. Generating and classifying these great masses of information has become one of the primary activities of science, economy and, after the web took off, civil society. Rubin and Hansen’s work is a fascinating call for a new language that will allow us to examine and interpret this data. Life While cybernetics involves the study of complex systems and their evolutionary dynamics, one of the systems remaining to be analysed that has offered new media artists the widest array of possibilities is that of Life. The mechanisms of biology, its observation and simulation and the search for its essence using diverse strategies have generated veritable “life form arts,” which range from the digital simulation of autonomous organisms (“artificial life”) begun in the early 1990s to forms of robotics and the ample series of experiments made in bioart, ge21


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:18

Página 22

netics and transgenics. This recurring preoccupation is reflected in the exhibition by the work of Amorphic Robot Works and Theo Jansen. For more than fifteen years, the New York collective Amorphic Robot Works founded by the New Mexican artist Chico McMurtrie has been creating animal and anthropomorphic robotic sculptures that are used in their installations and performances to express, through their movements, dilemmas and conflicts of the human condition. In the early years of his career, McMurtrie created mechanised humanoid sculptures that he controlled remotely by radio, inspired by the tradition of 19th-century automatons and incorporating special-effects techniques from the film industry, with the goal of creating a new kind of kinetic sculpture that incorporated dramatic elements thanks to its sequences of motion. Amorphic Robot Works drew progressively closer to digital technologies in order to give their creatures autonomy and the ability to make independent decisions. For McMurtrie, the primary consequence of being replaced by a computer in the process of bringing his creatures to life was shifting the emotional focus of his work from the artist to the public who, in their interaction with the piece, play a large part in determining its behaviour and therefore have a unique experience in every case. In The Tumbling Man, two different users attempt to control the same robot by means of electronic sensors. However, the participants do not know which one is controlling the robot’s arms or legs; this is decided by the computer, which obligates the participants to engage in a constant renegotiation of the situation. They are active elements in a process that forces them to become more than mere spectators. Skeletal Reflections is a featureless, skinless anthropomorphic robot that represents the essence of the human figure. Acting as a kind of mirror, the robot registers the gestures of visitors and, when interpreting them, adopts poses that have been canonised in art history as the greatest expressions of the beauty of the human body. In their latest productions, such as the piece created specifically for Souls & Machines, Amorphic Robot Works have embarked upon a new line of research, eliminating metal as the base material of their creations and developing new robots made of lightweight materials and inflatable structures that enhance the organic dimension of the conduct of their pieces. The long-term project Strandbeest by the Dutch engineer and artist Theo Jansen is one of the most significant contributions of the past two decades to the debate on the possible paths of convergence between art, science and technology. Jansen’s work, which has become famous around the world in the last three years, is important for understanding how the artistic practices that have emerged in the field of new media have repeatedly focused on studying and replicating biological processes in detail. Strandbeest occupies an intermediate space somewhere between advanced engineering, sustainable experimental design and kinetic sculpture, which explains the intense fascination it has generated in the most varied circles. Theo Jansen’s “Strandbeest” (beach beasts) are immense robotic creatures of organic physiognomy and structure whose movements convey a strong impression of life. From a distance, they could be mistaken for giant insects or skeletons of prehistoric mammoths, but they are made of materials of the industrial age: flexible plastic tubes, adhesive tape. They are conceived in a computer as algorithms, but they do not need engines, sensors or any kind of ad22


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:18

Página 23

vanced technology to come alive. They move thanks to the power of the wind and the wet sand found in their native habitat on the coast of Holland. Jansen’s creatures start out as a simulation inside a computer, in the shape of artificial life forms that compete with each other to see which is quicker. Jansen studies the winning creatures and rebuilds them in three dimensions with flexible, lightweight tubes, nylon string and adhesive tape. Those that move most efficiently will donate their “DNA” (the length and arrangement of the tubes that make up their moving parts) to the next generations of “Strandbeest.” Throughout this process of hybridisation and Darwinian evolution, the creatures become increasingly more capable of inhabiting their environment and can even make decisions to ensure their survival. For example, the “Animaris Sabulosa” sinks its nose into the sand to anchor itself if it detects that the wind is too strong to keep its footing. Postdigital The design process of the “strandbeest” is an example of how the processes and creative strategies that have emerged in the field of digital culture have an impact that goes beyond the screen and pixel and the fetishisation of high technology. Just as there is post-word processor literature, and just as Frank Gehry’s recent architecture would not have been possible before the invention of computer software for calculating structures, so Jansen’s work is the result of the repertoire of procedures developed by algorithmic and generative artists, despite the fact that it pertains to the field of kinetic sculpture and does not make direct use of digital technology. The man who coined the term PostDigital, the Japanese-American artist, designer and educator John Maeda, was one of the most important personages to explore the artistic and visual potential of the computer as a tool and of computer code as working material. From his position as founder of the fundamental Aesthetics and Computation Group of the MIT Media Lab (1996-2003), Maeda has promoted a humanistic approach to technology that reconsiders our relationship with the digital media, taking the emphasis off the intimidating complexity of the software and instead basing the principles of interaction between computer and user on simplicity and proximity. Maeda, more than any other artist before him, represents a figure that is clearly on the rise in the area of new media: that of the artist-programmer, whose career has been dedicated exclusively to the digital arena and who is also capable of expressing himself perfectly in the natural language of the medium, computer code. Thanks to his hybrid education (he obtained a degree in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a degree in fine arts from the University of Tsukuba in Japan), Maeda was one of the first to understand that, in order to explore the expressive possibilities of the digital media with complete autonomy and without limitations, he needed to be able to work without commercial software tools and technical assistants and dominate the necessary advanced programming languages in order to come up with his own aesthetic vision. Maeda made this idea the cornerstone of his teaching work at the MIT Media Lab. Maeda’s early work is characterised by the introduction of a poetic, humour-filled sensibility in digital pieces that, visually speaking, were clearly related to 20th-century pictorial movements 23


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:18

Página 24

such as Suprematism. One of his best-known works, The Reactive Square, clearly expresses his commitment to simplicity: a black square that alludes to the famous piece by Malevich dances and changes shape in response to the sound of our voice. The series Nature is a renewal of aesthetic vision through what has been called “post-digital,” an approximation to the dynamic spirit of Abstract Expressionism that incorporates organic elements and dynamics and a fascination with the processes of nature into the digital plane. From interaction to participation Throughout the 1990s, the most popular theory regarding contemporary art highlighted the role of art as a generator of interactions between visitors-users that went beyond the paradigm of contemplation, as in Nicolas Bourreaud’s famous Relational Aesthetics. Meanwhile, the digital community was experiencing a similar phenomenon enhanced by the success of the Web 2.0 label, which views the work of the digital designer basically as that of channelling spaces of participation that encourage collective creation. It is easy to link the two episodes using another of the formal solutions favoured by digital artists: that which views the work as a tool, which must be appropriated by the user-spectators in order to realise its full potential. A clear example is the work of Evru in the area of software. For his participation in Souls & Machines, Evru will propose the creation of a workshop space in which the visitors to the exhibition are the protagonists by making use of two creative software tools for painting and writing developed by the artist over the last decade. Tecura, one of the longest-running projects of Evru’s career, proposes using software as a vehicle for investigating the therapeutic abilities of the creative act. The software presents an alternative vision of the syntax of commercial drawing programmes, reinterpreted according to the keys of Evru’s aesthetic universe. For this new version of Tecura, the artist intends to give visitors the ability to operate on and digitally modify key works in the Reina Sofía collection. The area assigned to Evru in the hall is arranged like a real permanent workshop, where numerous computers with Tecura installations will invite visitors to generate works that will then be printed and will gradually take over the space. The hall monitors will help visitors to explore the tools and encourage them to take the initiative and, for a few minutes, cease to be mere spectators. The “architectures of participation” and the socialisation of the spaces and tools of the postdigital era are, in a way, the logical and inevitable conclusions to Souls & Machines, represented in the social networks generated by Antoni Abad in his work-in-progress zexe.net and in the environmental health clinic of Natalie Jeremijenko, an open resource centre that aims to offer specific solutions at the local level to the multiple problems caused by the climate crisis. Now that we have transcended—perhaps definitively—the construction of techno-utopias, the practices, languages and strategies grouped together under the imprecise label of “new media” are today, above all, a space of possibility and a directory of proposals for action.

24


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:18

P谩gina 25

notes 1

2

It is necessary to mention recent examples in our immediate context, such as the 2007 inauguration of the Centro de Arte y Creaci贸n Industrial LABoral in Gij贸n, or the upcoming Seville Art Biennial curated by Peter Weibel and dedicated exclusively to the ties between Art, Science and Technology. More information at www.mediaarthistory.org.

25


0B_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:18

P谩gina 26


0C_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetaci贸n 1

27/6/08

cultural

16:01

P谩gina 27

& historical

contextualisation_


0C_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:19

P谩gina 28


0C_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:19

Página 29

At—or Beyond—Fingertips: Contemporary Art, Exhibition Practices, and Tactility Erkki Huhtamo

Tsponse he museum institution as we know it emerged in the nineteenth century as a reto the challenge of “educating the masses.” This was also a disciplinary gesture: the new urban masses had to be “tamed” so that they would not revolt and overturn the existing order. Although the museum may not seem to have had anything to do with such institutions—also new—as spectator sports or the circus, parallels can be found. Participants were kept at one remove from the action. They were positioned as spectators rather than as (co)actors. At the stadium or in a circus tent, a paying audience observed a spectacle given by professional trained performers. The museum was somewhat different. While spectator sports and the circus may have been considered pure entertainment, the museum had an educational mission. The visitors had certain possibilities of negotiating the experience—deciding their routes, speeds, and what to watch. Instead of live performances, the museum offered pre-arranged exhibits with “cultural value” and “elevating potential”. Unlike earlier “curiosity cabinets” and other proto-museums that had only been visited by members of the upper classes who knew how to behave, and were thus even allowed to physically touch the objects, the new museums did not tolerate tactility. The objects were there for the eyes only. To make sure no misunderstandings would happen, objects were placed in display cases and paintings displayed in massive frames (segregating them from “real life”), increasingly behind protective glass. Even lightly touching a statue, as in earlier religious practices (kissing the foot of the statue of a saint, for example), was forbidden. Today’s art museums and exhibitions also face the challenge of the “masses.” However, these masses are different, having been educated in the “open universities” of global tourism, mass immigration and the omnipresent media culture. While the classical cinema and even television broadcasting still emphasize distanced and physically non-active forms of spectatorship, video game consoles, mobile phones, laptops, iPods and other “handy” electronic devices have familiarized millions to the “tactile dimension.” The borderline between public and private gets blurred, so do the distinctions between behavioral modes. It is becoming increasingly difficult to decide when touching is allowed, when forbidden. Touching can used as a deliberate “tactic” by the subject to negotiate one’s relationship with the “strategies” used by the exhibiting institution, to follow Michel de Certeau’s famous distinction.1 To make things more complicated, today’s art exhibition audiences are heterogeneous


0C_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:19

Página 30

and multicultural. Although the world may be turning into a global village, as Marshall McLuhan famously predicted, local habits persist. And as the writings by Edward T. Hall already demonstrated in the 1950s and 1960s, behavioral differences are not easily erased, particularly when they are defined along deeply rooted cultural and ideological lines.2 In today’s world, global phenomena like the ubiquitous use of mobile phones are mixed with local customs and practices in intricate ways. The tensions this creates can be inspiring, but they can also create anxiety. It could be argued that the art museum simply does not cope with the situation any longer without posting instructions, warnings and apologies on the walls. Too much is at stake; artworks damaged by a visitor’s seemingly innocuous touch is a museum director’s nightmare; being sued by an injured or insulted visitor may be even worse; scandals easily “echo” in the media, damaging the institution’s reputation. But is everything correct when notices begin to accumulate to such an extent that they start competing with the artworks themselves for attention? In the United States, in particular, this is often the case. At the most recent Whitney Biennial (2006) there were no interactive works on display, and numerous guards were standing in the halls “pre-empting” even the possibility of misguided behaviour. Still, the works on display had been provided with detailed explanations about their subject matter and their social, philosophical and cultural significance. One might expect these issues to be something the visitor him/herself should decipher from the work; of course, theoretically one can still enjoy the works without reading the descriptions. Unfortunately, many of the works on display at the Whitney Museum were so introverted or blunt that they only seemed to reveal their “depths” through the metalanguage of the notices, probably written by the curators acting as “secondary creators.” While there was little to persuade the visitors to touch, there were many reasons for bewilderment. Bewilderment could be a source of discovery and learning as well, but it may also lead to coldness and indifference. Slippages Most contemporary art museums and exhibitions identify themselves as “touchfree” zones, although slippages have begun to take place. A good example of this was Game On, an exhibition on video games shown at London’s Barbican Gallery (Barbican Centre), The Helsinki City Art Museum and elsewhere (2002-03). The majority of the exhibits consisted of commercially released video games, flanked by a few game-inspired interactive artworks, such as Thomson & Craighead’s Trigger Happy (1999). While the youthful audience wholeheartedly enjoyed playing classic arcade games like Space Invaders (without having to add coins in the slot), the artworks were nearly ignored by them. Compared to the games, they probably seemed dull, over-theoretical and alien. Indeed, their main raison d’être in this context may have been to convince sceptics that games do inspire artists, they are culture, and that the exhibition therefore belonged in the art gallery. Exhibitions like Game On can be justified by the need for the art institutions to “keep abreast of times”, but in an era of shrinking public support it would be naive to ignore the economic interests underlying such endeavors. Profit, and in some cases survival, has motivated prestigious institutions like the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia to 30


0C_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:19

Página 31

move most of their priceless historical exhibits into the storage. They have been replaced by interactive hands-on exhibits that provide easy-to-digest family-oriented entertainment in the guise of education. The way some art museums are occasionally trying to attract new visitors is not all that different. The uncertainties about touching or not touching an artwork also arise from the “nature” of contemporary art itself. The academic art of the nineteenth century was self-evidently “untouchable”—even raising the issue would have been absurd. The idea of aesthetic experience itself was associated with “keeping the distance”. Early twentieth century avant-garde art began calling for the destruction of the barrier separating “art” from “life”. Although “classic” works of the avant-garde, such as Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel (1913), Man Ray’s Object to Be Destroyed (1923-32), and Meret Oppenheim’s Breakfast in Fur/Fur Teacup (1936) only implied the act of touching, tactile art was called for by the Futurists and anticipated by dadaist and surrealist actions, as well as by the experimental exhibition designs of Frederick Kiesler and others.3 The Happenings of the 1960s, and actions, such as Valie Export’s Tapp und Tast Kino (1968) and Action Pants: Genital Panic (1969), as well as the early works of Marina Abramovic, Orlan and others, were signposts along the route toward a more tactile relationship between the visitor, the work, and in some cases the artist-performer his/herself. In contemporary exhibitions, as well, one encounters works that encourage visitors to adopt an active, physical stance. A case in point, at the Venice Biennale 2005 the Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander presented at the Arsenale a piece enigmatically titled […], (2004). The visitors were encouraged to type messages with old mechanical typewriters and post them on the walls. What made the work engaging was a clever little detail: the letter keys only produced dots. This led many visitors to use the machines to produce random abstract forms. Many, however, went further. To compose messages or representational images (in the style of “ascii art”) with the “prepared” typewriters, one needed planning and drafting, which often led to interaction between visitors. Some of the results were impressive and surprising. Although most of the other works were not-to-be-touched, Neuenschwander managed to communicate the tactile nature of her work without posting instructions. This is not always the case—confusions occur, as I discovered at an exhibition called Ecstasy: In and About Altered States shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles (2005-06).4 While the exhibition contained no explicitly tactile works, it provided ample evidence about the issues raised by the desire to touch and the forces trying to control or contain it. Significantly, issues like temptation, resistance and submission were at the core of the exhibition itself, which dealt with the artists’ interpretations and uses of “altered states” (including druginduced ones). Carsten Höller’s Upside-Down Mushroom Room (2000), a brightly lit room with gigantic red fly-agaric mushrooms hanging from the ceiling, upside down and rotating slowly, is a good example. It took a real effort to “navigate” through the room without, accidentally or intentionally, touching their deceptively “real-looking” surfaces. This was, of course, intentional: one was supposed to be traversing a space of hallucinations and secret temptations. Ironically, “real life” in31


0C_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:19

Página 32

terfered not just by means of a notice prohibiting touching (placed at the entrance), but also in the form of a guard permanently positioned inside the installation space. Confusions are unintentionally raised by exhibition design and institutional policies. A note taped next to a 16mm EIKI projector which used to project a film by Paul Sietsema, Untitled (Beautiful Place)(1998): “This is not an Interactive Piece. Please do not play with the Projector.” Because the film was only shown at certain times and there was no guard permanently standing in the room, the temptation to switch on the projector or just to play with the knobs may have been irresistible for some visitors—they could not really have thought that the old projector was there to be operated by the visitor, or could they? Works that explicitly invite the visitor to enter into a tactile relationship are still relatively rare in the mainstream of contemporary art. An Internet search for the words “tactile art” produces mostly results that refer to something specific: aesthetic experiences for the blind. There are exhibitions and even museums of tactile art, usually offering “touchable” replicas of well-known sculptures or embossed, relief-like versions of famous paintings. The sense of touch is meant as an Ersatz to the missing visual channel. While it can be argued that a faithful replica of Rodin’s The Thinker could indeed give some kind of an idea of the artwork itself (sculpture itself can be seen as potentially tactile, although this possibility is negated by institutional restrictions), tactile translations of paintings and other two-dimensional images are more problematic. A relief-like copy of Duchamp’s The Nude Descending a Staircase may transmit some idea of its representational content to experienced hands, but other levels are lost. There are, however, artworks meant both for the visually impaired and for people with normal sight. The Japanese artist Takayuki Mitsushima, whose works were recently shown at the Touch, Art! exhibition at the Kawagoe Art Museum in Japan, was weak-sighted at birth and lost his sight completely by the age of ten.5 His collages use delicate paper cuttings to create relief-like surfaces that appeal both to blind visitors and those with normal sight. The artist also uses color, resorting to the visual memories from his childhood. Mitsushima took part in Tactile Renga (1998-), a collaborative networked painting project he created with media artists Toshihiro Anzai and Rieko Nakamura. As part of the project, new kind of printer and plotter technology was developed for the creation of embossed images.6 Tactility in Interactivity The quest for tactile experiences in the art world “proper” makes one think of interactive media art that appeared in the 1970s and has been evolving ever since.7 An interactive artwork, often an installation based on the creative application of digital technology, requires the user’s physical (inter)action. The work then responds in some way, and a “conversation” with the user develops across an “interface.” This is, of course, a very rudimentary definition, a generalization that hardly accounts for the richness and variety of the artists’ approaches. Although interactive artworks are occasionally shown at major art museums and international exhibitions like the Documenta and the Venice Biennale, their status as a recognized genre of contemporary art is far from being firmly established. This has to do with 32


0C_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:19

Página 33

several factors, including persisting prejudices toward bringing high technology to the art museum. This issue has been discussed since the 1960s, often in negative terms, and never fully resolved.8 However, in the contemporary context it may be less the resistance to technology per se that counts than more practical questions. Interactive art requires maintenance, expertise and funds that many museums are unable/unwilling to provide. Another issue has to do with the confusions discussed above. Including interactive artworks in exhibitions that mostly contain non-interactive and non-tactile works may seem a call for trouble, potentially adding to the workload of the curatorial and surveillance personel. Concerns like these often prove futile; the work runs without “crashing,” and the audience knows how to behave. It is the “if factor” that bothers the institution. Not all interactive artworks are “tactile,” at least if the concept is understood to imply a physical contact between the visitor and the work. The interaction often happens remotely (without a physical contact), via a video camera, infrared or motion sensors, etc. However, works that are actually touched may not always qualify as “tactile” either. A mouse, trackball, touch screen or some other interface device often merely has an intermediary role. Touching is not important as such; it is the outcome that matters. Still, the tactile experience of “feeling” the interface can be an integral part of the significance of the work.9 This is often the case in the interactive installations by Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau. In their early Interactive Plant Growing (1993) the user caresses actual living plants. The data produced by this encounter triggers digital growth processes; a constantly transforming virtual garden appears on the screen. The interplay of nature and culture, the biological and the digital, is at the heart of the work, and materialized at the user’s fingertips. Similarly, feeling the water in a pool seemingly inhabited by evolving creatures is central to A-Volve (1994). More recently, NanoScape (2002) uses powerful magnetic forces to “tactilize” invisible nano-level phenomena. The user wears a ring-like device; by moving one’s hand above a special table one feels the forces without actually touching the surface. Mobile Feelings (2001-) explores wireless communication between two participants by using Bluetooth-technology and advanced micro-sensors. Wireless pulsating objects held in the hand allow the users feel each other’s heartbeats. While the first versions were hidden inside actual pumpkins (an organic interface evoking the plants in Interactive Plant Growing), the later egg-shaped objects evoked more directly the human heart.10 Mobile Feelings raises the issue of tactility over a distance, an idea that has been explored in very different ways in projects like Kit Galloway’s and Sherrie Rabinowitz’s telematic art workshops (1980s), Paul Sermon’s Telematic Dreaming (1992), Stahl Stenslie’s and Kirk Woolford’s CyberSM (1993) and the MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group’s inTouch (1997-98). Works like these raise interesting questions concerning the definition and range of tactility as well as the modalities of the sensory experience in general. How does physical touching differ from “telematic” remote touching? Is a physical interface—such as the pumpkin-objects in Mobile Feelings or the synchronized wooden ‘massage rollers’ in inTouch—always needed to transmit a tactile sensation? Does tactile art aim at the “purification” 33


0C_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:19

Página 34

and segmentation of the sensorium by separating touch from the other sensory channels, or, rather, to their synthetic integration? Can a tactile work also serve the interchangeability of the senses, or the simulation of other senses? In other words, can visual or auditive cues represent the sense of touch, and vice versa? Answering these complicated questions falls outside the scope of this article. That telematic communication indeed can transmit and represent tactile sensations has been claimed by media pioneers like Marshall McLuhan (for him, the “touch” of electricity was the clue) and Roy Ascott, whose volume of collected writings even bears a metaphorical tactile title, Telematic Embrace.11 The Consequences of Erasure Will tactile art conquer and transform the art world, like daily communication with tactile interfaces is conquering the increasingly mediated world at large? There are reasons to be sceptical. Art museums are profoundly conservative institutions, mainly because of their multiple dependencies on wealthy sponsors and trustees, the commercial art market, the civic authorities and the mainstream values of the bourgeois society. Although they take occasional risks, these never go beyond precalculated boundaries, except by accident (public apologies provided). Tactile art does not fit easily into a system, where artworks are evaluated by their monetary value (defined by auction houses and collectors), their longevity and their “untouchability.” Tactility necessarily implies an intervention by a “dirty” hand, a potential disseminator of viral agents. The art institution must be instantly ready to spray desinfectant to neutralize the potential harm it does. Of course, tactile and interactive works will certainly be seen in the museums and exhibitions from time to time, but within strictly defined confines, as tokens of the “progressiveness” of the institution. The future of the mainstream art world will, however, belong to works that are observed from a distance, secured by guards and beeping signals. In this sense, all the manifestoes of the avant-garde about removing the barrier separating art and life seem to have had little effect. But of course, there are other, alternative venues for displaying non-conformist art, including the Internet. Networking will potentially enhance its visibility; a “niche” is no longer what it used to be. Of course, one might also ask, whether maintaining the integrity of the notion of Art as something separate from design and popular culture makes sense anymore. Japanese media artists, device artists and neo-pop artists have already drawn this conclusion. It was easy, because the Japanese never had a clear distinction between “art” and “applied art” in the first place. The numerous museum exhibitions of Impressionism and other Western –isms one can experience in Japan are based on imported, not indigeneous, aesthetic values. It may not be a coincidence that interactive art has become very popular among Japanese young artists. Their clever and imaginative creations often recall games and gaming, but with a difference. Exchanging and merging influences is extremely important, but perhaps it would not be wise to efface the difference altogether. This is why one of the most visible and popular exhibitions of interactive art so far, the Play Zone which was part of the Millenium Done, London (2000), may have

34


0C_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:19

Página 35

done the genre a disservice. The artworks were arranged side by side as essentially an alternative game arcade, which was reflected in the comments. According to one, “the Play Zone has a variety of family oriented games that delight most children.”12 The interactive artworks by noted artists like Toshio Iwai and Paul Sermon had been stripped off any claims for being art and were simply defined as games, family fun.13 As this is the case, it is not surprising that such works have been seen in mainstream art museums only sporadically and have had little or no impact on the art market. Should we regret—or rejoice? biography Erkki Huhtamo is a media archaeologist, writer, and exhibition curator. He was born in Helsinki, Finland and works as Professor of Media History and Theory at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Department of Design | Media Arts. He has published extensively on media archaeology and media arts, lectured worldwide, created television programs and curated media art exhibitions. His resent research has dealt with topics like peep media, the pre-history of the screen, the archaeology of mobile media and panoramic imaging. He is currently finishing a book about the 19th century moving panorama (University of California Press), and editing a collection of writings on media archaeology with Jussi Parikka.

notes 1

2 3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, Trans. Steven Rendall, Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984, xix. See, for example, Hall’s The Hidden Dimension, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1966. For more, see my “Twin-Touch-Test-Redux: Media Archaeological Approach to Art, Interactivity, and Tactility”, in MediaArtHistories, edited by Oliver Grau, Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 2006, pp.71-101. For a more detailed “exhibition anthropological” reading of this exhibition, see my “’This is not an Interactive Piece’: Freedom, Control and Confusion in an Art Gallery”, Framework. The Finnish Art Review, Issue 5 (July 06), pp.110-113. Touch, Art!, Kawagoe Art Museum, 7.1 – 26.3.2006. I visited the exhibition on the opening day. It featured works by six Japanese contemporary artists. While some of the works were genuinely tactile (meant to be touched), touching certain works was forbidden. The exhibition thus shared the problematic relationship to touching often encountered in contemporary art exhibitions. For more information about this ambitious project, see http://www.renga.com/tactile/ (link last checked Feb.13, 2006). For more, see my articles “Seeking Deeper Contact. Interactive Art as Metacommentary”, Convergence, Vol.1, N:o 2 (Autumn 1995), pp. 81-104 (University of Luton & John Libbey, U.K.), and “Trouble at the Interface, or the Identity Crisis of Interactive Art”, Framework: The Finnish Art Review, 2/2004, pp.38-41. An interesting self-critical review of the early events is Jack Burnham’s “Art and Technology: The Panacea That Failed”, Video Culture: A Critical Investigation. Ed. John Hanhardt, New York: Peregrine Smith Books, 1986, 232-248. Two very different examples: in Bernie Lubell’s Cheek to Cheek (1999) the interactor sits on a specially built wobbly wooden stool; the gyrations of one’s bottom part are transmitted through pneumatic tubes to one’s cheeks, leading to an uncanny “autoerotic” experience. Lubell’s amazing installations show that it is possible to create interactive art without resorting to any digital technology (see http://blubell.home.att.net/text.htm). Wolker Morawe’s and Tilman Reiff’s Painstation (2001-) is a kind of arcade game machine for two players that punishes them by whipping their hands. A more advanced version is under development. Being fully playable the work raises interesting questions about the borderline between media art and gaming (see www.painstation.de). The idea behind Mobile Feelings can also be read as a topos going back all the way to early the seventeenth century proposals for intimate (wireless!) distant communication by means of magnetism. Interestingly, the interface object itself reminds one of Constantin Brancusi’s Sculpture for the Blind (Philadelphia Museum of Art). Another work that measures the visitor heartbeat is Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Pulse Room, shown at the Mexican Pavillion, Venice Biennale 2007. The visitor holds handles for a moment, after which his pulse is transferred to a network of electric lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling.

35


0C_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

11 12

13

36

26/6/08

16:19

Página 36

Roy Ascott, Telematic Embrace, Ed. Edward A. Shanken, Berkeley: California University Press, 2003. Tom Buerkle, “After All the Hype, It’s a Disappointment: A Peek at the Millenium Done,” International Herald Tribune, Jan.28, 2000 (online at “http://www.iht.com/articles/2000/01/28/trdome.t.php). According to the website of a company called Electrosonic, the Play Zone has “fifteen separate interactive games, several of them making use of Electrosonic ESLINX show control equipment”. (online at http://www.electrosonic.com/view_profile.asp?id=178) The demo-DVD “Projects” by Land Design (2003), the company that designed the Play Zone, does not even mention the names of the artists in the Play Zone demonstration, giving the impression that the works by the artists were designed by Land Design itself.


0D_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:21

Página 37

Syncretic Art and the Technology of Consciousness Roy Ascott

Iinteraction. n the late 20th century, the formative issues in digital media art were about connectivity and In this century, our post-digital objectives will increasingly be technoetic and syncretic. Formerly, there was much ado about e pluribus unum (out of many, one)—a unified culture, unified self, unified mind, unity of time and space. Now the reverse applies: ex uno plures (out of one, many)—many selves, many presences, many locations, many levels of consciousness. The many realities we inhabit—material, virtual, and spiritual, for example—are accompanied by our sense of being present simultaneously in many worlds: physical presence in ecospace, apparitional presence in spiritual space, telepresence in cyberspace, and vibrational presence in nanospace. Second Life is the rehearsal room for future scenarios in which we will endlessly re-invent our many selves. As artists, we deal with the complexities of media that are at once immaterial and moist, numinous and grounded; and the complexity of the technoetic mind that both inhabits the body and is distributed across time and space. Where all these differences could be at odds with each other, we are in fact developing a capacity, to syncretise: to analogise and reconcile contradictions, while melding differences, such that art and reality are becoming syncretic. What today we build in the immateriality of cyberspace will tomorrow be realised concretely with nano technology. Our syncretic reality will emerge partly through the cultural coherence that intensive interconnectivity elicits, partly through the nano and quantum coherence at the base of our world-building, and partly through the spiritual coherence that informs the field of our multi-layered consciousness. As a society, as much as we exercise our everyday awareness, we fear consciousness; we avoid exploring it, we deny its deepest dimensions, and we refute its universal connectivity and collectivity. We know nothing of where it is located, how it arises, of what it is constituted. There is a sense amongst some scientists that they dare not challenge the folk theory of mind as an epiphenomenon of the brain. Too much would be at stake if the Newtonian applecart were to be overturned. Think of the denial amongst physicists of the metaphysical implications of quantum mechanics. Think of the doctrinaire rigidity of those whose fundamentalist materialism credits the brain with the creation of consciousness, rather than investigating the brain as an organ of access to fields of consciousness. Think also of those innumerable first person reports in all cultures at all times of psychic perception in all its forms, that have been routinely rejected out of hand by mainstream science.


0D_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:21

Página 38

However, it is an astrophysicist, Attila Grandpierre, who most usefully provides a description of consciousness with the application of field theory, arguing that “the organisation of an organism involves fields, which are the only means to make a simultaneous tuning of the different subsystems of the organism-as-a-whole. Fields with their ability to comprehend the whole organism are the natural basis of a global interaction between organisms and of collective consciousness . . . ”. He offers a quantum-physical model of a multi-layered consciousness, Direct, immediate action at a distance actually exists in the electromagnetic field, which is the coupling, mediator field between waves and particles. The environmental, natural and cosmic fields are determinative sources of our consciousness. “The collective field of consciousness is a significant physical factor of the biosphere”. However, in many cases, field theories are pushed to the margins of scientific respectability. The new organicism of May Wan Ho, the biophotonic research of Fritz-Albert Popp, the holonomic brain theory of Karl Pribram, the implicate order of David Bohm , are distanced by the scientific establishment. And Donna Haraway, even amongst the cognoscenti of media art, is recognized more for her Cyborg Manifesto than for her much earlier Crystals, Fabrics, and Fields: Metaphors of Organicism in Twentieth-Century Developmental Biology. Of considerable significance to the evolving ontology of new media art is the major shift in research focus of Tom Ray that moves from Artificial Life to mind science. It is a research that plays a radical part in the emergence of moistmedia—the convergence of dry computational technologies and wet biological systems, since its concern is with the re-evaluation of psychedelics, and by extension, the pharmacology of plants, in the understanding of mind states, and of consciousness at large. Ray, initially famous amongst new media artists and computer scientists for the creation of Tierra (1991) is now engaged in providing the first comprehensive view of how pharmacological compounds interact with the human receptome. [He wants] “to get to know the pharmacology of the attractors . . . .to begin to map the chemical organization of the human mind”. The digital moment in art has passed, it has been absorbed into practice, and assimilated by theory, A pharmacological moment is upon us, within cognitive science and beyond its orthodox borders. In the evolving technoetic culture, living in altered states of consciousness will become more frequently the norm, just as living in multiple states of body informs our living today—both in Second life scenarios and the syncretic reality of contemporary being. In our the syncretic, moistmedia, telematic culture, we are engaged in re-inventing ourselves, creating new social networks, new orders of time and space. Technoetics leads to serial selves, serial relationships, serial self-invention. Human nature, unconstrained, is essentially syncretic. Just as cybernetics analogises differences between systems, so syncretism finds likeness between unlike things. If cybernetics underlies the technology of new media art, syncretism informs the psyche. Syncretic thinking breaches boundaries and subvert protocols. Hypermedia is its telematic correlate. In religious or spiritual contexts, syncretism can mean combining from diverse sources epistemologies, rituals, psychic instruments, psychotropic plants and herbs, into new forms of sacred communion.

38


0D_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:21

Página 39

In contemporary society, syncretism may involve combining technologies that are interactive and digital, reactive and mechanical, psychoactive and chemical, and new rituals of contemporary social networks that are mobile, locative, and online, together with a creative sensibility towards the practices of older cultures that have habitually been seen as alien, exotic and in many cases proscribed. Digital art is dangerously approaching the status of orthodoxy; the period of extreme speculation, invention and untrammelled creativity is in danger of giving way to academicism and commercialisation, The real revolution in the new digital technology (which will be even more radical with the evolving nanotechnology) lies not so much that of global connectivity—person to person, mind to mind—that releases us from the constraints of time and place (great as that is), but its power to provide for the release of the self, release from the self, the fictive “unified self” that psycho-analysts and therapists relentlessly promote. No! We are multiple, made up of many selves, with access to many layers of consciousness. Rather than needing to go deep into ones self, we need to reach out to the many selves that our innate creativity craves. The revolution in consciousness lies in our ability to be many selves, to be telematically in many places at the same time, our digital and post-biological selfcreation leading to many personas, many aspects of what we each can be. In short, the 21st century self is generative. This is of course the appeal of Second Life, as it is to the many narratives and games of generative identity, shape-shifting, and transformative personality that new media art has created. We find the earliest and most prescient exemplars of the multiple self in the heteronyms of Fernando Pessoa, each with his own individual history, appearance, emotional register, philosophy, and style of writing. Were Pessoa to be active today, they would probably be Second Life personae. As John Gray has pointed out, “Fernando Pessoa invented at least 72 fictive identities. These jostling aliases express his belief that the individual subject—the core of European thought—is an illusion.” Therein lies Pessoa’s significance today. He well understood the notion of the distributed self, that we are each many selves. Pessoa left a trunk containing over 25,000 items: poems, letters, journals—writings on philosophy, sociology, history, literary criticism, plays, treatises on astrology, observations on the occult, esoterica of many kinds—written by dozens of heteronyms. Pessoa’s psychological and literary prescience, and the breadth and complexity of his interests, anticipated life in our hypertextual world of the Web, where the fluidity of associative links and genres, and the instability, variability and transformation of identities and personas is one of its greatest appeals and challenges. We can only imagine what his (dis)embodied syncretism might have brought to the telematic embrace. Through his exploration of consciousness, he developed occult skills and paranormal powers, including spiritualist mediumship, telepathy, and especially his development of “etheric vision”. The challenge to our syncretic model of thought and action in the context of creativity is to untie the Newtonian knot that binds our perception, and seek always to put subject before object, process before system, behaviour before form, intuition before reason, mind before matter.. A truly technoetic and syncretic art will embrace concepts of biophysics: coherence, macroscopic quantum states, long-range interactions, non-linearity, self-organization and selfregulation, communication networks, field models, interconnectedness, non-locality, and the inclusion of consciousness.

39


0D_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:21

P谩gina 40

biography Roy Ascott is the founder and President of the Planetary Collegium, the Director of its CAiiA-Hub, and Professor of Technoetic Art in the University of Plymouth, England. He is also Visiting Professor in Design|Media Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Honorary Professor of Thames Valley University, London. He was Vice-President and Dean of San Francisco Art Institute, California; Professor of Communications Theory, University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria; Professor and Chair of Fine Art, Minneapolis College of Art & Design; and President of Ontario College of Art, Toronto. Ascott has shown at the Venice Biennale, Electra Paris, Ars Electronica Linz, V2 Holland, Milan Triennale, Biennale do Mercosul, Brazil. His research is in art and the technology of consciousness. He is the founding editor of Technoetic Arts, and is on the boards of Leonardo. LEA,and Digital Creativity. He has advised new media centers and festivals in many parts of Europe, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, and the USA, as well as the CEC and UNESCO, and convenes the annual international Consciousness Reframed conferences. See: Ascott, R. Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art Technology and Consciousness. Berkeley: University of California Press (2003).

40


0E_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:22

P谩gina 41

Art and Reality in a Liminal World Rebecca Allen

Developments in the arts and sciences of the 20th century exposed society to radically new and different perspectives of reality. Scientists redefined the underlying basic elements of existence, profoundly changing our understanding of time, space and matter. Artists broke away from the objective world and traditional forms of representational imagery, exploring abstract concepts through abstract imagery. As the inventions of the industrial revolution permeated everyday life, machines took on a lifelike presence brought on by their sophisticated actions and articulated movements. Artists began to examine the power of the machine, not only as a new tool for art making but as a topic for art. The growing role of machinery played on the ancient belief that inanimate objects could come to life and even overpower humanity, and artists explored the fears and fantasies that this notion invoked. By the middle of the 20th century the Information Age was taking over as we moved from the physicality of the machine towards virtual data that lacked physicality but could be rendered into powerful forms. At the same time the very physicality of art was starting to be questioned. The Conceptual Art movement of the 1960s, for instance, emphasized the importance of the idea or concept over the physical manifestation of an artwork. Such artistic directions aligned with the science of the Information Age; one that relied on the complex interaction of ideas broken down into algorithms, data and electricity. Though these procedures were invisible they began to represent a more powerful force than the animated mechanics of the machine age. The computer was a machine but it appeared to be much more of a thinking machine. The fact that it achieved its results in a way that could not be physically observed only made it more mysterious and at times, more frightening. The emergence of fields such as Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life added to the sense of a machine with a soul, capable of defining its own destiny and perhaps ours as well. Virtual Reality As computers became more pervasive, the machine was considered to be not only a separate spirit but an extension of the human mind and body; one that we increasingly depended on to exist in our modern world. It became a crucial part of our reality and a necessary component as we navigated through the complexity of our


0E_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:22

Página 42

modern lives. And as the machine inhabited our physical world, we were interested in inhabiting the synthetic, virtual world of the machine. By the early 1990s, “virtual reality” was a common term and a place that many wanted to experience. Art has long been concerned with creating alternative worlds that immerse their viewers and carry them to another place. With digital technology the artist began to create virtual environments that were animated, three dimensional and interactive. Those who entered virtual worlds were represented as “avatars”, computer generated forms composed of nothing but data. Avartars could encounter and interact with artificial life, the inhabitants of the virtual world that were brought to life through programs that defined their behaviors and desires. Artificial life could more closely imitate the behavior of living systems and convey the sense of a synthetic creature that was alive and thinking—a virtual machine with a soul. But at the same time the role of the human body and human soul was being questioned. When immersed in virtual worlds, the physical body was not needed and sometimes referred to in a condescending way as “meat” and the physical world as “meat space”. Some artists suggested that the human soul was not locked in the human body but was free to wander in virtual space without the constraints of the physical world. Mixed Reality By the start of the 21st century artists were reconsidering the relationship between physical reality and virtual reality, based again on advances in technology. Fuelled by the rapid growth of networked digital technology and the parallel growth in mobile computing, there was an increasing interest in techniques that combined real and virtual environments to create mixed realities. Between the extremes of physical reality and virtual reality lies the spectrum of mixed reality. Unlike virtual reality that replaces the physical world, mixed reality strives to blend computer generated virtual objects and characters with the real world. Artists began to experiment in mixed reality, creating works that blurred the boundaries between physical reality and virtual reality, between biological life and artificial life. They, once again, questioned our fundamental understanding of reality through new forms of creative experience. Liminal Art In our current life, mobile devices such as cell phones and PDAs provide ways to access information and communicate remotely while still engaged in the physical reality around us. As interfaces improve, it will seem natural to move in and out of cyberspace as we go about our daily lives. Portable digital devices allow us to interact in the physical world while coexisting in other places, both real and virtual. Through technology we can immerse ourselves in virtual environments, mingling with simulacra and disembodied entities. We can live parallel lives in virtual worlds, taking on multiple personas with no link to our physical bodies. But it’s not necessary to ignore or exclude our bodies and our physical surroundings in order to participate in a virtual existence. We can coexist in a liminal world.

42


0E_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:22

Página 43

Liminal refers to that which occupies both sides of a boundary or threshold. The postmodern age has brought a new level of discourse about simulation and the constructed nature of reality and self. As we view ourselves as decentralized, multiple selves there is an increasing awareness that we exist in a liminal world. People are becoming more familiar with the notion of a distributed presence—a distributed self that exists in many worlds and plays many roles at the same time. Emerging digital technology allows us to distribute our presence and interact with others over multiple channels. It also presents us with increasingly sophisticated representations of artificial life that come with their own sense of presence and that can’t be ignored. At this point in our human history our relationship with machines—with technology—is deeply entwined with our humanity and with nature. Artists who explore the technology of our time have the ability to form a technoculture which humanizes technology even while maintaining a critical stance towards it. Artists will continue to play a key role in defining the new aesthetics that will allow us to comfortably straddle the virtual and the real. These artworks will explore modern interpretations of physicality and virtuality, nature and illusion, the body and the mind, and how our changing perception of reality affects our understanding of human identity. biography Rebecca Allen is an internationally recognized artist, designer and researcher inspired by the potential of advanced technology, the aesthetics of motion and the study of behavior. Over the past three decades, Allen’s work has defined new forms of art and technology. Her interactive art installations, short films, large-scale performance works and digital media research have received strong recognition from the diverse worlds of fine art, performing arts, media entertainment and technology research. Rebecca has collaborated with artists such as Kraftwerk, Mark Mothersbough from Devo, John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel, Carter Burwell, Twyla Tharp, Joffrey Ballet and La Fura dels Baus. Her artwork is part of the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum in New York and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Awards include an Emmy award in Design. Rebecca holds a professorship at the UCLA Department of Design | Media Arts and was the founding chair. She is one of the inventors of the awardwinning One Laptop per Child XO laptop, which was designed for the education of underserved schoolchildren.

43


0F_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:24

Página 44

Whose Soul, What Machine? Derrick de Kerckhove

Itrends n its selection, the exhibit of Souls & Machines brings out and assembles complementary that have evolved over more than a decade and a half in electronic art. Mechanical sculptors such as Chico MacMurtrie, Theo Janssen or Sachiko Kodama have dedicated that time to explain to the public that the machine is beautiful. Both Janssen and MacMurtrie are flirting with the pneumatic to reveal the grace of the mechanic. That the machine would eventually be exposed as an art form was a predictable consequence of the effect of the electronic environment that has trapped the mechanical one within itself. Hybrids from the cinematographer to the quantum computer spawn the history of the conquest of the machine by electricity. New technologies create new environments that turn the previous environment into an art form. Thus YouTube is television turned into an art form by Internet. Thus spoke Marshall McLuhan, pointing to Sputnik, that, by circling the planet had obsolesced nature and turned the Earth itself into an art form. Ecology is one way to interpret this oracle, but art too tells us today that we are global. The relational architectures of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer evidence a long elaboration, leading from the local to the global and back. Alzado Vertical is one of the world’s most important artistic experiences precisely because it spanned, contained and involved the whole world at a critical point in its human history. Likewise, The Listening Post is a place where we can connect with the whole world, at least via the evocation of what the poet W.B. Yeats called “the emotion of multitude”. As Lozano-Hemmer, Ben Rubin is a “global artist”, that is someone who probes and animates a sensibility at the scale of the planet. I would add many artists in that rising category, among whom, certainly, Maurice Benayoun whose work, Frozen Feelings, uses Google trends to scan the emotional content of news from 3200 cities of the Earth. At the opposite end of the scale, there is the reflection of the self. Electronic painters, such as Daniel Rozin or John Maeda probe the plastic values of screens and of interactivity to bring out human values as did the painters of old on canvasses, the difference being that the new canvass is alive. The use of screens as a kind of kaleidoscopic electronic hall of mirrors has a long tradition with many representatives including, Monika Fleischmann and Wolfgang Strauss, Christian Moller, John Campbell, Marie-Helene Tramus, David Rokeby, and others. Each type of mirror reflects different aspects of the user’s personality as it ties in with the environment presented. In that sense, Trash Mirror is not flattering. Rozin digs into the human condition—and the human comedy—at deep levels with an impeccable esthetic rigor.

44


0F_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:24

Página 45

So where is the soul in all this? Is it still located somewhere in our body or mind now that both body and mind are being exported into networks at dizzying speed? Or does it henceforth also lie out there in our machines? Actually machines probably do have souls, but only as extensions of our own, and animated by our own. That being said there could also be some sort of independent core at the heart of machines. If the soul of the mechanical age is the principle of the lever, that of the electronic age is the tag. The tag is the soul of the Internet and is now the principle of operation of all data processing. The hyperindividuality of each tag, combined with its hyperconnectivity creates a condition of interdependence and mutual recognition of each element of information in the way the cells of our bodies are intensely individual, yet in touch with each other in instant communication of pleasure, pain or other more discreet sensing modalities. The tag is hence the core interface between hardware and software. One is tempted to say that synaptic addresses in the central nervous system are a similar interface between body and soul or spirit or mind, that is, if the jump is not too large for safe landing. Even as we morph images with our fingers on our I-phones or fool around with our avatars in Second Life, new cognitive technologies mimic the flexibility of the imaginative mind. The relationships our minds entertain with their screens are getting more intimate. The screen becomes the ever stronger interface between cognition and action, taking ever firmer control of action. In the future we will morph the contents of our screens by thought alone. About the title of the exhibit we could ask: what is the relationship between the soul and the machine? The story of Pinocchio presents a precedent for this question. The purpose of the mechanical puppet is to become human, that is, to acquire the characteristics of flesh and organicity. To achieve this, besides having to learn to behave in a civilized manner, namely not to make false promises, Pinocchio must spend time in the stomach of a whale where the transmutation of wood to flesh will be accomplished. The metaphor of the womb can now be extended to the digital matrix that is explored and animated by the artists selected for the exhibition. The new question then is: do we turn human or post-human under the domination of electricity? “All too human” might answer Trash Mirror. But with the Listening Post, Ben Rubin is exploring a dimension that is post-human perhaps, that of the personal impersonality of real-time, real-life, anonymous multitudinous human communication on line. Or perhaps, the very concept of human, past, present or post is simply too narrow to encompass our experience of being, that of being commensurate with the planet merely by carrying a cellular phone. In such conditions, what are some of the new features of art on the horizon? Apart from the global and transcultural quality of all art in networks, a character that is new, another novelty is in the distribution method of the artistic emotion which I call homeopathic. In the digital circuits of tagged communication the work of art reaches its targets faster and more surely. Artists such as those featured the exhibit, each one in their own way, are producing kind of new emotions that can be easily transmitted mouth-to-blog and blog-to-eye. Interactivity ought to be perceived for what it is, that is an extension of touch. Esthetically the message of interactivity is to allow us to reconnect with our body. We learn to recover the “point-of-being” that westerners, primarily, lost to the point-of-view. Mirroring their contemporaries and defining the nature and variety of their private and public emotions, Renaissance artists proposed to reaffirm the singularity of their users identity. The point-of-view detached 45


0F_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:24

Página 46

and isolated the spectator from the theatre of the world. By comparison, the point-of-being is a felt sensation that throws the spectator back into the world, or brushes the world onto the spectator, who then becomes an actor. There is a great opportunity for present and future artists to take heed of the new esthetic dimension of “secondary tactility”, that is, digitally simulated and extended tactile experiences. The point-of-being doesn’t take a point-of-view. The feeling has no surface and is totally surrounding within and without the person. It has no definite limit, nothing to stop its reach as it is extended by intuition and media. In the near future ecology and art will officially join forces. Interactive, global, digital or plain old art may be the soul of that machine. biography Derrick de Kerckhove is Director of the McLuhan Program in Culture & Technology at the University of Toronto and Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University Federico II in Naples. He has obtained too many degrees and written too many books to list in a 200 words bio and is still writing some more. The unfinished ones interest him more than the previous ones not only because they still live in him, but largely because he is not writing them all by himself. Five new collaborative books are in preparation for publication during the fall of 2008, L’uomo letterato (translated by Antonio Caronia), Le psicotecnologie (Uninettuno, with Maria Amata Garito) and The Point-of-being (with Edith Ackermann, Isabelle Choiniere, Maria Luisa Malerba, Antonio Mirabella, Cristina Miranda, Semi Ryu and Loretta Secchi). Still in progress, there is The Era of the Tag, with Matteo Ciasterllardi and Andrea Cruciani, and almost completed is The Objective Imaginary with Vincenzo Susca. He is also frequently involved with curating art exhibits and conventions, lately in Rome at the Academia delli belli arti (Il grande muro di stelle by Piero Fantastichini, November 2007) and in Sophia Antipolis, Le Festival de la 4e dimension (June 2006).

46


0G_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:25

Página 47

The Medium of Response Christiane Paul

Walso e are incredibly attuned to the idea that the sole purpose of our technology is to solve problems. It creates concepts and philosophy. We must more fully explore these aspects of our inventions, because the next generation of technology will speak to us, understand us, and perceive our behavior. It will enter every home and office and intercede between us and much of the information and experience we receive. The design of such intimate technology is an aesthetic issue as much as a engineering one. We must recognize this if we are to understand and choose what we become as a result of what we have made. Myron W. Krueger, Responsive Environments1

It was 1977 when Myron W. Krueger, one of the pioneers of computer-driven responsive environments pointed to the aesthetic concerns of human-machine interaction and made the assertion that “response is the medium.” More than 30 years later, the aesthetics of response and interaction in exchanges between humans and their “intimate technology”, which have been explored by many artworks for decades, still remain largely underrecognized in the art world at large. While art institutions have begun to pay attention to technology-based, responsive artworks, exhibitions such as Souls & Machines remain an exception within the more traditional art museum. Artists have been using digital technologies and their inherent characteristics as a medium for the creation of art at least since the 1960s, shaping the history of what is now referred to as “new media art”. Digital new media art has multiple histories and connects to other non-technological art forms throughout the 20th century that explored ideas of responsiveness to instructions, input, or the environment. Among these historical predecessors are the instruction-based art of Dada and Fluxus, which often used natural language (instead of algorithms and code) to construct a work; the conceptual art of the 1960s and 70s, which explored ideas of the art work as open system and the dematerialization of the art object; or Kinetic Art And Op Art, which employed motion, light, optics, and interaction for the creation of abstract moving images. The development of taxonomies for new media art has been a much-discussed topic and an elusive goal. Nevertheless there are certain characteristics of the digital medium that are commonly used to classify the art. Among these are its participatory, responsive, and performative features; its potential to be modular, variable, generative, and customizable; and its process-oriented character that potentially allows the art to be computed and constructed in real time. The interactive, respon-


0G_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:25

Página 48

sive and generative nature of new media, in particular—which allows machine environments to “speak to us, understand us, and perceive our behavior”—has led to perceived fusions of man and machine or projections of human qualities onto machines, be it in a utopian or dystopian context. From scientific and pop-cultural speculations about machines with souls to the cyborgian fusion of organism and machine, the idea of machines with human capacities has been endlessly fascinating to philosophy, art, literature, science and science fiction throughout the centuries. While Souls & Machines does not aim to be a survey of new media art or the history of responsive art and human-machine interaction, the complex relationships between humans/machines and organic/digital systems seem to be one underlying narrative of the exhibition. At the core of these relationships are concepts of response and interaction—the latter being a term that has become almost meaningless due to its inflationary use for numerous levels of exchange. The models of interaction that form the basis of exchanges between humans and computers widely differ in conceptual and technological sophistication. A significant portion of interactive art can be summed up under the label of reactive art where the participant’s body is turned into an instrument (as Krueger would put it) whose movements and actions affect the environment. Input such as changing light levels, temperature, or sounds are also often used to trigger responses from a computerized environment. Yet another form of interaction is supported by technologized tools and “instruments” that the audience “plays” in order to elicit response. In many other works, interaction is based on enabling the audience to explore “databases” of preconfigured materials through seemingly infinite combinations. Yet another model is system interaction where elements of software systems themselves interact with each other (with or without audience) input. Considering the potential of the digital medium, there are still relatively few works that create open systems by allowing users a sophisticated reconfiguration or rewriting of the system itself or by relying on networked communication processes in challenging ways. The works in Souls & Machines use a range of approaches to interaction and response, commenting on relationships between humans and technology, the organic and the digital. While Ben Rubin’s and Mark Hansen’s Listening Post is not interactive in its physical manifestation, it displays response by filtering people’s contributions to public forums on the Internet according to semantic “movements” and “broadcasting” them across a grid of a multitude of small electronic screens. The interaction unfolds on the network rather than in the gallery environment. The textual representation of human response in Listening Post finds its counterpoint in the visual representation of Danny Rozin’s mechanical mirrors, which construct the image of the person standing in front of them in various materialities—from “trash” to laminated prints that mimic a hand-woven basket. As works of responsive art that use the body as instrument, Rozin’s mirrors explicitly play with the tension between the digital and analog/physical. The woven portraits of Weave Mirror, in particular, connect to the history of computing by referencing the famous textile loom invented in 1801 by Joseph Marie Jacquard. A predecessor of early computing machines, the Jacquard loom was the first machine to use punched cards and its inventor supposedly used it not only for weaving not only abstract patterns but also a portrait. The tension between the organic and the machine becomes most pronounced in the works of the group Amorphic Robot Works whose inflatable structures abandon the emblema48


0G_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:25

Página 49

tic metal skeleton of the robot and make use of inflatable fabric structures of “bones” and “muscles” to suggest a seemingly organic system that grows and generates itself. The idea of generative natural forms also surfaces in Sachiko Kodama and Minako Takeno’s Protrude, Flow, which transforms magnetic fluid into 3D organic patterns through sounds made by visitors or the environment itself. Protrude, Flow updates the concept of projects such as David Durlach’s Dancing Trees II (1975), which also used magnetic forces for the construction of a choreographed “landscape.” Together, the works in the exhibition highlight a variety of topics and approaches that have contributed to shaping the history of new media art throughout the decades. Most importantly, these works explore aesthetic issues that transcend the challenges of engineering, asking questions about the cultural impact of the technologies we create. biography Christiane Paul is the Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the director of Intelligent Agent, a service organization dedicated to digital art. She has written extensively on new media arts and her book Digital Art (part of the World of Art Series by Thames & Hudson, UK) was published in July 2003. She teaches in the MFA computer arts department at the School of Visual Arts in New York, the Digital+Media Department of the Rhode Island School of Design, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the University of California at Berkeley. She has lectured internationally on art and technology. At the Whitney Museum, she curated the shows Profiling (2007) and Data Dynamics (2001); the net art selection for the 2002 Whitney Biennial; the online exhibition CODeDOC (2002) for artport, the Whitney Museum’s online portal to Internet art for which she is responsible; as well as Follow Through by Scott Paterson and Jennifer Crowe (2005). Other curatorial work includes Feedback (Laboral Center for Art and Industrial Creation, Gijon, Asturias, Spain, 2007); Second Natures (Eli & Edythe Broad Art Center, UCLA, LA, 2006); the blackbox at ARCO art fair, Madrid (2006); The Passage of Mirage (Chelsea Art Museum, New York, 2004); Evident Traces (Ciberarts Festival Bilbao, 2004); eVolution—the art of living systems (Art Interactive, Boston, 2004); CODeDOC II (Ars Electronica, 2003); the New York Digital Salon’s 10th anniversary exhibition (NYC, 2003); Mapping Transitions at the University of Boulder, Colorado (2002); Re-Media (Fotofest, Houston, Texas, 2002); and a net art selection for Evo1 (Gallery L, Moscow, October 2001).

notes 1

Myron W. Krueger, “Responsive Environments,” original publication in AFIPS 46 National Computing Conference Proceedings, 423-33 (Montvale, NJ: AFIPS Press, 1977).

49


0H_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:25

Página 50

Art, the Museum and the 2.0 Public Roberta Bosco and Stefano Caldana

Ity.t never ceases to amaze us how quickly the term Web 2.0 has spread throughout our socieThis is not a criticism of the farsighted term coined by Tim O’Reilly, but a commentary on the speed with which the Internet was able to assimilate several tools and concepts which have provided an exceptional field of experimentation for artists associated with the digital medium for more than 10 years. In 2004, Tim O’Reilly realised that the Internet had changed. Web pages were no longer closed boxes but open containers in which the public— no longer just spectators but users—could directly interact. In defining the Web 2.0 concept, O’Reilly immortalised, as if in a photograph, a very specific moment in information technology when the Internet we knew had changed and—borrowing a videogame term—had reached a whole new level. This Internet trend gave rise to a scenario based on collective intelligence. Users, who have now become active participants, create and share their contents without any mediation beyond the necessary technological tools. Blogs, wikis and an incalculable number of social networks used to exchange photos, videos and freeware are just a few of the resources regularly available to Internet users. New digital tools are no longer just commercial products owned by companies who control all rights and functional features; rather, they make use of the collective intelligence of their users. Some examples are the Google Maps interfaces which have become omnipresent on every websites from hotels to private forums, because anyone can use them freely and without charge to map their own interests. Bookmarks, also called Favorites, are no longer saved on the browser tab but are stored on the Internet in enormous databases, waiting for someone else to use and comment on them. Web 2.0 is open and pluralistic, taking into account the wishes, needs and opinions of users, who often succumb to voyeurism and flirtation using social tools that allow them to exhibit their photos and broadcast their video exploits around the globe. We need only think of companies such as YouTube, which came out of nowhere and, thanks to user participation, have become media powerhouses and real headaches, even for television. Web 2.0 has also changed the way in which information is accessed. Dictionaries and encyclopaedias collect dust on library shelves while a mass of data can be simultaneously called up, crosschecked and compared on the Internet in a way that would otherwise require an enormous research effort. Encyclopaedias are no longer purchased but written, using tools that allow anyone to participate in the gathering, modification and distribution of contents as a result of collective action


0H_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:25

Página 51

which, even if it is fallible (requiring greater analysis and discrimination), has the enormous advantage of a plurality of perspectives. The functional integration of the resources we can handle in front of a computer is such that it represents a point of no return in knowledge management. But what happened prior to 2004, before O’Reilly coined the auspicious expression Web 2.0? There had already been a decade of experiments with digital art and “net.art.” During those 10 years, artists continued working with the paradigms of collaboration, participation and interaction, among others. We like to think that the leading media artists, breaking through barriers and pushing the limits of artistic practice, left their mark on the development of the Internet. The most prestigious artistic platforms began to show signs of change. After granting the last award in 2004, the pioneering Berlin Transmediale Festival discontinued the Software Art category, considering it obsolete, while the Ars Electronica Prix introduced the Digital Communities award in the same year. Jodi, who were software art pioneers that experimented by modifying the codes of well-known commercial video games, had already consolidated a practice based on works for the Internet in the mid-1990s which forced the audience to abandon its passive stance in front of the computer screen. Their unexpected and unusual use of digital tools, their capacity to exploit system failures and computer errors as a creative resource, and their original and formal aesthetic approach, materialised in works that established an antagonistic relationship with the user, who was obliged to respond and retake control of a device that had been momentarily taken over by an aggressive remote power. Up until the late 1990s, net.art emerged as a challenge issued by a generation of artists who grew up with new technologies and, emboldened by intangible works far removed from any paradigm associated with their potential commercialisation, this new concept allowed them to question the concept of a work of art and denounce the conservative and lazy attitude of the art world toward the new media. Collaboration, participation and interaction became the key words of projects which were very different from the sterile aesthetic exercises and traditional structure of web pages, which required the presence of the user as an unavoidable condition—a true deus ex machina for works that often only existed thanks to user intervention. From the cyber hacktivism of Ricardo Domínguez to the social critique of Antoni Muntadas, and from the social networks of Antoni Abad to the open-source interfaces of Andy Deck, net artists plotted and paved the road to Web 2.0. The turning point came on the eve of the new millennium when all of Mexico City glowed with the Vectorial Elevation light sculptures of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, a work that allows net surfers around the world to control giant robotic searchlights to create light sculptures in the sky which could be viewed by their creators wherever they were through a combination of webcams. Vectorial Elevation, a combination of virtual art and intervention in a public space, marked a change in direction for digital productions and attracted new interest on the part of cultural managers and planners. The artists were pioneers in proposing an alternative to the static and functional webs of the big commercial sites, opening up a space for real participation, interaction and creation. But 51


0H_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:25

Página 52

has the art world managed to respond to this innovation? Is there a 2.0 museum? There is no doubt that reaching beyond the limits of the computer screen, adding installation and objective elements has benefited net.art and paved the way on international circuits for a new generation of artists, who use new technologies without inhibitions or limits, combining them or hybridising them with all of the tools at their disposal. Digital works may have found a place in museums and exhibits alongside other works in the initial period as they were marginalised to the ghetto of anachronistic ad hoc categories, but these new creative trends require institutions to be endowed with the spaces, tools and appropriate professionals to negotiate the needs of an artistic scene which does not respond to traditional paradigms. Without citing some more or less disgraceful examples, Spanish museums are governed by a nineteenth-century structure which has remained completely impervious to technological changes, even as it makes efforts to stay on the cutting edge of social changes. Without going into the issues and problems associated with the need to exhibit, collect and conserve digital works, the web pages of museums adequately reflect the difficulty they have in adapting to change. The only function they have is to display information—in a more or less integrated and efficient way—about museum activities. Far from converting their websites into platforms for creation, experimentation and research, museums have not even begun to take advantage of the collective participation tools now used by any commercial page aimed at a broad public. It seems incredible, especially for museums located in peripheral areas, that they do not free themselves from audience enslavement with an active presence on the net which would allow them to really globalise their programmes and reach unimaginable segments of the public. It is no longer enough for them to resolve their relationship with the “2.0 artists” and their works—all classified under the imprecise blanket category of multimedia. There is now another, more urgent question for them to address: Are museums prepared to inform, educate and entertain the “2.0 public”? biography Roberta Bosco is a journalist specialized in contemporary art and new media. Stefano Caldana is a journalist specialized in digital culture. They both write about art and digital culture for CiberP@is, the supplement of El País devoted to new technologies, and other sections of the journal. Besides several conferences, presentations of artists, debates and evaluation committees, they have written for catalogues that deal with the development of digital art and contemporary artistic expressions. Among other projects, they have curated Conexión remota, a selection of net.art pieces for the exhibition Antagonismos. Casos de estudio in the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona as well as the exhibitions Digital Jam and Web as Canvas during the Art Futura Festival. They are also the authors of Arte.red, a subjective navigatable history of creation on the Internet (http://www.arte-red.net).

52


0I_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

30/6/08

12:43

Página 53

On Art, Science and Technology in the Network Society Pau Alsina

Playing with a string of syllogisms, we could begin by stating that all digital art is electronic art, but not all electronic art is digital art. Only some practices of electronic art are digital art, given that digital technology incorporates electronic technology, but the opposite is not true. In the same way, all robotic art can be mechanical, electromechanical or digital. Some might add that certain kinds of robotic art could even be biotechnological or nanotechnological, which in turn could be biomechanical or nanomechanical but not necessarily electronic or digital, for example. All new media art is logically media art, not the other way around. Some media art is electronic, but only new media art is digital and therefore also electronic. But is there any non-electronic media art? The term “media” here refers to the media of communication and consequently to their different communication technologies as well. And it is true that there are non-electronic communication technologies, such as regular post. Therefore, not all media art is electronic art. And so, one by one, we could go on separating and identifying the interrelations between an infinite number of categories that have enabled us over the course of history to place and classify different artistic practices according to the materiality, techniques and technologies on which they are predicated—a common practice in the context of art history. Terms such as fax art, radio art, mail art, video art, satellite art, algorithmic art, net art, computer art, a-life art, locative media art, software art, bio art, nano art, etc., weave a rich, irregular tapestry of categories that, more or less ephemerally, categorises the different practices in the framework of interconnected sciences and technologies on which their materiality is based. But do all these taxonomic categories exist? In any case, we could affirm that they do not pre-exist, and that it is we who bring them into existence by categorising practices according to one variable or another—variables that in many cases are not mutually exclusive but rather casually overlap—or even by generating tailor-made categorisations by artistic practice that actually annuls the supposed functionality of categorisations. What purpose do so many categorisations serve? Better yet, whom do they serve? The strategic place occupied by the production of the new within the context of art and culture is a key reference.1 However, that production of the new is not necessarily equivalent to the birth of an innovation within a specific context. The critical archaeology of what is presented as new often allows us to identify elements of the old that are in the new, and elements of the new to be found in the old.2


0I_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:26

Página 54

Some have called all of this technological art, although it is still unclear whether art that does not involve some kind of technology or at least technique, even when based on a conceptual process, even exists. Is all art technological? Can there be a non-technological art? And while we are at it, we must also ask to what degree does the material base of artistic practices serve as their defining axis? Wouldn’t it be more suggestive to base relevance on what the artistic practice aims to achieve instead of on the material foundation on which it is based? This brings to us an interesting turning point, which we will explore below. Firstly, we should point out that the artistic forms such as the aforementioned have developed within a context framework defined by the growing importance of science and technology as co-articulators of ways of viewing reality and of living in our society. We say co-articulators because, beyond resorting to scientific-technological determinisms that independently shape the socio-cultural context, it is possible to conceive a true coproduction between technology and society where the technological is socially constructed to the same degree that the social is technologically configured.3 The fact that our contexts of interaction that sustain the social are made up of artefacts, symbols, data or places underscores the active role of material culture in the configuration of reality. The emphasis on materiality in culture does not prevent symbolic structures from being considered additional defining agents of that reality. The fact that the media are equipped with a technological materiality and at the same time create a framework of discourse is an expression of that dual link between material foundation and symbolic structure.4 The complex interrelation between science and technology testifies to this as the way in which theoretical discourse and material practices intertwine becomes indiscernible, constituting what has come to be known as the framework of current Technoscience. 5 New instruments open the door to new theories mediated by those instruments. New theories make new instruments possible, which in turn will make new challenges possible. Technology and science feed off each other in interaction with society, where artistic practices often pursue the goal of specifying those latent implicits that must be made visible inasmuch as they can tell us something or a great deal about the world and life. Every historical formation sees and does all it can according to its conditions of visibility, just as it says all it can according to its conditions of enunciation.6 In the same way, the artistic practices that use science and technology in connection with society—those that, for instance, use a specific technology as a starting point—exemplify and specify the degree to which that technology as a physical artefact has always gone hand in hand with that technology as a discursive formation. At this point, perhaps is it more useful to speak not of a categorisation that classifies practices according to their technological basis, but rather of the discourses associated with the imaginary, of these technosciences and their appropriation and transformation by the artistic practices that use them as discursive bases for criticism—or inspiration—as well as the material foundation on which to base their experimentation and development.7

54


0I_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:26

Página 55

We are referring to the historical framework that surrounds a group of artistic practices which either pertain to one of the countless taxonomic categories that are defined according to their technological material base or are on the fringe of these categories, at the intersection of the scientific and technological disciplines. Consequently, we are speaking of the interrelation between art, science, technology and society8 as vectors of innovation, accelerated by the mass incursion of information and communication technologies into many of the spheres of human existence. Therefore, we could examine how, at a historic moment, the mathematics of complexity, nonEuclidian geometries and the impact of the theory of relativity and the way they redefine the notion of space and time are being explored by the artistic practices related to mathematics9 and physics.10 They are also investigating experimentations with electricity, as well as all the advances brought to us by electronics and the consequent malleability of acoustic or visual signals in equipment like televisions and video machines.11 Or, with regard to the interrelations between art and telecommunications, we can trace a path that takes us from the origins of artistic experimentation with the telegraph, the radio, the telephone and the first electronic distance communication apparatuses to the use of satellites and the Internet network to communicate, generate and distribute artistic practices.12 Perhaps we could also observe the expressive possibilities of the localised media—in other words, the geographic information systems associated with global positioning systems.13 All of this would serve to explore the possibilities of communications and connectivity, as well as collective14 and participative creation as a key element of this articulation in many cases,15 evolving from the centralisation of communications to the idea of distributed networks, the predominant role of the network theory and the way in which they are organised to create structures such as the scale-free network that defines the hierarchy of the Internet.16 With regard to the interrelations between art and computer science, we can focus on the premises that determine the development of computers—like a kind of ontology—and examine the artistic practices that come close to the ideal imaginary of the achievement of a computational mind—that is, the simulation of the mind’s various attributes using different computer technologies. In this way we can trace a path that starts with virtual reality technologies as spaces where reality can be audiovisually simulated in immersive environments,17 where modern videogames represent the massive adapted popularisation of these technologies.18 In the same way, it is especially important to consider the calculation power of computers, the calculability present in software and programming, as key elements of this specific dynamism of digital art. From algorithms to new programming languages, we can trace a path through some of the artistic practices that reflect intensely on the social aspect of software and take the expressive possibilities of said software and programming to a whole new level 19—and, once more, the utopia/dystopia of creating an artificial mind through the development of artificial intelligence, where artistic practices question the preconceived boundaries.20 In relation to calculability, we can explore the development of artificial life techniques through computational models, the idea of the emergence of complex behaviours in which the ideal of the fusion of art and life is materialised via the generation of behaviours that are similar to 55


0I_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:26

Página 56

what we consider life. It is this unsuspected outcome inherent to the emergence of life that seeks an art developed from both organic and inorganic materials but which simulates the properties of the living in both emergence and complexity.21 These are properties that throughout history have inspired dreams of creating a mechanical body, the construction of a being in man’s likeness using technical means such as robotics. Robotics leads us to consider the way in which the body/mind relationship is present in our society through its artefacts. Thus, through the artistic practices that focus on the body as a field of action, and simultaneously through the intensive use of robotic technologies where the body’s own boundaries are questioned via the “incarnated relations” with technology itself, there appear new constructions of the body understood as both a localized, active and perceptive body and, at the same time, as a body infused with the cultural meanings it experiences22—from fantasies associated with the creation of human-machine hybrids to ideals associated with what later became known as Post-Humanism, working critically on the fantasies and fears associated with such technologies in popular culture.23 Of the many other intersections we could mention here, one of the most noteworthy is that which refers to the relationship between art and biology, primarily through the imaginary of the transformation or modification of nature and specifically through the human fascination with creating monsters or materialising chimeras. Today we can find a growing number of artists who use plants, cells, genes and other biological materials as the medium for their creation, while others make use of eco-installations in the environment or alterations in the landscape to remind us of the importance of the world around us.24 In fact, since ancient times, animal and plant breeders have been the great genetic manipulators who designed new breeds of dogs or more resistant and beautiful roses that are easier to sell. Today these genetic manipulators have new tools and new research at their disposal and can alter the genes directly. But by dispossessing life sciences of their pragmatic function and recontextualising them in their aesthetic form, we are treading the thin line between nature and art. In the same way, we help to elaborate a critical discourse on the configuration of the real and the developments of science and technology. We find ourselves on the threshold of a post-biological culture, on the verge of passing from the will of dominance and control over the machine and nature to an increasingly smoother dialogue. And so we walk on towards overcoming the very limits set by natural life, insomuch as life has apparently become something that can be reduced to malleable, and therefore potentially transformable, genetic information.25 Breaking down the turning point we mentioned at the beginning of the text would therefore involve understanding both the materiality and the discursiveness present in all artistic praxis as an interrelated whole, where here and now we place emphasis on the productive agency of materiality itself. It is a fertile terrain where the artistic practices that interrelate with science and new technologies transcend all ordinary categorisations and enter the realm of the most stimulating cultural research and innovation.

56


0I_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:26

Página 57

biography Pau Alsina is a professor of Humanities at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, director of www.artnodes.org, a space for art, science and technology, researcher for the Digital Common Culture KEC Group and the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Education’s R + D department of Art, Aesthetics and New Media at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute –IN3. Some of his most recent activities include the co-summary of the FECYT Libro Blanco de Arte Ciencia y Tecnología (White Paper on Art, Science and Technology) (2007) and the ICUB Plan Estratégico de Cultura Barcelona (Barcelona Strategic Culture Plan) (2007). He also recently published his book Arte, Ciencia y Tecnología en la Sociedad Red (Art, Science and Technology in the Network Society) with Editorial UOC (2007) and Plagas, Monstruos y quimeras biotecnológicas: control biopolítico y tecnociencia de lo vivo (Biotechnological Plagues, Monsters and Chimeras: Biopolitical Control and Technoscience of the Living) in the book Panel de Control (Control Panel), ed. UIA (2007) among other texts.

notes 1 2

3 4

5 6 7 8 9 10 11

12 13 14 15

16 17 18 19 20

21 22 23

24 25

GROYS, Boris (2005) Sobre lo nuevo: ensayo de una economia cultural. Valencia: Pre-textos Theorists such as Siegfried Zielinski and Erkki Huhtamo have developed an archaeology of the media in this respect. For an interesting approach, see: KLUITEBERG, Eric (2007) Book of Imaginary Media. Excavating the dream of the ultimate communication medium. Rotterdam: Nai Publishers. LATOUR, Bruno (2005) Reassembling the Social. An introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. MUNSTER, Anna (2006) Materializing New Media: Embodiment in Information Aesthetics. Dartmouth: Dartmouth University Press. ECHEVERRIA, Javier. (2003) La revolución tecnocientífica. Madrid: FCE DELEUZE, Gilles. (1987). Foucault. Barcelona: Paidos, p. 87 ALSINA, Pau (2007) Arte, Ciencia y Tecnología. Barcelona: Editorial UOC WILSON, Stephen (2001) Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science and Technology. Cambridge: MIT Press GAMWELL, Lynn (2002) Exploring the Invisible: Art, Science and the Spiritual. Princeton: Princeton University Press EMMER, Michele (1993) Visual Mind: Art and Mathematics. Cambridge: MIT Press, ZIELINSKI, Siegfried (2007) Deep Time of the Media: Toward an Archaeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technical Means. Cambridge: MIT Press BAIGORRI, Laura. CILLERUELO, Lourdes (2006) NET.ART. Prácticas estéticas y políticas en la Red. Barcelona: Ediciones UB. MITCHELL, William John (2003). Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City. Cambridge: MIT Press CASACUBERTA, David (2003). Creación colectiva. Barcelona. Gedisa ASCOTT, Roy (2003) Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology and Consciousness. Berkeley: University of California Press. BARABÁSI, Albert-László (2002). Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else. New York: Plume GRAU, Oliver (2003) Virtual art. From Illusion to Immersion. Cambridge: MIT Press. CLARKE, Andy. MITCHELL, Grethe (2007) Videogames and Art. Chicago: Intellect Books CRAMER, Florian (2005). Words Made Flesh—Code, Culture, Imagination. Rotterdam: Piet Zwart Institute FEINGOLD, Ken (2002). Recent Works and the Subject of Artificial Intelligence. Stockholm: The Royal University College of Fine Arts. WHITELAW, Mitchell (2003) MetaCreation: Art and Artificial Life. Cambridge: MIT Press SMITH, Marquard (2005) STELARC. The Monograph. Cambridge: MIT Press HAYLES, Katherine N. (1999), How We Became Posthuman, Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago. The University of Chicago Press KAC, Eduardo (2007) Signs of Life. Bio Art and Beyond. Cambridge: MIT Press ALSINA, Pau (2007) Plagas, Monstruos y Quimeras biotecnológicas: control biopolitico y tecnociencia de lo vivo. In Various Authors, (2007) Panel de Control: Interruptores Críticos para una sociedad vigilada. Seville: UNIA.

57


0I_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:26

P谩gina 58

art ists_


0I_IN_maquinas&almas:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:26

Página 59

Antoni Abad_David Byrne & David Hanson_ Antoni Abad_David Byrne & David Hanson_ ´ ´ Daniel Canogar_Vuk Cosic_Evru_Harun Farocki_ ´ ´ Daniel Canogar_Vuk Cosic_Evru_Harun Farocki_ Paul Friedlander_Pierre Huyghe_Theo Jansen_ Paul Friedlander_Pierre Huyghe_Theo Jansen_ Natalie Jeremijenko & Ángel Borrego_ Natalie Jeremijenko & Ángel Borrego_ Sachiko Kodama_Rafael Lozano-Hemmer_ John Maeda_ Sachiko Kodama_Rafael Lozano-Hemmer_ John Maeda_ Chico MacMurtrie / Amorphic Robot Works_ Chico MacMurtrie / Amorphic Robot Works_ Antoni Muntadas_Daniel Rozin_ Antoni Muntadas_Daniel Rozin_ Ben Rubin & Mark Hansen_ Ben Rubin & Mark Hansen_


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:30

P谩gina 60

zexe.net: canal*MOTOBOY, 2007-2008


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 61

T

he Lleida-born artist Antoni Abad has a wide career exploring the artistic possibilities of mobile communication networks and Internet. In 2003 he began his project zexe.net, which focuses on the creation of digital communities by using mobile telephones equipped with built-in cameras.

Antoni Abad_ zexe.net

www.zexe.net A project that, since 2003, has focused on the creation of digital communities through the use of mobile telephones with built-in cameras. The possibility of instantly publishing the audiovisual recordings made with these devices on the internet has converted telephones into loudspeakers that amplify the voice of collectives that are largely ignored by the mainstream media. In the last five years, specific projects have been created with the following communities: Mexico City taxi drivers, gypsy communities in Lleida and León, Madrid prostitutes, Nicaraguan immigrants in Costa Rica, São Paulo motoboys and persons with limited mobility in Barcelona and Geneva. The broadcasters have sent over 30,000 photographs and audio, video and text files via MMS, which can be viewed on www.zexe.net. canal*MOTOBOY Since March 2007, a group of 12 motorcycle messengers in São Paulo have been documenting their everyday experiences on the Internet using mobile phones with built-in cameras. They use tags to describe each photo, audio file and video they publish, thus contributing to the creation of an online database that, by means of those palavras chave or keywords, makes it possible to establish a connection between their respective multimedia devices and proposes an alternative view of the city based on this group’s problems and expectations. Even today, the motoboys and motogirls Adriana, Alexandre, Anderson, Alexandro, Andrea, Cleyton, Edison, Eliezer, Franscisco, Luiz, Matheus, Renato, Ronaldo, Tadeu and Tadeu Luiz continue their mobile transmissions on www.zexe.net.


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 62

“The route is being recalculated: The motoboy and the political economy of affect” by Alberto López Cuenca In the now classic compilation of texts Art after Modernism: Rethinking Representation (Wallis, 1984), the post-modern doubts as to the place that representation should have in contemporary artistic practice were forcefully expounded. It seemed that art was no longer required to involve the creation of representations (something that kinetic art, performance art, installations, minimalist sculpture and land art had demonstrated), and the new focus was more on generating situations, spaces or experiences. In this respect, the alarm caused by “Art and Objecthood” was not coincidental. This belligerent text by Michael Fried (1967) accused minimalist sculpture of being theatrical—in other words, of losing autonomy by depending on the surrounding space to activate the artistic experience. Apparently, not only was art no longer supposed to be a representation of something; it was even expected to break with the formal constraints of the artistic object (of painting, sculpture or video). However, this contextual interweaving


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 63

of art, the heteronomy that nullified its supposed self-sufficiency, was nothing new; it had already been deployed by the so-called historical avant-garde movements of the early 20th century. Dadaists, Surrealists, Constructivists and members of the Bauhaus had in their day undertaken the (artistic?) task of launching new ways of life or, at the very least, of reshaping the existing ways. To achieve this, art could not be viewed or practised as a merely representational exercise in capturing essences or evoking reality (if indeed art ever truly was just that). Transforming life could not be imitating it using aesthetic criteria. Rather, it entailed burrowing into the interstices of everyday life and modifying it: into book covers and theatre props, into advertising and film posters, into the design of tea sets and of entire cities. The facet of art as a transforming action, which we can explain in terms of its “pre-formative” ability, rested on multiple premises. One of the most important was the modern artist’s privileged position from which to understand the world and influence it symbolically and specifically. This was no more and no less than

63


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 64

an avant-garde imperative to act upon the reality that contemporary art has inherited, but under conditions that differ greatly from those in which it was originally proposed, particularly considering that the field of action of contemporary artistic production questions this very premise. The practically omniscient position of the artist in terms of understanding and influencing the world is now questioned by the widespread conversion of this figure to a specialist in symbolic industry, whether as a producer of sumptuous goods or as a creator of experiences for leisure and entertainment in biennials, museums and art centres. In this light, artistic work cannot see beyond its field of expertise, so it is unreasonable to expect it to articulate major projects of social transformation. Nevertheless, the scepticism regarding the artist’s privileged position, combined with the conviction that art can still generate sociability, make it even more possible to deploy strategies for art to act in the sphere of social life that are less ambitious than the modern options but more diverse. It is against this backdrop that some of the projects with specific groups and cellular technology coordinated by Antoni Abad developed: projects in which the omniscient condition of the artist is superseded and the performative, non-representational nature of art is embraced. Networks of sociability Antoni Abad, working with the programmer Eugenio Tisselli, has worked over the last four years to develop a series of works that rely on mobile telephones and their ability to transfer information directly via the internet, which has resulted in the formation of singular communities of collaboration. I had the chance to write about the first of these projects, sitio*TAXI, carried out in Mexico City over a period of two months in 2004, in which a group of 17 taxi drivers sent images, videos and audio and text files to an open-access web site. The 64


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 65

page collected and updated the files, without any editing or preselecting, sent in real time by the members of this urban group. At the time I wrote a brief review of sitio*TAXI entitled “The Taxi Driver as Ethnographer.” Revisiting this title, I find that I still subscribe to one part of it, but there is another part with which I no longer agree. On the one hand, “The Taxi Driver as Ethnographer” satirised Hal Foster’s famous essay, “The Artist as Ethnographer” (2001)—in which the author argued that some contemporary artists had become critical investigators of their own society—and I think I was right in emphasising that in sitio*TAXI it is not the artist who speaks, but the taxi drivers themselves. It did not feature the artist as a privileged voice, but rather focused attention on the taxi drivers as narrators of their experiences and broadcasters of their own stories. I was mistaken, however, when I described the taxi driver as an ethnographer, as a mere annotator of his reality, and implied that the fundamental effect of this project was to modify representations and transform the common conception of taxi drivers. It is clear that sitio*TAXI works through mechanisms of representation—images, texts, audio and video recordings. However, the result is not merely “making the reality of the taxi driver visible” or “propitiating representations that are not usually shown in the traditional media” (although it is true that taxi drivers appear only occasionally in the media as victims or criminals or ephemeral heroes of some rescue operation). In reality, what sitio*TAXI set in motion, more than different representations of reality, were mechanisms of sociability—it created social relationships and strategies of subjectivity. In other words, sitio*TAXI opened up a space for the speech and intervention of its participants, beyond constituting a counterfield for representation. This has been a constant aspect of the works that came after sitio*TAXI. For example, the planning and launching of canal*GITANO, 65


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 66

carried out in Lleida during 2005, involved a series of negotiations and conflicts that are not apparent in the audiovisual material that can be accessed online but that make up the crucial part of the project. To begin with, the way in which canal*GITANO operated caused participants to question the separation between men and women that is traditionally observed in the gypsy community, as well as the places and conditions in which they are allowed to meet and the kind of interaction they can have. In addition, canal*GITANO created an unusual confrontation with the factual authority in the community, the patriarchs. They forbade one of the female participants to continue collaborating with the project, but their authority was challenged by the woman and her mother until she was eventually able to be readmitted to the project. Moreover, the institution of power itself was subjected to scrutiny with the creation of canal*PATRIARCA, which conducted uncomfortable interviews of the patriarchs in which they were asked to explain themselves and to meditate on their gypsy identity when they were asked questions like, “What does it mean to be a gypsy?” or “What does it mean to be a patriarch?”—familiar concepts that are rarely thought through explicitly. Over the course of 2006, in San José, Costa Rica, Antoni Abad launched canal*CENTRAL. Mobile phones were distributed among the members of the large community of Nicaraguan immigrants there, and they were taught how to keep the project’s website up and running. Again, it was not the visibility of the images on the net but the series of negotiations with the local authorities and administrations that evidenced the true scope of canal*CENTRAL. For example, there were legal problems with the mobile phones: because they had been imported illegally from Miami, their software was not compatible with systems in Costa Rica so the technological and legal issues had to be worked out in order to make them operative. No less laborious was the


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 67

task of obtaining phone contracts for 22 illegal immigrants when proving legal residency in the country is an unavoidable requirement for accessing mobile telephone services. Not only did canal*CENTRAL reveal the tight control over communications and the technical and legal frictions created by the government’s monopoly of the communications industry; it also forced a modification or transitory readjustment of the scope of its power. Through this, spaces of action were opened and regulations were temporarily set aside for the community exercise and enunciation of a sector of the Nicaraguan population. In addition, in 2006 canal*ACCESSIBLE was launched in Barcelona, in which participants created a map of architectural obstacles to the movement of the physically impaired around the city (a counter-map contrasting with the numerous triumphant cartographies of the city, featuring its museums and parks and bars and monuments and underground stations). Although the work of canal*ACCESSIBLE appeared to focus on drawing a map, in reality it provoked responses at the level of both the collective (some of the physically handicapped participants created special commandos that covered areas of the city that were not originally intended to be mapped) and the institutions (the map was reproduced by the local media and city hall responded by distributing a map of “accessible Barcelona”). The documentary actions resulted in city hall finding itself forced to eliminate many of the architectural obstacles to which the members of canal*ACCESSIBLE had brought attention. Although canal*ACCESSIBLE was not originally designed as an ongoing project, it inspired the creation of a group of collaborators who continued to meet and work after the project ended with the foundation of the “Asociación Accesible” (Accessible Association). It is obvious that taking photos and uploading them to the internet is not the sole aim of


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 68

these projects, because they do not merely attempt to make other representations of life possible (of the gypsies, immigrants or the handicapped); their goal is to generate life itself through interaction with the environment. As they develop, the projects bring to light all sorts of restrictions, whether they be imposed by tradition and the patriarchal administration of power or by telecommunications and immigration laws or by urban architecture. But they are not just about revealing or making visible the translucent network that organises social life (from adolescent relationships to the use of a mobile or moving about the city); in practice, they provide a space for unexpected and reconfigured social relationships. This is a core issue insofar as “the theme” of these projects is not the creation of a representation of a group but rather the activation of the agency and production of social relationships – in other words, the very fabric of collective and individual existence. The political economy of affect The political philosopher Michael Hardt, and later he and Toni Negri in their debated book Empire, has described which are the characteristic and dominant fields of production in contemporary society. For these authors, affect is one of the fundamental products of the modern economy. Affect is part of what they call “immaterial labour,” that which results in intangible products such as knowledge, services or communications. In short, we can distinguish three types of immaterial labour that drive the service sector at the top of the informational economy. The first is involved in an industrial production that has been informationalised and has incorporated communication technologies in a way that transforms the production process itself. Manufacturing is regarded as a service, and the material labour of the production of durable goods mixes with and tends toward 68


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 69

immaterial labour, which is becoming increasingly more predominant. Second is the immaterial labour of analytical and symbolic tasks, which itself breaks down into creative and intelligent manipulation on the one hand and routine symbolic tasks on the other. Finally, the third type of immaterial labour involves the production and manipulation of affects and requires (virtual or actual) human contact—labour in the bodily mode. These are the three types of labour that drive the postmodernisation of the global economy (Hardt and Negri, 316-317). The immaterial labour of affect is characterised, according to Hardt, by its “binding element” (95) and involves areas of productions such as health care, entertainment and the cultural industries that focus “on the creation and manipulation of affects” (95). At different levels, this affective labour plays a part in the entire service sector insofar as it is integrated in the processes of communication and interaction under the category of “in-person service,” whether in banks or fast-food establishments. For Hardt, “this labour is immaterial, even if it is corporeal and affective, in the sense that its products are intangible, a feeling of ease, wellbeing, satisfaction, excitement or passion— even the feeling of being a part of something or of a community” (96). From this vantage point, one can see not only the material production of social life—in other words, how the system of relations of objects articulates the experience of individuals—but also the most intimate and emotional aspects of the subject. The de-materialised economy produces and identifies sensations, affective states, desires—modes of subjectivity and subjection. To control the ways of producing and managing emotional life is, after all, to create bonds of submission. If standardised affects are produced like merchandise, then the experience is homogenised and 69


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 70

economically unproductive attitudes and positions are discarded. Consequently, there is an industry of affect that is completely integrated in the contemporary modes of production, an industry that prioritises a series of emotional states and attitudes (well-being, possession, control, satisfaction) and rejects others (altruistic attitudes, feelings of failure or states of misery or feeling uprooted). However, that industry of affect, despite being completely integrated in modes of production, can be challenged by “anti-capitalist” practices, as Hardt points out. The assertion that capital has incorporated and glorified affective labour, and that affective labour is one of the most effective ways of producing value in terms of capital, does not mean that, thus tainted, affect is of no use whatsoever to anti-capitalist projects (90). In fact, affect is crucial for the activation of spheres of sociability whose goal is not necessarily the production of capital, hence the current importance of strategies that elude the standardised creation of affect: they produce affective life and social life that is not programmed by the dominant modes of production. canal*MOTOBOY: digital media and the critique of affect Since May 2007, 12 motoboys who travel the streets of São Paulo during their workdays have been provided with mobile phones that permit them to take photographs and record videos and send them directly to a web page. When they send their files, they can classify them using keywords that they choose themselves, such as “accident,” “forbidden” or “work,” which provides the possibility of building up a flexible, open and negotiable taxonomy of the information they gather that is made available to website visitors. While the public arena, the social meeting place, has evolved since its inception in the 18th century


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 71

from cafés, debate clubs and newspaper pages to television and computer screens, this modern redefined public space is markedly mediated by the symbolic: images, sounds, texts, multimedia. However, although the modern public arena is fundamentally constituted as a symbolic space or, to be more precise, a media space, this does not make it a mere game of inert and determining signs that have nothing to do with the people to whom they pose questions. In their use, the signs act as mechanisms of enunciation; they are activated by speakers, televisions spectators, specific users. Here, of course, the degree of involvement in the process of the production of meaning comes into play: a process with levels in which we find ourselves subjected (signified) by the signs and levels at which we signify (subject) the signs. In this negotiation with the networks of signification, the process of the affective and dialogic constitution of the public arena is activated. Thus, the public arena can be seen to be constructed simultaneously with the subjects that signify it: subjection and subjectivity go hand in hand. Canal*MOTOBOY set in motion a mechanism of symbolic production that is crucially one of subjective consciousness in the sense that it unleashes a process of agency and enunciation. Canal*MOTOBOY inaugurates ephemeral moments of response and action that do not presuppose an ideal free subject but underscore the conflictive and agonistic nature of the daily existence of its participants, the eternally unfinished condition, always in negotiation, of the subject. From this approach, the community is the field of production for symbolic as well as affective bonds in a process that runs parallel to capitalism’s immaterial modes of production. In selecting and sending visual or audio material, in their meetings and discussions about the group strategies for continuing with their work, they dismantle and divert the economic object of


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 72

the signs and affects in the productive framework of advanced capitalism. For this reason, it must be viewed as a critical exercise in the style of Michel Foucault. The Frenchman wrote, “I would thus propose this general characterisation as a rather preliminary definition of critique: the art of not being governed so much” (Foucault 8). In other words, critique, the act of dissenting, is setting in motion mechanisms that elude the “mode of being represented”—being governed, said, supplanted by others. In this case, critique is a criticism of the institution of representation and not merely the object of representation. It is a practical critique of a practise, not a mere critique of representation. Canal*MOTOBOY, like the previous projects launched by Antoni Abad, does not only activate a network of resistance against the media representations of the motoboy; in other words, it is not a mere substitution of one set of representations for another (a task that would moreover be sisyphic given the magnitude and scope of the hegemonic representations of the motoboy in the media). Canal*MOTOBOY is crucially activated as an art of being governed another way, inaugurating a dynamic of collective elaboration of the representation of the group that goes directly to the heart of production of the image and consciousness: social and collective practice. Again, Foucault wrote: … I will say that critique is the movement by which the subject gives himself the right to question truth on its effects of power and question power on its discourses of truth: critique will be the art of voluntary insubordination, that of reflected intractability Critique would essentially insure the desubjugation of the subject in the context of what we could call, in a word, the politics of truth (9-10). On one occasion, Antoni Abad narrated a particularly significant episode: one of the 72


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 73

patriarchs of the gypsy community of Lleida told him, “Internet is the devil.” The internet, like any novelty, like anything unfamiliar, is seen as a threat to stability because it opens the door to actions that cannot be monitored or controlled by the established rules of government. As stated previously, the young participants in canal*GITANO had the idea of interviewing the patriarchs, approaching them and asking them to explain what it means to be a gypsy, to be a patriarch, and what they think the term “payo” (non-gypsy) encompasses. In this way, canal*GITANO is converted in a tool that, by revealing the mechanisms of power and truth, makes it possible to challenge them and make them visible and vulnerable. The unforeseen use of the electronic media, of mobiles and the internet, critiques (in the sense Foucault described) the established social relations. On another occasion, Antoni Abad referred to his past work as a sculptor and spoke of how his attitude as a sculptor characterises the way in which he currently works with digital media. In this regard, he stated that he seeks to “mould the medium to enable others to use it” and concluded with a question: “Why should artists have a privileged perspective?”. References •Foster, Hal. “The Artist as Ethnographer” in The Return of the Real: The Avant-Garde at the End of the Century. Spanish edition, Madrid: Akal, 2001. •Foucault, Michel. “What Is Critique” (Critique and Aufklarüng)” in What is Enlightenment? Spanish edition, Madrid: Tecnos, 2006. •Fried, Michael. “Art and objecthood,” Artforum, issue 5, New York, June 1967. •Hardt, Michael. “Affective Labor” in Boundary 2, vol. 26, issue 2, summer 1999. Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. Empire. Spanish edition, Barcelona: Paidós, 2005. •Wallis, Brian (ed.) Art after Modernism: Rethinking Representation. New York: The New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1984.

73


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 74

www.zexe.net A project by Antoni Abad, with programming by Eugenio Tisselli, 2003-2008 canal*MOTOBOY •Broadcasters: Adriana Maria de Oliveira, Alexandre Aparecido Olimpio dos Santos, Anderson do Prado Gil, Alexandro de Moraes Lima, Andrea Sadocco Giannini, Cleyton Pedro Perroni, Edison Cordeiro da Silva, Eliezer Muniz, Franscisco Djalma Souza, Luiz Fernando Bicchioni, Matheus Fernandes de Castro, Renato Roque de Loreto Junior, Ronaldo Simão da Costa, Tadeu Ferreira dos Anjos and Tadeu Luiz dos Santos Scabio. •Motoboys Portraits: João Mussolin CCSP. •Organised by: Centro Cultural de España (Cultural Centre of Spain), Centro Cultural São Paulo (São Paulo Cultural Centre), AECI (Spanish Agency for International Cooperation), SEACEX (State Society for Cultural Action Abroad). •Tactile consultation stand for canal*MOTOBOY programmed by Lluís Gómez de Hangar-Barcelona and produced by the Centre Cultural la Mercè of Girona 2008. Do outro lado da Cidade •2007 DVD 18” Original version in Portuguese, Spanish & English subtitles. An interpretation of the multimedia contents associated with some of the most used on

74


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 75

canal*MOTOBOY as of December 2007: <acidente> <corredor> <chuva> <dia-a-dia> <estacionamento> <moto> <motoboy> <perigo> <trabalho> <transito> Produced by: SEACEX. Glória Martí and Antoni Abad 2007. Meu nome é Ronaldo (My Name is Ronaldo) •2007 DVD 12” Original version in Portuguese, Spanish & English subtitles. •Preview of the canal*MOTOBOY project that documents the first broadcasts of the motoboy Ronaldo Simão da Costa, who began transmitting in 2006, 5 months before the project was launched in São Paulo. •Produced by: the Bienal de Valencia, Centro Cultural de España in São Paulo. •Glória Martí and Antoni Abad 2007. •Eugenio Tisselli (Mexico City 1972). Poet and programmer. Areas of interest include physical interface design, multimedia software development, and digital narratives. His work (installation, performance, software, text and net.art) has been featured in different festivals and exhibitions around the world. Since 2001, he has worked together with artist Antoni Abad in the www.zexe.net project. He has taught different courses related to Electronic Arts in several schools and universities in Barcelona, such as MECAD and the Universidad Pompeu Fabra. During

75


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 76

2005 and 2006, he was co-director of the Master in Digital Arts at the Universidad Pompeu Fabra. He has conducted online seminars for UNESCO-digiARTS. Currently, he is an Associate Researcher at Sony Computer Science Lab in Paris. His personal work can be seen at www.motorhueso.net. •Glòria Martí (Barcelona 1965). Since 2005 she has resided in Barcelona. A video producer since 1993, in 2000 she received an M.F.A. in Art and Multimedia from the California Institute of the Arts. Her work is part of the OVNI archives and Mediarights.org as well as the distributor Hamaca. It has been shown internationally at various festivals and events: Anthology Film Archives, Artists Space and The Knitting Factory of New York; the Kunstfactor of Berlin; the Museo Nacional de las Artes in Havana; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid; the Centre de Cultura Contemporánia and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona, among others. In 2002 she won the FIAV (Festival d’Images Artistiques et Vidéo) award in Nimes, France. Antoni Abad Solo Exhibitions (selection) •canal*ACCESSIBLE, Centre d’Art Contemporaine, Geneva, Switzerland (2008). •canal*MOTOBOY, Centro Cultural São Paulo, Brazil (2007). •Taxistas, gitanos y prostitutas, Galleria Giorgio Persano, Turín, Italy (2006). •canal*ACCESSIBLE, Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona, Spain (2006). •canal*GITANO, Centre d’Art La Panera, Lleida, Spain (2005). •sitio*TAXI, Centro Cultural de España y Centro Multimedia, México DF, Mexico (2004). •Ego, Media Lounge/New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, USA (2001). •Últimos deseos, 2ª Bienal Iberoamericana de Lima, Peru (1999). •Sísifo, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Argentina (1999). •Medidas de Emergencia, Espacio Uno/Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain (1997). 76


01_IN_AAbad_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:30

Página 77

Collective Exhibitions (selection) •canal*CENTRAL, Estrecho dudoso: Tráficos, Fundación Teorética, San José, Costa Rica (2006). •canal*INVISIBLE, Madrid: Cuartos mundos, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain (2005). •canal*GITANO, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain (2005). •sitio*TAXI, 1ª Bienal de Sevilla, Spain (2004). •The real royal trip, P.S.1./MOMA, New York, USA (2003). •Z, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain (2003). •Big Sur, Hamburger Banhof, Berlin, Germany (2002). •Z, MECAD/ZKM’net_condition, Karlsruhe, Germany (1999). •Dapertutto La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (1999). Awards: •Golden Nica Digital Communities, Prix Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria (2006). •Premio Nacional de Artes Visuales, Generalitat de Catalunya, Spain (2006). •FAD Arquitectura Efimera, Barcelona, Spain (2006). •Honorary Mention Net Vision, Prix Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria (2003). •Premio Ciudad de Barcelona de Multimedia, Barcelona, Spain (2003). •Premio Ciudad de Barcelona de Artes Plásticas, Barcelona, Spain (1998). Link: www.zexe.net notes 1

Originally published on canal*MOTOBOY: www.zexe.net, Centro Cultural de España, São Paulo, 2007.

77


26/6/08

16:31

P谩gina 78

Song for Julio, 2008

02_IN_DByrne_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1


02_IN_DByrne_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:31

Página 79

A

lthough New Yorker David Byrne is best known for his musical career as the principal member of the legendary new wave band Talking Heads, over the last two decades he has also pursued a prolific career as a photographer, film director and visual and sound artist. From this multidisciplinary position, Byrne has explored how media technologies (software and digital image editing processes in particular) are used to construct the aesthetics that identify political and economic power. David Hanson is the founder of Hanson Robotics, an innovative company that creates anthropomorphic robots capable of reproducing human facial expressions and understanding oral language.

David Byrne & David Hanson_ Song for Julio

“Julio The Uncanny” by David Byrne I had heard of David Hanson and his robot creations—the Einstein and especially the one of Phillip K. Dick that responded to questions from the public—but I had never seen one. At an event called Nextfest in New York I saw a prototype of Jules, a fairly lifelike-looking head of an ordinary young man, slightly androgynous, who could change his facial expressions to simulate emotions. Jules could frown, smile and look slightly skeptical. In addition, Jules could make eye contact—of a sort. Hanson had rigged a system by which the thing could lock on to someone standing in front of it and then, within limits, follow them as they changed position. The robot thus appeared to be looking at you—which in a way it was. There were other robots at this event, but Hanson’s seemed to me to be on the verge of something—something both truly uncanny and something that might cause us to question what is seeing, what are emotions and what is communication and conversation. Hanson and I chatted briefly and later, when the organizers of Souls & Machines asked me if I had something that might be appropriate for the exhibit I immediately thought of contacting Hanson to see if he could program Jules to


02_IN_DByrne_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:31

Página 80

appear to sing if I recorded a vocal for him. By sing I don’t just mean open and close the mouth—that wouldn’t fool anyone. What we call singing is not just the vibrating of the vocal chords and the mouth moving to create the proper syllables and timbres; it’s also tied to a host of emotions that play across the muscles and tissues of the face and neck. The movements of these muscles, the facial expressions, give us clues as to what the singer is feeling, what the singer intends to communicate and what the song means. Of course, a large percentage of this meaning is in the song itself—the sound and lyrics—but one of the reasons we enjoy a live performance is that we are given (visual) bonus features, clues that give us additional information about the singer, the song and about our immediate situation. Hanson said such a thing was possible, so I suggested that we make the presentation very simple: just a young man, dressed in a nondescript, ordinary manner, standing in a room, singing to himself. Hanson suggested that this new robot be christened Julio. Part of the enjoyment of seeing the various robots at Nextfest was experiencing a taste of the uncanny. The idea of the uncanny was proposed by Ernst Jentsch in 1906. He refers to the uncanny as something uncertain or undecidable which therefore makes us uncomfortable. [Freud disagreed—or elaborated on this]. He calls it un-heimlich, the un-home-like. His idea is that our psychological concept of home implies familiarity and comfort, a sense of ease, and, according to him, any concept we hold also implies the existence of its polar opposite—the un-home-like, the unusual, the unknown, the strange.

Sketches of Song for Julio

80


02_IN_DByrne_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:31

Página 81

I love where this is going. It brings to mind an image of someone sitting in a comfortable chair, maybe with friends, and maybe they’re having drinks—and at the same time Jentsch posits that layered over or under this image is the profoundly creepy, the deeply strange and disturbing. We’re in the land of David Lynch and Hitchcock. ET landing in the familiar U.S. suburbs could be viewed this way, or the various living dead and vampire movies. More recently Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori proposed the existence of something called the uncanny valley. This “valley” is an area of emotional uncertainty and often revulsion experienced by an observer when a robot or computer animation (for example) approaches being human, is almost believable, but not quite. He suggests that our emotional empathy with animations and robots increases as they get closer and closer to being human (or animal)— but then, at a certain point, they fall into the valley, and our empathy turns to disgust. In his view they switch from being a cute thing approaching humanity to a bad or faulty version of humanity. It is at this point that we see them as not merely slightly strange, but as a human with serious problems. If the creation can succeed in being a little bit better as a believable creature the feeling of revulsion disappears. Recent films like Beowulf fall into this valley, for some viewers, while others find the almost humans acceptable.

Sketch of Song for Julio

Mori further suggests that this reaction might be innate—that it might be linked to our biological reactions to people who are physically or mentally ill—or to corpses. Evolution would have ingrained this reaction as a way of weeding out sick people from the

81


02_IN_DByrne_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:31

Página 82

Song for Julio, 2008. Robot’s internal circuits

social group. Hanson and others dispute the scientific veracity of the uncanny valley, but I think no one can doubt the strange and weird emotions that well up when confronted by one of these entities. Knowing that singing elicits an emotional reaction from a listener and observer, I sense that encountering Julio might push some very odd buttons. I remember that my first encounter with Hanson’s robot made me rethink what it means to see, to look. We think of seeing and looking as something optical, something the eyes do. But actually seeing something, and recognizing it, is a lot more than that—it is the act of “naming” the thing the eyes are locking on to. It involves other meta brain functions that often have nothing to do

82


02_IN_DByrne_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:31

Página 83

Jules. Hanson Robotics

with optics or the muscles controlling the eye. If seeing were just the visual and eye-muscle behavior, then isn’t that the same as what Jules does? And then isn’t singing, and displaying the attendant emotions, the same as what Julio does? We tend to think that our emotions live inside— in our “hearts” and minds—and that the cues given by facial expressions, for example, are simply more or less involuntary reflections of these “true” inner feelings. I think it’s more complicated and more confusing than that. I sense that sometimes the effect can produce the cause. Smiling can

83


02_IN_DByrne_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:31

Página 84

make you happy. Scowling can make you aggressive and angry. Actors experience this all the time—many of them act by learning to produce the visual effects of an emotion—the posture and facial expressions, the tone of voice—rather than always having to summon up an interior emotion in order to self-generate those affects. (That’s method acting, another whole topic) So—if an entity displays the correct facial expressions, sounds and gestures, who’s to say it’s not “experiencing” the emotions? I personally still think it’s not, as emotions trigger hormonal release, breathing changes and a whole range of other physiological changes, and they’re not simply limited to what we see. They imply future action or inaction— they imply a set of behaviors guided and steered by the emotions we only see displayed in the face and voice. I love that Julio might make us confront some of these issues—that his emotional singing might give us a discomforting pause. David Byrne Solo Exhibitions (selection) •Playing the Building, Fargfabriken, Stockholm, Sweden (2005). •David Byrne, Pace/MacGill Gallery New York, USA (2003.) •ArtFutura 97, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, Spain (1997). Collective Exhibitions (selection) •Art Basel Miami 2002, USA (2002). •The Voting Booth Project, Parsons Gallery, New York, USA (2001). •Bienal de Valencia 2001, Valencia, Spain (2001). •Icon, SF Moma San Francisco, USA (1997). Publications (selection) •Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information, Steidl/Pace/MacGill, Göttingen, Germany, 2003. •Your Action World, Chronicle Books, Edimar, Milan, Italy, 1998; San Francisco, CA, USA, 1999. 84


02_IN_DByrne_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:31

Página 85

•Strange Ritual, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA, USA, 1995. •Arboretum, McSweeney’s, San Francisco, USA, 2006. •The New Sins, commisionaded by the Biennale di Venezia, Venice. McSweeney’s, USA; Faber & Faber UK and Europe, 2001. Links www.davidbyrne.com www.hansonrobotics.com

Song for Julio. Creation process

85


03_IN_Canogar_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

Palimpsesto, 2008

16:33

P谩gina 86


03_IN_Canogar_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:33

Página 87

D

Daniel Canogar_ Palimpsesto

aniel Canogar’s work sits midway between the scientific and the humanist in that it explores the way in which our senses adapt to the new space/time coordinates of the electronic revolution. His work transcends photography. Light plays a fundamental role, as does the figurative representation of the body, both elements placing him in a fairly equidistant position between photography and painting. His most recent works introduce new defining elements, such as architecture and, in a wider way, the sense of spectacle. This project, which is radically innovative from the technological point of view, inevitably recalls those pioneering spectacles of cinematography and the amazing cameras that projected images of the early photographs.

I have always looked for ways to alter traditional photographic formats. Through photo-installations, I have tried to eliminate the photographic frame, submerging the spectator into the image. These installations investigate how the identity of the subject is altered by the space of the spectacle. In the late nineties I developed a multi-projection system using fibre optic cables. By means of this technology, I produced various installations, including Alien Memory, Obscenity of the Surface and Sentience. These were done in homage to the Phantasmagoria created by Robertson, a Belgian scientist fascinated by optical illusions. In 1798 Robertson started using magic lanterns to project spectral images of bodies, a protocinematographic spectacle that captivated European audiences. In my work I substitute fibre optic cables for magic lanterns, updating the notion of the technological phantom. Instead of being a passive spectator, the viewer activates the installation by covering and uncovering images while walking through the exhibition. The spectator not only becomes a moving screen but also discovers his/her own shadow when their body interrupts the projections.


03_IN_Canogar_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:33

Página 88

Digital technology and how it has changed the perception of reality is another central theme to my artistic exploration. The overabundance of visual information, the electronic baroque and the difficulty that humans have in processing these excesses are concepts present in such works as Horror Vacui, Digital Hide and the Other Geologies series. In all of these, the virus-like image multiplies itself and invades the space of representation. The archaeology of new media has always been an important source of inspiration for me. In the origins of the technological image we find, in an embryological state, the driving forces of our media culture. In Ciudades Efímeras; Exposiciones Universales: Espectáculo y Tecnología [Ephemeral Cities, Universal Expositions: Spectacle and Technology], published in Spanish by Julio Ollero Editor (1992), I investigated how Universal Expositions shaped the spectator’s gaze. In 2002 I published Ingrávidos (Fundación Telefónica, Madrid), in which I compare the spectator with an astronaut. Both books aim to describe the complex visual dynamics that the society of the spectacle imposes on the contemporary subject. Palimpsesto, 2008

Solo Exhibitions (selection) •Enredos, Galería Max Estrella, Madrid, Spain (2008). •Galería Guy Bärtschi, Geneva, Switzerland (2008). •Otras Biologías, Sala Parpalló, Valencia, Spain (2007). •CAC Málaga, Spain (2007). •Clandestinos, Notte in Bianco, Piazza San Pietro in Montorio, Rome, Italy (2007). •Clandestinos, Proyección pública, Puerta de Alcalá, La Noche en Blanco, Madrid, Spain (2006). •Daniel Canogar, Fundación Sa Nostra, Ibiza, Menorca, Palma de Mallorca, Spain (2006). •Photosynthetic Rememberance, Black Box, stand Galería Filomena Soares, ARCO, Madrid, Spain (2006). •Cycles of Collective Forgetting, Galería Filomena Soares, Lisbon, Portugal (2006). •Otras Geologías, Fundación BBK, Bilbao, Spain (2005).

88


03_IN_Canogar_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:33

P谩gina 89

Palimpsesto, 2008


03_IN_Canogar_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:33

Página 90

Arañas, exhibition at Galería Max Estrella, 2008

90


03_IN_Canogar_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:33

Página 91

•Fantasmagorías, Sala de Exposiciones de la Universidad Jaume I, Castellón, Spain (2005). •Memory Theater, Art + Public, Geneva, Switzerland (2004). •Icaros, Sala Luzán, Zaragoza, Spain (2004). •Ingrávidos, Fundación Telefónica, Madrid (2003). •Gravedad Cero, Museo de la Universidad de Alicante, Alicante, Spain (2003). •Biennale of Cairo, Aquenaton Gallery, Cairo, Egypt (2003). •Osarios, Galería Spectrum, Zaragoza, Spain (2003). •Gravedad Cero, Centro de Arte Santa Mónica, Barcelona, Spain (2002). •Dermal Thresholds, Filomena Soares Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal (2002). •Time Release, Galería Helga de Alvear, Madrid, Spain (2002). •The Obscenity of the Surface, Oboro, Montreal, Canada (2000). •Centro de Arte, Bienal de Lima, Peru (2000). •Bringing Down the House, Offenes Kulturhaus, Center for Contemporary Arts, Linz, Austria (1999 ). •Galería Helga de Alvear, Madrid, Spain (1998). •Nostalgia del Cuerpo, Galería Visor, Valencia, Spain (1997). •Sous la Surface, Sequence Gallery, Chicoutimi, Québec, Canada (1996). •Incorpóreo, Fundación Arte y Tecnología, Madrid, Spain (1995). •Incorpóreo, Metronom, Fundación Rafael Tous de Arte Contemporáneo, Barcelona, Spain (1995). •Galería Visor, Valencia, Spain (1993). •Galería Def Con Dos, Madrid, Spain (1991). •Washington Square East Galleries, New York, USA (1989). •Galerie Studio Ethel, Paris, France (1985).

Untitled (After Pozzo), 2007

Link www.danielcanogar.com Interactive Programming: Jordi Puig. Acknowledgements: Medialab-Prado César Puerta Indumetal Recycling

91


04_IN_R Vuk Cosic_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:34

P谩gina 92

History of Art for the Intelligence Community, Neue Galerie Graz, 2002


04_IN_R Vuk Cosic_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:34

Página 93

T

´ c was one of the first artists to he Serbian artist Vuk Cosi´ use the net and the person who coined the term net.art. He is best known for his work involving the ASCII code, a medium he has used in numerous projects to explore the low-tech aesthetic, the ecology and archaeology of the media, and the intersections between the language of text and the computer code. Following his participation in the Slovenian Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia in 2001, where he collaborated with numerous other net.artists, osi has assumed the role of a “retired net.artist”.

´ osi´c_ Vuk C History of Art for the Intelligence Community

“History of Art for the Intelligence Community” by Saul Albert for Camera Austria in 2003. The website presents five images, immediately recognizable from art postcards. Andrea Mantegna’s St. Sebastian, Cézanne’s Still Life with Plate of Cherries, Van Gogh’s The Night Café, Malevich’s Black Square and Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can. Good, standard art historical subjects that representationally depict the subject of their titles. But what is this? St. Sebastian’s arrows are misbehaving. There’s one bloodily piercing his head, no, his leg, no … his head again. Clearly, a user manual is required. A careful reading of the accompanying texts reveals the unlikely explanation that the number of arrows in St. Sebastian and the location of the entry wounds correspond to the frequency of letters of the alphabet in web addresses entered into browsers by users of the computer network of the Neue Gallerie in Graz. The other images are similarly deviant. Malevich’s square waxes and wanes depending on the time of day, Cezanne’s perspectivally distorted nature mort mischievously refuses to be “mort”: cherries appear and disappear from the table as emails are sent and received by the gallery office staff as they organise the next exhibition.


04_IN_R Vuk Cosic_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:34

Página 94

Though this may sound like some kind of insane techno-numerological experiment to uncover hidden divine messages in masterpieces of western art, it is in fact the latest masterpiece ´ c, net.artist extraordinaire. Visitors by Vuk Cosi´ to the Neue Gallery are treated to the same set of animated images, but projected onto easelmounted screens amid the ornamental plush of Josef Hueber’s interior design. Living up to the ´ c’s piece is baroque surroundings, Cosi´ premised on a dizzyingly intricate set of internal references and technical detail.

History of Art for the Intelligence Community-Cézanne, 2002

The mechanism which underlies the animation of these images is itself a work of art: so-called “software art” by the Radical Software Group (RSG). Set up under the aegis of the “rhizome.net” net.art portal, the RSG makes selfconsciously polemic artwork by appropriating existing technology and dressing it up in the kind of political rhetoric that antagonises/appeals to the popular discourse of surveil´ c is uslance paranoia.[1] In this instance, Cosi´ ing RSG’s “Carnivore” software; a pastiche of the FBI’s technology (of the same code name) that monitors data traffic (emails, web browsing etc.) on computer networks[2] and extracts interesting information. What the FBI probably consider to be “interesting” are keywords like “Ricin”, “Al Qaeda” or “Hijack” but the RSG software leaves it up to the artist deploying Carnivore to define the data filtering criteria.

94

The Carnivore software essentially spits out streams of data that artists are able to filter, and then interpret visually or functionally by designing “clients”; subsidiary software that turns the dataflow into sound, colour, or movement. ´ c has decided that the proporFor example, Cosi´ tion of “.org” domains in relation to “.com” and “.net” domains that users of the Gallery’s network visit should determine the lighting levels in his animation of Van Gogh’s The Night Cafe.


04_IN_R Vuk Cosic_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:34

Página 95

RSG’s Carnivore software has been heavily criticised by commentators for believing its own rhetoric, and overstating its technological achievements, but more importantly, it has been criticised as an artwork for performing the opposite of its stated function: “RSG longs to inject progressive politics back into a fundamentally destabilizing and transformative technology.”[3] RSG suggest that the aim of the Carnivore project is to politicise and motivate users of their surveillance software. The compelling argument against Carnivore attaining this aim is that by creating a software tool and a context for artists to aestheticise the mechanisms of data snooping, RSG actually trivialise the issue, allowing viewers to sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty of total surveillance. In many cases this assessment holds true. Many of the artist made “clients” available on the Carnivore website simply produce abstract data visualisations or slavishly adopt RSG’s ham-fisted polemic. ´ c’s piece, however, takes itself far less Cosi´ seriously. By hijacking the canonical artwork as ´ c an interface to surveillance software, Cosi´ subtly pokes fun at Carnivore’s sincere tone, while actually using it for its intended purpose. The revised experience of a famous artwork, codified by centuries of art criticism and art education comes closer to the “destabilising” effect that RSG aspire to, but fail to achieve with Carnivore itself. Viewers wondering around the gallery in Graz are offered a foolproof and quantitative method of narrative analysis: red means incoming traffic, white means outgoing traffic, the arrows signify alphanumeric characters in web ad´ c dispenses with the dresses. Facetiously, Cosi´ ambiguities and problematics of art interpretation, leaving no room for the stereotypical gallery bores who self-consciously announce the ‘meaning’ of paintings to each other. At the same time, by asserting a blatant and prosaic

95


04_IN_R Vuk Cosic_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:34

Página 96

´ c engages utility on the familiar artwork, Cosi´ with areas of art historical, ethical and aesthetic discourse that are often lacking from new media art. It may be a big joke, but perhaps it is time to look at these images again, and consider their place in the history of informatic aesthetics. While on the one hand the piece problematises the function of the Gallery, and notions of interpretation and utility in art history, on the other, we are invited to interrogate the norms of software interface design. ‘...avant-garde theories and practices gave rise not only to modern and, later, post-modernist style (MTV montage-like aesthetics, for instance) but they also became “materialized” in human-computer interfaces through which post-industrial work is accomplished.’[4] In “The Avant Garde as Software”, media theorist Lev Manovich re-phrases the title of Abigail Solomon-Godeau’s article from “Radical Formalism from Weapon to Style” to “Weapon to Style and Instrument of Labour”. He extends her line of reasoning, that new wave photography and the “new vision” style became an aesthetic norm, by identifying the use of the formal elements of that style in the structure of the com´ c’s puter’s Graphical User Interface (GUI). Cosi´ re-reuse of the familiar canon of art history as GUI is well aware of this dynamic. Many artists working with these technologies have attempted to problematise the GUI. The ubiquitous metaphors of “files” “folders” and the “desktop” as well as the two dimensional ‘page’ metaphor of the web have provided net artists and software artists with a rich resources of aesthetic-cultural assumptions to be subverted, destabilised and critiqued.[5] Whereas many of these efforts have intervened in the user’s experience of software with aesthetic shock tactics (browsers crashing, lights flashing, counter´ c intuitive and unpredictable systems), Cosi´

History of Moving Images, 1998

96


04_IN_R Vuk Cosic_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:35

Página 97

presents a calm, decorative and superficially unchallenging interface. “Graphical elegance is often found in simplicity of design and complexity of data”[6] Tufte’s Visual Display of Quantitative Information is the bible of computer interface design. On one lev´ c’s interfaces follow these rules. The aniel, Cosi´ mations of the images are extremely simple and, once the system is explained, it can be argued that fluctuations in brightness and contrast of Malevich’s Black Square make a very neat clock. However, on another level, the data is both simple and trivial: numbers of incoming and outgoing emails could be adequately represented by a two column table. By choosing a

History of Moving Images, 1998

97


04_IN_R Vuk Cosic_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:35

Página 98

graphically, historically and contextually com´ c complex painting to display this data, Cosi´ pletely inverts Tufte’s rules.

History of Art for Airports, 1998 Lascaux

Pieta

Rather than obscuring the apolitical in technical ´ c willingly mumbo-jumbo and hyperbole, Cosi´ submits the viewer to aesthetic distraction. After all, why not provide the leisure-seeking FBI agents with a more pleasant visual index of the surveilled subject? He is presenting us with a more socially acceptable spectacle of surveillance; a high brow version of the popular TV series Big Brother. Solo Exhibitions (selection) •ICA, London, UK (2004). •Neue Galerie, Graz, Austria (2003). •Digital Artlab, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem (2002). •Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2001). •Videopositive, Liverpool, UK (2000). Collective Exhibitions (selection) •Frame Builders IAS, Seoul, Korea (2006). •Art Meets Media ICC, Tokyo, Japan (2005). •Villette Numerique, Paris, France (2004). •Written in Stone Contemporary Arts Museum, Oslo, Sweden (2003). •In the Gorges of the Balkans, Fridericianum Kassel, Germany (2003). •Let’s Entertain, Walker Museum, Minneapolis, USA (2000). •Get Together, Kunsthalle Vienna, Austria (1999). •Net Condition, ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany (1999). Publications •Net.art per me, Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (2001). •Contemporary ASCII, Kapelica Ljubljana (2000). Link www.ljudmila.org/~vuk

Cezanne


04_IN_R Vuk Cosic_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:35

Página 99

Notes 1 2

3

4

5

6

Cf. http://www.rhizome.net/rsg/, 19/01/03 This process is known as “packet sniffing”, as the smallest blocks of information transmitted across the network are called “packets”. Cf. RSG, 2002; http://rhizome.org/carnivore/How_We_Made_Our_Own_Carnivo re.txt, 19/01/03 Cf. Lev Manovich, in: “Avant Garde as Software”, http://www.crac.org/htmls/levavant.html, 19/01/03 Artists such as Jodi, IOD, Adrian Ward and Netotchka Nezavanova are prime examples. http://www.twenteenthcentury.com/saul/useless.htm 20/01/03 Edward R. Tufte, in: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Graphics Press, Connecticut, 2001. pp. 177.

Venus

Sebastien

Duchamp

99


05_IN_Evru_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:37

LOGO TECURA (Head)

P谩gina 100


05_IN_Evru_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:37

Página 101

E

Evru_ Tecura

Evru (born Alberto Porta, known as Zush from 1968 and later Evru from 2001) has followed a decidedly personal career path in which all other concepts are subordinate to his determination to depict a reality that he himself has conceptualised in the Evrugo Mental State. Few artists have had the talent to create his parallel world with the symbols of an independent state, complete with a flag, postal stamps and paper currency, yet this is true of Evruand his Evrugo Mental State. Evru was introduced to the art world at an early age by the gallerist René Metras, and he is currently working on an interactive project—work in proress— Tecura, based on the premise that the artist defends, “Arte para curarte”: (Art to Cure You); each person has an artist inside himself. Evru, who works with both traditional media and computer technology, has also cultivated his musical and performance facets. A good example was his participation in the first edition of ArtFutura (Barcelona, 1990).

TECURA by Silvia Muñoz d’Imbert Before TECURA Evru (then known as Zush) has maintained close contact with the digital universe ever since he first studied holographic technology in 1975 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Since that time he has combined the new possibilities this world offers with the creation of his anamorphic paintings, his interest in the study, reinterpretation and reinvention of esoteric themes and the execution of large-format works that express his fascination with non-Western culture. In the late 1980s, he participated in the exhibition “Les Magiciens de la Terre” at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (1989) in which visitors could enter a chamber where the artist was working. He had previously conceived this project at the Basel Art Fair (1982) and the retrospective of his work held at the Centre Régional d’Art Contemporain Midi-Pyrénées in Toulouse (1988). In all of these projects, Evru evidenced his determination to bring the figure


05_IN_Evru_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:37

P谩gina 102

ANEURO, TECURA Collection, Evru, 2008

102


05_IN_Evru_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:37

Página 103

of the artist closer to the public, blurring the boundaries that separate creator from spectator—a constant theme throughout his career. In 1987 he began to investigate the synthetic computer-generated image, on which he worked systematically, and he presented large-format works featuring synthetic images printed by a robot on cloth at the São Paulo Biennial in 1991. TECURA Two retrospective exhibitions of the artist’s work were celebrated in 2000: Zush. La campanada at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) and Zush. Tecura at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona (MACBA). Around that time, specifically on 23 February 2001, Zush disappeared and was replaced by the figure of Evru, defined by the artist as an Artsciemyst—a combination of Artist, Scientist and Mystic. In fact, the artist began developing Tecura for the PC in 1999, and in 2000 he created the 1.0 version and developed another version for MacPC, which he presented at Observatori, the first International Artistic Research Festival of Valencia and at the aforementioned retrospective at the MACBA. In 2002 he designed the 2.0 version, in 2006 he presented the 3.0 version as part of the exhibition catalogue for From Zush to Evru at the SEACEX in Madrid, and in 2008 he developed the 4.0 version which included the social web platform tecura.org for the exhibition Souls & Machines held at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS). The different modifications of Tecura have been presented in exhibitions such as Spanish Tapestry: Leading Spanish Contemporary Artists at the MOCA of Taipei (2001), Tecura, taller de arte terapia at Galeria Palma XII, Vilafranca de Penedès (2003), Jornadas Ment-Art, Fundación Joan Miró, Palma, Majorca (2004), the Nabi Center for Advanced Art, Seoul (2005) and in the retrospectives Evru-tecura at the NUX NX 103


05_IN_Evru_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:37

Página 104

Gallery, National University, Singapore (2006), From Zush to Evru at the DuoLun MoMA, Shanghai and the Today Art Museum, Beijing (2007). While working on the Tecura programme, from 1992 to 1995 Evru also contributed to the creation of the CD-ROMs Xplora and Eve by the British musician Peter Gabriel, participated in numerous concerts with his mini-Moog and recorded the LP EVRUGO MENTAL STATE. ZushTres (1989), with music composed by the artist TRES at Zush’s request in 1982. He published other multimedia works between 1996 and 2001: evru.org, VruBri’s Cultivuum (net.art), a joint project in collaboration with the Uruguayan net artist Brian Mackern, PsicoManualDigital (an interactive CD-ROM) and the SPINMU project (work-in-progress). What is TECURA? TECURA is a digital painting machine designed to serve not as mere entertainment but rather as an external link for achieving a conscious connection between mind and body, a way of developing the creativity of any person: a painting workshop with tools created by Evru. The concept of “art to cure you” defended by the creator is a channel for self-understanding intended to awaken the artist that lives in all of us, thus generating a creative self-cure. Imagine a museum with the Tecura machine and the images of its collection added in; you would be able to generate, transform and print your own work, and then take it home to hang in your house. The machine consists of a CPU, a screen and a printer and the TECURA programme, equipped with around thirty paintbrushes, tools and various backgrounds and offering the possibility of importing images and selecting the size of the brushes as well as the colours, gradation and distortion. TECURA allows digital

104


05_IN_Evru_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:38

P谩gina 105

S0S. An image created by a North Korean refugee, Workshop TECURA, Nabi Art Center, Seoul, 2005

105


Flyswinhey. An image created by a North Korean refugee, Workshop TECURA, Nabi Art Center, Seoul, 2005

05_IN_Evru_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

106

26/6/08 16:38 P谩gina 106


05_IN_Evru_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:38

P谩gina 107


05_IN_Evru_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:38

Página 108

cameras to be connected via a USB port, so that users can import photos, or obtain files on the local hard drive, from an internal network and/or a WAN network into the programme as backgrounds and/or additional paintbrush tools. In this way, it offers users the possibility of expanding the field of iconographic inspiration. Based on the premise defended by the artist, “Art to cure you; everyone has an artist inside himself,” TECURA is a proposal open to anyone

Apertura. An image created by a North Korean refugee, Workshop TECURA, Nabi Art Center, Seoul, 2005

who wishes to create personal works by exploring his/her own creativity with the aid of its tools and templates. If they wish, users can also opt to use completely neutral backgrounds to create their work and forego the use of the programme’s pre-designed templates. Each of TECURA’s paintbrush tools generates a musicality that accompanies the movement of the mouse or graphic pencil-paintbrush. The 108


05_IN_Evru_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:38

P谩gina 109

QQQ. An image created by a North Korean refugee, Workshop TECURA, Nabi Art Center, Seoul, 2005

simplicity of this programme makes it possible for anyone without prior experience to easily produce digital images. In this context, TECURA is transformed into a metaartist that inspires users to create their own artworks. After Tecura Tecura represents the redefinition of many concepts. The democratisation of media inherent to the use of new technologies introduces a new conception of the parameters that have defined the progress of the art world up until now. The new concept of the artistauthor as a generator of interactive proposals that are developed and continued by the spectator is accompanied by the new concept of multiple and collective work and that of the museum as a receptacle of the outcome of these creative proposals, moving away from the paradigm of the art temple-space. 109


05_IN_Evru_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:38

P谩gina 110

ANEURO, TECURA Collection, Evru, 2008

110


05_IN_Evru_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:38

Página 111

The artist’s role changes and he loses control over the work he created. EVRU comments on this: “I don’t mind losing control; I believe that, through the use that others make of it, the work expands into a collective mind, into a collective project, into a collective intelligence. At the same time it opens up the possibility that each person who creates with Tecura can see his or her own work displayed on the walls of the museum and thus become the artist that lives within.” In this way, Evru expresses a constant in his life: his confidence in the creative potential of every person and in the therapeutic properties of art. He manifests his determination to make the artist more accessible to the public and bring the artist’s figure down from his pedestal, a mission that has led him to use multiple languages, converting him in an unclassifiable artist. Evru founds his work on a personal autobiographical mythology in which the author expresses his moods and shows his changes on a personal map inspired by the accumulation of images that refer to the body and to the creation of a kind of writing, a personal code. The mind as the fertile dwelling of the imagination and creativity, the body as the propeller and continuity of that creativity, and the digital universe as the generating prosthesis beyond the body. In his work, he creates multiple parallel universes that maintain a tense equilibrium between chaos and reason: Evru operates on the invisible lines that separate sanity from madness, where the latter is defined as an alternative state to reality, thus enabling other realities to be made visible—realities that reason cannot capture or express and which, through creation and art, find a purifying internal liberation. Solo Exhibitions (selection) •ALIENS. Workshop, exhibition, production in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Women’s College, Higher Colleges of Technology and Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, Abu Dabi, United Arab Emirates (2008). 111


05_IN_Evru_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:38

Página 112

•Workshop TECURA. Future Centre for Special Needs Foundation, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (2008). •EVRU. Misdro-Mosdro-Musdro. Galería Joan Prats, Barcelona, Spain (2007-2008). •De Zush a Evru. Retrospective. Shanghai DuoLun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China; Today Art Museum, Beijing, China (cat. SEACEX, Madrid, Spain) (2007). •Evru. Oficina de Flujos. Galería Fernando Latorre, Madrid, Spain (2006). •De Zush a Evru. NUS NX National Gallery, Singapore, Malaysia (cat. SEACEX, Madrid, Spain) (2006). •TECURA. Nabi Art Center, Seoul, Korea (2005). •Oficina de Fluxos. Centre Cultural La Mercé, Girona, Spain (2005). •ArtCieMist: the second incarnation, from Zush to Evru. Haim Chanin Fine Arts, New York, USA (2004). •De Zush a Evru-ArtCieMist, Galería Joan Prats, Barcelona, Spain (2003). •Zush-Tecura. Retrospective. MACBA-Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain (2001). •Zush. La Campanada.Retrospective. MNCARS-Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain (2000). •ZUSH Caldo de Ideas, Asdrivo. Trinta Arte Contemporáneo, Santiago de Compostela, Spain (2000). DIDAL. An image created by a North Korean refugee, Workshop TECURA, Nabi Art Center, Seoul, 2005

112

Collective Exhibitions (selection) •Nèo Futur. Vers de nouveaux imaginaries, LesAbattoirs, Toulouse (2008). •El discreto encanto de la tecnología. Artes en España. MEIAC, Badajoz; ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlusruhe; Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo (2008). •Banquete_08_redes_nodos. LABoral, Gijón, ZKM, Karlusruhe (2008). •Barcelona 1947-2007. Fondation Maeght, Saint Paul de Vence, France (2007). •Faites le vous-mêmes. Palais de Tokio, Paris, France (2007). •Banquete_05: comunicación en evolución. MediaLab Madrid, Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid, Spain (2005). •Prix Ars Electronica 2005-CyberArts Ars Electronica Center Linz, Linz, Austria (2005).


05_IN_Evru_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:38

Página 113

•Migratory fluxus bureau in Evrugo Mental State, an interactive installation.SONAR’04, Barcelona, Spain (2004). •La Vista y La Visión. IVAM Institut Valenciana d’Art Modern, Valencia, Spain (2003). •Los Excesos de la Mente, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville, Spain (2002). •Spanish Tapestry. Leading Spanish Contemporary Art. Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan (2001). •Dibujos Germinales. IVAM, Valencia, Spain / Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany (2000). •PsicoManualDigital. Sonarmática, Sónar 99, Barcelona, Spain (1999). •SPINMU. Art i scriptura. L’Escriptura d’Artista. KrTU, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain (1999). •Instant Cities, Muntadas-Zush, S.M.A.K., Gent, Belgium (1998). •Drawing on Chance. Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (1995). •XXI Biennal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (cat.); Itineraris II, 1950 - 1975 (1991). •Art Futura I. Mercat de les Flors, Barcelona, Spain (1990). •Les magiciens de la Terre. Musée National d’Art Contemporain, Centre Georges Pompidou and Grand Halle de la Villette, Paris, France (1989). •The Image of Thinking in Visual Art. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA (1989). •Origines originality + beyond. VI Biennale of Sydney, Art Gallery Of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (1986). •An International Survey of Recent Paintings and Sculptures. MoMA, New York, USA (1984). •Recent European Paintings. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA (1983). •New images from Spain. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; MoMA, San Francisco, USA (1980). •XV Bienal Internacional de São Paulo. São Paulo, Brazil (cat.); III Biennial of Sydney. Art Gallery Of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (1979). •Documenta VI, Kassel, Germany (1977). •IX Bienal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (1967). Links www.evru.org www.tecura.org info@evru.org 113


06_IN_HFaroki_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

Deep Play-Track 1, 2007

16:40

P谩gina 114


06_IN_HFaroki_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:40

P谩gina 115

I

n his documentaries, films and video installations, the German filmmaker and artist Harun Farocki explores the ways in which film and other image technologies affect and modify our understanding of the world. His works address themes such as consumerism, war and the politics of the image, including the way in which different audiovisual technologies become established as instruments of control linked to power structures.

Harun Farocki_ Deep Play

Before he became artistic director of documenta 12, Roger Buergel suggested doing something on the theme of football. At the time, I was working on a series of videos with two picture tracks. This process enables you to represent one event in two different ways at the same time. The idea immediately occurred to me of representing a complete football match on 24 synchronous tracks, so that I could reflect the same things in many different ways, with all the opportunities this offered for similarity, variation, difference and contrast. documenta made the project possible and we were able to portray the 2006 World Cup Final on what became twelve separate screens. Screen 1 (the order is random as the sequence is changed in each exhibition) The clean feed of the live recording of the match, as it was sold to some 500 television companies. On the sound track, we hear the voice of the world production team, the voice of the producer speaking to colleagues manning the more than 25 cameras operating. The synthesis involved in their task is quite different from ours. Screen 2 Ingo Kratisch, who I have worked with for more than thirty years, used a digital camera to film a long shot from the balcony of a nearby flat. It lasts more than two hours: 90 minutes playing time, 30 minutes extra time followed by the penalty shootout and the presentation ceremony with fireworks afterwards, all taken


06_IN_HFaroki_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:40

Página 116

from the same perspective. The layers of haze, dust and cloud are coloured different shades and degrees of yellow by the setting sun. During the first half, the yellow turns to pink, red and red-black. By extra time, the only visible light is that shining out from the oval stadium. We call this the “Andy-Warhol perspective” and have set it to a soundtrack of a police radio. Screen 3 “Master shot” is the term used to describe the angle of a film recording which keeps the whole scene in view, before zooming in on other details or offering specific perspectives. The master shot in the broadcasting of a football match is the “high-angle shot”, taken from a raised perspective above the centre line to give an overview of play.

Deep Play-Track 2, 2007

Computer technicians at the Technical University of Munich have developed software which can provide a dynamic expansion of the space left out by the high-angle shot. This makes visible something which the spectators would otherwise constantly have to imagine: the off-camera has a magical effect.

Deep Play-Track 3, 2007

116


06_IN_HFaroki_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:40

Página 117

Deep Play-Track 4, 2007

Screen 4 Individual Italian players, each shown for 15 minutes. An individual player rarely touches the ball and when he does so, it is often for just a few seconds. We have added a diagram showing player speed, depicted like a temperature chart. Screen 5 The two-dimensional representation of the match as a dynamic diagram. The players are dots which move across the artificial turf green field. They can be linked up with lines to provide a view the defence line’s team work or the diamond midfield. We drew nine connecting lines each from Italy’s Pirlo and from France’s Zidane to their fellow players. We call this figure “The spider”, though in fact it rarely moves across the field like a nine-legged spider. Sometimes, it is more like a spider’s web, trembling in the wind, expanding and contracting as if trying to catch something. Zidane or Pirlo are sometimes the axis, and the connecting lines to each of the nine other players look like the spokes of a wheel that is not round. The figure also looks like a squid stretching out its tentacles and then drawing

Deep Play-Track 5, 2007

117


06_IN_HFaroki_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:40

Página 118

them back in, as it sways forwards and backwards. Screen 6 Individual French players, each shown for 15 minutes. Screen 7 In the first half, we depict the match in 3-D animation. The players of one team all look the same and all have a beard; there are only three kinds of movement, walking, running and running fast; the players can only run with the ball in one way, between their legs. They look like ghostly beings and they can also run through each other. If one falls, it looks like a “dive”.

Deep Play-Track 6, 2007

Screen 8 We alternate between the Italian and the French managers, sitting watching the game and frequently getting up in an attempt to influence play. We have overlaid this picture with a dynamic schematic representation of play and it often looks as if the respective managers are looking at the diagram rather than at the match itself.

Deep Play-Track 7, 2007

118


06_IN_HFaroki_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:40

Página 119

Deep Play-Track 8, 2007

Screen 9 A computer technician developed a software programme for her dissertation which can “read a game”. The players and the ball are depicted as little dots and each of the different constellations tells us something about the action, expressing these conclusions through simple statements. A Gertrude Stein machine.

Deep Play-Track 9, 2007

Screen 10 A man is sitting in front of a flat screen showing the match and commenting on play. “Short Pirlo Short Zambrotta Short Gattuso Long Grosso Long Toni Vieira” A second man is sitting in front of another screen and calling out the different tackles: “Head Materazzi – Zidane Ground Pirlo – Ribery” It sounds like a mantra. A woman is sitting at a computer recording the comments. She has a diagram in front of her so that she only needs to click on the symbol for the player in question, the symbol for “short” or “long”, for the tackle on the “ground” or with the “head” and other incidents like “foul”, “throw-in” or 119


06_IN_HFaroki_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:40

Página 120

“goal kick” to register the course of play on her computer. This record of events reveals who was on the ball, how often and how successfully, and how much ball possession each team had. The data is then sold to agencies, newspapers and television broadcasters.

Deep Play-Track 10, 2007

Screen 11 The game again shown from the high angle. Blue arrows and pink zigzags are used to show passes and dribbling. The managers use the same signs to reconstruct moves on the board. Screen 12 In the Olympic stadium, there are hundreds of security cameras and we have recorded what the security services picked up. Policemen and security forces are standing around looking disinterested; an amazing number of spectators are going to the lavatories or getting something to drink. The man or woman operating the mobile surveillance camera sometimes gets carried away by the game. They forget the task in hand and become commentators with the camera.

Deep Play-Track 11, 2007

120

Solo Exhibitions (selection) •Harun Farocki: Deep Play, AV Festival, Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland, UK (2008). •Harun Farocki: Deep Play, The Greene Naftali Gallery, New York, USA (2008). •Harun Farocki, Galeria Àngels, Barcelona, Spain (2007). •Fußball: Football. Harun Farocki, Museum of Contemporary Art / Museet for Samtidskunst, Oslo, Sweden (2007). •Harun Farocki. One Image doesn’t take the place of the previous one, Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Montréal, Canada (2007). •Harun Farocki, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, Austria (2007). •MUMOK, Museum Moderner Kunst, Wien, Austria (2007). •Harun Farocki, Index. The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden (2006).


06_IN_HFaroki_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:40

Página 121

•Harun Farocki. Auge/Maschine I-III, Städtische Galerie Karlsruhe, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany (2006). •Présence actuelle: Harun Farocki, AGO. Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada (2003). •Harun Farocki-Eye/Machine, ICA. Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK (2003). •Harun Farocki. Eye/Machine, Greene Naftali Gallery, New York, USA (2002). •Vernissage de l’installation vidéo, Goethe Institut Paris, Paris, France (2002). •Filme, Videos and Installations von Harun Farocki, Oktagon Dresden Erkennen und Verfolgen (2002). •Harun Farocki—Ich glaubte Gefangene zu sehen, SMAK. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent, Belgium (2002). •Harun Farocki—Filme, Videos, Installations, Filmclub Münster und Westfälischer Kunstverein (2001).

Deep Play-Track 12, 2007

Collective Exhibitions (selection) •Documenta 12, Kassel, Germany (2007). •Generali Foundation, Wien Kino wie noch nie (2006). •La Ville qui Fait Signes, Le Fresnoy. Studio national des arts contemporains, Lille, France (2004). •Dinge, die wir nicht verstehen, Generali Foundation, Wien, Austria (2000). •Documenta X, Kassel, Germany (1997). •Le monde après la photographie, Musée d’art Villeneuve d’Ascq, Lille, France (1995). Link www.Farocki-Film.de

121


26/6/08

16:45

P谩gina 122

Wave Function, 1991-2007

07_IN_Friedlander_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1


07_IN_Friedlander_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:45

Página 123

P

Paul Friedlander_ The Enigma of Light Spinors Wave Function Abstract Cosmology

aul Friedlander has spent more than two decades researching all kinds of technologies and systems in an attempt to turn light into a malleable, flexible material capable of taking on any form and volume. His “kinetic light sculptures” are clearly influenced by the work of other great figures who have preceded him in the art of light or moving structures, from László Moholy-Nagy to Flavin and Turrell. The titles of Friedlander’s kinetic light sculptures are usually references to different aspects of modern science, from quantum physics to string theory. However, both their aesthetic constructs and the way they are received by viewers inevitably contain something of the spiritual and magical.

“Towards an Abstract Cosmology” by Paul Friedlander My great passion as a child was space travel and as I grew this developed into an interest in astronomy and physics. I took my first degree in physics and mathematics. My shift in development to art has not diluted my interest in science and in particular cosmology. The central question that continues to fascinate me is what is the ultimate nature of reality? In this essay I will focus on physics and explain how each of the works in Souls & Machines relate to it. I keep the description of the artworks to a minimum, I leave it to the reader to see and appreciate the work with their own eyes. The earliest piece, The Enigma of Light, was conceived while at Art College. In this piece I work with light and its transformation as it passes through transparent media. In choosing a name I recalled what Einstein described as his happy thought of trying to imagine what it would be like to fly along beside a light wave keeping abreast of the waves as he moved. This was his inspiration for the discovery of the Special Relativity. He realised if he moved with the light waves time would cease to exist. From the moment he joined the light on its journey until when he again parted company with the


07_IN_Friedlander_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:45

P谩gina 124

The Enigma of Light, 2008

light, no time would pass, and even if the light was going on a great journey, between stars or galaxies, still no time would pass. While for other observers, in different frames of reference, aeons would pass; to Einstein his journey would occur in an instant. This was but the first step. Three years after Einstein had published Special Relativity, Minkowski showed time and space could no longer be separated. The modern concept of spacetime emerged and along with it an enigma. In the old way of looking at the world, there is clearly one moment that exists; the present, the past and future are unambiguously different. Spacetime cannot be uniquely divided into past, present and future. It can be thought of as a solid block, all be it four-dimensional. Different observers can slice out of this block where the past, the future and the present moment lies from their point of view but there can be no universal agreement. As a 124


07_IN_Friedlander_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:45

Página 125

consequence we have to accept all spacetime co-exists. For most physicists this realisation is not disturbing as there are still “safety valves” put in place by the equations blocking the future from influencing the present. Still the idea troubled Einstein, and it has inspired one cosmologist, Julian Barbour, to propose that time is an illusion and construct an alternative cosmology with no spacetime or flow of time.1 Central to the practice of kinetic art is the development of new media and techniques. Some years after leaving Art College, I decided to invent works that were three-dimensional moving light projections. The Spinors were a first step in this direction. They are illuminated with chromastrobic light, light that changes colour faster than the eye can see. Their appearance is a result of the interaction between their form and the light illuminating them. They take their name from the spinor, an entity that first emerged as a purely mathematical concept but soon became a Spinors, 2007-2008


07_IN_Friedlander_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:45

Página 126

fundamental ingredient first in Dirac’s version of quantum mechanics and later in all particle physics dealing with spin. A spinor has the peculiar property that if you rotate it through 360 degrees, it returns not to where it started but becomes the negative of itself. Continuing to rotate it through another 360 degrees will restore it to itself. While ordinary objects do not possess this property, there is a simple way to understand it as being an object attached to its surroundings by an invisible string.2 If a spinor were set rotating continuously it would repeatedly transform into its negative and then return to itself. In the series of small sculptures the spin is fast enough that to our relatively slow visual perception we seem to be looking at a superposition of these two states of the objects existence, which interfere with each other to produce something quite different in appearance from the static form. Spinors, 2007-2008


07_IN_Friedlander_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:45

P谩gina 127

Spinors, 2007-2008

Whilst researching the problem of 3D projection, I made a serendipitous discovery, which has become the subject of numerous light sculptures both small and large. The name of this particular piece, Wave Function, refers to the central idea in quantum mechanics first introduced by Schrodinger. The status of the Wave Function remains unclear. Schrodinger initially believed it was physical but later had to retract this conjecture. Today the consensus of physicists would state it is a mathematical entity but this is not necessarily the final word on the subject and the debate on the nature of the Wave Function continues. Many writers have discussed the mysterious interplay between the wave and the particle and the apparently impossible and contradictory nature of this relationship.3 I will add nothing further now except to point out that the discovery of the wave function leads us inevitably towards a view of reality that 127


07_IN_Friedlander_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:45

P谩gina 128

Wave Function, 1991-2007

cannot be consistent with our classical notions of what it means to exist. There is still a physicist in me yearning to understand. The final piece, Abstract Cosmology, is concerned with a physics conjecture of my own. The artwork is the next step on from my earlier installation, Timeless Universe. It is a hybrid bringing together my interest in cosmology, computer programming and kinetics. Before describing my conjecture I shall take a small detour. In the early part of the 20th century, logicians and mathematicians tried to find a purely formal basis for mathematics. As a consequence it should be possible in principle to design a computer that could answer any mathematical question. The remarkable disproof by Turing that such a universal computer can exist for deciding if mathematical ideas in general are correct has profound 128


07_IN_Friedlander_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:45

Página 129

Wave Function, 1991-2007

implications. Not only are mathematical ideas not necessarily computable; the question arises: where do new mathematical ideas come from at all? A student of the subject may be good in the sense that she understands everything she is taught and can go onto be an able professor or she maybe brilliant and go beyond understanding what others have done to create new ideas. There are two quite distinct qualities needed to be brilliant: one, excellent powers of comprehension and reasoning and another going beyond rational abilities to add originality. Roger Penrose put forward the idea that by extension of Turing’s Proof the human mind cannot be equivalent to a computer in The Emperor’s New Mind and went onto speculate new laws of physics were needed to explain the mind. What can be stated with some rigour with regards to mathematics applies equally well to other fields: intuition and creativity stand outside the realm of rational understanding. 129


07_IN_Friedlander_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

Abstract Cosmology, 2008

16:45

Página 130

I wonder: could creative people have some pathway within them giving them flashes of insight through contact with the future? If the “me” existing tomorrow can talk to the “me” existing today, I can tell myself what I do not yet know. I suspect I am not alone in having this feeling. Perhaps creative people have a greater sensitivity to what does not yet exist? An ability to anticipate that does not work in a rational way? The human mind, even the mind of a mathematician, is not always entirely reasonable. Perhaps that is what we mean by saying we have soul. In contrast our present machines, whether mechanical or electronic, work with cold logic, blind to what surprises the future may bring. In what follows it will become clear how this relates to my conjecture. I propose we need to change our understanding of causality. Causality has a long history and the idea is deeply interwoven into both scientific and pre-scientific ideas, it is almost impossible to avoid and perhaps too easy to take for granted. Causality was well known to the ancient Greeks and early Christians used it as a proof of the existence of God. The argument went that to avoid an infinite regress of cause and effect, there has to be an ultimate cause and the first cause must be God. The problem of the first cause remains central to cosmology. Let us return now to scientific cosmology. There are a limited number of broad types of theory to be considered. We could try to show the universe is eternal and there is no first cause. There once was a Steady State theory of cosmology but this has long since been disproved.4 Another approach is time is an illusion and all reality coexists as proposed by Julian Barbour in The End of Time. If however we accept the evidence and interpret it in the most straightforward way we must accept the universe is of finite age and time most likely began with the Big Bang. To understand the Big


07_IN_Friedlander_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:45

Página 131

Bang perhaps we could appeal to quantum mechanics and try to show the universe is a random variation in nothingness, or perhaps there was something that came before, a collision of branes, but how can we ever know? There are too many ways in theory the universe could be created and no way of singling out why it came out the way it did. It has become fashionable in recent years to consider all these possible universes co-exist. This idea is referred to as the Landscape. Each point within this landscape is to be thought of as an entire universe. Most are uninhabitable and humans could live only in a vanishingly small minority. There are two profound problems with the landscape: the shear number of universes involved is utterly vast and perhaps infinite and secondly there is no convincing way to test the idea. In the face of such serious criticisms, it is a surprise many physicists should support it. Thirty years ago, the physicist John Archibald Wheeler proposed a thought experiment known as the Delayed Choice Paradox. The experiment implies the way light is observed influences the way it travels. Physicists have struggled hard to deny this could be true seeking an alternative explanation. Wheeler originally envisioned astronomers influencing the distant past. So far experiments have only confirmed the phenomenon over the nanosecond time scale in the laboratory. Even then there is a reticence to accept the conclusion implied by the result and experimenters have tried to find loopholes in their work.5 I believe causality in certain circumstances operates from future to past as Wheeler’s experiment shows. This will happen not only in the laboratory but also in nature as light traverses the universe between locations with no observers to detect its arrival. To fully understand this may need a new quantum mechanics as the present theory is limited by the measurement problem. Many physicists will

Abstract Cosmology, 2008 >

Abstract Cosmology, 2008


07_IN_Friedlander_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:45

P谩gina 132


07_IN_Friedlander_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:45

P谩gina 133


07_IN_Friedlander_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:45

Página 134

find this idea anathema, as it would appear to be a recipe for complete confusion.6 It might be less disturbing to a mathematician for whom the idea of interdependence is built into many mathematical concepts. With an analytic function, no part of the function can be altered independently of the rest. The future, the present and the past are tied together in a subtle interdependence. The effects of the future on the past are mostly elusive and hard to detect. But at the moment of creation, in the absence of any other influence and with nothing preceding it, retrocausality predominates. This remains for now an abstract idea. It needs careful study. I hope I will inspire mathematicians and physicists to reflect. We need radical thinking, a fresh direction, and a willingness to consider what might otherwise be thought impossible. Only then will cosmology throw a clear light on our origin, the nature of time and just possibly, on how the mind operates. Solo Exhibitions (selection) •Sala Parpalló, Valencia, Spain (2006). •Porta Ticenese, Milan Design Week, Italy (2006). •Pleasure Garden, London, UK (2005). •Museo Barjola, Gijón, Spain (2003). •Singapore Science Center, Singapore, China (2001). •The Wave Factory, Manchester, UK (2000). •Light Waves, Art Museum Walsall, UK (1995). Collective Exhibitions (selection) •Canaria Media Fest, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain (2004). •Sonic Light 2003, Amsterdam, Holland (2003). •ArtFutura 2002, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Spain (2002). •Resonant Wave Festival, Berlin, Germany (2002). •Exit Festival, Paris, France (2001). •Nutopia, London, UK (2000). •New York Hall of Science, New York, USA (1998).

134


07_IN_Friedlander_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:45

Página 135

Awards •Kinetic Art Organisation Prize, USA (2003, 2004). •Ushio America Award for Innovation (1998). •Bienal de Nagoya ARTEC’95, Japan (1995). Link www.paulfriedlander.com notes 1

2

3

4

5

6

Barbour’s work was the source of inspiration for my last major installation, Timeless Universe. A good description of a spinor is to be found in Roger Penrose’s The Road to Reality. Perhaps one of the clearest books on the subject is Nick Herbert’s Quantum Reality. A number of other eternal models have been proposed. Lee Smolin’s idea described in Life of the Cosmos is perhaps the most ingenious. For a more detailed discussion, see my website: www.paulfriedlander.com Exceptions apply: John Archibald Wheeler and Richard Feynman first explored the idea of retrocausality implicit in Maxwell’s equations. John Cramer continued to develop the idea with his Transactional Interpretation of quantum mechanics.

135


08_IN_PHuyghe_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:47

One Million Kingdoms, 2001

P谩gina 136


08_IN_PHuyghe_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:47

Página 137

P

ierre Huygue’s work investigates the difficulty to maintain our notions about information and knowledge property unaffected, in a time in wich media have turned popular culture into a common legacy and an authentic collective sentimental memory. His best known project, No Ghost Just a Shell, “liberates” a japanese anime character and permits other artists to use it, establishing a clear parallelism with open code software community, wich freely divulges and shares its work, creating a production model that is more suitable for the digital context.

Pierre Huyghe_ One Million Kingdoms

No Ghost Just a Shell was initiated by Philippe Parreno and Pierre Huyghe in 1999. They acquired the copyright for a figure called “Annlee” and her original image from the Japanese agency Kworks, which develops figures (almost actors) for cartoons, comic strips, advertising and video games of the booming Japanese Manga industry. The project was intended to go on for a number of years. It offered “Annlee” free of charge to a series of artists, “commissioned” by the initiators, to be used for their “own” stories. Each of the projects realized with “Annlee” is a “chapter in the history of a sign”, and has a “life” in the context of the individual artists’ activities and within the joint project. One Million Kingdoms is Pierre Huyghe’s story for No Ghost Just a Shell. “Annlee” is the narrator. The character walks trought a landscape drawn with graphic curves produced by her voice. She is moving in what she is saying. Her voice is synthetic; it is made from the voice of Neil Armstrong. “My work explores the format of the exhibition beyond its closed door. It is simply a question of placement—we need to make the exhibition more performative. An exhibition could be a television series, an opera or even an amusement park. What is important is that the exhibition can reappear in other places, so why not situate it in more mainstream formats?”.


08_IN_PHuyghe_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:47

A Journey That Wasn’t-Central Park, 2005

A Journey That Wasn’t-Antartica, 2005

Celebration Park, 2006

138

Página 138

Solo Exhibitions (selection) •A Time Score, MUSAC-Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, León, Spain (2007). •Show as Exhibition, Reykyavik Art Museum, Reykyavik, Island (2007). •Celebration Park, Tate Modern, London, UK (2006). •Celebration Park, ARC, Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France (2006). •Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin, Italy (2004). •This is not a time for dreaming, Carpenter Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA (2004). •Streamside Day Follies, Dia Center for the Arts, New York, NY, USA (2003). •L’Expédition scintillante, A Musical, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria (2002). •Le Château de Turing, French Pavilion, Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (2001). •Pierre Huyghe Interludes, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2000). •Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Philippe Parreno, Pierre Huyghe, ARC - Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France (1998). Collective Exhibitions (selection) •theanyspacewhatsoever, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, USA (2008). •52nd Venice Biennale Think with the senses, feel with the mind, Venice, Italy (2007). •Airs de Paris, Musée national d’art moderne, Centre George Pompidou, Paris, France (2007). •Il Tempo del Postino Group Show, Manchester International Festival, Opera House, Manchester, UK (2007). •Whitney Biennial 2006 : Day for Night, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA (2006). •7ème Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, Lyon, France (2003). •Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany (2002). •Moving Pictures, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA (2002). •No Ghost just a Shell, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2002). •Let’s Entertain, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA (2000).


08_IN_PHuyghe_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:47

Página 139

•Au-delà du spectacle, Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (2000). •Trafic, CAPC-Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, France (1996). Awards •Best French Artist Prize, Art Award, Beaux-Arts Magazine (2005). •Hugo Boss Prize (2002). •Jury Special Prize, Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (2001). Link http://mariangoodman.com

2 Minutes Out of Time, 2000


09_IN_T Jansen_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:56

P谩gina 140

Animaris Rhinoceros. The Great Pretender, 2005-2008


09_IN_T Jansen_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:56

Página 141

Since 1990 Theo Jansen is working on a new nature. By doing this he hopes to fathom real nature. His nature exists of skeletons made of yellow electricity tubes. They walk by the wind, so they don’t have to eat. In the end Theo Jansen wants to set out his animals (Animari) in herds on the beaches so they can live their own lives. During the years the animals were due to evolution; they become better and better. In the future they will survive the storms and the tides.

Conduit

Theo Jansen_ Strandbeest

I want to make everything out of plastic tubing. Just as nature as we know it consists largely of protein, I want to make my own life-forms from a single material. You can use protein to make skin, eyes, lungs. Protein is multi-purpose stuff. So is tubing. It’s flexible, but exceedingly rigid when used in a triangular construction. You can run pistons through it, store air in it, all sorts. I only discovered the wide range of its uses after many peregrinations through being-able country. Given the restrictions of this material I was forced to seek out escape routes that were neither logical nor obvious. The strategy I followed to assemble the animals is in fact the complete opposite of that taken by an engineer. Suppose that engineers at a university of technology were to be commissioned to make something that could move of its own volition along the beach. What would you expect them to do? You can bet your life they would be ready in three months and also that they would have assembled stainless steel robot-like devices armed with sensors, cameras and light cells. Devices that are first thought out and then assembled. That’s how engineers work. They have ideas and then they make these ideas happen. First they pore over books, then they open all the drawers in their workplace and take out what they need. It’s a working method that gives rapid and reliable results, no two ways about it.


09_IN_T Jansen_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:56

Página 142

Countermanding that is the fact that any such devices engineers at these universities would develop would all be much alike. This is because our brains are much alike. We think we have exceptional brains (and of course we do) but they are embarrassingly alike in many ways. Everything we think up can in principle be thought up by someone else. Now real ideas, as evolution shows us, occur by sheer chance. The idea for the beach animals was one such accident. It came about after I had been fooling around with plastic tubes for quite a time. It was the beach animals themselves that let me make them. And the plastic tubing showed me how.

Animaris Rhinoceros. The Great Pretender, 2005-2008

142

Remarkably, chance is more likely to play a role when there are restrictions. Financial restrictions, for example, may mean that drawers in the workplace stay closed. This necessitates looking for other possibilities elsewhere. During this search new ideas automatically emerge, ideas that are often better than the ones you first had. Again, the restrictions of the plastic tubing oblige you to look for technical solutions that are less than obvious. All that searching and fooling around takes longer than the engineer’s way of going about things. You might compare the engineer’s method with a motorway. It takes you where you want to go, fast. However, everyone is travelling in the same direction. In the other approach, which I shall call the artist’s method, your destination has yet to be decided. You park your car along the hard shoulder and scramble down the bank, machete in hand, hacking a path through the undergrowth. You’ll probably never arrive at a destination in the accepted sense of the word, but you are very likely to call in at places noone has ever been before.


09_IN_T Jansen_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:56

Página 143

I’ve described the situation pretty much in black-and-white terms. I know from practice that there are plenty of engineers who scramble down the bank at times and artists who join the onslaught of vehicles. What is handy about the artist’s method is that you yourself don’t have to devise or invent anything. The material does that for you. So it was the plastic tubes that put the idea of a new nature into my head. Not a nature of protein like the one we know, but a nature of yellow tubing. All this time, I tried to put the “real” nature out of my mind. I really did try to start all over again, with a clean slate. It then transpires that animals don’t always have to eat. Beach animals live on wind instead of food. They get their camouflage from sand clinging to the adhesive tape (see Animaris Sabulosa in the chapter on the Calidum period). Cannibalistic reproduction is another way of iconoclastically railing against existing nature (Animaris Geneticus in the Tepideem era). Though I did my best to forget “real” nature, I couldn’t avoid resorting to its principles at times. One occasion was when I was developing the beach animal’s leg. I could find no better, energy-efficient device for perambulating across sandy surfaces than the one already existing in old nature. I don’t think there is anything that can beat good old legs. Now I’m working on muscles, nerves, brains. I wasn’t looking for them but they happen to come in handy if you wish to survive on the beach.

Animaris Percipiere, 2005-2008/ Photo Loek ven der Kliski

I take comfort in the thought that these parallels have occurred in biological evolution (...). Consider the fish and the dolphin. They are unrelated. As you know, the dolphin is a mammal; the fish is a fish. And yet they still have more or less the same shape. Evidently nature couldn’t come up with an aquadynamic form other than that of the fish: 143


09_IN_T Jansen_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:56

Animaris Percipiere, 2005-2008/ Photo Loek ven der Kliski

Página 144

fattish at the front and gradually narrowing to a point at the tail. I have come to empathize with the Creator. Not just in the tussle with stuff but also in the sheer pleasure of creating. You can’t imagine the excitement that possesses me when something works, even though it may be a mere detail. Legs Legs prove to be more efficient on sand than wheels. Wheels have to work their way through the sand and shift relatively more of it as a result. Try pulling a cart through loose sand and its hard work. The advantage of wheels, however, is that they don’t lurch; their axle is at a constant height, which saves energy. But the

144


09_IN_T Jansen_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:56

Página 145

legs of the strandbeest have this same advantage; they don’t lurch either. The upper and lower leg parts move relative to one another in such a way that the hip joint (at the juncture with the upper leg) remains at a constant height, just as with the axle of a wheel. But they don’t have the wheel’s disadvantages; they don’t need to touch every inch of the ground along the way, as a wheel has to. Legs can leave out patches of ground by stepping over them. Which is why you can better have legs than wheels on sandy ground.

Animaris Percipiere, 2005-2008/ Photo Loek ven der Kliski

Storing the wind Self-propelling beach animals like Animaris Percipiere have a stomach. This consists of recycled plastic bottles containing air that can be pumped up to a high pressure by the wind.

Animaris Percipiere, 2005-2008/ > Photo Loek ven der Kliski >

145


09_IN_T Jansen_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:56

P谩gina 146


09_IN_T Jansen_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:56

P谩gina 147


09_IN_T Jansen_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:57

Página 148

This is done using a variety of bicycle pump, needless to say of plastic tubing. Several of these little pumps are driven by wings up at the front of the animal that flap in the breeze. It takes a few hours, but then the bottles are full. They contain a supply of potential wind. Take off the cap and the wind will emerge from the bottle at high speed. The trick is to get that untamed wind under control and use it to move the animal. For this, muscles are required. Beach animals have pushing muscles which get

Animaris Modularius. Sketch, 2008

longer when told to do so. These consist of a tube containing another that is able to move in and out. There is a rubber ring on the end of the inner tube so that this acts as a piston. When the air runs from the bottles through a small pipe in the tube it pushes the piston outwards and the muscle lengthens. The beach animal’s muscle can best be likened to a bone that gets longer. Muscles can open taps to activate other muscles that open other taps, and so on. This creates control centres that can be compared to brains. 148


09_IN_T Jansen_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

16:57

P谩gina 149

Animaris Modularius, 2008

149


09_IN_T Jansen_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

3D visualisation

150

16:57

P谩gina 150


09_IN_T Jansen_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

16:57

Página 151

3D visualisation

Collective Exhibitions (selection) •Massachusets Museum of Contemporary Art, USA (2007). •ICA, London, UK (2006). •ArtFutura 2005, Barcelona, Spain (2005). •Ars Electronica 2005, Linz, Austria (2005). Awards •Ars Electronica Jury's Special Award (2005). Links www.strandbeest.com www.artfutura.org/v2/artthoughts.php

151


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:03

P谩gina 152


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:03

Página 153

N

Natalie Jeremijenko & Ángel Borrego_

atalie Jeremijenko is an engineer, artist and designer. She embarked on her multifaceted career in the mid1990s and uses multiple approaches to explore strategies for reclaiming the use of technology as a tool for political and social intervention. She is one of the leading exponents of “experimental design”, understood as the provision of new possibilities of action in daily life to liberate us from the impositions of things we take for granted. She bases her activity on the scientifically rigorous application of methodologies from fields such as statistical analysis, robotics and biotechnology. Ángel Borrego Cubero is the founder and director of OSS (Office for Strategic Spaces—open source space). OSS is an art and architecture office based in Madrid. It was founded in 1999 for the purposes of studying modern urban space and its economic, social and cultural implications. The activities undertaken at OSS encompass design and architectural research, the application of information organising strategies as an aid to decision-making, group research projects, exhibitions and publications.

Urban Space Station Introducing the Environmental Health Clinic by Natalie Jeremijenko The (xClinic) as a facility that frames and stages experiments in structuring participation in substantive, local environmental change; introduces the environmental monitoring techniques that facilitate diverse participation and high standards of evidence; demonstrates the structures of participation that facilitates ongoing community learning with incentives and accountability that exploit participatory processes and market devices alike. In the tradition of institutional critique in conceptual art, the Environmental Health Clinic(xClinic) performs an alternative institutionalization of health and environmental work—changing who can participate in


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:03

Página 154

redesigning and re-imagining our collective relationship to natural systems. The frame of the Environmental Health Clinic treats health issues as they relate to the external environment—and specific environmental issues as they relate to health. This representation transforms abstract, global environmental phenomena into local and mutable redesigns— that can be acted on and managed as if it were one’s own health. The xClinic is a framework that shifts the locus of agency in environmental change away from international policy, marketbased strategies and legislative responses and towards the individual and small community group. Nonetheless, it posits that environmental transformations that are locally optimized can nonetheless aggregate virally to a globally substantive effect; and the xClinic provides an academic center vested in this coordination. Furthermore, as legislation increasingly criminalizes environmental activism allowing artists and other activists to be prosecuted as terrorists—including academic professionals—this framework provides a strategy to “authorize” the activity associated with materially addressing environmental issues. The Environmental Health Clinic follows the widely familiar script of a health clinic—nonartists, non-activists, school teachers, students and homeless people alike all understand how to interface with a clinic. At the xClinic appointments can be made to discuss environmental health concerns, rather than health concerns. And these voluntary “Impatients”—people too impatient to wait for adequate legislative change to address local environmental issues—leave with prescriptions: not for pharmaceuticals, but for projects that address their specific concerns. These include design interventions; data collection or

Urban Space Station Project, 2007-2008 Options to entry_section

154


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:03

Página 155

“prescription products”, in addition to referrals to local community and research groups and on-going participatory projects. A recent example involved a “feral dog pack release” of robotic, toxin-sensing hot-rodded toys coordinated and produced with local students (who do most of the technical upgrading). As the robots follow concentration gradients, displaying the information in their movement, it provides the opportunity for evidence-driven discussion (on what the dogs are finding; if these levels affect health; and what can be done, for instance). These feral dog pack release events provides a spectacle, wellattended and documented by local media, politicians and community organizers as well as the opportunity for diverse community members to participate in the interpretation of the environmental data. This leads to informed discussion of costs, urgency and options for remediation. For example, in St. Louis, Missouri, a feral robot dog intervention led to substantial community support for (and enactment of) a photogenic sunflower-based, soil phyto-remediation protocol. At the end of the growth season—itself a long-term public display—students are involved in the harvesting and testing of plants bio-accumulation levels. From an academic point of view, the aim of the clinic is to coordinate and analyze the events and data generated by various such strategies; most of which substantially involve impatients and associated local participants. These draw from the repertoire of playful, participatory mediagenic projects that include my previous work, and extends to others artist, activist, and .orgs involved in environmental remediation and structured community learning (such as Center for Urban Pedagogy [CUP] or People for Public Spaces [PPS]).

Urban Space Station Project, 2007-2008 Options to entry_section

155


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:03

Urban Space Station Project, 2007-2008

156

Página 156

Traditional clinics are built around the keeping of medical records, and similarly the backbone of the xClinic is the recordkeeping or informatics that are relevant to this inside out approach to health. Instead of blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, the xClinic will baseline the indoor and outdoor air quality, before prescribing a Greenlight, for example, and monitor its effectiveness at remediating formaldehydes and other common indoor air pollutants. Another lab procedure asks Impatients to provide a “mouse sample”, rather than a urine sample, and provides an elaborate and spectacular (humane but entertaining) mouse catching strategy for deployment in their home or office. The xClinic then does blood and hair work on the organism including heavy metal assessment. The animals is not sacrificed, however the body burden of industrial contaminants in this model organism makes a good referent for the combined effects of local contaminants, diet and their interaction with mammalian biology. Although people and their resident mice share the same environmental stressors and largely the same diet, people have more complex territorial ranges. It is difficult to ascertain if exposure occurred during childhood, from occupational activity, or from a recent vacation. This project—part also of OOZ—demonstrates cohabitation in social ecological systems and allows interpolation to traditional lab mouse models on medical health effects. It also provides readymade ongoing bio-monitoring and demonstrates the “information value” of cohabitants—more commonly known as pests. This geospatially specific serves to inform the prescribed remediation strategy, and provides in-place follow up monitoring for any design intervention.


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:03

Página 157

Thus, biomonitoring is one focus of the lab. In this vein, xClinic has issued an edition of prescription tadpoles (each named for a local government official responsible for water quality decisions-i.e. Tadpole-Bureaucrats), in order for Impatients to monitor endocrine disruptors in local water bodies. These organisms are more sensitive than any instrument-based procedure and are to be raised by in water samples by Impatients who are asked to “observe” behavioral responses. Local bird population levels, diversity and health provide a good indicator of arboreal resources and consequently local air quality— are other protocols that extend the information value of non-human cohabitants. Moreover their androgenic food sources provide a model population response—ecological research on the high relative (LDL) cholesterol levels are valuable to compare to human variation in this marker. The point is that the data are not on or about the individual Impatient—they are precisely *not* private medical information. Rather they have to do with the shared space, air, water and environmental systems we inhabit and act upon. Hence, the production of this informational resource could be of tremendous value for many local organizations, and all the work is directed at making it available for analysis and comparison. Impatient records are based at the clinic social networking site (where users can upload images, video, data or commentary—-in addition to the relevant academic research, governmental reports and RSS feeds [like scorecard.org; environmentalhealthnews].)

Urban Space Station Project, 2007-2008

157


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:03

Página 158

This familiarity of the health clinic model enables the participation of people who are not professional activists, artists or scientists involved in environmental movements. Anyone knows how to make an appointment, without necessarily knowing (yet) how to translate his/her environmental concerns into effective actions. If individuals have ideas, the clinic provides them a forum to discuss and develop these, or to draw on similar examples or relevant expertise—i.e. generating an evidencebased social network. Furthermore, the clinic model is one of the few social institutional frameworks providing direct, one-on-one accountability, and the opportunity for voluntary, individualized education. There is an indelibility to any clinic experience that is unlike attending a lecture, movie or other mode of receiving environmental information. Clinics are stable institutions, yet responsive to local

Urban Space Station Project, 2007-2008

158


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:03

P谩gina 159

populations, and as such provide sustained relationships built on personal interactions (a patient can return years later and still find their record). This longevity of the relationship also provides the possibility of longitudinal analysis so difficult to support in a traditional research projects. Clinic prescriptions are highly specified for the local context and/or individuals, but may also be issued for schools (e.g., for measurable improvement in air quality); and other shared facilities. A prescription for improving the environmental services provided by Washington Square Park in New York City is being developed for the local community groups concerned that the Beaux Arts redesign increases the carbon footprint of the park. Using health as the common ground in this contentious context provides the opportunity for bipartisan, evidence-driven discussion. In summary, the Environmental Health Clinic is a framework to coordinate individual actions with high standards of evidence in the material realms of environmental change, to support and develop what we can be done at a local level, and to aggregate these local optimized actions for substantial effect. As a critique of the medicalized health paradigm, the xClinic articulates an alternative that gives attention to external phenomena. The chief advantage of this approach is that any benefits to the environmental health of any one impatient will also be enjoyed by anyone with whom they share their environment.

159


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:03

Página 160

The Urban Space Station by Natalie Jeremijenko and Ángel Borrego The UrbanSpaceStation (USS) is a device designed to sequester the carbon dioxide emissions from buildings (which account for 80% Carbon Dioxide emissions in Manhattan and 35% of the national U.S. average) and return oxygen-enriched air to the building. Working in conjunction with greenroofing, this rooftop laboratory-greenhouse provides an intensive urban agriculture facility, coupling and reusing building waste streams locally— CO2, grey water, cellulose and organic matter— to provide significant nutritional resources and promote local urban biodiversity. Called the USS because it appropriates materials, power generation and closed system engineering of space stations to significantly increase the environmental performance of urban buildings, it creates a mutualistic relationship that can service a 20:1 building volume in air exchange (that is, the USS is scaled to approximately 1/20th the size of the building it is rests on and plugs into). The structure and ETFE membrane are designed to be assembled and deployed as a barn raising process, rather than by traditional construction; pre-engineered to perform in 100-year storm events; and requires no substantial structural modification of support building.

160


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:03

Página 161

The ETFE structure is defined to minimize construction shadow; maximize the packing surface for vegetation around the interior surface; and exploit the available incident energy from the sun. The USS facility decouples greenroofs from the demands of urban agriculture, which allows the open ecology greenroofs to be maximized for biodiversity and environmental services, including, habitat provisions for birds and insects; storm water retention; CO2 fixing; and particulate matter capture. The USS’s clear flooring of cellular polycarbonate, facilitates sheltered growth under the structure. Contrasting growth conditions inside closed system and exterior open system allow for material cycling nitrogenous between these. The design of USS means it can be understood as an intensification of air conditions, completely filled with living material, optimizing the air exchange with its smooth transition from air duct to growth volume and its adaptable shape. Maximizing participation in the deployment and constructions is an investment in the pedagogical value and the capacity to improve, maintain, adjust and redesign these systems, folding on-going human participation into the cycling of nutrients, and vegatation that constrain socio-ecological systems. It functions iconically because it is not a symbolic, but a material engagement with these constraints.

Urban Space Station Project, 2007-2008 >

161


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:04

P谩gina 162


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:04

P谩gina 163


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:04

Página 164

Natalie Jeremijenko Exhibitions: individuals and collectives (selection) •The Kitchen, For Reasons of State, New York, USA (2008). •Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, USA (2008). •Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, USA (2007). •Eco-Media, Edith Russ Site for Media Art, Oldenburg, Germany (2007). •Park(ing) Day NoPark, New York, USA (2007). •Mobility and Surveillance, Les Complices Espace Libre & Editions Zurich, Switzerland (2007). •Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, New York, USA (2006). •Design Life Now: National Design Triennial 2006 New York, USA (2006). •Postmasters Gallery, New York, USA (2006) •Whitney Museum of American Art, The Whitney Biennial, New York, USA (2006). •Becoming Animal, MASSMoCA, Massachusetts, USA (2005). •National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta (2005). •Silent Observers, Rijeka Museum, Croatia (2005). •Reverse Engineering, Carnegie Arts Center, Kansas, USA (2005). •Making Things Public, ZKM, Karlsrhue, Germany (2005). •Feral Robotics, The Ark, Dublin, Ireland (2005). •Animated Butterflies, National History Museum, Dublin, Ireland (2005). •OOZ: Robotic Ducks, St. Stephens Green, Dublin, Ireland (2005). •Milgram’s Mice, Yale Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, USA (2004). •Feral Robotics, Gigantic Art Space, New York, USA (2004). •Republican National Convention – D4PA (Designed for Political Action) (2004). •Public Experiments, Ecole Des Mines / Society for Social Studies of Science Exhibition Space, Paris, France (2004). •OneTrees: Twowheeling, San Francisco OneTrees (2004).

164


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:04

Página 165

Urban Space Station Project, 2007-2008

•Technoskeptic, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (2003). •Feral Robotics Workshop, Eyebeam, New York, USA (2003). •Introducing the OOZ: the goosing phase, De Verbeelding kunst landschap natuur (2003). •Bronx River Arts Center, Public Events – Feral Robotic Dog Pack Release Bronx (2003). •For the Birds, Art Space, New Haven, USA (2003). •The Future Park, Graham Foundation, Chicago, USA (2003).

165


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:04

Página 166

Urban Space Station Project, 2007-2008

•Information, Artist Space, New York, USA (2002). •Joy and Revolution, Postmasters Gallery, New York, USA (2002). •Whitney Biennial, New York, USA (1997). •Documenta, Kassel, Germany (1997). Honours / Awards •New York State (NYSCA) Artist Grant (2007). •Daniel Langlois Fellowship in Art and Science (2006). •SEED Magazine Award: 1 of 9 “Revolutionary Minds” (2006). •First Prize International Media Art Award / Video [WZKM/SWR Medien Kunstpreis] (2001). •National Academy of Science (2001). •TR100: MIT Technology Review Top 100 Young Innovators (2000). •Rockefeller Fellow (1999). Publications •Natalie Jeremijenko. On Voice Chips (in first person). Noah Wardrip-Fruin, ed. MIT Press (2007). •Natalie Jeremijenko and Eugene Thacker. Creative Biotechnology: A User’s Manual. With essays by Heath Bunting and Dena Jones. (A limited edition imprint of the publication is available from Locus+. The PDF is available on-line a www.locusplus.org.uk/biotech_hobbyist) (2004).

166


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:04

Página 167

Links •www.nyu.edu/projects/xdesign •www.environmentalhealthclinic.net Ángel Borrego Individual exhibitions •VideoWindow, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain (2007). •Spanische Spione, Galería Heinrich Ehrhardt, Madrid, Spain (2004). •www.wordww.net (2004). •El arte como experiencia elevadora, ARCO 04. Madrid, Spain (2004). •POM 1 and POM 2. In Exposición Vigilada II, Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid, Spain (2003). •Vista Artística Construida a 6 Metros de Altura, ARCO 03, Madrid, Spain (2003). •Exposición Vigilada II, Museo Centro Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo Artium, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain (2003). •Work Games, Galería Heinrich Ehrhardt, Madrid, Spain (2000). •Indices de Vigilancia in Espacio3 Series, Arquerías de Nuevos Ministerios, Ministerio de Fomento, Madrid, Spain (1999). Collective exhibitions •Registro Civil. At BIACS (Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo de Sevilla), Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville, Spain (2008). •Registro Civil. In Campus: Imágenes de la Justicia, Real Fábrica de Tapices, Madrid, Spain (2008). •Baby y Pipa. In Todo cuanto amé formaba parte de ti, Instituto Cervantes, Dublin, Ireland (2008). •Suicidio en Quintanar. In 100% Crudo, Fundación COAM, Madrid, Spain (2007). •Baby y Pipa. In Todo cuanto amé formaba parte de ti (Censored), Instituto Cervantes, Damascus, Turkey (2007). •BIRD(S)LAB. Postmasters Gallery, New York, USA (2006). •EEE(Hr). In Estudio Abierto. Post Office, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2006). •Recent work. In FreshMadrid. RAS Gallery, Barcelona, Spain.

167


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:04

Página 168

•Recent work. In FreshMadrid, Museo de Bogotá, Centro Cultural Planetario, Colombia (2006). •2006. Recent work. In FreshMadrid, Fundación COAM, Madrid, Spain (2006). •2005. ETest. In TESTMADRID, Antiguo Matadero de Legazpi, Madrid, Spain. In association with Madrid City Council and the CEES European University of Madrid, Spain (2005). •SAL-1 y SAL-2. At Main Square. Salamanca. 21st Century, Palacio Episcopal, Salamanca, Spain (2005). •Recent work, Fundación COAM, Madrid, Spain (2005). •I am too good to be true and Scorpio Rising, Covivant Gallery, Tampa, Florida, USA (2004). •BRILLANTEPLANOSUAVE. Videoteca de Lisboa. 2nd Audiovisual Exhibition from Spain, Lisbon, Portugal (2003). •POM (Peace O’ Mind) 2. In Cruzados/creuats, Centre de Cultura Contemporània, Barcelona, Spain (2003). •BrillantePlantoSuave, Bienal de Arquitectura Española, Ministerio de Fomento, Madrid, Spain (2003). •Scorpio Falling I and II, Casa de América, Madrid, Spain (2003). •SPEEDWALL, Galería Heinrich Ehrhardt, Madrid, Spain (2002). •Control-Descontrol in La Ruta del Sentido: Arquitecturas. Video screening, Casa de América, Madrid, Spain (2002). •Cacharros in De-Construcciones de Hombres, Sala Amadís at the Ministerio de Asuntos Sociales, Madrid, Spain (2001). •Índices de vigilancia, Colegio de Arquitectos de Barcelona, Spain (2000). •Battlefield Shopping in Im-Posturas. Seminars and Exhibitions on Industrial Archaeology, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain (1999). Awards •Artist project grant from Fundación Arte y Derecho. Project: “COMPETITION!!” (2007-2008). •First Prize in the International Architecture Competition. Registry Office at the Campus of Justice, Madrid, Spain (2007-2008). •Second Prize in the International Architecture Competition. Block 5 of the area adjacent to the AVE high-speed train station, Zaragoza, Spain (2007).

168


10_IN_NJeremijenko_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:04

Página 169

•Artist project grant from Fundación Arte y Derecho. Project: “wordww.net” (2003-2005). •Artist project grant from the Museo Artium. Project: “Exposición Vigilada II” (2003). •Fulbright grant to undertake the Master of Architecture course at Princeton University. Project: “Spy Architecture” (1997-1999). •Princeton University grant to undertake the Master of Architecture course. Links www.o-s-s.org www.wordww.net

Urban Space Station Project, 2007-2008

169


11_IN_Kodama_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

Equilibrium Point, 2006

17:10

P谩gina 170


11_IN_Kodama_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:10

Página 171

T

he extraordinary techniques that Sachiko Kodama uses in her projects have no precedent in contemporary art practices, either within or outside the realm of digital art. Her work illustrates how scientific research can expand the expressive vocabulary of artists today. Kodama’s projects are based on the study and manipulation of specific substances, ferrofluids, whose visual properties seem almost magical. Ferrofluids are liquid metals. As such, they have magnetic properties and react to the proximity of magnetic fields by vibrating and changing shape. The artist uses a computer system to control the strength of these magnetic fields, adjusting the reaction of the liquid with great precision.

SachiKo Kodama_ Protrude, Flow Breathing Chaos Sculpture Garden

“Dynamic ferrofluid sculpture: Organic shapechanging art forms” by Sachiko Kodama Purpose of my project Since ancient times, artists have been fascinated by the delicate, dynamic unpredictable forms that are seen in fluid phenomena like waterfalls or clouds. Since 2000, I have been using ferrofluid to develop interactive art projects that allow people to experience dynamic fluid phenomenon. In this project, the magnetic field generated by electro-magnets controls the spikes of ferrofluid. Sensing technology is used to make the fluid change its shape according to environmental sounds or audience activity. The transformation of the shape and rhythm of the movement are important aspects of the work. My project’s goal is to create organic shapechanging art forms and figures whose threedimensional form, surface structure, and color change dynamically and lively. To create such three-dimensional organic forms and surfaces, I started using ferrofluid, and named the art project Protrude, Flow.


11_IN_Kodama_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:10

Página 172

I am pursuing to create interactive installations, so as that it moves human’s primitive feelings. Dynamic, organic shape and movement of the black lustrous fluid (ferrofluid) is placed in some part of installation to express desire (passion) toward life. The phenomenon that fluid rises against gravity reminds us something living. These fluids are not like machines, they remind us the energy of pulsating fluid in the body of life. Material and Technique Ferrofluid, the shape-changing material used in my works, were invented in the late 1960s in the Apollo Program of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and are known to be used for forming liquid seals and in electronic devices for computers, AV equipments, and other industrial applications. Recently they have been employed in medicine research. Basically, ferrofluid appear as a black fluid. They are prepared by dissolving nanoscale ferromagnetic particles in a solvent such as water or oil and remain strongly magnetic even in a fluid condition. Therefore, they are more flexibly transformable as compared to iron sand. It is well known that ferrofluid form spikes along magnetic field lines when the magnetic surface force exceeds the stabilizing effects of the fluid weight and surface tension. In my work, organic shapes are produced by these spikes under a magnetic field that is controlled by electromagnets. Sensing technology and computers are used to make the fluid change its shape according to environmental information. The transformation of the shape and rhythm of the movement is an important aspect of my work.

172


11_IN_Kodama_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:10

P谩gina 173

Protrude, Flow, 2001-2008

Works Protrude, Flow (2001) Modeling physical material more freely and making it move more flexibly is a dream long sought after by human beings, and many artists have created surreal illusions in pictures or moving images. But those were imaginary. Can we obtain a real object that transforms as we designed it? My first piece using ferrofluid was created in collaboration with another artist, Minako Takeno. She introduced this material to me and taught me the basic techniques for generating impressive spikes.

Protrude, Flow, 2001-2008 >

173


11_IN_Kodama_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:10

P谩gina 174


11_IN_Kodama_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:10

P谩gina 175


11_IN_Kodama_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:10

Página 176

Protrude, flow used ferrofluid, sound, and moving images. Affected by the sounds and spectators’ voices in the exhibition place, the three-dimensional patterns of ferrofluid transform in various ways, and simultaneously its flowing movement and dynamic transformations are projected on the wide screen. That appears occasionally as pointed mountains or pliable organic shapes, sometimes as flowing particle streams. The transformation of ferrofluid is caused by the interaction with environmental sound. The sounds in the exhibition place (sounds created by artists, and voices of spectators) are caught by a microphone hanging from the ceiling, and then a computer converts the sound amplitude to electromagnetic voltage which determines the strength of the magnetic field.

Breathing Chaos, 2004

176


11_IN_Kodama_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:10

Página 177

Breathing Chaos (2004) Breathing Chaos was a temporal installation work in the Telic Gallery in Los Angeles. In the middle of the gallery sits a small table and a large plate. From this plate, black fluid grows into a pointed mountain with a surface multiplying into a myriad of smaller spikes, each swaying as if alive with a very sensitive chaos. Breathing Chaos—Movie (2004) A short film which is a same title of above mentioned installation, because this movie was screened in the same gallery at the same time. The theme of this movie is dynamic forces of nature, to suggest that life emerges from the expression of physical power. Themes include the chaos of fluidity, the order that results from it, and the symmetrical splendor born from indeterminable chaos. MorphoTower/Spiral Swirl (2006) and Morpho Tower (2006) For this work, I discovered a new technique called Ferrofluid Sculpture. This technique enables artists to create more dynamic sculptures with fluid materials. One electromagnet is used, with an extended iron core that is sculpted into a particular shape. The ferrofluid covers the sculpted surface of the three-dimensional iron shape. The movement of the spikes in the fluid is controlled dynamically on the surface by adjusting the power of the electromagnet.

Sculpture Garden, 2006-2008

The Morpho Tower series in 2006 was my first realization of a ferrofluid sculpture. A spiral tower stands on a plate that holds the ferrofluid. When the magnetic field around the tower is strengthened, spikes are generated in the bottom plate and they move upward,

177


11_IN_Kodama_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:11

Página 178

trembling and rotating around the edge of the iron spiral. The shape of the iron body is designed to be helical so that the fluid can move to the top of the helical tower. The surface of the tower responds dynamically to its magnetic environment. When there is no magnetic field, the tower appears to have a simple spiral shape. But when the magnetic field around the tower is strengthened, spikes are generated; simultaneously, the tower’s surface dynamically changes into a variety of textures—a soft fluid, a minute moss, spiky shark’s teeth, or a hard iron surface.

Morpho Tower, 2006

178


11_IN_Kodama_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:11

Página 179

Morpho Towers/Two Standing Spirals (2007) Usually, the inspiration for my artwork comes from life and nature. The organic forms and the geometry and symmetry observed in plants and animals are important inspirational factors when considering kinetic or shape-changing and potentially interactive art forms. The manner of movement of animals and other natural materials is important. Rhythms of breathing in living things are an excellent metaphor for a texture that dynamically changes according to time. The continuously changing weather conditions of the earth are also important motifs. The motifs for this work which I created in collaboration with software engineer Yasushi Miyajima (Sony CSL), were ocean, tornadoes, and lightning. Here, a black tornado elegantly dances in sync with music. In Japan, we have the concept of comparison. Mimicking natural phenomena (mitate in Japanese) is a method that works well when trying to understand how natural shapes occur. It permits the comparison of ferrofluid forms to creatures such as sea urchins and jelly fishes or to a “tornado”. Thus, it creates high-tech versions of the Japanese “Hakoniwa,” boxes with small models of things and landscapes taken from real life settings.

Morpho Tower, 2006

The images recorded in my ferrofluid art project have played a very important role. Occasionally, other collaborators and I attempted to capture various photographs or videos of ferrofluids in my studio. This is almost similar to the exploration of an unknown planet. Protrude, Flow (2008) For Protrude, Flow 2008, I plan to enable people to view even higher resolution pictures generated by shooting a dynamic moving

179


11_IN_Kodama_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:11

Página 180

ferrofluid. People would be able to affect the movement of the real ferrofluid by their voice. The stop motion of the fluid rising up and falling down slowly against gravity is recorded as a frozen moment. People can investigate the work, compare the real moving material and its image, and attempt to create sounds at various times as the stop motion images at a certain interval. The images reveal black, shining, splashing, organic, tremendous, standing liquid figures. This dialogue with an image would be similar to a dialogue between our memory and the image in our soul; what imagination would be born in our mind from viewing an unconscious image in a moving fluidic material? Solo Exhibitions (selection) •Sachiko Kodama Exhibition, Sakamaki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2007). •Sachiko Kodama Morpho Tower, Sakamaki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2006). •Dynamic Fluid: Sachiko Kodama’s Magnetic Fluid Art Project, Science Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2005). •Sachiko Kodama Breathing Chaos, Telic Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (2004). •Sachiko Kodama Exhibition, Kobayashi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (1996). Collective Exhibitions (selection) •Haptic. Literature.—intersection of text/media art, Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Japan (2007). •Message 2007, Miyakonojo City Museum of Art, Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan (2007). •The Power of Expression Japan, National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan (2007). •Woman’s Perspective in New Media, Bitforms Gallery Seoul, Korea (2006). •Electrical Fantasista exhibit, BankART Studio NYK, Japan (2006). •Meta Visual—10 Anniversaire du Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Centre des Arts d’Enghienles-Bains, France (2005).

180


11_IN_Kodama_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:11

Página 181

•Digital Art Festival Tokyo, Panasonic Center, Tokyo, Japan (2005). •Navigator—Digital Art in the Making, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan (2004). •Time/Space, Gravity, and Light, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, USA (2004). •Ars Electronica 2003 Linz, Austria (2003). •Reimagination image/media/museum, Fukui Fine Arts Museum, Fukui Prefecture, Japan (2002). •Japan Media Arts Exhibition 2002, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China (2002). Cibervision’02, Centro Cultural Conde Duque Madrid, Spain (2002). •Mood River, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, USA (2002). •Program seed, Kyoto Art Center, Kyoto, Japan (2002). •The interaction’01: Dialogue with Expanded Images, Softpia Japan Center, Gifu Prefecture, Japan (2001). Aknowledgments to Minako Takeno and Kingo Arakawa. Links www.kodama.hc.uec.ac.jp www.kodama.hc.uec.ac.jp/protrudeflow/index.html morphotowers.gallery-sakamaki.net/etop.html

Sachiko Kodama, Protrude, Flow. Process of production of electro-magnets at the ABB factory in Zaragoza, 2008

181


12_IN_R LOZANO-HEMMER_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:12

Microphones, Sub-sculpture 10, 2008

P谩gina 182


12_IN_R LOZANO-HEMMER_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:12

Página 183

A

s an electronic artist, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer emerged producing large-scale interactive installations in public spaces, usually deploying new technologies and custom-made physical interfaces. Using robotics, projections, sound, internet and cell-phone links, sensors and other devices, his installations aim to provide “temporary anti-monuments for alien agency”. His work in kinetic sculpture, responsive environments, video installation and photography has been shown in two dozen countries.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer_ Microphones, Sub-sculpture 10

In Microphones (Sub-sculpture 10), twenty microphones with the archetypal Shure 55 head, first made in 1939, are distributed around the exhibition room mounted on custom-made stands at varying heights. Each microphone is dimly lit from above by a narrow spotlight, which emits a low light when no one is interacting with the installation. The microphones have been modified, so the head contains not only the microphone itself but also a powerful but tiny loudspeaker and an integrated circuit connected to a network of hidden computers. When a member of the public speaks into a microphone, the device records his/her voice and immediately reproduces the voice of a previous participant, like a type of echo of the past. The result is astonishing because the sound comes from the microphone itself but is the memory of something that has already been said. In our tests, people initially say something short such as “Hello” or “Why don’t you shut up?” or “Sit down, damn it!”, but as they realise that the answer is actually a recording of previous participants, they begin to make longer speeches, or sing, or play “Consequences”. Half the time a microphone reproduces the immediately previous recording, and the other half a random recording from the 600,000 that it can store. This distribution enables the user to identify the interactive mechanism but also places the experience


12_IN_R LOZANO-HEMMER_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:12

Página 184

beyond their control. Sometimes, speaking into a microphone triggers a response from three or four microphones at the same time, which adds a three-dimensional sensation to the experience. The spotlights illuminating the microphones reproducing a recording emit a brighter light so that the microphone can be easily identified and the installation takes on a greater visual presence.

Microphones, Sub-sculpture 10, 2008

“Micrófonos” is a self-representation installation in which the content of the work is entirely dictated by the audience’s participation.

184


12_IN_R LOZANO-HEMMER_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:12

Página 185

Solo Exhibitions (selection) •Haunch of Venison Gallery, London, UK (2008). •Pulse Park, Commission, Madison Square Park, New York, USA (2008). •Recordings, Edith Russ Haus für Medienkunst, Oldenburg, Germany (2008). •Bitforms Gallery, New York, USA (2008). •Body Movies, Te Papa Museum, Wellington, New Zealand (2008). •The Curve, Commission, Barbican Art Centre, London, UK (2008). •Some Things Happen More Often Than All Of The Time, Mexican Pavilion–52 Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (2007). Amodal Suspension, Yamaguchi, Japan, 2003

185


12_IN_R LOZANO-HEMMER_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:12

Página 186

•Pulse Front, Public art installation, Power Plant, Harbourfront, Toronto, Canada (2007). •Body Movies, Museum or Art, HK Arts Development Council, Hong Kong, China (2007). •Under Scan, public art commission, East Midlands Development Agency, Nottingham, Derby, Northampton, Leicester, UK (2007). •33 Questions per Minute, Spots Mediafaçade, with realities:united, Postdamer Platz 10, Berlin, Germany (2007). •Subsculptures, Galerie Guy Bärtschi, Geneva, Switzerland (2005). •Under Scan, public art commission, East Midlands Development Agency, Lincoln, USA (2005). •Vectorial Elevation, EU expansion celebrations, O’Connell Street, Dublin, Ireland (2004). •Vectorial Elevation, Fête des Lumières, Place Bellecour, Lyon, France (2003). •Amodal Suspension, Opening Project of the Yamaguchi Center for Art and Media, Yamaguchi, Japan (2003). •Relational Architectures, Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico (2003). •Body Movies, Duisburg Akzente, Duisburg, Germany (2003). •Two Origins, Place du Capitole, Printemps de Septembre Festival, Toulouse, France (2002). •Vectorial Elevation, Opening project of Artium, Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, VitoriaGasteiz, Spain (2002). •Body Movies, Cultural Capital of Europe Festival, V2 Grounding, Rotterdam (2001). •Vectorial Elevation Zócalo Square, Mexico (2000). Link www.lozano-hemmer.com

186


Body Movies-Relational Architecture 6-Hong Kong, 2006

Body Movies-Relational Architecture 6-Linz, 2006

12_IN_R LOZANO-HEMMER_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1 26/6/08 17:12 P谩gina 187


13_IN_MAEDA_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

Nature, 2005

17:19

P谩gina 188


13_IN_MAEDA_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:19

Página 189

D

uring the last two decades, the Japanese-American artist, designer and educator John Maeda has been one of the most important figures to explore the artistic and visual potential of the computer as a tool and computer code as working material. From his position as founder of the fundamental Aesthetics and Computation Group of the MIT Media Lab (1996-2003), Maeda has promoted a humanistic approach to technology that reconsiders our relationship with the digital media.

John Maeda_ Nature

The Nature series consists of a series of seven “motion paintings,” representing abstract forms evocative of those found in nature. Between three to six minutes in length, each motion painting is made up of several short sequences depicting intensely colored abstract shapes and patterns that constantly move, expand and evolve. Culling his metaphors from nature— trees, sky, grass, moon, fire, wind, rain, snow— John Maeda offers us a glimpse of digital space in the spirit of landscape painting. Projected onto translucent suspended screens, these digital landscapes are generated by a new software technology that the artist created in order to “paint in space and time.” Inspired by the dynamic spirit of Abstract Expressionism, the artist designed this technology so that he could “paint” animated images on the computer in a simple gestural manner. Following a long line of abstract painters such as Paul Klee, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, John Maeda employs subtle changes of form, color and pattern to create works that are both visually stunning and profound. Through the hypnotic beauty and sensuality of these images, the artist aspires to bring us closer to the computer and lead us to a deeper understanding of its inner nature.


13_IN_MAEDA_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

Nature, 2005

190

17:19

P谩gina 190


13_IN_MAEDA_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:19

Página 191

Nature, 2005

Solo Exhibitions (selection) •John Maeda, Nature + Eye’m Hungry, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France (2005). •John Maeda: F00D, Cristinerose Gallery, New York, USA (2003). •The Process of John Maeda, Colette, Paris, France (2001). •John Maeda: Towards Post Digital, ICC-NTT InterCommunication Center, Tokyo, Japan (2001). •Maeda@Media, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK (2000). Collective Exhibitions (selection) •Workspheres, MoMA, New York, USA (2001). •010101: Art in Technological Times, Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (2001). •Design Triennale, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York, USA (2000). •Organic Computation, The Art Directors Club, New York, USA (1999). 191


13_IN_MAEDA_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:19

Página 192

Nature, 2005

Publications •John Maeda, Creative Code, Thames & Hudson, London (2004). •John Maeda, Post Digital, catalogue of the exhibition John Maeda: Towards Post Digital, ICC-NTT InterCommunication Center, Tokyo (2001). •John Maeda, Maeda@Media, Thames & Hudson, London (2000). •John Maeda, Design by Numbers, MIT Press, Cambridge (1999).

192


13_IN_MAEDA_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:19

Página 193

Nature, 2005

Awards and honours •Named one of the “21 Most Important People of the 21st century” by Esquire magazine (1999). •Given an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts by the Maryland Institute College of Art (2003). •United States’ Smithsonian Institution’s National Design Award (2001). •Japan’s Manichi Design Prize (2002). Link www.maedastudio.com

193


14_IN_CMacmurtrie_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:20

P谩gina 194

Inflatable Architectural Body-Drawing, 2008


14_IN_CMacmurtrie_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:20

Página 195

F

or over 15 years, the New York group Amorphic Robot Works, founded by Chico MacMurtrie, an artist from New Mexico, has been creating anthropomorphic and animal-like robotic sculptures for use in its installations and performances to express the dilemmas and conflicts of the human condition through the sculptures’ movements. In its most recent productions, Amorphic Robot Works has embarked on a new line of research, abandoning metal as the base material for its creations and building new robots from much lighter materials and inflatable structures.

Chico MacMurtrie/ Amorphic Robot Works_ Inflatable Architectural Body

“En Route to Inflatable Architectural Body” by Chico MacMurtrie In this era in which machinery takes over many aspects of human life, we generally think of robots as, at best, utilitarian. At worst, in the realm of fiction and in the realities of modern war, we see them as destructive purveyors of misery. The unexpected appearance of an elaborate robotic device, whose sole purpose is moving, growing, or interacting, then calls our attention back to the substance and priority of those basic biological systems of which we are a part, and whose creation and adaptability my work in robotics both emulates and envies. Our creations in this world strive for an endurance and resonance so far achieved only by nature Herself. By moving away from the idea of influence through unassailability, toward finding it in interconnection, interaction, and adaptability, perhaps we can express a higher form of intelligence in our own creations. The tensions between our aspirations as artists, the tools and materials we have at our disposal, and the limits of our creativity—always falling short of the creation of life itself—remind us that we cannot improve upon nature, only manipulate it, comment upon it, and attempt to better understand ourselves with respect to it.


14_IN_CMacmurtrie_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:20

Página 196

Over the last 20 years, with the assistance of members of my collective, Amorphic Robot Works, I have been involved in an investigation of the human condition by building machines that take humanoid, organic and/or abstract forms. One of these investigations involved the creation of a machine society, the Amorphic Landscape, which debuted in Nottingham, England in 2000. Central to the 20-meter-long Landscape is an environment engineered to provide both a physical and narrative structure for more than 100 robots. This environment is not just a passive context for its robotic inhabitants; but is itself a robot capable of interaction and transformation. One-hour theatrical performances of the Amorphic Landscape depict the formation of the earth, th birth and rise of creatures and communication, the resulting degradation of the environment, and the many intervening cycles of life, death, and creation in which everything takes part.

Fœtus to Man, 2004

Prevalent throughout this work is the unusual perspective that arises from the inspection of simple movements, and the meaning of those movements when detached from their human origins. The simple actions we perform without thinking take on greater meaning when apotheosized in the form of an artificial creature struggling to mimic what comes so naturally to us. As we empathize with the sculptures’ struggles or successes, we gain a greater appreciation for, and more pointed critique of our engineering, our social and creative capacities, and ourselves. My sculpture and performance up to the year 2000 comprised numerous studies in mechanics, pneumatics, hydraulics, programming, sculptural form, mechanical durability, and performance. These studies have led to the skills necessary for a generation of work that more tightly and

196


14_IN_CMacmurtrie_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:20

Página 197

successfully incorporates all these elements. Recent cumulative works, including Fœtus to Man, Skeletal Reflections, the Growing, Raining Tree, and Totemobile, each represent a significant step forward in Amorphic Robot Works’ ability to integrate and coordinate diverse systems, and to use high-end fabrication technologies that are not only meaningful to, but necessary for, the realization of my artistic goals for the work. Each work has at its root questions concerning the relationship between life and movement: how movement reveals life. The specifics of the questions differ for each sculpture or installation, but always engage the problem of conveying organic motion in inorganic material: making something that isn’t alive seem alive, and helping us to understand something about what it means to be alive.

Growing, Raining Tree, CAC’s UnMuseum, 2003


14_IN_CMacmurtrie_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:20

Página 198

Fœtus to Man is a mechanical clock sculpture. A nine-foot gear pulls the mechanical figure by the hands through the life cycle. As the figure moves its arms around the circle of the clock, it shows a youthful profile as it rises from six o’clock to noon, and then, once reaching noon, turns to show an aged profile as it descends back down to six o’clock. At six, the cycle begins again.

Skeletal Reflections, CompAir, 2000

Skeletal Reflections is an autonomous, humanoid robot that engages its audience by enacting art historical interpretations of the viewer’s physical stance. In exhibition, human participation determines the machine’s responsive postures. The viewers’ bodily gestures are digitized and analyzed with vision capture technology. The resulting contours are then used to summon similar classical poses from art history that Skeletal Reflections subsequently displays. The extraordinary contrast between classical art poses, and the responsive, pneumatically-driven machine that displays them reveals the possibilities for an engaging dialectic between art and robotic technology in the act of portraiture. Like the biological specimen, Growing, Raining Tree responds to elements in its environment and is sensitive to movement around its perimeter. As you approach the pool surrounding the Tree, its limbs slowly come to greet you. Once they reach your location, the branches pull back and begin to drip rhythmically in response to your presence. When the Tree has no visitors, it takes a resting posture that many have described as “willow-like.” In Totemobile, Amorphic Robot Works created a robotic replica of the iconic Citroën DS divided into 42 separate mechanical components. An elaborate robotic telescoping system transforms the sculpture through three stages

198


14_IN_CMacmurtrie_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:20

Página 199

of abstraction. First, the structure separates into its geometric parts. These parts become organic forms, and by the time the sculpture reaches its 20 meter “totem” stage, the organic forms bloom with pure light. The Floating Tree, a condominium for birds encapsulates, in a single gesture, the dynamism and split personality of a landscape undergoing tumultuous redevelopment. As a natural object crafted from industrial materials, the floating aluminum tree evokes New York’s East River’s historical interplay between industrial and ecological activity. Using sculpting techniques similar to those used in the Totemobile, it presents a significant contrast to my past work, in that it draws its kinetic aspect from the water that it sits on, and from the bird population that inhabits its interior. A Tree for Anable Basin, 2007


14_IN_CMacmurtrie_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:20

P谩gina 200

Inflatable Architectural Body-Drawing, 2008

200


14_IN_CMacmurtrie_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:20

Página 201

The New Generation of Machines from Amorphic Robot Works In a step forward from my most advanced robots, a new generation of robotic sculptures, The Inflatable Bodies, eliminates the structural metal and associated weight found in my earlier work. In my prior work, the sculptural forms and the joints that connected and allowed for the sculptures’ movement were largely composed of metals. Although the designs allowed for significant strength and movement, the structures bore many constraints due to weight and rigidity. In this new generation of work, wood and metal are absent; forms instead arise from high-tensile, inflatable, fabric “skeletons” which are formless until inflated with air. The Inflatables make use of a uniquelydesigned, flexible muscle and bone system. Servo-controlled air bladders run all of the

Inflatable Architectural Body-Drawing, 2008


14_IN_CMacmurtrie_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:20

Página 202

inflatable muscle groups that animate the fabric skeletons. Four-muscle, minutely calibrated Universal joints provide a full range of motion. The angle of any joint can be determined and driven by inflatable muscles connected to air valves under computer control, and monitored with a feedback potentiometer mounted on the joint. While one muscle is inflating, the other is deflating, making for a powerful source of energy from a system that is much lighter than the conventional solution using cylinders and motors. This approach is also capable of a much broader range of shape and motion than the air muscles commercially available from pneumatics companies. The innovative use of the same strong fabric for both the structural “bones” and the actuating “muscles” of the sculptures has many benefits. The sculptures are incredibly light: few if any machines have been built at this weight and strength before. The unusual ability to relax the bone to create movements that conventional robotics cannot, results in an unprecedented range of purposeful, flexible motion. And finally, since the structures more closely approximate the qualities of soft tissue, with the actuating “muscles” so smoothly integrated into the sculptural form that the viewer cannot tell where the inertia and momentum originate, the machines that result are capable of an astonishing natural elegance. The first multi-sculpture installation using the inflatable technology, 16 Birds, is a performative installation that contemplates the life cycle through a study of movement, image, scale, and sound. It consists of 16 large, white fabric shapes that recall the simplest line drawing of a bird, hanging limp and lifeless from the ceiling at eye level. As viewers enter the room, the tapered, joined cone-shapes

202

Inflatable Architectural Body-Drawing, 2008


14_IN_CMacmurtrie_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:20

Página 203

gradually inflate with air, lengthen and take form, eventually reaching out with a graceful wingspan, robust with life. They then begin their stationary journey: a slow, elegant flapping motion, all 16 in a randomly generated sequence, with the mechanism that moves them creating a constant rhythmic breathing sound. After a brief flight, the birds reach the end of their life, and begin a deflating collapse that starts at the tips of the wings and moves inward to the center of the body. Just as we watch them come to life, waiting as they slowly inflate, so too do we see them die. Many complex activities combine to create these simple motions, and unlike many robotic works, which end with the sudden withdrawal of electricity, in the Birds, death is as carefully choreographed as the flapping of the wings. Premiering at the Souls & Machines exhibition is the Inflatable Architectural Body. This new work attempts to further develop the Inflatables technology while creating a new dialogue between man, machine, and architecture. In this work, I am modeling nature on a microscopic, fractal level. It comprises a system of plug-and-play, inflatable, musculoskeletal modules which allow me to design a series of transformative organic structures influenced by the exhibition space. The modular components can be freely connected and rearranged to produce sculptures of varied size, form, complexity and interactive possibility. The “live” sections of the form are equipped with a simple sensing system that forces the sculpture into action. Your body’s motion in passing through the space functions as a type of force field that pushes the sculptures’ bones away from you as you are sensed, keeping the sculpture at a constant distance from you.

203


14_IN_CMacmurtrie_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:20

Página 204

Each bone can be selectively animated by the viewers’ movements allowing for endless interactive possibilities. If you are so inclined, your motion enables you to open it up, creating portals in that let you in and close behind you, giving an extremely different vantage point: life from the inside. In this way, the work is influenced by the nature of the environment— the space—as well as by the audience participants, who are engaged both physically and aesthetically with the constantly transforming structure. Inflatable Architectural Body uses new technologies to continue a long line of work exploring the forms, movements, and interactions that underlie our experience. As a magnification of the cellular world, Inflatable Architectural Body gives us a direct, visceral experience of the kinds of minute geometric constructions that underlie all of life. Because the audience brings the sculpture to life, the piece literalizes the notion that the audience affects the work, and recalls the notion that none of us are bystanders in the natural world. By separating elements such as these from our normal modes of experience, and reimagining them in new bodies and interactions, we hope to gain a new perspective on ourselves and the effects we have on the world around us. Solo Exhibitions (selection) •Inflatable Bodies, Experimental Art Foundation Adelaida, Australia (2006). •Amorphic Robot Works Retrospective, European Culture Capital at Lille, France (2004). •The Ancestral Path: The Dog Monkeys journey through the Amorphic Society, V2 Rotterdam, Holland (1997).

204

Inflatable Bodies/Sixteen Birds, Australia’s Experimental Art Foundation, 2007-2008


14_IN_CMacmurtrie_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:20

Página 205

Collective Exhibitions (selection) •Indianapolis Museum of Modern Art, USA (2005). •Bienal Museo del Barrio, New York, USA (2003). •Donau Festival Krems, Austria (2002). •ArtFutura 97, Círculo de Bellas Artes Madrid, Spain (1997). •Ars Electronica 1991 Linz, Austria (1991). Awards •Premio Vida 4.0 Fundación Telefónica (2001). •Ars Electronica (1991). Link www.amorphicrobotworks.org

205


15_IN_AMuntadas_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:21

P谩gina 206

On Translation: Social Networks, 2006. Convention Center of San Jose, California. Copyright Muntadas/Photo: Ethan Miller


15_IN_AMuntadas_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:21

P谩gina 207

A

Antoni Muntadas_ On Translation: Social Networks

ntoni Muntadas is one of the most important names in Spanish art of the last four decades. His work investigates issues revolving around communication in the social and political arena and examines the way in which channels of information are used to promote or censure ideas. Over the course of his career, Muntadas has explored multiple media and languages, including the digital format. Projects such as The File Room were pioneering attempts at approaching the Net as a space for intervention. In 1995 he began his long-term project On Translation, which addresses the ways in which the processes of information transmission modify original meanings. On Translation: Social Networks is a project that deals with language, revealing how military terminology has a direct direction and influences vocabularies pertaining to other disciplines and fields such as economy, culture and technology. The work consists of a large-format mural installation containing a map of the world onto which a series of data taken from the web and analysed by a search programme are projected continuously. The geographic coordinates of each domain are also part of the system that contains a database of selected words taken primarily from military references and selected internet domains that represent areas of cultural production and contemporary technology of different economic levels. This piece uses language to analyse the complex network of economic, cultural, technological and military systems that operate via the current social sphere.

A CONFRONTATIONAL ESTHETICS* by Andrea Giunta The oeuvre of Antoni Muntadas appears as a wonderful laboratory for analyzing the changes produced in the ways of conceiving and creating artworks in an age characterized by technological innovations and new communication dynamics. These transformations are condensed in the term globalization and allude to contacts and forms of circulation that are preferentially staged in cities, establishing worldwide forms of economic and cultural exchange that extend beyond national borders.


15_IN_AMuntadas_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:22

Página 208

His challenge lies in not avoiding contemporaneity. His work is set in the present, as regards both the technology he employs and the problems he tackles. Faced with technological change he does not seek refuge in nostalgia for the past but assumes the risk of reflecting on the complexity of his own age from the standpoint of an oeuvre that is, in itself, extremely complex.

On Translation: Social Networks, 2006. Convention Center of San Jose, California. Copyright Muntadas/Photo: Ethan Miller

On Translation: Social Networks, 2006. Convention Center of San Jose, California. Copyright Muntadas/Photo: Ethan Miller

How should the diversity of his proposals be approached? To what degree is it possible to separate them when they share resources and themes that are powerfully intertwined? We could underline some of the key words that point to his interests, the form of his interventions, his enunciation devices: power, media, communication, translation, cities, public spaces, protected spaces, monuments, teams, projects, contexts, time, critical subjectivity. Starting from these concepts, what I would like to propose in this survey is a road map that will enable us to approach the concerns and resources that structure the works rather than follow their chronological order. Muntadas stresses a central theme in his work: “Whether they are placed in a public space or in a gallery, my interventions can be recognized by their attempt to specify the structural elements of the mises en scène of power.”1 His challenging investigation of the structures of power comprises several different chapters, constellations or cores of interest that we could enunciate as a group of themes that appear in different works: boardrooms or press conference halls as spheres in which power is exerted, where decisions are made (The Board Room; Words: The Press Conference Room); stadiums, as spaces where crowds have historically gathered, the effects of which are amplified by the mass media, especially radio and television (Stadium I to Stadium XIII, Panem et circenses, Media Stadium); the functioning of mass media, such as television and propaganda


15_IN_AMuntadas_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:22

Página 209

(Cadaqués Canal Local, This is Not an Advertisement and Slogans); cities, their systems of representation, musification (City Museums; Media Sites Media Monuments); exhibition mechanisms (Exposición; Exhibition); the structure organizing the art world (Between the Frames); censorship (The File Room); and as an underlying theme in practically all his work, the role of the spectator and the position of the artist. Solo Exhibitions (selection) •Muntadas, The Construction Of Fear, Kent Gallery, New York, USA (2008). •On Translation: Petit et Grand, Instituto Cervantes, Paris, France (2008). •Muntadas: La construcción del miedo y la pérdida de lo público, Centro José Guerrero, Granada, Spain (2008). •Muntadas/Bs.As., Espacio Fundación TelefónicaCentro Cultural de España en Buenos Aires-Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2007). •Projecte/proyecto/Project, Galería Joan Prats, Barcelona, Spain (2007). •Protokolle, Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, Germany (2006). •On Translation: I Giardini. Pabellón español/Spanish Pavilion, 51. Biennale Internazionale d’Arte, Venice, Italy (2005). •Muntadas Projekte 1974-2004. On Translation: Erinnerungsräume, Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen, Bremen, Germany (2004). •Proyectos, Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City, Mexico (2004). •On Translation: Das Museum, Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund, Germany (2003). •On Translation: Museum, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain (2002). •On Translation: The Audience, Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, USA (2001). •Warning, Attitudes-Centre pour l’Image Contemporaine-Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Geneva, Switzerland (2000). •On Translation: The Audience, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, Holland (1999).

Stadium XII, Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, 2007

209


15_IN_AMuntadas_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:22

Página 210

•Muntadas: Proyectos, Fundación Arte y Tecnología, Madrid, Spain (1998). •Between the Frames: The Forum, Yokohama Portside Gallery, Yokohama, Japan (1997). •Des/Aparicions, Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona, Spain (1996). •New York: City Museum?, Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, USA (1995). •Between the Frames: The Forum, Musée d’art contemporain, Bordeaux, France (1994). •Between the Frames: The Forum, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio & Vera List GalleryMassachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (1994). •The File Room, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, USA (1994). •Words: The Press Conference Room, Art Space, Sydney, Australia (1993). •Intervenções: a propósito do público e do privado, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (1992). •Muntadas: Trabajos Recientes, Institut Valencià d’Art Modern-Centre del Carme, Valencia, Spain (1992). •Words: The Press Conference Room, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, USA (1991). •Stadium V, Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (1990). •Stadium II, Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK (1989). •Híbridos, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain (1988). •Exhibition, Exit Art, New York, USA (1987). •Selected Video Works: 1974-1984, Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA (1985). •Media Landscape, Galerije Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Yugoslavia (1983). •MediaSites/Media Monuments, Washington Projects for the Arts, Washington D.C., USA (1982). •Muntadas, Galería Vandrés, Madrid, Spain (19801981). •Personal/Public Information, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (1979). •Projects: Video XVII, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (1978). •Bars, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, USA (1977).

210


15_IN_AMuntadas_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:22

Página 211

•Muntadas, Internationaal Cultureel Centrum, Antwerpen, Belgium (1976). •The Last Ten Minutes, The Kitchen, New York, USA (1976). •Films and Videotapes, Galería Vandrés, Madrid, Spain (1974). •Sobre los subsentidos, Galería Vandrés, Madrid, Spain (1971). Awards •Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas 2005 awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture (2005). •Media arts nomination. Rockefeller Foundation New York (2003). •Premi Nacional D’Arts Plastiques Generalitat de Catalunya, Spain (1996). •Ars Electronica Prix for The File Room (1995). •New York State Council for the Arts (1984). •The Rockefeller Foundation, C.A.V.S./M.I.T. (1980). Links www.thefileroom.org http://adaweb.walkerart.org/influx/muntadas/ www.mediatecaonline.net/muntadas/swf/index.htm http://www.eai.org/eai/artistTitles.htm?id=285 notes 1 Fragment from “Aesthetics of Confrontation,” included in the catalogue: Muntadas/Bs. As, Espacio Fundación Telefónica-Centro Cultural de España en Buenos AiresCentro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2007. Muntadas, in Champesme, Marie Thérèse, “Conversation avec Muntadas”, Sillage, núm. 1, 2002. The quoted texts can be found in the remarkable compilation of Rodrigo Alonso, Muntadas. Con/Textos, Buenos Aires, Simurg-FADU, Cátedra La Ferla, 2002. Original editions are quoted in order to provide the reader with dates an contexts of edition. The File Room, 1994. Espacio Fundación Telefónica


16_IN_DRozin_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

Weave Mirror, 2007

17:23

P谩gina 212


16_IN_DRozin_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:23

Página 213

D

Daniel Rozin_ Circle Mirror Weave Mirror Trash Mirror

aniel Rozin creates interactive installations and sculptures that have the unique ability to change and respond to the presence of a viewer. Although computers are often used in his work they are seldom visible. Mirrors and mediated perception of the self are central themes in Rozin’s work. In most of his pieces the viewer takes part, actively and creatively, in the performance of his art. For more than a decade Rozin’s art has employed a wide range of materials including chrome spheres, flat wood panels, and city trash from the streets of New York. Software art that links screen-based performance with real-time video processing has been another focus of Rozin’s efforts since the mid-1990s. Rozin’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, John Michael Kohler Art Center in Wisconsin, and bitforms gallery in New York and Seoul.

Mirrors by Daniel Rozin One of man’s earliest technological inventions, mirrors have been loaded with meaning and myth from the beginning. Mirrors have often been thought as objects of evil and many superstitions are linked to them. Sometimes overlooked in the search for important technological developments, I believe that no other invention has had a more significant impact on the way people perceive the world around them, and more importantly the way they perceive themselves. Mirrors have the ability to let us observe ourselves in the same manner we observe others, this is in complete contrast to the way we experience our being internally, which is a highly subjective process. Mirrors have been featured extensively in the arts mostly in the 17-19th centuries, before that mirrors were not perfected nor common enough to be incorporated into the collective psyche, in our century it seems we take them for granted and have lost our curiosity about them. In spite of its simplicity, a mirror is a profoundly complex object, a mirror has the ability to display for a multitude of viewers a


16_IN_DRozin_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:23

P谩gina 214

unique reflection, in effect no two people looking into a mirror will ever see the same image even if they are viewing together. This unique behavior of simple optics is something that even high technology and computers cannot emulate because of its infinite complexity, and yet a polished piece of tin or a charcoal-covered glass can achieve this result easily.Since 1995 I have been creating interactive digital art and found the mirror, as an object and paradigm, an excellent platform of expression. Initially unaware, and lately more deliberately, I have created a series of pieces which are in one way or another - mirrors. My investigation into mirrors can be divided into 5 groups of pieces: Mechanical Mirrors.Software Mirrors. GlassMirror Sculptures:Video Painting Pieces:Proxxi prints Weave Mirror, 2007

214

Mechanical Mirrors This is the most recognizable and striking group of my mirrors; As of 2008 I have created 6 different mechanical mirrors, 3 of which are on display at the Souls & Machines exhibition. The pieces in this group are large scale kinetic sculptures that reflect any person standing in front of them instantly. The mechanical mirrors all have video cameras, motors and computers on board and produce a soothing sound as the viewer interacts with them, they are made of a variety of materials such as wood, metal balls, paper disks and woven papyrus. Even though the reflective behavior of all these pieces is similar, they differ widely in their sound, look and feel, leaning greatly on the physicality of the various materials. The mechanical mirrors are a great platform for me to investigate the borderline and contrast between the digital and the analog worlds, between the physical and the virtual, the orderly and the chaotic, and to explore the inner workings of image-creation and specifically the human visual perception.


16_IN_DRozin_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:23

Página 215

Software Mirrors There are many advantages to building physical pieces and working with tangible materials (warmth, beauty, serendipity, intuition). The one downside is the lack of flexibility and scalability, this is where software excels. Software art has the ability to change over time, grow and shrink as needed, and does not require large crates for shipping… Over the course of the past 12 years I have created dozens of Software Mirror art pieces. They all share the common makeup of having a video camera capture the image of the viewer and computer that manipulates this image and presents it back to the viewer on a screen or projection. So far I have created three series of software mirrors .

Weave Mirror, 2007

The Pixel Series (Mirrors No. 2 to 9) deals with the creation of the digital image. We all use digital images to capture, store, transmit and manipulate pictures, but we do so as a means to an end, as we are interested in the result and not the process. Recently I developed a curiosity towards the makings of the digital image itself, and its occupants: the pixels. Over the span of a few pieces I have been investigating a possible “character” and “spirit” that these pixels may possess, trying to separate them from their grueling task of presenting images and free them from their grid-bound existence to explore their own destiny. The Time Series deals with issues of the passage of time, aging and stagnation. Given that time is an integral attribute of the video media, I decided to try and manipulate some of the temporal aspects of motion graphics and see what the emotional result will be. This series contains the pieces Shaking Time Mirror, Time Ripples, Time Scan and Hourglass Mirror. These pieces bring forth concepts such as “stagnation”, “residue”, “memory” and “rejuvenation” which are all connected with the passage of time. The Slow

215


16_IN_DRozin_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:23

Página 216

B&W Series deals with the reduction of the image to its bare minimum. The colors are reduced to B&W, the resolution is reduced to a minimum and the response speed is slowed down dramatically. What I am investigating in this series is what visual information is absolutely necessary for the human brain to make an image, the borderline between information and noise or stillness. The first piece in this series is Snow Mirror which creates images by arranging cascading snow flakes and presenting the result on a translucent silk screen in a dark room.

Trash Mirror nº2, 2002-2008

Glass Mirror Sculptures Part of my interest lays not merely in the act of mirroring or reflection but also the actual material of glass mirror. Even though glass mirrors are inanimate objects they poses many “contemporary art” attributes such as interactivity, point of view and inclusion. A mirror will create a unique display of the viewer to any viewer and change it as the point of view changes, it is truly a magical substance. I have created two pieces from glass mirror: Self Centered Mirror is an arrangement of mirrors that has a retro-reflective behavior. Any person standing in front of the piece will see only themselves and no one else, maximizing the narcissistic potential to a maximum. The second piece Broken Red Mirror is a site specific installation that comprises one wall with a shattered mirror and an opposing wall with image fragments on it. Viewed from a particular point in space the shattered mirror reassembles the scattered image in an anamorphic fashion, and a picture of Red Burns appears on the piece. Video Painting Pieces The rich, colorful and dynamic contents of video make it an ideal material for painting and collaging. When the contents of the video is the image of the viewer, the potential for enticing interaction is even more present. I have

216


16_IN_DRozin_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:23

Página 217

created two pieces that use video for the source of viewer generated images: Easel is fashioned after a painter easel, and supported by a computer, cameras and special brush. The viewers are invited to create painterly collages comprised of frozen-moments of their reflections and other video material. A second piece Paint-Cam allows viewers to paint using video material from a variety of internet webcams from around the world.

Trash Mirror nº2, 2002-2008

Proxxi Prints The Mirror’s ability to display different images to multiple viewers is something I wanted to replicate in my art, I developed (and patented) a computer program that allows me to take any two images and create a composite that can be printed. The resulting composite prints (which I

217


16_IN_DRozin_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:23

Página 218

call Proxxi Prints) have the ability to show both images on one print surface. The proximity of the viewer to the print determines the image that will be perceived, for example in the print Newton/Einstein an image of Isaac Newton can be observed from afar, and a close examination will reveal an image of Albert Einstein. I find it magical that a printed piece of paper can display such an interactive behavior.

Circles Mirror, 2005

The object of the mirror continues to intrigue me, and the platform of mirrors for the creation of my art is one that I will most likely continue to pursue. Increasingly, artists are using the tools of computers, media and technology to present their art, usually they have a known body of content that they would like to bring forth and use these tools for presentation. In the case of my art the contents of the pieces is the image itself, the interaction is for its own sake, and the technology is an integral part of the inspiration, so the fact that the visual contents of every piece I build is the same—the viewer, is a very liberating notion that allows the viewer to concentrate not so much on the contents but rather on the “vesel”, the image creation and its perception. About the pieces in the Souls & Machines show Weave Mirror 2007 Weave Mirror assembles 768 motorized and laminated C-shaped prints along the surface of a picture plane that texturally mimics a homespun weave. A seemingly organic smoky portrait comes in focus to the sound of groaning steps made by the sculpture’s moving parts. Informed by traditions of both textile design and new media, the Weave Mirror paints a picture of viewers using a gradual rotation in greyscale value on each C-ring. A playful juxtaposition between the rustic and photographic, this sculpture is suspended from the ceiling. Its functional circuitry and wiring is visible behind the picture plane, exposing its intricate craft.

218


16_IN_DRozin_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:23

Página 219

Circles Mirror, 2005

Trash Mirror 2001 500 pieces of variously colored trash collected from the streets of New York and artist’s pockets, motors, control electronics, concealed video camera. Size: W 76” x H 76” x D 8” (193 cm, 193 cm, 20 cm). Though built 3 years after the Wooden Mirror, Trash mirror was conceived first. However the concept seemed too risky at the time so Wooden Mirror was built first. This piece suggests that we are reflected in what we discard. The piece celebrates the ability of computation to inflict order on even the messiest of substances—trash.

219


16_IN_DRozin_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:23

Página 220

Circles Mirror 2005 Circles Mirror is a mechanical sculpture made of 900 overlapping circles with patterns printed on them and connected to motors, computer and video camera. Any person standing in front of the piece is reflected on the piece by the circles rotating to expose more dark/ bright patterns as needed. The piece utilizes 12 different patterns of radial gradation from black to white which are randomly placed on the board. This piece is the first of Rozin’s mechanical mirrors to incorporate elements of computer graphics and as such is an interesting middle between his print and physical works. Solo Exhibitions (selection) •Bitforms Gallery, Fabrication, New York, USA (2007). •Bitforms Gallery, Seoul, Korea (2006). •Bitforms Gallery, New York, USA (2005). •John Michael Kohler Art Center, Wisconsin, USA (2004). •Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel (2003). •Bitforms Gallery, New York, USA (2001). Collective Exhibitions (selection) •Act/React: Interactive Installation Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, USA (2008). •Sundance Film Festival, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (2008). •Think 21, Brussels, Belgium (2007). •Emoção Art.ficial 3, Itaú Cultural Institute, São Paulo, Brazil (2006). •Cybernetic Sensibility, Daelim Contemporary Art Museum, Seoul, Korea (2006). •ArtRock Festival, France (2005). •Inaugural Show, Bitforms Gallery, Seoul, Korea (2005). •Subject, MUSAC, Spain (2005). •Taiwan National Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei (2005). •ARCO, Madrid, Spain (2005). •Ars Electronica Festival, Linz, Austria (2003).

220


16_IN_DRozin_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:23

Página 221

•Body Double, Art Interactive, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2003). •American Museum of Moving Image, Queens, New York (2002). •Inaugural Exhibition, Markle Foundation Rockefeller Center, New York (2001). •Workspheres, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY. Atmosphere (2001). •New Media New Face - New York, ICC, Tokyo, Japan (2000). •SIGGRAPH, Siggraph Art Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (2000). Awards •80th Annual Art Directors Club Awards. Silver Medal (2001). •IBM Research Fellow, MIT Media Laboratory (2000). •Prix Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria, Honorary Mention (1999). Link www.smoothware.com/danny

221


17_IN_BRubin_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:24

Listening Post, 2002-2006

P谩gina 222


17_IN_BRubin_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:24

Página 223

I

n their joint projects, New York artist Ben Rubin and scientist Mark Hansen, a statistics professor at UCLA and an expert in environmental sensor networks, explore the creation of systems to visualise the processes and dynamics underpinning the net society. In so doing, they reveal information architectures which, through the ubiquitous presence of computer codes at all levels of society, literally keep the world up and running.

“Listening Post” by Nancy Durrant for The Times in 2008

Ben Rubin & Mark Hansen_ Listening Post

I am. I am. I am 28. I am 34. I am from Portland. I am from Tokyo. I’m happy today. I am from the US and I am naked. I am bi. On a grey San Francisco day last October I sat alone in a darkened room at the city’s Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts, watching streams of illuminated words and phrases passing before me on a bank of small screens. As they flowed before my eyes, they were intoned in a HAL-like computer-generated voice (with a curious touch of Cary Grant), accompanied by a haunting piano score. Half an hour later I hadn’t moved. I was transfixed. This is Listening Post, a piece of techno-art by the sound artist Ben Rubin and the statistician Mark Hansen, both 43, that has been nearly a decade in the making and which, after numerous updates and a stint at the Whitney Museum in New York and the YBCA, has now found a home as part of the permanent collection at the Science Museum in London. The key to the piece is that the messages you see and hear flowing across the grid of 231 vacuum tube screens (the type of screen you see on cash registers) are derived from a continuous live feed from thousands of internet


17_IN_BRubin_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:24

Página 224

chatrooms. As you watch, you slowly become aware that what you are seeing and hearing is, effectively, a snapshot of the world talking. It is strangely moving. It’s also ground-breaking as the first work of art to communicate effectively the scope and nebulous nature of the internet. In a review of the art/technology festival Ars Electronica in 2004, where the piece won the Golden Nica award for interactive art, Michelle Kasprzak of Mute magazine described it as a “monument to the present”. A computer attached to the screen-bank takes all the messages posted in the preceding half hour from several thousand English-speaking chatrooms across the internet, then sorts this raw data according to one of seven programmes that Hansen has developed, before displaying the results on the screens. Each of these programmes is behind a different “movement” of the piece, and each has a different intention: one, for example, picks out only screen names for display—toothlessblond, whoever you are, you made my day. The feed of data is continuous, so it never repeats itself.

Listening Post, 2002-2006

“The icons of the 20th century, such as Stephenson’s Rocket and Apollo 10 are big, beautifully crafted objects,” says Hannah Redler, the Science Museum’s head of arts projects, “but contemporary science and technology is very much in the micro-world, the world of concept. It’s a constant challenge for us to find things that communicate science in themselves, and this does that.” This isn’t how Listening Post started, however. When Rubin met Hansen at a conference designed to introduce artists to researchers at the famous Bell Labs (out of which have come the transistor, the laser, information theory and

224


17_IN_BRubin_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:24

Página 225

the Unix operating system, to name but a few innovations), their humble intention was to develop a way of displaying data using sound, instead of the more usual visuals - graphs, charts, 3-D fly-throughs and so forth. “We started with a series of experiments of looking for data that we could listen to and trying to write software and see what we could make it sound like,” Rubin explains. “We started by sonifying data that was available to Mark, which was logs from the Bell Labs website. We found that the sounds were nice but, really, who cares? Who wants to listen to that?” Rather than something abstract and numerical, Hansen suggested that they try chat, using words as a data source. The physical aspect of the piece—the bank of hanging screens—evolved from Listening Post’s first demonstration at the Kitchen, an experimental performance space in New York. The pair intended just to play the sounds they were working with, hooked up to a live chat source but, while they were testing it, they were struck by the text flowing up on their computer screens and realized that the power of the piece was amplified when a visual component was introduced. Visiting Listening Post is a disconcerting experience. It is housed in a darkish room, bathed in the cool green glow of the text flowing across or down the screens. There are seven movements, which run in succession. The most complex movement scans incoming messages, pulls one at random, and then scans the subsequent incoming messages to find one that has similarities words or groups of words. If it finds one, it starts working on an adjacent screen to find another message that follows on from that one.

Listening Post, 2002-2006 >

225


17_IN_BRubin_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:24

P谩gina 226


17_IN_BRubin_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:24

P谩gina 227


17_IN_BRubin_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:24

Página 228

“Some, which are kind of oddball messages, just die because there’s nothing really like them, but if someone today is talking about the US presidential nomination results, there are going to be others latching on like crazy and you get these clusters of messages that relate to something going on that day,” Rubin says. Hansen found out about the US space shuttle Columbia exploding while doing maintenance on Listening Post at the Whitney, just by running this programme. Another movement, and probably the most affecting, is “I am”. After doing an analysis of the initial words of chat messages one day, Hansen found that “I am” (or “I’m”) was the most common beginning of a posting by a wide margin. He took all the “I am” posts from that day, sorted them by length and e-mailed them— all 60 or so pages—to Rubin. “It was the most incredible poem,” Rubin says. The “I am” movement does the same, starting with the shortest messages and gradually increasing in length. Listening Post ’s calm voice (a standard computer-generated one, it pronounces FCUK as “fkuk”, rather sweetly) reads them as they appear, and they silently repeat on their screens as more are added. They range from the innocuous, through the racy, the poignant—“I’m used to guys being nasty to me”—and the funny, to the downright bizarre. It feels voyeuristic. And this is where the impact of Listening Post lies. Watching and hearing all these confessional snippets, you can’t help but extrapolate stories, feel sad for that poor unlucky girl (or guy), snigger at the naked American sitting starkers at his computer. Thousands of human stories appear, fragmented and fleeting, and then they are

228


17_IN_BRubin_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:24

Página 229

gone. It’s the closest you can get to eavesdropping on everyone, everywhere, all at once. And that is pretty overwhelming. © The Times, London, 18 February 2008

Joint Projects & Exhibitions (selection) •Moveable Type, commission for Renzo Piano’s New York Times Building, New York (2007). •Zones de Confluences, La Villette Numérique, Paris, France (2004). •Son et Lumière, the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA, USA (2004). •Whitney Museum of American Art (with Mark Hansen), New York, USA (2002). •Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music (with Mark Hansen), New York, USA (2001). Joint Awards •Rockefeller New Media Fellowship (with Mark Hansen) (2005). •Prix Ars Electronica, Golden Nica (1st prize) for Listening Post (with Mark Hansen) (2004). •Webby Award, NetArt Category, for Listening Post (with Mark Hansen) (2003). •Wired Rave Award Nomination for Listening Post (with Mark Hansen) (2003). •Creative Development Residency, On the Boards, Seattle (2002). •Arts in Multimedia Residency, Brooklyn Academy of Music and Bell Laboratories (1999). Joint Publications •Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists, Casey Reas, Ben Fry, MIT Press (2007). •ELSE/WHERE: MAPPING, co-edited by Janet Abrams and Peter Hall, Design Institute (2006). •Through the Children’s Gate: A Home in New York, Adam Gopnik, Alfred A. Knopf (2006). •4Dspace: Interactive Architecture, Lucy Bullivant, Wiley (2005). •Digital Currents: Art in the Electronic Age, Margot Lovejoy, Routledge (2004).

Listening Post, 2002-2006

229


17_IN_BRubin_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:24

Página 230

Solo Exhibitions (selection) •Open House, Vitra Design Museum at Zeche Zollverein, Essen, Germany (2006). •Derivatives: new art financial visions, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain (2006). •Making Things Public, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany (2005). •Social Capital, Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, New York, USA (2005). •Exhibition, the Art Gallery of the CUNY Graduate Center, New York, USA (2004). •Picture This: Windows on the American Home, National Building Museum, Washington, DC, USA (2003). •Habitats Techtonicas, Paisajes, Sala de Exposiciones, Ministerio de Fomento, Madrid, Spain (2001). •Volume: Bed of Sound, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island, New York, USA (2000). •Biennale di Venezia (soundtrack for Ann Hamilton’s Myein), Italy (1999). •Art in the Anchorage, Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage, Brooklyn, USA (1997). •Whitney Museum at Philip Morris, New York, USA (with Leni Schwendinger) (1995). Public Art & Design (selection) •(in progress) Teardrop Park, Battery Park City, New York, USA (with Ann Hamilton). •San Jose Semaphore, commission for the headquarters of Adobe Systems, San Jose, California, USA (2006). •Four Stories, commission for the New Central Public Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA (2006). •Blur, Swiss Expo ’02, Yverdon, Switzerland (with Diller+Scofidio) (2002). •Video Beam, Brasserie Restaurant, New York, USA (with Diller+Scofidio) (2000). •The American Century, Part 1, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA (1999). •Jump Cuts, United Artists Multiplex, San Jose, USA (with Diller+Scofidio) (1996).

230


17_IN_BRubin_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:24

Página 231

Theatrical Designs & Performance (selection) •Laurie Anderson’s Songs and Stories from Moby Dick, world tour (1999). •Laurie Anderson’s Nerve Bible, world tour (1995). •Steve Reich & Beryl Korot’s The Cave, world tour (1993). Links www.earstudio.com www.stat.ucla.edu/~cocteau/

New York Times Lobby, 2008

231


18_IN_ListadeObras_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

List of

17:26

P谩gina 232

works_


18_IN_ListadeObras_m&a:Maquetación 1

27/6/08

16:02

Antoni Abad_ zexe.net / Canal*Motoboy, 2007-2008 A Project by Antoni Abad with programming by Eugenio Tisselli, 2007-2008 Random projection, touch kiosk, documentaries and stickers. [Included in the exhibition] pages 60, 62, 63, 66, 67, 70, 71, 74, 75, 77

A otro lado da cidade, 2007 Documentary by Glòria Martí and Antoni Abad. DVD 18” - V.O. Portuguese. Subtitled in Spanish and English. Produced by Sociedad Estatal para la Acción Cultural Exterior (SEACEX), for the exhibition Cartografías Disidentes (2007-2009). [Included in the exhibition]

Meu nome e Ronaldo, 2007 Documentary by Glòria Martí and Antoni Abad. DVD 12” - V.O. Portuguese. Subtitled in Spanish and English. Production: Bienal de Valencia, Centro Cultural de España at São Paulo.

Página 233

´ osi´ Vuk C c History of Art for the Intelligence Community, 2002 5 canvases with projections. DVD Variable dimensions. [Included in the exhibition] pages 92, 94

History of Moving Images, 1998 pages 96, 97

History of Art for Airports, 1998 pages 98, 99

Evru_ TECURA 4.0, 2008 Interactive application. Concept, artistic direction and infographics: Evru. Programming: Jordi Espuny, Xavi Colomer. Website Graphic Design: Jordi Espuny. Content Edition: Yoonah Kim. Evrugo Mental State, 2008 [Included in the exhibition] pages 100, 102, 105, 106-107, 108, 109, 110, 112

[Included in the exhibition]

Harun Farocki_ David Byrne/David Hanson_ Song for Julio, 2008 Robot, computer and audio system. Robot height: 1.78 m. [Included in the exhibition] pages 78, 82, 85

Sketches of Song for Julio pages 80, 81

Jules. Hanson Robotics page 83

Daniel Canogar_ Palimpsesto, 2007-2008 Melted bulbs, video projection, webcams, computer. 2,80 x 5,00 m. Interactive programming: Jordi Puig Thanks to: Medialab Prado César Puerta Indumetal Recycling.

Deep Play, 2007 Videoprojection. 12 screens with audio. [Included in the exhibition] pages 114, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121

Paul Friedlander_ Wave Function, 1991-2007 Kinetic sculpture. Mixed media, illuminated with custom arc light designed by the artist. Approximate dimensions 1.5 m tall x 1.0 x 0.5 m. [Included in the exhibition] pages 122, 128, 129

The Enigma of Light, 2008 Kinetic Relief in Acrylic illuminated with custom arc light designed by the artist. 2.44 x 1.22 m. [Included in the exhibition] page 124

page 90

Spinors, 2007-2008 Installation of 9 kinetic sculptures. Mixed media, illuminated with custom arc light designed by the artist. 1.5 x 0.3 x 0.25 m.

Untitled (After Pozzo), 2007

[Included in the exhibition] pages 125, 126, 127

[Included in the exhibition] pages 86, 88, 89

Arañas, 2008 Exhibition at Galería Max Estrella

page 91

233


18_IN_ListadeObras_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:26

Página 234

Abstract Cosmology, 2008 Original work created for the exhibition. Installation of 3 Kinetic sculptures. Mixed media, illuminated with video projectors showing algorithmically generated images in real time with custom software by the artist. 2 pieces 5.5 x 2.2 m. 1 piece 5.5 x 0.8 m. [Included in the exhibition] pages 130, 131, 132-133

Pierre Huyghe_ One Million Kingdoms, 2001 Animation film. Beta digital transferred to DVD - 6’ Courtesy of Pierre Huyghe and Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris / New York. [Included in the exhibition] page 136

A Journey That Wasn’t-Central Park, 2005 page 138

A Journey That Wasn’t-Antartica, 2005 page 138

Celebration Park, 2006 page 138

2 Minutes Out of Time, 2000

Animaris Currens Vulgaris 1,80 x 1,40 x 2,30 m. [Included in the exhibition]

Animaris Geneticus 1,80 x 1,40 x 2,30 m. [Included in the exhibition]

Animaris Rugosis Peristhaltis 0,40 x 1,30 x 0,5 m. [Included in the exhibition]

Strandbeest, The Great Pretender, 2008 DVD – 9’ [Included in the exhibition]

Courtesy Galerie Akinci Amsterdam Natalie Jeremijenko/Ángel Borrego_ Urban Space Station, 2007-2008 Mixed media. Variable dimensions. Collaboration: Fran Gallardo and Giuliana di Gregorio (OSS); Phillip Anzalone (Columbia University); Jaime Saló and Feike Reitsma (IASO); Will Laufs and Eric Hammarberg (Thornton Tomasetti); Matthew Herman and Erik Verboon (Buro Happold); Vicente Matallana, Miriam Estrada, Caen Botto, Santiago Pordomingo, Ignacio Bautista (La Agencia); Usman Haque and César Harada (Royal College of Art). [Included in the exhibition] pages 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 162-163, 165, 166, 169

page 139

Sachiko Kodama_ Theo Jansen_

Equilibrium Point, 2006

Animaris Rhinoceros. The Great Pretender, 2005-2008

page 170

pages 140, 142

pages 143, 144, 145, 146-147

Protude Flow, 2008 Magnetic fluid, computer, microphone, videocamera and screen. 2,00 x 2,00 m Acknowledgments: Teresa Riesgo (UPM), Yago Torroja (UPM), Rafael Asensi Orosa (UPM), Kyoko Kasuya, Harue Suzuki, Kingo Arakawa (UEC), Damaso Blanco (EOMSA), Antonio Peiro (ABB), Francisco Otal(ABB), Yasushi Miyajima (Sony CSL), Minako Takeno. Thanks: Harue Suzuki (UEC). Protrude, Flow 2008 supported partly by JST CREST.

3D visualisation

[Included in the exhibition] pages 173, 174-175

Animaris Modularius, 2008 Sketch page 148

Animaris Modularius 3,5 x 2 x 10 m. [Included in the exhibition] page 149

Animaris Percipiere, 2005-2008 Photo Loek ven der Kliski

pages 150, 151

Strandbeest, 2005-2008 Genetic algorithms, plastic tubes and air compressors [Included in the exhibition]

Breathing Chaos, 2004 DVD - 8’11” Artist / Director: Sachiko Kodama Sound: Ippei Ogura

Animaris Sabulosa 2,00 x 3,00 x 7,50 m.

[Included in the exhibition] page 176

[Included in the exhibition]

Sculpture Garden, 2006-2008

Animaris Ordis 1,40 x 2.5 x 2 m.

page 177

[Included in the exhibition]

Morpho Tower, 2006 Magnetic Fluid, Iron, Granite. W36xD36xH42cm, 65kg [Included in the exhibition] page 178

234


18_IN_ListadeObras_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:26

Morpho Tower, 2006 Magnetic fluid, glass dome, iron, plastic, speakers. W18xD18xH31cm, 18kg. Collaborator: Yasushi Miyajima (Sony CSL). [Included in the exhibition] page 179

Pulsar, 2008 Magnetic fluid, iron, brass, pump. W32xD28xH34cm, 16kg. Thanks: Kyoko Kasuya (UEC). [Included in the exhibition]

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer_ Micrófonos, Subescultura 10, 2008 10 microphones, spotlights, sensors and audio system. Variable dimensions. Courtesy Bitforms Gallery, NYC. [Included in the exhibition] pages 182, 184

Amodal Suspension, 2003 Yamaguchi, Japan. page 185

Body Movies-Relational Architecture 6, 2006 page 187

John Maeda_ Nature, 2005 7 Projections - Motion Paintings. Food Coloring – DVD- 4’ 28’’ High Rise – DVD - 6’ 13’’ Interruptions – DVD - 4’ Linear Way – DVD - 14’’ Because of Pressure – DVD - 3’ Time Weathered – DVD - 3’ 20’’ Responding to Mark – DVD - 3’ [Included in the exhibition] pages 188, 190, 191, 192, 193

Chico MacMurtrie/Amorphic Robot Works_ Inflatable Architectural Body, 2008 High-tensile, inflatable, fabric “skeletons” and air. Variable dimensions. [Included in the exhibition] pages 194, 200, 201, 202-203

Fœtus to Man, 2004 page 196

Growing, Raining Tree, 2003 CAC’s UnMuseum page 197

Skeletal Reflections, 2000 CompAir page 198

A Tree for Anable Basin, 2007 page 199

Página 235

Antoni Muntadas_ On Translation: Social Networks, 2006 Code-based data visualization mural projection and map. Credits: Commissioned by ZERO 1, produced by Muntadas, in collaboration with CADRE, San Jose State University. As resident artist at the Sally and Don Lucas Artists Program at the Montalvo Arts Center. Collaborators: Vera Fainstein, Chris Head, Aaron Siegel and Ethan Miller (Project Coordinator). Thanks to: Joel Slayton, Sergio Bregante and Gordon Knox. [Included in the exhibition] pages 206, 208

Stadium XII, 2007 Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires page 209

The File Room, 1994 Espacio Fundación Telefónica page 211

Daniel Rozin_ Weave Mirror, 2007 768 C shaped prints, motors, video camera and control electronics. 193,04 x 143,32 x 12,7 cm. Cortesy: Jonathon Carroll Collection, London [Included in the exhibition] pages 212, 214, 215

Trash Mirror nº 2, 2002-2008 500 pieces of colored trash, motors, control electronics, video camera and computer. 193 x 193 x 20,32 cm. Courtesy: Charles de Jonghe Collection, Brussels [Included in the exhibition] pages 216, 217

Circles Mirror, 2005 900 digitally printed circles, 900 motors, video camera and computer. 152,4 x 152,4 x 15,24 cm. Courtesy Bitforms Gallery, NYC and NYU ITP. [Included in the exhibition] pages 218, 219

Ben Rubin/Mark Hansen_ Listening Post, 2002-2006 Electronic components, copper wire, aluminum, speakers and software. Variable dimensions. Collection of the San Jose Museum of Art. With funding provided by Deborah and Andy Rappaport, Lipman Family Foundation, Council of 100. Additional support provided by Rita and Kent Norton [Included in the exhibition] pages 222, 224, 226-227, 229

New York Times Lobby, 2008 page 231

Inflatable Bodies/Sixteen Birds, 2007-2008 Australia’s Experimental Art Foundation pages 204-205

235


18_IN_ListadeObras_m&a:Maquetaci贸n 1

26/6/08

17:26

P谩gina 236


18_IN_ListadeObras_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:26

Página 237

MINISTRY OF CULTURE Minister César Antonio Molina Sánchez

MUSEO NACIONAL CENTRO DE ARTE REINA SOFÍA Director Manuel J. Borja-Villel General Manager Carmen Arias Aparicio

ROYAL BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF MUSEO NACIONAL CENTRO DE ARTE REINA SOFÍA President Pilar Citoler Carilla Vice-chairman Carlos Solchaga Catalán Members Plácido Arango Arias, Carmen Arias Aparicio, Manuel J. Borja-Villel, José Capa Eiriz, Eugenio Carmona Mato, María Dolores Carrión Martín, Fernando Castro Borrego, Fernando Castro Flórez, María de Corral López-Doriga, Miguel Ángel Cortés Martín, José Jiménez, Javier Maderuelo Raso, Carlos Ocaña Pérez de Tudela, Claude Ruiz Picasso, Francisco Serrano Martínez, José Joaquín de Ysasi-Ysasmendi Adaro Secretary Charo Sanz Rueda


18_IN_ListadeObras_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:26

Página 238

The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía aims to express its gratefulness to all the people and institutions that have made this exhibition possible. Firstly and specially, to all the artists that have participated in it. We also want to thank:

Acknowledgements_

ABB; Rafael Asensi; Fernando Arias; Irma Arribas; Anna Barreiro; Fernando Barros; Adriana Bayona; Piedad Beltrán; Miguel Berroa; Dámaso Blanco; Laura Blereau (Bitforms Gallery); Caen Botto; Natalie Bouchard; David Cantolla; Kevin Carpenter; Centro de Electrónica Industrial; Centro Hípico la Posta y Usuarios; Jesús Conde Fernández; Roberto Cueto; José de la Dehesa; Eduardo Dequidt; Miriam Estrada; Facultad de Bellas Artes. Universidad Complutense de Madrid; Fundación Centro Nacional del Vidrio; Global Drawing; Nieves Fernández; Agnes Fierobe (Marian Goodman Gallery); Marcos García; Rafael García; María García Yelo; María Güell; Josh M. Harris; Yoonah Kim; Joasia Krysa; Jordi Llàcer; Ignasi Machuca; Ana Martínez de Aguilar; Gonzalo Martín; Vicente Matallana; Media-Lab Prado; Ethan Miller; Microsoft Ibérica; Manuela Moscoso; Deborah Norberg (San Jose Museum of Art); Itziar Ortega; Francisco Otal; Ana Parga; Paloma Pastor; Antonio Peiró; Juan Perea; Philips Ibérica; César Puerta; Matthias Rajmann; Teresa Riesgo; Tania Román; Marta Rupérez; Andreu RodríguezMarie-France Veyrat; Steven Sacks; SEACEX; Eduardo Simani; Emiko Takahashi; Yago Torroja; Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.

WITH THE COLLABORATION OF:


18_IN_ListadeObras_m&a:Maquetación 1

26/6/08

17:26

Página 239

EXHIBITION

CATALOGUE

Curators Montxo Algora José Luis de Vicente

MNCARS

MNCARS

Management Cristina Torra Elvira Beltrán Victoria Wizner Julio López Ángel Serrano María del Mar Torres

Coordination Soledad Liaño

Coordination Soledad Liaño

Coordination Assistant Alfredo Aracil

Design and Layout Estudio [SZM] Eduardo Szmulewicz Loreto de Amunátegui José Luis León García

Curatorship Assistance Irma Vilà i Òdena

Restoration Mikel Rotaeche Arianne Vanrell Register María de Prada Iliana Naranjo Carol Burnier Management Ana Torres Natalia Guaza Executive Production LaAgencia Montage Design PocA (Irma Arribas-Joan Cuevas-Jordi Llàcer) Light Design Maria Güell Ordis (Lainvisible) Production Intervento Transport TTI. Técnicas de Transporte Internacional Insurance Poolsegur

Editorial Coordination Verdana. Proyectos Editoriales Ana López del Hierro Salomé Sánchez Translations Polisemia Photomechanics Cromotex Printing Tf. Artes Gráficas Binding Ramos © of this edition, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2008 © of the texts and translations, its authors © of the reproductions, its authors © Antoni Muntadas, VEGAP, 2008 © Daniel Canogar, VEGAP, 2008 © Evru, VEGAP, 2008 © Theo Jansen, VEGAP, 2008 © Pierre Huyghe, VEGAP, 2008 © Ángel Borrego, VEGAP, 2008 NIPO: 553-08-033-9 ISBN: 978-84-8026-363-4 Legal Deposit: M-32513-2008 General catalogue of official publications: http://publicaciones.administracion.es Distribution and sales: www.mcu.es/publicaciones/PublicacionesOficiales.html Virtual visits to MNCARS exhibitions are available at www.museoreinasofia.es. Sponsored by


18_IN_ListadeObras_m&a:Maquetaciรณn 1

26/6/08

18:10

Pรกgina 240

This book was finished printing on june 20th of 2008, festivity of Saint Benigna, who always does the good in Tf. Artes Grรกficas print


Profile for ArtFutura

Souls&Machines - Catalog English  

Souls&Machines - Catalog English - Museo Reina Sofia - Madrid - 2008

Souls&Machines - Catalog English  

Souls&Machines - Catalog English - Museo Reina Sofia - Madrid - 2008

Profile for artfutura
Advertisement