Videos by Ryan Trecartin, recently featured in The Generational: Younger Than Jesus.
Jennifer Steinkamp's great uncle Ernest Hedinger was a seaman on the Dumaru during WWI, 1918. The ship carrying weapons and fuel was struck by lightning scarcely a couple hours outside of Guam. Powerful currents carried the helpless lifeboats out to sea. There were not enough provisions in the over crowded boat. Only 19 years old, Uncle Ernest died after 13 days. Out of desperation he had been drinking seawater, which caused him to imagine a nail stuck in his head. Soon after his death, two of the shipmates were cannibalized. The crew was trapped out at sea for 24 days total.
The installation consisted of 4 projections in sync to create a giant animated seascape panorama across 2 walls of the gallery. The imagery consisted of two ocean animations combined, one looking from a view high above the ocean, and the other from down in the water.
In 1965, multimedia artist Stan VanDerBeek wrote that "language and cultural-semantics are as explosive as nuclear energy. It is imperative that we (the world's artists) invent a new...non-verbal international picture-language"1. He foresaw that future “image-making” technologies would be needed to develop a new “picture-language” to communicate to all people the threat of global annihilation. I believe that psychedelic light shows originating on the U.S. West Coast in the 1950s were part of the beginnings of this rapidly developing world language that is now more evident with newer digital media technologies. Along with other counterculture activities such as taking hallucinogenic drugs, light shows evolved as a means of connecting people and helping raise individual and collective consciousness outside the mass media spaces of TV, cinema, and radio. They were among the first primitive attempts by artists to appropriate many of the “new” analogue communications media technologies - photography, film, audio - and add the images, beat and lyrics of popular culture and music to create an immersive mediated environment embracing both the performers and the audience in a transformative sensorial experience.
ZEE: Kurt Hentschlaeger [STRP 2009, Eindhoven] from mediateletipos on Vimeo.
ZEE is a "mind-scape" in which artificial fog and stroboscopic light fully obscure the physical installation space, resulting in an almost complete disconnect from the without and offering an entry towards a surprise within.
Stroboscopic- and pulse light filtering through the thick fog augment an impression of a luminescent kinetic sphere wherein the environment acts as the seeding stimulant and you synthesize the impression.
Based on the research and findings with FEED, the performance, ZEE is expanding on composing with multiple interfering strobe lights amidst fog and the effects those have on a human perception and decoding apparatus: the brain.
A surround sound-scape synchronizes to interference phenomena - of what could be described as a psychedelic architecture of pure light.
Video artist Pipilotti Rist's large scale multimedia installation Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters) opened last night at MoMA. The space is designed to immerse and overwhelm the visitor -- a sensation captured by the work's title Pour Your Body Out. Twenty-five foot high projections surround an immense circular couch -- in an interview in one of the videos below MoMA curator Klaus Biesenbach likens the perspective to the experience of looking up while laying at the bottom of a pool. Rist is also interviewed, and she discusses how she staged the project.
Running through the end of December, "ZEE[RANGE]," at Pittsburgh's Wood Street Galleries, furthers Kurt Hentschlager's inquiry into the facets and limits of multi-sensory perception. The Austrian artist describes the exhibition's central work, ZEE (2008), as a "mind-scape" composed of artificial fog, stroboscopic light and adaptive surround sound. These elements conspire to efface the traditional contours of the exhibition space, replacing them with "a psychedelic architecture of pure light." An accompanying piece, RANGE (2008), makes its world premiere in this exhibition. Building upon Hentschlager's past work with 3D video game software, such as KARMA / cell (2006), RANGE presents a collection of virtual characters, contained in a small space, dividing from and agglutinating into a larger mass. Taken together, Hentschlager's latest works recall FEED (2005-6), a multi-tiered performance, created for the Theater Biennial Venice, first featuring a projection of suspended, virtual characters, followed by "a composition for artificial fog, pulse- and stroboscopic light." These seemingly unrelated modes of production thus work together, staging a condition of unreality characteristic of contemporary life and then immersing the audience in an affective simulation of this condition. But if Hentschlager's uniform, virtual mass betrays a nihilistic take on society, the subsequent dissolution of the audience into a phenomenal field may also suggest other forms of self- and collective constitution to still be possible. - Tyler Coburn
Kurt Hentschlager, ZEE, 2008
"Art + Environment," a three-day conference starting this Thursday at the Nevada Museum of Art, in Reno, assembles artists, scientists, designers, and thinkers to discuss overlaps between nature and culture. Conference Lead Moderator William L. Fox draws parallels between experiments of the 1960s, in which scientists "began crossing disciplines to understand how environments work," and the various ways contemporary practitioners are engaging the "natural, built, and virtual environments in which they work," from sculptors using earth as an artistic material, and architects assuming the role of digital cartographers, to painters and photographers taking agriculture as their subject matter. The vast, unpredictable potential of these current strategies makes Nevada a perfect host, Fox adds, given its own history as both "a playground and a dumping ground": a locus of consumer excess and military secrecy. The conference program features a panel of artists and scientists, including Lita Albuquerque and Chris Drury, who have worked in extreme environments; a conversation with photographer and Burning Man veteran Michael Light on the effect media and art-world attention is having on the gathering; and a talk by the San Jose Museum of Art's Senior Curator JoAnne Northrup on the art of Jennifer Steinkamp, Northrup authored Steinkamp's 2006 monograph and curated a recent touring exhibition of her work. The digital technology and naturalistic content of Steinkamp's immersive, moving-image installations make them a perfect subject of inquiry for this ambitious conference. - Tyler CoburnImage: Michael Light, Barney's Canyon Gold Mine Looking South, Near Bingham Canyon, Utah, 2006
While the term "crowd sourcing" generally refers to a large group of people (i.e. internet users) contributing to the realization of a project, it might also apply in interesting ways to the newest installation by Jody Zellen. In "The Blackest Spot," at LA's Fringe gallery, she culls footage of crowds and corrals them into content categories which are in turn activated by visitors to the exhibition. While the crowd is usually theorized as a single entity or herd, Zellen's selections exemplify the many different means and reasons for which people choose to assemble in a single spot. When viewers step on censor-marked spots on the floor of the gallery, they trigger audio responses linked to the gatherings, ranging from quietude to cacophony. As a result, Zellen's audience is compelled to consider their own identification with those portrayed in the collected images. - Marisa OlsonImage: Jody Zellen, The Blackest Spot, 2008