Snaps and crackles and bleeps and bloops prevail at New York's annual circuit bending festival Bent, which kicked off last night and will continue through Saturday evening. Hosted by The Tank, the event brings together benders and homemade electronics aficionados for three days of workshops, demos, installations and concerts. If the promise of a Chiptune Marching Band or an army of miniRunglers isn't enough to peak your interest, perhaps the stellar lineup for Saturday's concert, which includes a performance by Lesley Flanigan using her signature feedback instrument the Speaker Synth as well as composer Tristan Perich's epic 15 channel work involving 18 modified television sets and 5 dancers Impulse Manifold will be enough to get you off your couch and over to Hell's Kitchen.
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.
Last week, I met with artist Gareth Long at his Brooklyn apartment for a studio visit. I first became aware of his work through another artist Tyler Coburn, who wrote about him for Rhizome. After training in video for many years, Long turned to sculpture as a means to push video's formal qualities, illuminating the porousness of the category in relation to other mediums. His renderings of video into alternate forms, such as lenticular prints or digitally fabricated sculptures, often succumb to the faulty interpretations and limitations found in the slippage between languages. His book-based works pick up on this topic, functioning as artifacts of mistranslation.
Let's admit it. Many of us have done it. You simply lift the lid on the photocopier, press your face (or other body part) against the glass, and hit "print." Sonia Sheridan has made an art out of this form of self-portraiture. The phenomenon of artists using the oft-overlooked tools around them is one with a long tradition. Think of Lillian Schwartz and the computers that surrounded her at Bell Labs, or Sadie Benning and the toy camera her father, James Benning, gave her. The list is long. And there's something about the convergence of play and experimentation that has made work like this a locus for forwarding new media. In Sheridan's case, it's partly a result of a deep attunement to the relationship between industrial methods and creative drives that has persisted for over sixty years. She was the beneficiary of a 3M residency program which allowed her to make work with equipment like their Thermo-Fax and Color-in-Color machines. In the legendary Jack Burnham-curated exhibition, "Software" (Jewish Museum, 1969), Sheridan allowed viewers to play with these machines, as well. The resultant work enabled her to comment on the compression of time in the conception-to-realization process, positioning her as an early theorist of "real time" art-making and communication. Meanwhile, her art projects helped establish the aesthetics of electronic graphics, while simultaneously pushing the formal boundaries (light, line, color) of seemingly simple systems and drawing these experiments into more and more complex generative systems. Like many artists of her generation opening up new tools, the body became a common site of investigation, and the images she continues to make reflect the metamorphosis of the body in relationship to machines. The Daniel Langois Foundation maintains an extensive archive on ...
Several years ago, while making the lecture circuit rounds, American architect William Massie described a key goal within his practice as moving towards a more direct translation between bits and atoms. Architecture has always thrived on the tension between representation and material assemblages and what he was addressing with this comment was the dawning of an era characterized by a new proximity between digital models and physical output. In selected contexts, artists, architects, and designers have been exploring these accelerated development cycles for a decade but the involved technologies are descending in price so quickly that, for example, 3D printers are now cheaper than laser printers were in 1985. A key question: how does the looming ubiquity of these tools and workflows apply to the production and display of new media art? This article will explore digital fabrication (aka fabbing) at a variety of scales which include the curatorial questions raised by these new hybrid industrial design/sculpture objects as well as the implications on the practice of individual artists. Before delving into either of these milieus it would be useful to acknowledge some common language and terminology associated with fabrication and recognize some important precedents.
The Art of the Overhead is a small arts festival devoted to the overhead projector which will take place from May 15 to June 5th at Stapelbäddsparken, in a former Shipbuilding slipway featuring 3000m2 of largely underground areas in Malmö, Sweden. This year's theme is "OHpen Surface", which is elaborated by the festival's organizers Linda Hilfling and Kristoffer Gansing here:
With this call for contributions for The Art of the Overhead 2009 - we encourage artists and other media practitioners to depart from the Overhead projector as a standardized technology which has the potential for re-activation by way of its near outdated character. This entails reflection-as-projection, deploying the Overhead projector in the double sense of projection described by Siegfried Zielinski: as both casting out images representing the world and as a shaping movement, a production or rather a visionary projecting of reality as delimited by how we see it through the image. To work in one media, criticizing another, or reflecting across a whole domain of media culture through a particular and well-known technological institution is a kind of non-digitalisable cultural practice that The Art of the Overhead is all about, and through the OHPen Surface we call for works that engage in this dynamic.
They are currently seeking submissions in three categories: Transparencies, Installation, and Performance. Deadline for submissions is March 30, 2009. For more, visit the link below. </p.
It's hard to sum up the interests and achievements of Bulat Galeyev, who died in Kazan, Russia, on January 5 at the age of 68. He was a teacher of physics and aesthetics. As a scholar, he published scientific research on synesthesia, and as an artist he staged his own theatrical performances that synthesized visuals and music. He studied and championed the work of Lev Termen, even when the theremin's inventor was nearly forgotten in his native country. Inspired by the ideas of early-twentieth century composer Alexander Scriabin, whose orchestral works are usually performed without the colored-light shows that he choreographed for them, Galeyev devoted his life to a multi-faceted study of art and sensory perception. The radical, interdisciplinary nature of his career is even more impressive when you consider that it evolved in the conservative, often stifling intellectual atmosphere of the Soviet Union.
Galeyev's base of operations was the Prometheus Institute in Kazan, a city about 450 miles east of Moscow. To gain official support and funding, Prometheus attached itself to an aviation engineering research institute, and its unique position in relationship to industry was not dissimilar from the experimental initiatives hosted by Bell Labs and Siemens in the West. Galeyev's line of inquiry was certainly not a priority for Soviet science. But when he founded Prometheus in 1962, the country was still euphoric from launching the first human into space a year earlier. The light-music concerts that Galeyev organized at Prometheus blended in with the widespread vogue for science fiction and futurism.
Thanks to Prometheus' close connections to an official research laboratory, its employees had access to equipment that ordinary citizens could never dream of. Galeyev and his team took advantage of ...
In 2003, Golan Levin and Zach Lieberman developed a project called Messa di Voce, which translates to "placing the voice." Oddly enough, it took almost six years for the Ars Electronica-awarded project to find a place in North America. Tonight at NYU's Frederick Loewe Theater, master vocalists Joan La Barbara and Jaap Blonk will be on hand to help demonstrate Levin and Lieberman's classic computer vision work. The project responds visually to vocal input, so that sound becomes an instrument for drawing and animation. The vocalist's guttural and glottal improvisations will generate a tension between speech acts and speechless performance that's not to be missed. It's the first of three live concerts presented this week by the Electronic Music Foundation, in a series called "The Human Voice in a New World." Each event highlights the richness and diverse uses to which this earliest of instruments can be put. On the 27th, British vocalist Trevor Wishart will appear at Judson Church with the NY premieres of Vocalise and Globalalia. The seminal works explore, respectively, the potential of the voice "when in a tight corner," and the universality of the human tongue. Globalalia processes the syllables of 26 different languages sampled from international radio and TV broadcasts to formulate a sort of vocal dance. And on the 28th, Berlin-based virtuoso David Moss will premiere the English version of his Voice Box Spectra. The Sydney Morning Herald has described the piece as "somewhere between scatting and scary. Think Jim Carey doing an impression of Ella Fitzgerald while being eaten by the creature from Alien 2." Exploring FTL ("faster than logic") communication, the work combines sound, text, and personal electronics in a grouping of new songs. All in all ...
Texas group ArcAttack make music by manipulating electrical arcs generated by Tesla coils. In these two videos, they perform "Creepy Circus Song." The first video is live from a show at the Maker Fair last year.