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Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Yesterday the yearly “light in architecture” GLOW 2016 festival has started in Eindhoven. This is only two weeks after the Dutch Design Week (DDW) ended on October, 29  also in Eindhoven and visited by around 300.000 visitors during 9 days!

So there is quite a lot to do these months in my home town. To keep up, I want to look back on the most interesting exhibition of DDW 2016 in my opinion: Will the Future Design us? organized by MAD emergent art center and ViolaVirus, working together as Manifestations@DDW. This exhibition was somewhat hidden in the MicroLab at the Strijp-S area and curated by Viola van Alphen of ViolaVirus, also know as multimedia artist Sandwoman.

The theme of the exhibition was  Hyperreality: a new vision of the future. Will We Design the Future or Will the Future Design Us? with Technology is a useful servant, but a dangerous master as a subtitle. On the exhibition website it says:

“Will the Future Design Us? Man is limited in observations, what happens in a world when these can be manipulated? Do we need an update in perceptions, do we need exoskeletons and other digital plugins? Are digital observation systems more absolute? In a society with Nervous Systems, our behaviour is predicted and affected. How do we regain control on our devices and systems? Will the Future Design Us or can We Design the Future? Manifestations shows the future 10 years ahead, in passwords, virtual reality, artificial social intelligence, hacker culture, digital valuta-mining, internet-of-women-things, it makes a statement and takes you into a world where you actively create your own future. It wants to design the future together, before the future designs us.”

This interesting topic was explored by art works related to robotics, virtual reality, digital fashion, biohacking and artificial intelligence. This short video (in Dutch….sorry) gives a quick overview of the contents of this exhibition:

 

Freek Wieringa demonstrated his impressive new Android/Humanoid exoskeleton robot in the exhibition..:

 

 

And Erik van Veen showed his Mental Institute for Robots in which  caged modems and furbies were behaving very unpredictably, asking the question if robots can have mental disorders? 

 

 

But by far the most impressive piece on display was Harper, the worlds first artificial intelligence experience developed by Johannes Teuns and the Technical University of Twente:

Harper is a 3D projection of a head to which you can ask questions in Dutch and English. It will provide answers to your questions, enabling you to have a real dialogue with an artificial intelligence artifact. I have seen 3D avatars in the past, but never so lifelike as Harper. Harper did not only answer the questions asked to him but also asked questions back to the asker. In effect, a real conversation with the avatar was established.

So far not much information is available on the Harper project of TU Twente: just two very basic websites, with some pictures and an e-mail form, but no videos or any background information. However, this is such a stunning art work (?), that you really want to keep track of it once you have seen and experienced it (in person). So check out these links below. And don’t forget to visit GLOW this week if you are in NL..

 

More information

 

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In September I was on holiday in the Baltic states (and in St. Petersburg and Moscow in Russia). In  Riga I bought a book-which-actually-is-a-magazine  called “Systems”  (edition of 500 copies, ISSN 2255-9310, Popper Publishing) dedicated to contemporary and post-internet art in the Baltics (and Russia).

One of the most interesting art works (on page 82) in this book/magazine was Untitled from Latvian artist Victor Timoveef. I became curious and visited his website where I found more interesting works, such as the computer generated Soft War images:

 

 

 

 

So who is Victor Timofeev? The bio on his website doesn’t provide much information, but he recently had a solo exhibition in the Drawing Room in London, called S.T.A.T.ESuprisingly, the Drawing Room is  “the only public and non-profit gallery in the UK and Europe dedicated to contemporary drawing”. Here some more info on the digital (?) artist can be found:

“Viktor Timofeev was born in Latvia in 1984, studied at Hunter College, New York and is currently completing his MFA at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Viktor Timofeev’s practice combines drawing, digital and sculptural work.  [He] creates installations with digitally generated imagery, interactive games and rule-based performances. He is a prolific draughtsman but also makes computer games and browser based collage puzzles without instructions.  This [digital] work runs parallel to a drawing and painting practice from which his logic and inventions spring and which are collectively grouped as S.T.A.T.E., a title conceived by Timofeev in 2013.

So there is also a Dutch connection… Being a web developer myself, I was triggered by the browser based collage puzzles without instructions part of the bioThis refers to a work called Selekthor. Selekthor is a looping collage-based puzzle without instructions written in native Javascript, originally hosted at minerpie.net, but now embedded in his website. If you click on one of the images below, the web page with the puzzle is opened:

     

 

You didn’t click? Here is a video demo of the puzzle, which might make you change your mind:

Timofeev also participated in the thelimitedcollection on Tumblr, a collection of animated gifs made by various digital artists:

 

 

So a very interesting Latvian artist to follow whose work ranges from drawings to javascripts. Check these links to find out more:

Every technology has its own accidents. Rosa Menkman is a Dutch media artist who focuses on visual artifacts created by these kind of accidents in digital media. The visuals and installations she creates are the result of glitches, compressions, feedback and other forms of unplanned noise.

Although most people perceive accidents as negative experiences, Rosa Menkman emphasizes their positive consequences. By combining both her practical as well as academic background, she merges her abstract pieces within a grand theory (“glitch studies”), in which she strives for new forms of conceptual synthesis of the two.

Glitch art seems to be an art form which requires a considerable amount of – rather obscure – explanation. According to Menkman, “glitch art is best described as a collection of forms and events that oscillate between extremes: the fragile, technologically based moment(um) of a material break, the conceptual or techno-cultural investigation of breakages, and the accepted and standardised commodity that a glitch can become. […] Glitch genres perform reflections on materiality not just on a technological level, but also by playing off the physical medium and its non-physical, interpretative or conceptual characteristics. To understand a work […] of glitch art completely, each level of this notion of (glitch) materiality should be studied: the text as a physical artifact, its technological and aesthetical qualities, conceptual content, and the interpretive activities of artists”.
and audiences.

If this description confuses you: it is  – more or less! – explained by Rosa when interviewed for the Digital Manifesto Archive:

So much for theory. How does this actually look and/or sound? Below are a few video’s included of works made by Rosa Menkman.

 

Pattern Recognition, Beyond Resolution

This video was apparently commissioned by the Dutch railways to be played on big LED ‘Urban Screens’ in train stations all over the Netherlands. However, when finished it wasn’t used because it was classified by the railway company as being “to strange for train passengers”:

 

DCT:SYPHONING

This installation is part of the Transfer Download exhibition of the Minnesota Street Project in Transfer Gallery in  San Francisco, which ends on September 9, so next week. So you are actually still able to see/experience it if you are living near SF!

According to the Transfer Gallery website this work is inspired by the 1884 novel ‘Flatland’ by Edwin Abbott Abbott. Rosa Menkman tells the story of a father who introduces his son to different levels of compression; they move from dither, to lines, to macroblocks (the realm in which they normally resonate) to the ‘future’ realms of wavelets and vectors.

 

Xilitla

Xilitla is a software game/application for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms which enables you to view the videoscapes of Rosa Menkman in glitchy  way outside the confines of YouTube and Vimeo (or this  blog page..). The app can  be downloaded for free on the Xilitla/Beyond Resolution website. In the About Xilitla video below she explains the goal and concept behind the app:

 

 

All in all, a very interesting Dutch media artist,who combines art theory and practice in her work and has in doing so already produced an extensive body of media art pieces around the concept of “glitch”. Below are some links – in random order, of course – to get you viewing, playing and reading:

More info:

Found on ArtTube.nl: a very interesting documentary (in Dutch, but with English subtitles) about the issues of preserving digital and software driven art works over time.

As these art works are software or make use of software, they age very fast because computers, storage media, operating systems and programming languages develop rapidly. This poses a challenge for museums who buy these art works. The documentary illustrates this problem by discussing the preservation of works of artist Peter Struycken, the Dutch pioneer of 20th century digital art, whose works have been acquired by most Dutch contemporary art museums. An excellent opportunity to get acquainted with this important Dutch artist and some of these Dutch art museums:

 

 

More info:

Tonight the STRP Biennale 2015 will start in the Klokgebouw on Strijp-S in Eindhoven. The STRP biennial brings together art, technology and experimental pop culture and connects them to interested audiences. With its interactive art, light art, robotics, performances, experimental music and films, lectures and workshops STRP offers a glimpse into the near and sometimes distant future of our technology-driven culture. The topic of this edition is “SCREEN ON | NO SCREEN”:  the electronic screen. As is described on the STRP website:

.Screens are all around us, and they’re not only becoming bigger, smarter and more interactive, but also thinner, sharper and more flexible. The STRP Biennial 2015 investigates the thin line between the material and immaterial image. We show how our relation with the images that are moving all around us is getting more and more complex. It’s getting very hard to separate ourselves from them, sometimes we immerse ourselves in them, but at the same time we are getting better at controlling the images.”

 

The festival opens with a performance by Robert Henke (a.k.a Monolake, a regular participant at the STRP festival). He will show an updated version of his Lumiere audio-visual performance, simply called Lumiere II. I will be there to attend it. Four specially crafted lasers are linked to the world-famous Ableton DAW software, that was co-developed by Henke, to create animated patterns aligned to sounds with it.  The video above contains an excerpt of the original Lumiere laser performance.

Be sure to visit STRP 2015 too, if you are interested in cutting edge tech art and are near Eindhoven.

More info:

A rather awkward Dutchlish TEDx talk by Dutch interactive art designer Tim van Cromvoirt on YouTube:

However, the contents of his presentation and his art works are interesting: check his website and work!

More information:

On YouTube I found this video today on the Ondes Martenot: an electronic instrument of the 1920’s which preludes today’s synthesizer. It is most widely known for its use in pieces by French composer  Olivier Messiaen:

I actually own a high quality software emulation of the Ondes Martenot made by VSTi producers Sonic Couture and use it quite often due to it’s distinct sounds. One of the interesting things about the Ondes Martenot was the ribbon controller demonstrated by Jean Laurendeau in the video.

A similar ribbon controller in a modern plexiglas enclosure now made by Eowave is also part of my synth studio. Here the Blade Runner theme is played on a synthesizer using the Eowave ribbon as a controller:

So although the Ondes Martenot may be almost a century old and is not often used as an instrument on its own, it’s sounds and concepts are still alive today.

More information:


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