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Two weeks ago I bought a very nice book on Belgian multimedia artist Anne Mie van Kerkckhoven’s work at a book discount fair. Yesterday I discovered that she currently has a major exhibition entitled What would I do in Orbit? at Museum Abteiberg in Monchen-Gladbach (Germany), one of my favorite modern art museums.

Coincidences? I don’t think so. So it is time to put the focus on her and her work in this tech art blog with this old video fragment from V2 from 1988 (or 1990?):

Mental Rotation: L’Age d’Or 2 is a video installation, shown at V2_ in 1990, part of the exhibition of the second Manifestation for the Unstable Media. The video was included in the V2_ Compilation for Early Electronic Art I.

BTW: Anne Mie’s website contains over 80 of her videos and films. Pay it a visit!.

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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..

 

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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:

 

 

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Found today while browsing on YouTube: a video of the Parallels installation of Nonotak Studio, one of the highlights of the STRP Festival 2015 edition:

 

Nonotak Studio is a collaboration between illustrator Noemi Schipfer and architect musician Takami Nakamoto. Nonotak was created in late 2011.
In early 2013, they started to work on light and sound installations, capitalizing on Takami Nakamoto’s approach of space & sound, and Noemi Schipfer’s experience in kinetic visual design.

Parallels is an audio visual installation that was commissioned by the STRP festival.  It explores interactions between light, space and people within the room of the installation. The boundaries and notion of space, become abstract as the audience crosses the room, but in doing so, the audience also affects the space by breaking the light. This installation is strongly connected to the space in which it takes place; it lives within it. But as soon as the light hits the walls that define the space, it reaches its limits and stops reproducing itself.

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Soft Revolvers is an audiovisual performance by Canadian artist Myriam Bleau. She explores the limits between musical performance and digital arts, creating audiovisual systems that go beyond the screen and integrate hip hop, techno and pop elements.

For Soft Revolver she makes use of 4 spinning tops built with clear acrylic by the artist. Each top is associated with an ‘instrument’ in an electronic music composition and the motion data collected by sensors – placed inside the tops – informs musical algorithms:


With their large circular spinning bodies and their role as music playing devices, the interfaces evoke turntables and DJ culture, hip hop and dance music. LEDs placed inside the tops illuminate the body of the objects in a precise counterpoint to the music, creating stunning spinning halos:

Soft Revolvers was performed during the LEV Festival in Gijon in April and can also be seen at the upcoming Sonar festival in Barcelona at the end of this week.

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