As usual, this year’s program was packed with dramatic commissions and entertaining debates but it was also anchored in today’s most pressing concerns: the plight of refugees in Europe, the legacies of colonialism, the plague of fake news, violation of human rights, climate change, etc.
The festival’s rallying cry was that time had come to discuss the economy without inviting the economists to the table. The videos of the keynotes are online and i’d like to highlight 2 of them: Frank Trentmann‘s chronicle of the consumerist society and Geerat Vermeij‘s theory about how a closer study of biological ecosystems can teach us more about the economy than we might suspect
The short films, animations and documentaries screened at the festival exposed the world of finance under the most human perspectives: from the bank robbery that goes terribly wrong to an economic system so complex they become incomprehensible for humans, from the bankers trying in vain to avoid massive troubles to people forming endless queues in order to receive free soup and bread, etc.
A series of panels at the Science Gallery in Dublin explores impending global catastrophes: cosmic bullets, climate change and machines that might one day decide to make us redundant
The End of Oil explores possible scenarios associated with the decline of the oil-based economy in Norway. ‘With the prosperity of the oil-boom years likely coming to come an end and society finding itself on the brink of an infrastructural change, these scenarios relate to questions about our relationship with nature in a wider sense’
A new variety of capitalism is currently taking form on the African continent. States are being remade under the pressures of rapid demographic growth, conflicts over boundaries, security demands, and the offerings of multi-lateral donors and data-processing corporations. Much of this turns to enhanced forms of state surveillance that is common to societies across the globe, but the economic and institutional forms on the African continent are unusual
The exhibition brings side by side poetry and suspense, art and physics, children book and video art, Greek mythology and Einstein’s theory of general relativity, music by Philip Glass and Tarot cards, spirituality and human cloning. But in a form that is fortunately far more digestible than my introduction would suggest…
Project Nimbus is the outcome of 5 years of collaborative research by artist and inventor Dave Lynch and Chemical Physicist & Laser Expert Mike Nix. Using off-the-shelf technology, the team built an experimental device that projects moving images onto clouds. Onto pretty much anything cloudy actually: clouds of course but also cooling towers or urban vents.
Project Nimbus is based on the zoopraxiscope developed by Eadweard Muybridge in 1879 and regarded as the first movie projector
Two of the speakers of the DNL Drone event have or used to have a direct, daily experience of drones.
Asma al-Ghul is a journalist and author from Gaza who writes about human rights, social issues and is never afraid to openly criticize Palestinian ruling authorities. She spoke about everyday life under drone surveillance and sometimes attacks.
The other speaker was Brandon Bryant, a former U.S. Air Force pilot who joined the Predator drone Program in 2006 and left in 2011 when he started questioning the ethics of the program and his own role as a soldier
The goal of this small and smart web series is to discuss the way biotechnology is changing our society: What are its political, social, and even philosophical implications? What happens when manipulating life becomes as simple as writing a line of code? And more importantly, what does this mean for average citizens and their future?
Simon Faithfull’s new commission, REEF, began in August 2014 off the Dorset coast, where a boat made a last voyage out to sea and was sunk to become an artificial reef – serving as an underwater sculpture and a lasting legacy for marine conservation and biodiversity
Fortey believes that the natural progress of evolution is always towards greater richness, and that this is the way our planet is meant to be when Darwinian evolution is allowed to play out naturally. Mistaken ideas about Darwinism have contributed to a view of human life that diminishes rather than enhances richness, particularly in the Weltanschauung of market capitalism
In this episode, we will be talking about knitting machines & digital images, punchcards, knitted Muybridge horse animation, and musical ‘textiles experiment’. Open source Swan pedalo will make an appearance too….
The title of this issue of the new media art dvd-magazine is literal: this is the final stop for a publication that, in 10 years & 26 DVDs, has shown, promoted, curated, archived and put into context the works of over 200 artists working in new or experimental media
I’ve managed to keep it under control so far but i’ve got quite an obsession with the work of Marcel Dzama. The world he creates mixes childhood nostalgia, violence, sex and history (without necessarily knocking you down with historical references) in the most sinister and seducing way.
Luckily for Londoners, the David Zwirner gallery has just opened a show about Dzama’s latest work: Puppets, Pawns, and Prophets. The main protagonists are helpfully listed in the title
In Tarnac. Le chaos et la grâce, Joachim Olender explores a police and judicial blunder that hit France in November 2008 when a group of policemen wearing black balaclavas stormed into the small village of Tarnac and arrested a group of people who were later accused of being far-left terrorists plotting to overthrow the state
As we develop the tools to manipulate and engineer new forms and systems of life, the exhibition considers our historical and contemporary entanglements with nature, technology and the economy, and how these relationships influence emergent forms in biological and synthetic matter, through new sculpture, installation and moving image works
Last Friday, i spent the evening at the Arts Catalyst for the Kosmica sound night, ‘a social event for artists, scientists and the cosmically curious exploring sound and sonification of space.’ That means drinks, crisps, pop corn, space music and presentations by curator and artist Honor Harger, sound artist and composer Kaffe Matthews and designer slash sound artist Yuri Suzuki. Arts Catalyst uploaded the videos of the whole evening. And i’m adding a summary of the presentations, along with a few links to the projects, historical facts and scientific discoveries mentioned during the presentations
One of the best surprises of this year’s edition of the GAMERZ festival in Aix en Provence was a work that mixed clips from cult movies with gaming dynamics. Using 2 buttons and a joystick, visitors can navigate inside movie sequences from The Shining, Jurassic Park, The Blair Witch Project, Old Boy or Rocky. The main actor becomes an avatar and you can delay the inescapable moment when the little boy in The Shining bumps into the evil-looking twins or you can give a couple of extra kick and lengthen the fight that opposed Bruce Lee to Chuck Norris in Way of the Dragon
Eye For Ears is an essay on the film and its soundtrack. During the shooting, the sound and the image was recorded separately, and synchronized on the editing. A portrait of the machines, manipulated by their invisible creators
eCLIPSe surveys the creativity of music videos with a selection of the 50 videos that may be considered crucial for a proper appreciation of the discipline. Perhaps there are some missing but all that are included are beyond dispute. The clips are divided into several sections, to be screened in separate projections, starting with a historical overview and continuing with monographs devoted to who we believe to be the most seminal video directors: Michel Gondry and Chris Cunningham
David O’Reilly is a film director, an artist and i’m not going to add that he’s a genius because everybody’s done that already, including me after i first saw his work at Pictoplasma Berlin back in 2007. The External World had its world premiere at the 67th Venice Film Festival and was shown a few months later at Sundance. It has since won numerous awards. Another of his most awarded short films, Please Say Something, received the Golden Bear at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival. The film was the only animated film to win the title since Pixar’s first short film
The Creator takes you into the surreal dream world of the visionary scientist Alan Turing, the father of the computer age and seed of Thinking Machines. Through Turing’s dream diaries, the Thinking Machines from the future embark on a quest to discover their origins and destiny of the universe
The film that inspires you to google your name again….
My name is Janez Janša is a documentary film about names and name changes, focusing on one particular and rather unique name change that took place 5 years ago, when three artists officially changed their names into the name of the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Janez Janša
Jeremy Deller does art outside galleries. It thrives in ‘low culture’ and it is usually ambitious, socially-engaged and unexpected. Indeed, most of his career is built on looking for art in the most unpredictable places, working with the public or with people who have particular knowledge or skill but who wouldn’t otherwise be associated with the contemporary art world. They include unemployed miners, brass bands, a campaign banner maker, fans of Depeche Mode, a glam rock wrestler, experts in re-enactments, etc. He even collaborated on an art project with nightclub owner and trendsetter Peter Stringfellow
One of the works on show at the AV Festival this month is the extremely long-term project that sees Agnes Meyer-Brandis training a flock of young geese to fly to the moon. The whole training started last Spring and according to her schedule, the birds will go on their first unmanned flight to the satellite in 2024
You’ve got until the end of the month to ‘run don’t walk’ and see 10 x 10, a fascinating video screened at the new Carroll/Fletcher gallery just off Oxford Circus.
The camera of 10 x10 slowly scrolls down 100-storey building, going from one floor to the one below, looking through the windows, room after room. The result looks like a strip of film
It took me longer than most to discover the work of Anri Sala but once i looked into it, i started seeing his work everywhere. A few months ago, i was invited to the Absolut Art Award in Stockholm to see some of his videos, attend a screening with popcorn of 1395 Days without Red and interview the artist. A few weeks after, Anri Sala had a solo show at the Serpentine Gallery in London. The show is now closed. I’ve waited far too long to write about Anri Sala’s work
Some researchers have observed that apes held in captivity watch tv programmes. Some of them are fond of the Teletubbies, others favour emergency room dramas or Disney cartoons. But is it possible to script, shoot and screen cinema just for primates? That’s what Rachel Mayeri set out to discover with her work Primate Cinema: Apes as Family
Thirty years ago, a peg-legged motorcycle mechanic walked into the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT. They had not returned his calls. The police were summoned. Forty-five minutes later he walked out with an academic appointment. Since then Joe Davis has sent vaginal contractions into space to communicate with aliens, encoded poetry into DNA, and designed a sculpture to save the world
Le Cadavre Exquis, a digital re-interpretation of the surrealist game Exquisite Corpse and the parlour game Consequences. In the interactive installation designed by Brendan Oliver and Brendan Randall, members of the public are invited to record a short stop-frame animation as a response piece to a previously recorded submission. The texual narrative is then created by online participants
Presenting animation as a distinctive and highly influential force in the development of visual culture, Watch Me Move offers a timely insight into animation as a cultural and socio-political phenomenon and will delight visitors of all ages
ASPECT Magazine releases periodically DVDs documenting works by 5-10 artists working in new or experimental media. The videos of the pieces can be viewed in their original version or accompanied by the audio commentary of an expert. The commentators usually start with a description of the work then they go deeper by bringing the work in the broader context of history/art history/history of technology, by revealing anecdotes about the career of the artist, by explaining the technological challenges of the work or highlighting the issues the artist wanted to raise
The drama is set in a fictional future that looks very much like today’s London. Here, however, all exchange transactions and social interactions are overseen by a system called ‘the Spirit’. The film explores a world in which the self is reduced to physical biology, directly subject to the needs of capital. Hotels offer bed-warming servants with every room, people are fined for not preventing foreseeable illness, weight watching foods eat the digester from the inside and the unemployed repay their debt to society in physical energy
The implied narrative of this experimental fiction is communicated through voiceovers, wire tapped telephone conversations and snippets of a job interview between Mr. Holz and his prospective employer, Mr. White. It becomes evident that the character is controlled by a city and the code he is working on, as the course of the story is controlled by the code that edits the film
The similarity between fireworks and movies is at the very heart of this exhibition. Both are intermittent ephemeral projection of light in the darkness. Fireworks are yesterday’s action movies. They used to last 90 minutes and followed complex, narrative structures, often telling a story of war and chaos upon which the hero would prevail
Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go) is a 1987 film by Peter Fischli and David Weiss following a 30 minute long, uninterrupted chain of physical and chemical experiments. One explosion leads to a fire that heats up a teakettle until its steam whistle flies away and hits a bottle that falls and pour its content over a… It goes on and on. One chemical trigger leads to another or sparks a physical phenomenon. The film watches like a thriller (even if you’ve seen it twice already) because every single step can go wrong
With this installation, Riley Harmon went for the visceral and the powerful. Each time a player dies in a game of Counter-strike, a popular online first person shooter, electronic solenoid valves open up and dispense a small amount of fake blood. The trails left down the wall create a physical manifestation of virtual kills, bridging the two realities. During the show’s run players who have a copy of Counter-Strike can join the game and cause the sculpture to active
Over the last two years Karen Guthrie & Nina Pope of the London art collective Somewhere have been working on a research and documentary project focusing on pedigree cat breeding. They followed pedigree cat owners at cat shows, worked with breeders, and interviewed Dr Leslie Lyons, an internationally-respected authority on feline genetics who ratified the world’s first cloned kitten and the first GFP (“glow-in-the-dark”) transgenic kitten
Today i return to the GAMERZ festival in Aix-en-Provence because 1. i want to remind you that this truly unique event is going to close on Sunday 2. i just interviewed the lovely Isabelle Arvers who not only curated a machinima show for the GAMERZ exhibition but is also one of the most respected experts in art and video games, 8it music and free + opensource culture in France