Blogs Centerpoints New Media Art

A dreaming house: urban video projection

As a big fan of large-scale video projection, I find this absolutely enchanting: [vimeo width=”500″ height=”325″]http://vimeo.com/5595869[/vimeo] It is a project called 555 KUBIK, projected on the side of the Hamburg Kunsthalle. The concept for the video asks “how would it be, if a house was dreaming?” The conception of this project consistently derives from its underlying […]

As a big fan of large-scale video projection, I find this absolutely enchanting:

[vimeo width=”500″ height=”325″]http://vimeo.com/5595869[/vimeo]

It is a project called 555 KUBIK, projected on the side of the Hamburg Kunsthalle. The concept for the video asks “how would it be, if a house was dreaming?”

The conception of this project consistently derives from its underlying architecture – the theoretic conception and visual pattern of the Hamburg Kunsthalle. The Basic idea of narration was to dissolve and break through the strict architecture of O. M. Ungers “Galerie der Gegenwart”. Resultant permeabilty of the solid facade uncovers different interpretations of conception, geometry and aesthetics expressed through graphics and movement. A situation of reflexivity evolves – describing the constitution and spacious perception of this location by means of the building itself.

Also check out some other great urban architecture projections at urbanscreen.com.

Act/React at the Milwaukee Art Museum

The Milwaukee Art Museum is currently exhibiting a show called Act/React. I visited the show just over a month ago and have been meaning to blog about it for some time. It is coming down on January 11, so if you’re going to be in or passing through Milwaukee over the holiday break, take a […]

Daniel Rozin, Peg Mirror, 2007.

The Milwaukee Art Museum is currently exhibiting a show called Act/React. I visited the show just over a month ago and have been meaning to blog about it for some time. It is coming down on January 11, so if you’re going to be in or passing through Milwaukee over the holiday break, take a moment to stop in and see the show. It is worth it.

Going into the show, I was most excited to see the work of Cammille Utterback. Her piece, Liquid Time, is one of my favorite pieces of artwork. Several pieces from her External Measures Series are in the exhibition. One piece in the exhibition that really surprised me was Daniel Rozen’s Peg Mirror. The mirror consists of a collection of rotating pegs. Each peg’s end is tapered, and when they rotate in the light, the change in shadow represents shades of light and dark. While it’s a mechanical device, it feels very warm and inviting, certainly due to the warmth of the wood and the amazing precision it shows in reflecting the viewer.

Nathaniel Stern wrote a wonderful in-depth review for Rhizome:

…all the works on show are unhindered by traditional interface objects such as the mouse and keyboard. Most of them instead employ computer vision technologies, more commonly known as interactive video. Here, the combined use of digital video cameras and custom computer software allows each artwork to “see,” and respond to, bodies, colors and/or motion in the space of the museum. The few works not using cameras in this fashion employ similar technologies towards the same end. While this homogeneity means that the works might at first seem too similar in their interactions, their one-to-one responsiveness, and their lack of other new media-specific explorations — such as networked art or dynamic appropriation and re-mixing systems — it also accomplishes something most museum-based “state of the digital art” shows don’t. It uses just one avenue of interest by contemporary media artists in order to dig much deeper into what their practice means, and why it’s important. “Act/React” encourages an extremely varied and nuanced investigation of our embodied experiences in our own surroundings.

Stanley Landsman, Walk-In Infinity Chamber, 1968.

Stanley Landsman, Walk-In Infinity Chamber, 1968.

Another exhibition currently on view at the MAM is Sensory Overload: Light, Motion, Sound, and the Optical in Art Since 1945. It is a perfect companion exhibition to Act/React, highlighting some of the MAM’s new media collections, and connecting the contemporary work in Act/React to a deeper history of new media work. The exhibition web site notes:

The Museum has collected and exhibited new media art ever since 1967 when it co-organized Light | Motion | Space with the Walker Art Center, one of the first exhibitions on this form of art in the United States. Sensory Overload features some of the most popular works in the Museum’s Collection as well as key works on loan from other institutions and private collections.

A couple notable pieces are Erwin Redl’s MATRIX XV, Josiah McElheny’s Modernity circa 1952, Mirrored and Reflected Infinitely, and Stanley Landsman’s Walk-In Infinity Chamber, to focus on just a few. Many of the artists in the exhibition are also part of the Walker’s collection.

the biggest self-portrait in the world

And I thought Chuck Close’s Big Self Portrait was huge… The drawing above was created using a GPS unit housed in a briefcase that was shipped all over the world, creating a self-portrait of the artist spanning the entire globe. via Eyeteeth.

And I thought Chuck Close’s Big Self Portrait was huge…

The drawing above was created using a GPS unit housed in a briefcase that was shipped all over the world, creating a self-portrait of the artist spanning the entire globe.

via Eyeteeth.

One Thing and Another in 2007, a top ten from Steve Dietz

I asked Steve Dietz, Artistic Director of ZERO1 and former Walker New Media Curator if he would prepare a top ten list for our roundup. Steve is busy these days, but he managed to indulge and put together a list, if a little late. Thanks, Steve. — Ed. I’ve never really understood Top Ten or […]

I asked Steve Dietz, Artistic Director of ZERO1 and former Walker New Media Curator if he would prepare a top ten list for our roundup. Steve is busy these days, but he managed to indulge and put together a list, if a little late. Thanks, Steve. — Ed.

I’ve never really understood Top Ten or “Best of” lists. Can’t we all just get along? Probably it’s just some kind of Walter Mondale self-loathing gene, but really, who cares if yet another person does – or doesn’t – think Matthew Barney is the greatest living vaseline artist of his generation from Boise? Nevertheless, here is my list of 10 or more of one thing and another in 2007.

Not Exactly Disappointing

Doug Aitken, SleepwalkersDocumenta was disappointing, but Doug Aitken’s Sleepwalkers at the Museum of Modern Art was something else. I went to New York just to see this gargantuan “urban screens” nighttime projection on the museum’s exterior, and I’m glad I did. It was a thrill to have a different kind of content so close, from a Midwestern perspective, to Times Square. In the end, however, the experiment was too hermetic. And not just the content. The context still felt like we were on the outside looking in. The engagement with the city was on the order of scale alone.

Germaine Koh, JournalCompare Sleepwalkers with a project like Germaine Koh’s Journal. For a month she wrote a 40-word daily diary, which was displayed on a large LED ticker sign in downtown Cleveland:

13 July. Lunch with Mom and B. Date with IV really nice: dinner at Bishop’s (so expensive!) then drank port on beach. Good talking. He made me CDs for road trip. I was not too nervous.

The telegraphic tidbits chased the latest quotes from Dow Jones and the interpenetration of public and private information on such a grand scale created a certain disruptive intimacy for the urban flaneur along Euclid Avenue. [Self-exposure: I curated the Koh project for the Cleveland Ingenuityfest.]

I Wish I’d Been There

Faust @ Futuresonic, Manchester, May 2007There was a continuing glut of historical reenactments in 2007, but a couple of straight-forward re-presentations made me understand better – and regret – what I missed at the time. A performance by the 70s “inventors of Krautrock” Faust at Futuresonic in Manchester brought on a hitherto unknown nostalgia for power sawing a hanging sheet of metal in a shower of sparks.

Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, Hole in SpaceA simple installation in the exhibition Outside the Box of Kit Galloway’s and Sherrie Rabinowitz’s seminal 1980 transcontinental Hole In Space put the lie to the idea that their project is commonplace now with video cell phones and networked urban screens. Size does matter and their genious was to make it life size, neither screen-sized nor super-sized. Now I know why I keep describing this piece as seminal.

The Power to Continue to Surprise

Jim Campbell, Home MovieWith some artists, even though their work has a signature familiarity, it seldom feels exploitatively repetitive. Jim Campbell’s San Francisco gallery exhibition of Home Movies displayed on hanging strips of LEDs like an electronic beaded curtain were palimpsests of memories, barely visible but distinctly readable, which were someone else’s but could have been yours.

Jennifer + Kevin McCoy, The Constant WorldJennifer + Kevin McCoy’s installation, The Constant World, which inaugurated the new gallery spaces at the British Film Institute is in one way, I suppose, a move from Godard’s Week End to Alpahville in terms of narrative, but it is also monumentally beautiful, perhaps especially among the Brutalist architecture of London’s South Bank.

Goaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!

Speaking of historical reenactments, Gerard Byrne’s 1984 and Beyond was just about the best thing at the Venice Biennial. He filmed Dutch actors disucssing the future from the vantage point of the past based on a 1963 series of interviews in Playboy magazine with 12 leading science fiction authors, including Arthur C. Clark, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Robert Heinlein. Set in the Rietveld Pavilion at the Kroller-Muller Sculpture Garden, the venues are as retro future as the conversation without ever becoming cartoony. It’s a beautiful work.

A new work, Blue Hawaii, commissioned for Janet Cardiff and George Burns Miller’s The Killing Machine and Other Stories in Darmstadt was remarkable for allowing visitors to wander alone around an unlit flooded basement of the building, but it is perhaps the least successful of a stunning retrospective exhibition. From the opening room with its eponymous killing machine – a fearsome dentist chair – to early work such as a semi-autobioraphical slide show where Cardiff and Miller at least bicker if not fight to the sonorous 40 Part Motet to a tragicomic Fitzcarraldo meets Paris, Texas set-narrative, Opera for a Small Room, the exhibition is a masterpiece of exquisitely powerful works.

Performance Art

By the time we had a Parkour chase scene with Daniel Craig’s James Bond in Casino Royale – a high budget imitation of Parkour inventor David Belle’s utterly fresh chase scene in Banlieu 13 – “free running” seemed to have been exhausted by its success, just as the urgency of graffiti art dissipated in the 80s. But the artist group Mongrel, which runs Mediashed in Southend on Sea, worked with the parkour group Methods of Movement to choreograph a “duel,” which was filmed in the Manchester (again) Arndale Shopping Centre using only the existing in-house CCTV network of cameras operated from the central control room. Once you get over the sheer exhileration of running around a mall at night alone, the performance is a show stopper. The Duellists. Brilliant.

For Fashionably Late for the Relationship, computer artist and musician-composer turned filmmaker R. Luke DuBois collaborated with Lian Amaris Sifuentes to shoot a 72-hour performance of Sifuentes in her boudoir – on a traffic island at Madison Square Park in New York City – getting ready to go out. DuBois has made a databased installation version and a feature film length cut using a time-lapse algorithm that has also allowed him to compress every Academy Award winning film into 1 minute each for Acadamey. Mesmerizing.

Second Life

Perhaps it is because our First Lives are going down the drain of climate change and war mongering that Second Life is so popular, although it is more likely simply a rerun of Web 1.0 faddishness, confusing specific platforms – Second Life – for general principles – virtuality, sociability, play, for instance. Nevertheless, Adam Nash’s Seventeen Unsung Songs located on East of Odyssey are worth listening to, and while I didn’t think Cao Fei’s Second Life installation at Venice was as convincing as her Whose Utopia? at Tate Liverpool and more recently the Walker, her Second Life machinima films iMirror are compelling.

Doh!

Whatever you think of Diller, Scofidio + Renfro’s ICA Boston – and I think it’s amazing – they “solved” the long running battle of the mediatheque. For years now, institutions have overthought and overthought what the space of new media should be like. ICA Boston tilts it on a 45 degree axis and as you look almost straight down into the evanescent waters of Boston harbor, what is meerely an Apple store on its side becomes a compelling experience. Who needs dialog tables with brilliantly simple architectural solutions?

The Materialization of the Virtual

Finally, more and more art formerly known as new media artists – and curators! – are realizing the virtues of the real. Finally. For example, online Thomson + Craighead’s Beacon has always seemed to me little more than a Google hack – sorry Jon and Ali – but when they convert one of those clacking train signs with the letters flipping over till they form a sentence, to read the the latest queries of the collective unconsious feels more like an adventure or a good mystery than self-gratifying voyeurism.

May we all enjoy one thing and another in 2008.

Interactive projection on York Minster cathedral

Haque Design + Research has created an fantastic 80,000 lumen interactive projection on the facade of York Minster cathedral, in York, England. It is called Evoke: The facade is brought to life by members of the public, who use their own voices to “evoke” colourful light patterns that emerge at the building’s foundations and soar […]

York Minster cathedralHaque Design + Research has created an fantastic 80,000 lumen interactive projection on the facade of York Minster cathedral, in York, England. It is called Evoke:

The facade is brought to life by members of the public, who use their own voices to “evoke” colourful light patterns that emerge at the building’s foundations and soar up towards the sky, giving the surface a magical feeling as it melts with colour.

People with voices of different frequencies, rhythms or cadences will be able to evoke quite different magical patterns upon the surface of the building – a staccato chirping will result in a completely different set of visual effects to a long howl for example, blending old and new to continue animating the facade of the Minster.

I would love to see video of this. This may be blasphemy, but it has a look reminiscent of a blinged-out myspace page or a super-saturated screenprint test page. The neon colors are totally foreign to gothic architecture, and it looks like something too far out for even a Blade Runner world.

[via Interactive Architecture]

Geek Bling

For those of you with low cash flows but rising internet currency, here’s a new way to show bling: An LED ring that displays the current number of Google hits a search on your name generates. Just slip it into a docking station at your computer, do a search, take the ring, and go, confident […]

Top Two News Words (By the Hour)

Artist, web developer, and Poster Children lead singer Rick Valentin has created a new piece. Deceptively simple, he attached an old-school, tractor-feed dot-matrix printer to a computer that scours major news sites looking for the two most frequently appearing terms each hour. Viewers can watch online or subscribe to an RSS feed to get an […]

newshour01.jpgArtist, web developer, and Poster Children lead singer Rick Valentin has created a new piece. Deceptively simple, he attached an old-school, tractor-feed dot-matrix printer to a computer that scours major news sites looking for the two most frequently appearing terms each hour. Viewers can watch online or subscribe to an RSS feed to get an hourly update. In these times when we can be paralyzed — or bored stiff — by the massive overload of available information, it’s something of an anti-Google, poetically simple and weirdly powerful in how it seems to distill down the biggest fears and obsessions of the hour into two simple words.

As Chicago-based critic Polly Ulrich wrote of Valentin’s work at his 2007 MFA exhibition at the University of Illinois School of Art and Design, “The resulting print-out has the appearance of a concrete poetry piece, with a virtual author. The day I visited the top words were Baghdad and Gonzalez, which pretty much summed everything up.”

Cao Fei’s iMirror

In the Chinese pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale Cao Fei introduced her documentary iMirror, “filmed” entirely in Second Life and directed by her SL avatar China Tracy. Cao, whose film installation COSPlayers was recently acquired by the Walker, will take part in the exhibition Brave New Worlds, opening at the Walker October 4. [Via […]

In the Chinese pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale Cao Fei introduced her documentary iMirror, “filmed” entirely in Second Life and directed by her SL avatar China Tracy. Cao, whose film installation COSPlayers was recently acquired by the Walker, will take part in the exhibition Brave New Worlds, opening at the Walker October 4.

[Via NEWSgrist.]

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=5vcR7OkzHkI[/youtube] (more…)

Time becomes a loop

For lack of a better way to describe it, this is just too awesome and geeky to pass up. Peter Kirn writes: For those not in the know, Steve Reich is one of the major so-called “ minimalist” composers of the 20th Century; some of his early works of the 1960s focused on compositions made […]

For lack of a better way to describe it, this is just too awesome and geeky to pass up. Peter Kirn writes:

For those not in the know, Steve Reich is one of the major so-called “ minimalist” composers of the 20th Century; some of his early works of the 1960s focused on compositions made from tape loops falling out of sync or “ out of phase” with one another. This includes the seminal works “ It’s Gonna Rain” and “ Come Out.” For those not in the know, Lieutenant Worf is the son of Mogh, and serves as Chief Security Officer on the Starship Enterprise NCC-1701-D.

Now we know what life would be like if Lt. Worf were also a member of the Reich ensemble. Get ready for some Trekker loop phasing.

Too see the video, click for more below.

To bring this back to the Walker a bit, Steve Reich one of the featured artists in Sonicflux, which allows you to experiment and loop sounds from the artists. Other artists in Sonicflux are John Cage and Yoko Ono. Sadly, it seems the the shockwave format which it was created in is no longer playable on OSX.

The video comes from Youtube Doubler, which features a number of other interesting double video mashups.

(more…)

Joseph Beuys’ Second Life

Joseph Beuys’ project 7000 Oaks was begun in 1982 with the intent of planting 7,000 trees of various types throughout the city of Kassel, Germany, each beside a basalt monolith (or stele). “The solid stone form beside the ever-changing tree symbolically represents a basic concept in Beuys’ philosophy, that these two natural and yet oppositional […]

beuys.jpg

Joseph Beuys’ project 7000 Oaks was begun in 1982 with the intent of planting 7,000 trees of various types throughout the city of Kassel, Germany, each beside a basalt monolith (or stele). “The solid stone form beside the ever-changing tree symbolically represents a basic concept in Beuys’ philosophy, that these two natural and yet oppositional qualities are complementary and coexist harmoniously,” explains the website for the Walker’s exhibition Joseph Beuys: Multiples.

Beuys, who died in 1986, didn’t live to see the project’s completion, but just as the work juxtaposes permanence (death/stone) with ethereal dynamism (life/tree), the project has lived on, spawning others, like the Walker’s tree-planting effort in 1997 and, more recently, a re-enactment in the online game Second Life.

On March 16, exactly 25 years after Beuys planted his first tree, artists Eva and Franco Mattes (a.k.a. 0100101110101101.ORG) began a virtual re-enactment of 7000 Oaks. The pair began stacking basalt on the island they own in the game, Cosmos Island. The pair’s website reads:

The diminishing pile of virtual stones will indicate the progress of the project, which will go on until all 7000 oaks and stones will be placed. Second Life inhabitants will have the chance to take part to the performance, placing stones and trees in their lands.

Via networked_performance.

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