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Science Fiction: New Death seeks to provoke the question – have the Sci Fi visions we once imagined of the future since become a reality? I guess we all know the answer to that one.

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Dario Solman, Target Orbit

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Jon Rafman, Hope Springs Eternal/Still Life (BetaMale)

Because i write mostly about art and science/technology, i’ve seen my fair share of exhibitions that reference scifi. However, FACT‘s latest show is the first one i’ve visited that is entirely dedicated to science-fiction and visual arts. And in this instance, science fiction isn’t explored as the ultimate future forecaster, it is rather the starting point of a reflection on our current condition, an invitation to explore how our relationship with technology has made our everyday lives increasingly look like it is set against the backdrop of a science fiction novel.

Inspired by the work of J.G. Ballard, our story looks to the bleak, man-made landscapes of the future and asks: What happens when virtual environments become indistinguishable from reality? Will our global culture allow us to choose where to live, and who will stop us? What will we do with knowledge that becomes freely available to all? With social platforms acting as camera, how will ‘selfies’ develop and what new forms of narcissism will thrive? What is it that we need to preserve, and what do we need to change? These questions are explored through intense visualisations of electronic communication, dystopian domestic interiors, and re-enactments of historical revolutionary moments.

New Death, a title which comes from a text that fantasy writer China Miéville wrote for the exhibition, is ominous but so are the glimpses that the participating artists give into the techno-mediated we’ve built ourselves: conditions of intensified surveillance and repression, border control, loss of citizenship, etc. Not everything is bleak and joyless in the show though. You can bounce off a trampoline and pretend you’re an astronaut, meet intelligent robots that attempt to avoid boredom at all costs, you can even participate to the exhibition by writing a story describing a dystopian near future. I don’t know what a sci-fi fan would make of the exhibition but i found it smart, provocative and thought-provoking.

Quick overview of the show:

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Petra Gemeinboeck and Rob Saunders, Accomplice. Installation at FACT Liverpool as part of Science Fiction: New Death

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Petra Gemeinboeck and Rob Saunders, Accomplice. Installation at FACT-Liverpool as part of Science Fiction: New Death

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Petra Gemeinboeck and Rob Saunders, Accomplice. Installation at FACT-Liverpool as part of Science Fiction: New Death

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Petra Gemeinboeck and Rob Saunders, Accomplice. Installation at FACT-Liverpool as part of Science Fiction: New Death

Accomplice is a small clique of social autonomous robots hidden behind one of FACT’s gallery walls. Because these machines are curious, they attempt to discover their environment and the first step to live new adventures is to break down the wall. Their mechanical arm relentlessly punches against the wall. In the process, they not only make holes, they are also acquiring knowledge: how the wall react to their poking, how to best expand their horizon and what it is like out there, on the other side of the wall.

As the wall disappears, the robots discover other creatures: the gallery visitors. The more they can see and hear, the more excited and active these robots are getting. Their behaviour, however, isn’t predictable and linear. As soon as the movements and noises made by the visitors or the colours and patterns they are wearing have become too familiar, the robots become bored. In a sense, the roles usually taken by the audience and the robots or the artefacts and the visitors are reversed: the robots are the spectators and the gallery goers perform for them.

I had a chance to talk with Rob Saunders at the press view. I scribbled our conversation on a bit of paper, lost it so i’m going to point you to this Robots Podcast: Curious & creative in which he talks about being inspired by Gordon Pask’sconversation theory, designing curious systems, the laws of novelty and the social structure that might evolve from them.

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The Kazimier

The bits and pieces of walls laying unceremoniously on the floor and the unpredictable attitude of the Accomplice robots echo the exhibition experience that Venya Krutikov & Michael Lill of The Kazimier have designed for Science Fiction: New Death. They turned the FACT building into a disordered, stern and slightly disquieting space to navigate. Your movements inside the gallery might or might not be filmed. That poorly-lit corridor might be off limit. That door over there might open on another artworks or maybe it’s a dead end.

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Sascha PohfleppCamera Futura

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Sascha PohfleppCamera Futura

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Sascha PohfleppCamera Futura

Before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon in 1969, the NASA elaborated various exercises to understand how man would move in microgravity. The experiments were not just simulations but “pre-enactments” of a new set of rules that we were about to enter, providing a window into the future through which NASA researchers collected not only data but also visual impressions. One suchexperiment was conducted at Stanford University in the mid-1960s by Thomas R. Kane. The applied mechanics professor had studied the ability of cats to spin their body mid-air so that they could securely land on their four paws. Kane would film a cat bouncing on a trampoline, study its movements, and then a gymnast in a spacesuit would try to reproduce the cat’s movements on the trampoline.

Sascha Pohflepp’s Camera Futura enables visitors to replicate the experiment. You are invited to wear a light space suit and jump on the trampoline while a camera captures your moves.

The energy stored in the trampoline’s springs amplifies the power of our muscles, so that we can briefly launch ourselves and experience an instant of relative weightlessness when falling back to Earth. Camera Futura captures images from that very instant. These photos allow for a glimpse of our brief moment in a post-gravity world. In a sense, they are impressions of ourselves from one of many futures.

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Jae Rhim Lee, Infinity Burial Project Installation at FACT Liverpool as part of Science Fiction: New Death

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Jae Rhim Lee, Mushroom Death Suit #2

The Infinity Burial Project is an art project with an aim to help us accept the reality of our own death. It is also a very bold and practical alternative to current burial system. Once buried or cremated, our bodies do not just decompose and vanish, they also contribute to the deterioration of the environment by releasing the toxic pollutants that our bodies have accumulated over the course of the years: pesticides, preservatives and heavy metals such as lead and mercury.

Mushrooms, on the other hand, can detoxify soils.

Jae Rhim Lee has thus developed the Mushroom Death Suit, a burial suit infused with mushroom spores to assist the decomposition of human corpses. The outfit comes with capsules that contain infinity mushroom spores and other elements that speed decomposition and toxin remediation. Besides, an open source burial container, and a membership society devoted to the promotion of death awareness and acceptance and the practice of decompiculture (the cultivation of decomposing organisms).

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Zach Blas, Facial Weaponization Suite

 

Facial Weaponization Suite is a playful but also dark critique of the silent and gradual rise of the use of biometric facial recognition software by governments to monitor citizens.
During a series of workshops, Zach Blas worked with members of specific minority communities (queers, black people, etc.) to create masks that are modeled from the aggregated facial data of participants. The amorphous and slightly sinister masks are then worn in public performances.

Masks remain an effective tool to prevent identification technologies from capturing, analyzing, archiving and identifying our face. The use of mask also refers to social movements that use masks as a sign of protests. From the Zapatista rebels, to Pussy Riot, Anonymous, etc.

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Brad Butler and Karen Mirza, Deep State Installation at FACT Liverpool as part of Science Fiction: New Death

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Brad Butler and Karen Mirza, Deep State. Installation at FACT Liverpool as part of Science Fiction: New Death

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Brad Butler and Karen Mirza, Deep State. Installation at FACT Liverpool as part of Science Fiction: New Death (photo FACT)

Brad Butler and Karen Mirza are presenting Deep State, a film scripted by science fiction author China Miéville. The film takes its title from the Turkish term “Derin Devlet,” meaning “state within the state,” and tells a story about the representation of political struggle, moments of crisis, solidarity, schisms and oppression.

The whole film, which overlays archive protest footage and performed interludes, is online:

At first, i wasn’t sure what to make of it but, as the images rolled on, i started connecting them to what was going on in Ukraine at the time of the press view of the show and i realized that at this very moment, maybe we still have a choice: we can be the people who raise their heads, protest and attempt to take some control back or we can be the people who are blindly herded into a society of control.

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James Bridle, Homo Sacer, 2014. Installation at FACT-Liverpool as part of Science Fiction: New Death

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Close and Remote, Zone

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Laurence Payot, 1 in a Million You

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Mark Leckey, Pearl Vision. Installation at FACT-Liverpool as part of Science Fiction: New Death

 

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SURFACE_GALLERY

21st March – 15th May 2014

Access by appointment only

We present two films NOISE//01 and NOISE//02.

Each film take us on a series of orbits around a single, unedited, scan captured in Berlin in November 2013. The camera journeys through the droning spheres of error and cataclysmic arrays of inaccurate points.

A single edition of each film is available for purchase.

 

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ScanLAB Projects exhibition at Surface Gallery delivers an insight to the process of Matthew Shaw and William Trossell.  Their work which they produce under their name ScanLAB Projects.  I saw their work from a recent post on BLDGBLOG, here is what is said about these images.

Last week, Shaw and Trossell premiered a new project at London’s Surface Gallery, exploring where laser scanners glitch, skip, artifact, and scatter. Called Noise: Error in the Void, the show utilizes scanning data taken from two locations in Berlin, but—as the show’s title implies—it actually foregrounds all the errors, where the equipment went wrong: a world of “mistaken measurements, confused surfaces and misplaced three-dimensional reflections.”

The tics and hiccups of a scanner gone off the mark thus result in these oddly beautiful, almost Romantic depictions of the world, like some lunatic, lo-fi cosmology filtered through machines.

Frozen datascapes appear like digital mist settling down over empty fields—or perhaps they’re parking lots—a virtual Antarctica appearing in the middle of the city.

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Patatap is a portable animation and sound kit. With the touch of a finger create melodies charged with moving shapes. While easy to pick up there is a wide range of possibilities. Switch between multiple color palettes and matching soundscapes on the fly. Whether its on your laptop, desktop, mobile phone, or tablet Patatap invites creators of all ages to engage the mind and senses in a different type of creation process.The motivation behind Patatap is to introduce the medium of Visual Music to a broad audience. Artists working in this field vary in discipline but many aim to express the broader condition of Synesthesia, in which stimulation of one sensory input leads to automatic experiences in another. Hearing smells or seeing sounds are examples of possible synesthesia. In the case of Patatap, sounds trigger colorful visual animations.The history behind the aesthetic expression of synesthesia arose from the paintings of Piet Mondrianand Wassily Kandinsky and the early videos of Viking Eggeling and Norman McLaren, to the contemporary animations of Oskar Fischinger and softwares of C.E.B. Reas. Patatap takes elements from all these visionaries and aims to present this concept in a direct way.

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 COLLABORATION

In order to create Patatap I worked with music composers Lullatone, the melody design unit of Shawn James Seymour and Yoshimi Seymour. Based in Nagoya, Japan, the duo have released more than 10 albums and frequently soundtrack films, commercials and more. With each sound they try to bring out the everyday wonder of overlooked moments and make the mundane seem magical.Lullatone Studio _2011_They created compelling sounds to accompany the animations. Each color palette has a unique corpus of sounds. Each set comprises sounds that enable a full-bodied composition both in terms of sound and visuals. These sounds are geared toward making tapping as melodic as possible, similar to a keyboard of drum pads. The result is a visceral and rewarding experience.

 

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PRESENCE

Because Patatap is a website its relatively smooth to install and reconfigure the application. As a result, Patatap has had physical presence in the form of performances and installations. If you’re interested in having Patatap at your next event or exhibition please contact inquiries@patatap.com. Notable appearances are as follows:2014 The Tech Museum San Jose, US. Super Flying Tokyo Tokyo, JP. Punto y Raya Festival Reykjavík, IS.2013 CreativeCode.io San Francisco, US. 2012 MonarchSan Francisco, US.

 

 

I am happy to be part of this upcoming exhibition BOUNDARIES – Curated by Becky Campbell.

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Curator and artist Becky Campbell and the newly established cultural spaces Artscape Athens and Snehta Residency invite you to the opening of the exhibition, Boundaries.

We are continually crossing and encountering boundaries in our daily lives, sometimes aware and sometimes oblivious. We cross over districts of a city; through doors; we shift between being awake (vertical) and asleep (horizontal); between hungry and full.

Boundaries presents the works of 32 creators: 28 artists, two writers, an actor and a musician. The two spaces (Artscape Athens and Snehta) are filled with videos, photographs, paintings, drawings, collages, sculptures, structures and installations as well as performances and interventions in the five-minutes’ walk between.

Each work explores a particular angle related to boundaries – the uncanny, the shadow, liminality, non-spaces, being segregated from a home country, the impossibility of fully comprehending the thoughts of another being, political change, geographical shifts and many others. By bringing such a variety of approaches and mediums into dialogue within and across the two hosting locations similarities and connections of these encounters become prevalent.

21-30 March 2014 Opening 20 March 8-10 pm

Artscape Athens | Moschonision 5, Plateia Amerikis, Athens 112 52

Snehta | Aghias Zonis 1, Kypseli, Athens 113 61

Monday-Friday 5-9 pm

Saturday | Sunday: 12-9 pm

Curated by Becky Campbell

Participants:

Alexandros Laios | Andrew Mason | Christos Vagiatas | Christos Papamichael | Despina Flessa | Despoina Sevasti | Dickie Webb | Dimitris Papoutsakis | Dimitris Patsaros | Elliott Burns | Elli Paxinou | Foteini Palpana | Giannis Amanatidis | Giannis Cheimonakis | Giannis Sinioroglou | Irini Bachlitzanaki | Ivan Masteropoulos | Jack Burton | Konstantinos Kotsis | Kosmas Nikolaou | Kostas Tzimoulis | Maro Fasouli | Matina Charalambi | Panos Mattheou | Panos Profitis | Pantelis Yiannakis | Rachael Cloughton | Rilène Markopoulou | Stephanie Mann | Vasilis Gerodimos | Vassilis Noulas | Zoe Hatziyannaki

The exhibition is being hosted by Artscape Athens and Snehta Residency:

Artscape Athens – An Open Cultural Landscape. Artscape Athens is located at Moschonision 5 Street, in between the borders of Kypseli and Amerikis Square. Since the beginning of 2014 it constitutes the space for cultural expression and artistic creation of the non-profit organisation, Hellenic Museum of Fairytales. Artscape Athens aims to support every act of artistic making and promote local creative ideas. The participatory aspect of its actions constitutes an ongoing motive; therefore it is open in receiving applications for projects and exhibitions from those interested in introducing their work to the broader public.

Snehta Residency is a small private organization that was formed in 2012 in Athens with the purpose to bring international artists in contact with the Athenian art scene. The artists are selected to live and work in Athens for two months in the Kypseli apartment. Snehta – (Athens in reverse) is a metaphorical name suggesting a deeper reading of the city. Snehta aims to expand artistic activity and research in the City, whilst supporting practices focusing on contemporary issues through an experimental and ingenuous approach. Snehta fosters new relationships and collaborations internally and beyond the confines of Athens, Greece.

Becky Campbell is a Scottish artist and curator living in Athens. Previously she has worked for The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh and DESTE Foundation in Athens. She is part of the team running Snehta Residency in Kypseli, Athens, as well as an organiser of independent projects. Curated projects includeVirtual Materiality for ekthesis-online.com, a at The Demarco Archive, Edinburgh and The WOT Gallery, Edinburgh. She has exhibited internationally in exhibitions including: Gaesahud, Konseptheimilid Sigmar, Reykjavik, Iceland; YELLOW, 2025 Kunst und Kultur e.V., Hamburg, Germany; Short-lived Settlements, Snehta, Athens; Come Ye Hither, Crofter’s Lodge, Loch Eport, North Uist, Scotland; three thousand seven hundred and two, JDM Foundation, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

For further information contact: Becky Campbell & Snehta Residency: becky@snehtaresidency.org Artscape Athens: info@artscapeathens.gr | τηλ. 211 1829117

A/V live performance by the collaborative project between the german duo consisting of Alva Noto (Carsten Nicolai) & Byetone (Olaf Bender) –Raster Noton’s co-founders– at the 10th anniversary of the International Festival of Digital Creativity & Electronic Music MUTEK.MX 2013 / A/VISION 3 – NOCTURNO 1 / Foto Museo Cuatro Caminos / Mexico City

October 4th 2013

Filmed & Edited by Victor Lara

diamondversion.info
mutek.mx

 

This is the first in a series of digital works created from my time spent on the SNEHTA art residency in Athens Greece. I proposed making audio visual works whilst there and finding a working process that would allow me to generate a series of these glitch works. These works would allow me to explore non-places and heterotopias, sites which like objects I see as represents human qualities and conditions.

The start point came from exploring sites/spaces that have lost their use in this case Ellinikon the former international airport here in Athens. The digital photographs are the backbone of the research as it is the digital data from these RAW files that I use to create the sound through Audacity. Instead of editing in Photoshop the image is edited and sampled in this sound software. The only rule is that i keep the visual details of the image. The audio samples are then layered together to create a new sound scape different from the former visual landscape. Once this is done I bring the visual samples back into the track and finally create an abstract collage moving image.  The video quality is slightly reduced due to uploading it to vimeo though as a digital collage or samples that have undergone a process of data bending the glitch feel is part of the piece.

This is the first from this series so the process will only be streamlined and understood a little more with following works.

Any feed back would be happily received, thanks Dickie

dickiewebb.com

Nicolai, carsten, 344ms, 2007, perspex tubes, gas, igniting mechanism, large crop 2

ANALOG | GROUP EXHIBITION

30 November 2013 – 1 February 2014

Berlin

Bruce Nauman, Jannis Kounellis, Max Neuhaus, Lawrence Weiner and Gilberto Zorio are among the eight artists featured in Blain|Southern’s next exhibition, ANALOG, a group show which seeks to question our experience of sound through a range of immersive installations and augmented environments.

Examining the relationship between auditory and visual perception, as well as the extent to which sound functions as an affective trigger of personal memory and emotion,ANALOG demonstrates how artists have and continue to use noise as a powerful aesthetic in itself. Some of the works, which range in date from the 1960s to the present day, invite the viewer to actively participate – generating the echo of their own voices through recording equipment, or becoming immersed in a cacophony of fragmented arias.

Among the numerous works on display, Carsten Nicolai’s 334 m/s (2007) is specifically designed to visualise the speed of sound, which is around 334 m/s. To reflect this, propane gas is set alight within two translucent tubes, which produces a sonic boom and in turn issues wild flashes of fluorescent blue light as the flame burns from one side to the other. Minimalist in form, the work consists of cylindrical tubes, gas cylinders and wires, exploring the artistic potential of chemical processes.

Cyril de Commarque will be exhibiting Migrants (2013), a work that consists of bottles containing organ-like apparatuses, attached to a vascular system that resembles the shape of a boat. The piece represents a poetic limbo, being a metaphor for the forced emigration of peoples from their native countries, and the subsequent voyages that were undertaken in a desperate struggle for survival. The work emits the sounds of anonymous overlapping vocal messages, which become obscured by their own multitude, creating a sense of confusion and disorientation. These voices are incongruous to the pulsating organs from which they emanate, depersonalising the piece to the point that it becomes a collective allegory.

In Ignacio Uriarte’sThe Beach (2012), the sound of a typewriter carriage moving from right to left is presented stereophonically. This repetitive, formulaic process of typing acquires a new dimension, as its constant patterns begin to take on the hypnotic lull of a rolling tide. The audience thus becomes focussed on the unique qualities of the sound itself, now isolated from its mode of production.

Music is the primary subject of both Lawrence Weiner’s Deutsche Angst/The Memories of Stu Irwin (1981) and Jannis Kounellis’ Untitled (1971). Weiner’s piece is a musical collaboration with experimental composer Peter Gordon, which fuses the stabs of electronic synthesisers with elements of free jazz, percussive beats and spoken word. The result is a unique avant-garde composition in which disjointed elements compete for the listener’s attention, creating a distinctive soundscape in which the human voice becomes the remote protagonist of an unsettling musical narrative.

Unlike Weiner’s work, Kounellis’ Untitled incorporates physical performance, in the segmentation of a Divertimento by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  Played by students from the Leo Kestenberg Music School and Studio a’415 two days a week, the Divertimento is staged in fragmented form, with students only performing the same five minute section of the piece for a three hour duration. This structural dissolution of the Divertimento denies the listener the enjoyment and progression of the full piece, transforming rich classical melodies into an emotionally distant and unnervingly mechanical rendition. This process ties in with Kounellis’ use of fragmentation to express feelings of alienation in contemporary society.

Bruce Nauman’s Doppelgänger/UFO (1988) is comprised of a rotating steel beam to which two audio cassettes have been attached, exploring the aural phenomenon of the Doppler effect, where sound waves become distorted as the object is put into motion. Nauman urges the viewer to engage directly with dynamic sound, encouraging us to consider the everyday noises that flash past us with greater aesthetic appreciation, such as the rush of moving vehicles, or the fragments of overheard conversations that fill our ears within urban environments.

Exhibited for the first time outside of Turin is Max Neuhaus’ Three ‘Similar’ Rooms (1989), courtesy of Galleria Giorgio Persano. The large-scale installation – staged in the upper level of the gallery – comprises three seemingly identical rooms through which the viewer wanders, though each room actually contains a distinct aural experience as determined by its individual acoustics. The spaces themselves offer no indication of the origin of each sound, causing the viewer to experience these decontextualised noises in a pure, unfiltered manner.

Gilberto Zorio’s Microfoni (1968) presents a number of concrete breeze blocks on bases of ball bearings, above which microphones hang from the ceiling. Viewers are encouraged to stand upon the blocks and speak into a microphone, with their voice then echoing back through speakers in looped, distorted form. Via this abstraction of the human voice, Zorio’s work causes us to scrutinise the sound of our own speech and the ways in which we use verbal communication.

Through the exploration of these artists’ varying engagement with sound, ANALOGchallenges the audience to perceive the noises of our daily life with greater reverence, triggering both a re-assessment of our aural experience of the world and a renewed appreciation and understanding of the nature of sound as an integral aspect of our sensory existence.

http://www.blainsouthern.com/

Image:

Carsten Nicolai
334m/s
2007
Perspex tubes, gas, igniting mechanism
Room installation/dimensions variable
Image Courtesy of Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin and Pace Gallery