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beyond contemporary art Etan Jonathan Ilfeld

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot Céleste Boursier-Mougenot Born in Nice, France in 1961

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot is a French artist and composer. His sound art has included the natural sounds of trees blowing in the wind and the artificial sounds of vacuum cleaners. His work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou, the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, and at the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris. Céleste Boursier-Mougenot has been compared to John Cage. Boursier-Mougenot has continued Cage’s exploration of composing sound and visual forms out of acts of chance. Like Cage, Boursier-Mougenot is also a trained musician. In the late 80s, Boursier-Mougenot composed a series of experimental works for the Pascal Rambert theatre company; in the 90s he started creating site-specific installations within an art gallery context, which had the advantage of generating compositions for a longer time-scale (e.g., a month long show rather than a two hour performance). BoursierMougenot’s momentum within the contemporary art world has been growing steadily and in 2010, he had a blockbuster exhibition at the Barbican’s Curve gallery, and was nominated for the Marcel Duchamp Award. Boursier-Mougenot’s diverse oeuvre includes a series of works enabling natural phenomena to produce music. The installation at the Barbican’s Curve was composed of an aviary embedded with Gibson guitars. The birds, Zebra Finches, were able to fly freely within the space, encouraged to perch on the guitar strings, and consume bird-food scattered among cymbals. Only 25 visitors were allowed into the space at any time in order not to startle the birds, which led to huge lines outside the exhibition as humans flocked to see the show.

Harmonichaos 2.1, 2006 13 vacuum cleaners, each outfitted with one tuner, one harmonica and one lightbulb overall dimensions variable; dimensions of one vacuum cleaner: 49 x 18 x 17 inches (124.5 x 45.7 x 43.2 cm)


From here to ear, 1999 – ongoing 20 female, 20 male zebra finches, 5 Gibson Les Paul guitars, 5 Gibson SG bass guitars, 5 pedal effect processors, 8-channel amp, speakers, nests, cables dimensions variable


Usman Haque

Born in 1971 in Washington DC, USA. Architecture, the Bartlett School of Architecture, London, UK,1990 – 1996

“Traditionally, architecture has been thought of as hardware: the static walls, roofs and floors that enclose us. An alternative approach is to think of architecture as software: the dynamic and ephemeral sounds, smells, temperatures even radio waves that surround us. One might also consider the social infrastructures that underpin our designed spaces. Pushing this analogy even further, we can think of architecture as a whole as an “operating system”, within which people create their own programmes for spatial interaction.” Usman Haque, March 2007 Usman Haque is a multidisciplinary researcher, artist, designer and architect. His work has won numerous accolades including the London’s Design Museums Interactive Design of the year award, the Swiss Creation Prize, and the Wellcome Trust’s Sciart award. Haque’s work has been exhibited internationally, including the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, Transmediale, Ars Electronica and at the National Art Museum in Beijing, China. Haque studied at the Bartlett School of architecture in the 90’s and has been combining practice with theory as he develops and designs interactive architecture. His articles and essays explore issues such as the design of participatory systems, augmented reality and open source architecture. Haque has integrated his theory into projects many of his projects. Primal Source was an art installation at the Glow 08 festival, which composed of a projection onto a screen of water and mist, and which responded to the sounds and movements of the festival visitors. Primal Source was built with open source software tools Processing and Pure Data, which received and processed incoming live signals from eight different microphones. Remote (2008) interconnected a physical room in Boston with a virtual room in Second Life. The items in each space were designed to match such that the movement of any item in either place initiated a symmetrical movement in the other. This coupling formed an single meta-environment, which blurred the boundaries of the physical and virtual. In Open Burble 4

(2008), Haque created an interactive floating structure with balloons filled with LED lights, which would light up in response to text messages. Most impressively, the assembly of Burble involved voluntary participation, which enabled the public to contribute to the design its creation. In Haunt (2004), he built an environment that was most likely to induce visitors to view a ghost. The space was constructed according to his researching the types of places that are associated with a haunted sensation; the humidity level, temperature, electromagnetic and sonic frequencies were optimized; for example, haunted places tend to have a infrasound frequence around 19Hz, which is also a resonant frequency for causing eye’s cornea to oscillate. Similarly, a sudden temparature shift can make hair stand. Haunted (2004) doesn’t attempt to explain the paranormal nor mock it, but rather to explore the psychology of human perception and its relation to its architectural surrounding.

Primal Source, Santa Monica, California, 2008

Remote, Still image from Second Life, 2008

Burble London, Holland Park, 2007


Eduardo Kac

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1962. Lives and works in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Eduardo Kac is an American contemporary artist who has pioneered biotechnological and transgenic art. His practice is both cutting-edge and subversive, and highlights the bio-ethical ramifications of new technologies. Kac’s oeuvre reads like a Bio-Art Guinness Book of World Records. During his prolific career, he has been the first to do many things including being the first person to have a microchip implanted into his body. Kac’s most controversial work is Alba. Kac hired a French research laboratory to genetically engineer a rabbit with the green fluorescent protein of a jellyfish. Alba was the result of this experiment and would turn green when exposed to blue light. However, a series of journalistic articles about Alba, led to a public relations storm, which ultimately, caused the French lab to hush the story up and to keep Alba. It is not known what happened to Alba after the lab’s media blackout. Nevertheless, Kac began an extensive campaign aimed at returning Alba to Kac’s family, including designing a flag dedicated to freeing Alba, which he would fly outside his house. In Genesis, Kac encoded verse 26 from the first book of Genesis, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth,” into Morse Code that was genetically sequenced as bacterium grown in a petri dish. The petri dish was

Natural History of the Enigma, transgenic work, 2003/08 Edunia, a plantimal with the artist’s DNA expressed only in the red veins of the flower.


broadcast over the internet via a webcam, and webvisitors could turn on and off an ultraviolet light which would cause the bacteria to mutate. Aromapoetry is the first poetry book written exclusively with smell. It consists of twelve poems and explores the potential grammar and semantics of olfactory stimuli. Nanotechnology was required to produce the book, which has a substantial shelf life as the book has been designed to prevent the scents from rapidly fading. In Natural History of the Enigma, Kac created a series of ‘plantimals.’ These new life forms intertwine plant and animal DNA. Edunia is a genetically engineered plant that combines Eduardo Kac’s genes with with a Petunia. Kac’s DNA is represented in the plants red veins.

Aromapoetry, 2011 Artist’s book with box and slipcase, twelve custom-made aromas enmeshed in a nanolayer ofmesoporous glass, letterpress text and graphics, 16 2ml vials with engraved titles, 29.7 x 21 x 5.1 cm/ 11.7 x 8.3 x 2 in an edition of 10 signed and numbered by the artist.

above top Dialogue Lagomorphe, 2002 Pencil on watercolor paper, 40.6 x 50.8 cm/ 16 x 20 in. Collection Gilberto Chateaubriand/Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro.


beyond contemporary art Etan Jonathan Ilfeld

The contemporary art world has been transforming rapidly over the last decade, claiming new territories and assimilating novel creative practices. Video game art and iPhone art apps have appeared, street art has blossomed led by artists such as Banksy and Invader. The definition of what constitutes art has broadened to encompass categories that would never have been considered art in the past. Contemporary art is more networked than ever before with world capitals vying with each other for global market share. In this book, the author surveys the key concepts and ideas that have reverberated throughout the art world in the last decade by presenting the artists who have created them. From blockbuster museum exhibitions to influential art fairs and art-stars, the ever-expanding contemporary art world has been increasingly integrated into popular culture. While highlighting established artists such as Gerhard Richter, the book also includes emerging and mid-career artists whose work ranges widely. Artists such as Jeremy Wood who plots his movement across the globe through GPS tracking, Tatsuo Miyajima who does digital light displays, Eduardo Kac who does transgenic bio-art or Santiago Sierra who paid workers to shift a heavy rock back and forth are among the international artists included in this book. Often controversial, these artists push the boundaries of what would traditionally be considered art. This is a book of interest to students, critics, art historians and anyone interested in the contemporary art scene. The author Etan Ilfeld is the founder and director of Tenderpixel Gallery, which is a unique space for promoting critical and conceptual work by emerging and mid-career artists. He is also a digital artist and his work has been featured in Rhizome’s ArtBase. Contents Introduction Profiles and images of 100 artists and artists’ collectives in A-Z order

Specifications 250 x 250 mm (9 3/4 x 9 3/4 in) 240 pages with 150 illustrations Paperback with flaps Recommended retail price: £ 24.95 | € 29.95 | US$ 39.95 25,000 words ISBN 978-1-908126-22-1 September 2012 Key features l Includes both established and emerging artists l International in coverage l Written by an artist and gallerist immersed in contemporary art