Second and last chapter of my report from the GAMERZ festival, one of the very few French festivals that doesn’t play it safe nor stiff with a programme that endorses the unexpected, a laid-back atmosphere, a few famous names but also an impressive line-up of fresh talents. Plus, it’s in Aix-en-Provence so as the French say “y’a pas photo!” (which means something like ‘it’s a no-brainer.’)
This year’s edition of the GAMERZ festival not only demonstrated that there is nothing trivial about play but it also explored how our relationship to play has changed with the advances of technology. And, more interestingly, it invited us to join artists whose work investigates how the digital age is changing man, whether we’re talking about Huizinga’s homo ludens, the working man (Homo Faber) or more generally the modern man (Homo sapiens.)
Famous Deaths, IDFA International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam. Photo Nichon Glerum Would you like to know or even experience […]
DocLab Expo: Seamless Reality, IDFA International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam. Photo Nichon Glerum The DocLab Expo: Seamless Reality exhibition […]
The piece is made of Exxon, Shell, BP, and Mobil oil cans, but overnight, the local gallery staff had them secretly changed to Petronas labels. Though this violates the contract, I decided to keep the piece in the show because of the strange situation this tampering creates–a nationally owned oil company rushing to put its logo on a piece of art that is highly critical of the oil industry and what it appropriates and extracts
The works on show range from a robotic soccer robot to the Soccket energy generating football, from the ever irresistible and painful Leg Shocker to the world premier of Jer Thorp’s immersive installation The Time of the Game. The result is an exhibition that brings into a highly popular museum an entertaining but also critical and provocative view of the impact that technology has on ‘the beautiful game.’
Aernoudt Jacobs is an artist fascinated with sound in all its forms and possible expressions. He collects fields recordings around the world but he also creates installations based on Bell’s photoacoustic effect that reveals the sonority of any material hit with a strong beam of light, builds sound microscope that magnifies the freezing and melting process of water or suspends coils, magnets and 1000 tin cans into the air to play with the laws of electromagnetic induction and create tiny vibrations that produce sounds
Nearest Costco, Monument or Satellite is a networked sculpture that accurately points to the nearest Costco, monument or orbiting GPS satellite(s). As an artwork it explores how we form our sense of of place in the contemporary environment
The artist harvested 24kg of an invasive weed from a highighly polluted area in Spain, extracted the iron ore from the plants and used it to make an iron ring. The innovative experiment brought together the biological, the industrial, the technological and even craft to create a piece of jewellery that weights 2 grams. The project also suggests a way to reverse the contamination process while at the same time mining iron ore from the damaged environment
A quick post to let you know about the really REALLY nice book i received the other day. I can’t stop playing with it. The publication celebrates Staalplaat Soundsystem’s brilliant work
The sound of empty space explores relationships between microphones, speakers, and surrounding acoustic environments through controlled, self-generating microphone feedback. By building flawed technological systems and nullifying their intended potential for communication, the ear is turned towards the empty space between components; to the unique configurations of each amplifying assemblage
With ‘A simple line’, Essaïdi attempts to merge the abstract idea of a line with its most tangible reality by having a zebra finch look at its own brain cells in the form of a line
The 10th edition of the festival celebrated the death of passive leisure in the hands of games and art as well as the transformation of the compliant consumer into a creative user and abuser of technology. The exhibitions across town also investigated how the digital environment impacts and disrupts people’s development at conscious and unconscious levels (cognitive, social, psychological, among others) and looked at how these often invisible adjustments can be harnessed in alternative social, economic, political or ecological practices.
The artist has worked with media as diverse as fetal calf cells, human blood, maggots, multi-component 3D Human Skin Equivalent models or taxidermied insects. She is currently participating to Experimenta Recharge biennial of media art with an ever-changing face mask that uses Saos-2, a cell line that originally came from the bone cancer lesion of an 11 year old girl who died in 1973
A few days ago, the Haus der elektronischen Künste (House of Electronic Arts) in Basel inaugurated its new premises with a three-day festival of drones, music performances, immersive data explorations and giant mushrooms.
HeK space is a cultural center dedicated to the new art forms of the information age. The programme is as sleek and geek as its buildings be but its spirit is critical and inquisitive. HeK takes technology out of consumer culture and looks at its more meaningful, socially-engaged or aesthetic uses
By bringing together works by artists, designers, scientists, meteorologists and engineers STRANGE WEATHER asks questions such as: Should human culture be reshaped to fit strange weather or should we reshape weather to fit our strange culture? Who is going to take advantage of climate chaos and how will strange weather benefit me? How will you choose to work, celebrate, live and die when weather gets weird?
The show goes from the very absurd (the Halliburton survivaball) to the very dark and dramatic. But the adjective that pervades the show is ‘fun’. While visiting the exhibition, i’ve been drinking cloud, watched a 1959 film that speculates on how weather control departments would use satellites and met with little child mannequins in Hazmat suits in the most unexpected places
The POLSPRUNG installation features a series of instruments that measure the earth’s magnetic field to detect a possible polar reversal, register the gamma radiation caused by the solar wind and compare the data with the speculative disastrous gamma radiation data during a polar reversal. A small reading space also provides information about polar reversal research and disaster speculation, a magnetite laboratory and a notebook in which visitors can write down their thoughts about disasters.
Over the past few years, Martin Howse has been investigating the possibility to build a computational device that would not only be constructed solely from the earth but would also be embedded within the earth as a critical monument to human technology
Ghostradio deploys feedback and quantum effects to create random numbers from the boundaries of reality and beyond. Ghostradio publishes the resulting random number datastream for the generation of cryptographic keys. This will release the public from the current state of surveillance
The Wind Tunnel project filled with site-specific commissions two wind tunnels buildings, known as R52 and Q121, that were built to test planes, from Spitfires to Concorde, from the first world war onwards. These buildings were decommissioned after the 1960s and have remained closed to the public ever since
Darsha Hewitt built a whole installation that exploits the inherent and irritating glitches emitted by vintage baby monitors. The receivers are attached to motors and slowly bow back and forth in front of the emitters, creating a subtle soundscape of nuanced feedback patterns and squelching radio interference reminiscent of the whimpers of crying babies
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?
The crystal forming robots are a physical simulation of a growth process, similar to the growth of crystal structures. Each robot operates autonomously and is driven by the light of the overhead projector…
I’m not even remotely impartial when it comes to Martin Creed. I love his work. Whether it’s the Sick Films in which people enter an empty white space and proceed to vomit on the floor, the mocking neon signs or the cactus plants neatly positioned by size.
The work of Owl Project goes from simple ironic devices such as the iLog which is a log that thinks it is a music player to large scale installations such as ~Flow which was a floating tidal waterwheel powered electro acoustic musical instrument responding to the river Tyne in Newcastle. Owl Project has also toured festivals and events with their rather ingenious Sound Lathe, a musical instrument based on a traditional green wood turning pole lathe that explores the relationship between the crafting of physical objects and the shaping of sound
Loop.pH’s work speculates on near and far future scenarios as a way to probe at the social and environmental impact of emerging biological and technological futures. Some of their most renown projects include collaborating with a Nobel prize winner to communicate the functioning of molecular machines, designing a curtain made of algae that produce bio-fuel, setting up an edible DIY bio fab-lab for the video of an Aussie band. creating a sound and light performance that explores the field of neuroscience and investigating the possibilities of living architecture
A couple of weeks ago, i was in Derry/Londonderry. Beautiful landscapes, super friendly people, vegan-approved yummy food at the Legenderry Warehouse, stunning socially-engages exhibitions i’ll tell you about later and a city-wide event called Lumiere. Lumiere is a festival of 17 projections and installations that lit up as the night came onto the city. It is a crowd-magnet, a place to bring your family and marvel at what artists and designers can do with light. Some of the works, however, had depth and bite
I’ve finally gone through all the images and texts i made and received from the GAMERZ festival in Aix-en-Provence. There’s a ridiculously high amount of new artists and works i’d like to blog about. But let’s start with what i think are the smartest and most elegant works in the festival. Both play with perception, both are by Luce Moreau
Inspired by the environmental work of Diller & Scofidio, the performative and multi-sensory work of Bompas and Parr, and the nostalgia of 1960s event architecture, the project utilises sugar as a base element and ‘centrifugal random fibre extrusion’ fabrication (candyfloss) to build a candy floss cloud on an architectural scale
The Living Mirror is a ‘bio-installation’ that combines magnetic bacteria with electronics and photo manipulation to create liquid, 3D portraits
Addie made a painting using a drone as a brush, enrolled a stern industrial robot to rock a baby cradle, asked online sexcam performers to replicate classical paintings, and built a chandelier using CCTV cameras
The designers will be talking about the aesthetics of scientific experiments but also about the human capabilities in sensing future events. They’ve explored this slightly debatable topic with a series of experiments inspired by the experimental evidence for the existence of physiological precognition, depicted the Sensing the Future paper written by Daryl J. Bem a social psychologist and professor emeritus at Cornell University.
Conducted and presented as a scientific experiment TNM challenges the participants to consider the outrageous proposition of algorithmic prejudice. The responses range from fear and outrage to laughter and ridicule, and finally to the alarming realization that we are set on a path towards wide systemic prejudice ironically initiated by its victim, Turing
I had an exchange of emails with Mario De Vega to talk about Thermal, a performance in which he uses microwave ovenss to alter the molecular composition of different materials. The work also uses custom-built hardware to sonify the electromagnetic activity produced by the overheating of the content of the ovens
HeHe took the invitation to turn FACT (the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology in Liverpool) inside out literally. Their new piece used the exhibition space to extract gas from the ground underneath the gallery and suggest that in the future we might want to bypass big energy companies and extract our own fossil fuels ourselves in our back garden
Adam Brown is a conceptual artist working with scientists to create art pieces that use robotics, molecular chemistry, living systems and emerging technologies. He recently demonstrated how bacteria can, over a period of one week, digest the toxins of gold chloride and spit out nuggets of 24-karat gold
Sascha Pohflepp is an artist and designer interested in the myths and realities shaped by science and technology. During the radio show, we will be talking space exploration, and more specifically space gardening but we will also talk science fiction, complex science and impossible projects
In the context of omnipresent telecommunications surveillance, “The Pirate Cinema” makes visible the invisible activity and geography of peer-to-peer file sharing. The project is presented as a control room that reflects P2P exchanges happening in real time on networks using BitTorrent protocol. The installation produces an improvised and syncopated arrangement of files currently in exchange
Today on ResonanceFM, Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead will be talking about how to handle and archive materials found on the web, the absence of any image documenting war in certain parts of the world, spam and other jolly subjects