I've posted 28, 237 pictures on flickr so far. Most of them fal into oblivion as soon as they are uploaded. Other generate an insane amount of 'favorite' tags. The latest in the band is one photo i took at the Fondazione Re Rebaudengo which is currently showing one third of the Turin Triennale. Proper report will follow. All i feel like saying right now is that it is a good art event. In a clinically clean sense. All is tasty, carefully selected, i just wish there were more surprises. Wait! i wish there were surprises. But i guess that no surprise is better than bad surprise.
Alll that blabla to say that one of the most popular photos i made at the Triennale is the one of the Keyboard cemetery by Paul Chan. It is a physical referent to Alternumerics, a work on fonts that explores the relationship between language and interactivity by transforming the simple computer font into an art form that explores the fissure between what we write and what we mean. By replacing individual letters and numbers (known as alphanumerics) with textual and graphic fragments that signify what is typed in radically different ways. Alternumerics transforms any computer connected to a standard printer into an interactive artmaking installation.
The Torino Triennale runs until February 2009 in various venues.
Robert Kusmirowski does copies, simulacra, forgeries, mock-ups. Meticulously and masterfully. The result of his craft is an illusion. You believe you're in front of a relic from the past, complete with patina: a sepia photography, old newspapers, cigarette packs, but also a graveyard, the wagon of a '40s train or an entire train station. I never used to be fascinated by sculptures but the young artist put such a eerie, retro-innovative' spin to the genre that he won me over.
Information about the artist state that he started to make deliberate mock-ups as a child, building toys he couldn't get in socialist Poland. Elsewhere you will read that from an early age he painstakingly forged bus passes and postage stamps for his entire family.
The Polish artist currently has two works in Turin, one is UHER.C at Guida Costa Projects. The second one, DATAmatic 880, is on show at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo as part of the Turin Triennale.
Both use mechanics and electronics as symbols of a broader reflection on 20th century European history. They are suggestive, non-functional machines, they are nostalgic and absurd. They play with time and place. They evoke a period the artist is too young to have experienced.
DATAmatic 880 is a 1960's computer lab that comes straight from the time machine. Its name recalls the DATAmatic 1000, a large-scale electronic data processing machine, launched by American company DATAmatic in the '50s. As you can guess, Kusmirowski's DATAmatic 880 never existed.
UHER.C is another non-relic from the '60s.
Especially conceived for the Guido Costa Projects gallery, UHER.C is a recording studio. It is meant to be manipulated by rockers, not by neat scientists in white gowns. UHER.C is as cluttered, messy and dusty as DATAmatic 880 is glossy and hygienic.
You can only observe UHER.C through a window panel. In turn, the recording studio lets you take a peak at the future that has been (or might have been) but which appears obsolete today.
UHER.C is a classical, archaic sculpture that has gone berserk: it is both the nightmarish and joyous side of machine.
The press release says: UHER.C gets its name for phonetic, geographic and historical reasons (respectively Hertz; UHER a mountain region in the environs of Lubin; and Mr UHER.C, a researcher into the physics of sound). It is an extraordinary sculpture with a thousand souls, keyboard, oscillators, microphones, amplifiers, recording devices, cables, mysterious objects, pure inventions, sounds, voices and lights. It is a living sculpture that now and again unplugs one of its souls, caged in its circuits for decades, or it gives a voice to other souls born especially for the occasion.
Slideshow of the exhibition:
On view at Guida Costa Projects, Turin, until Saturday 28 February 2009. At the end of the exhibition a limited edition LP will be produced of music by Robert Kusmirowski.
See also Vernissage TV coverage of the opening of DATAmatic 880 in Berlin.
A quickie on painted and drawn goodies seen at Artissima, the international fair on contemporary art that closed on Sunday in Turin.
One of the few artworks that made me feel alive at Artissima is the series of clown paintings by Shane Campbell (at the booth of NYC-based Bortolami Gallery). His clowns are depressed and pathetic which has always been the way i saw clowns.
Galleria Perugi from Padova had many interesting paintings. They didn't have the one below but that won't prevent me from introducing you to Laurina Paperina.
Alexander Gray Associates had set up a solo exhibition by performance artist and political activist Karen Finley.
With Artissima 15 opening immediately after the United States Presidential election, the gallery decided to dedicate its booth to Drawings from the Bush Administration, 2000-2008 , a selection of Finley's works on paper made over the past eight years of Bush's presidency. The works reflected on social and political events such as 9/11, the War of Iraq, the rise of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, fictional journals of Laura Bush's dreams, the execution of Saddam Hussein, and Sarah Palin's vice-presidential candidacy.
Besides, visitors were invited to inscribe on the booth's walls the names of those killed in the War on Iraq, creating a collective witness, site for mourning and, ultimately, a call to action. The names of the nearly 150,000 deaths were gathered from internet sources.
The 15th edition of Artissima, the international fair of contemporary art in Turin, closed yesterday. 128 galleries from 19 different countries gathered under the roof of the city's historic FIAT factory building at Lingotto.
The event is certainly not as glamorous as Frieze nor is it as vibrant, invigorating and edgy as Art Forum Berlin. Artissima nevertheless scores a few points in the 'emerging galleries and artists' category and i'm going to document some of them this week.
Prometeo is also representing Regina José Galindo, a Guatemalan performance artist who received the Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale in 2005, in the category of "artists under 30", for a video (click only if you're very brave!) that depicted the surgical reconstruction of her hymen.
Galindo's performances address social injustice, gender discrimination, racism and the governmental atrocities of her own country. In March 2008, she enrolled her family in a performance that protested against the U.S.' booming industry of private prisons.
The artist, her husband and their 2-year-old daughter locked themselves in the mobile prison unit for 36 hours. Gallery visitors could peep through the narrow windows of the brightly-lighted cell and observe the family as they tried to occupy themselves with books and drawings during their voluntary detention.
The performance refers in particular to T. Don Hutto "Family Residential Center," a for-profit private prison located in Taylor, near Austin, and operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest private jail company in the world with one of the highest stock market values on Wall Street.
T. Don Hutto is the first prison authorized by the state to lodge whole families: men, pregnant women, adolescents, children, women, and even babies. The inmates are not necessarily criminals, very often they are detained there while their immigration status is determined.
A 3 part documentary in english and spanish describing the conditions of life inside T. Don Hutto:
The lucrative market of private prison took off in the 1980s under the Reagan-Bush administrations, prospered throughout the 1990s, and today flourishes due to anti-terrorism measures and tougher immigration laws. Many organizations for human, political, and social rights consider these facilities a new form of human exploitation.
The private prison business is huge. It has its own commercial exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order catalogues. It works with hundreds of partner companies --from architecture and construction firms to plumbers and vendors of food, security equipment and uniforms-- that provide services, equipments and goods.
This must be my 145th post about Kent Henricksen. Please bear with me, yesterday as i was admiring his solo show at the Glance Gallery in Turin, i realized that i wouldn't be able to refrain from writing, once again (cf. Divine Deviltries
This series doesn't fail to present the usual merry and evil atmosphere where cute hooded characters steal the bourgeois, little girls stick out their tongues, skeletons dance and kill. The title of the exhibition, Absence of Myth, comes from a collection of writings by Georges Bataille on surrealism and related themes. As usual, the motifs themselves are taken from antique prints, illustrated books, history manuals or works of art from different eras.
Although Henricksen unmistakably produces Henricksen works again and again, his practices evolves and each exhibition brings new nuances and surprises. This time he treats us to several small goldleaf works on canvas and he covered the walls of the gallery with stenciled paintings representing a super slim winged siren.
For the first time, Henricksen is showing some ceramic sculptures. One of them shows his ubiquitous little hooded head, another one is inspired by a collage by Max Ernst, recounting the punishments for simony in the third circle of hell in Dante's Inferno.
Slideshow of the pictures i took in the gallery:
Good old Turin is currently hosting the third edition of C.STEM. The theme this year is Breeding Objects - Computational Design: from Digital Fabrication to Mass-Customization and while the spotlight is still on generative systems, it is, in many respects, very different from the first edition. This time, the main protagonists are designers, not artists.
Although, i have taken the habit of running swiftly in the opposite direction when i hear the word 'design,' i have to admit that the programme this year is remarkable. Especially because it brings that innovative focus i had hoped to see more widely explored in the schedule of the Torino World Design Capital. C.STEM showcases projects anticipating future developments in design process and technologies. What happens when domains such as design, creative coding and digital fabrication meet the new scenarios of mass-customization?
The exhibition and conference explores the way design is currently re-considered and shaped through the lens of information society and, more generally, new technologies. The work of young designers today involves a crucial paradigm shift: not only do they use the digital tools provided to them but they also invent, modify and produce new instruments themselves.
Another important characteristic of the new design production involves digital fabrication processes such as laser cutting and 3D printing (a few examples in the posts Rapid Products 1 and 2). The impact of digital fabrication is far from marginal: instead of churning out identical products, objects are created which, while they undeniably belong to the same family, are all different from each other. Beyond the creative process and fabrication, the digital tools and new design processes have also the potential to radically modify the marketing of design products and the way consumers engage with the creation of objects. Two projects presented in the exhibition, Nervous Systems and Fluid Forms (see below), have already been launched on the market and as such, exemplify new business possibilities.
C.STEM conference is over but you can still see the exhibition until September 27 inside an Ex Methodist Church. If i were you i'd run there, you don't see a show like that every year in this
Located in an ex-Methodist church in the center of Turin, the exhibition illustrates what is the state of the art of computational design through a series projects that range from everyday objects you can buy online to sweatshirts weaved with newsfeeds, and a 3D printing machine able to 'prints' most of its own components (not the original one but maybe even better, a version fatta in casa by ToDo design studio.)
The list of projects exhibited is online. Here's just a selection:
Ebru Kurbak and Mahir Yavuz' NewsKnitter project comments on the manipulation by the media in Turkey. Live data streams of information are used as an unpredictable base for pattern generation. Web-based information is either gathered from the Turkish daily political news or according to a theme that pervades global news. The data is analyzed, filtered and converted into a unique visual pattern for a knitted sweater. The system consists of two different types of software: one receives the content from live feeds while the other converts it into visual patterns, a fully computerized flat knitting machine produces the final output. The pieces of clothing are not for sale right now but the designers are working on that.
The jewelry designed by Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg of Nervous System, on the other hand, is up for grab. The design is both heavily tech-mediated and inspired by organic forms.
Using two custom-made computer applications --one mimics branching dendrites, and the other the movement of particles--the designers generate forms for bracelets, pendants, and earrings.
The Radiolaria line, for example, is named after the plant cells whose structure was a source of inspiration for Buckminster Fuller. Jewelry from the Dendrite collection takes its cue from the aggregate growth of coral. The Dendrite algorithm both controls the aggregation and allows consumers to participate in the design process
Way more beautiful in real than on pictures, 1 of 1 design studio creates one-of-a-kind, made to order apparel. For The Tissue Collection, designer Cait Reas worked together with C.E.B. Reas. The artist generated the Tissue images by defining processes and translating them into images with code and software. Cait used a digital textile printing technique to apply the patterns to fabric.
In case you'd worried that this blog is turning into a geeky version of Harper's Bazaar, i'll have to mention that the best moment of C.STEM for me was to listen to Marc Fornes from theverymany. It's the second time i attend one of his talks and i'm still not sure i understand most of what he says but his work is so awesome that it doesn't really matter.
His presentation addressed failure. For example, he detailed how the Aperiodic_vertebrae structure that theverymany developed for Generator x - Beyond the Screen (a workshop and exhibition which highlighted the creative potential of digital fabrication and generative systems) in Berlin taught him that while computers facilitate many of the design processes much of the assembly still has to be done by hands. The Berlin version of the Aperiodic Tiling counted some 530 panels and nearly as many connecting components.
The core of theverymany approach is therefore to use computer to generate, not just many parts, but a logic between these parts. They applied the concept to the woven pedestrian bridge that Francois Roche from R&Sie is building on the boundaries of Poland and the Czech Republic.
My images from the event.
Related entry: Generator x - Beyond the Screen, a workshop and exhibition which highlighted the creative potential of digital fabrication and generative systems.