Three large-scale installations that experiment with scientific phenomena and pay homage to Nikola Tesla. The works can be experienced without mediation but each of them also conveys several layers of meanings and readings, whether you’re intrigued by the technical description or by the sheer beauty of the sparks, lightening bolts, and sonic properties of the works

FACT gallery has just opened WInter Sparks, The exhibition features large-scale installations by artists who use scientific experiments as a raw material. The figure at the core of the work exhibited is the one of the engineer whose inventions and ingenuity shaped the 20th century technology: Nikola Tesla. There are only three installations in the show, each of them large-scale, impressive and attempting to make scientific processes visible. I’m going to single out Evolving Spark Network and write about the others in my next post

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This year, even GAMERZ, an art&tech festival with a name that promises tis visitors much joy and entertainment, didn’t want to turn its back to the times of fear and uncertainty we are living. The festival was as playful as ever but with a slightly darker tone and with a selection of artists whose works question the worrying changes at work in society

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Technoviking became a Youtube hit in 2007, accumulating tens of millions of views across the original upload and the countless reposts, remixes, take-offs and fan films that followed. Recreating Technoviking as an airfilled avatar that will inflate and deflate according to the buzz it generates on Twitter (use #technoviking), Meme Junkyard asks us to consider what it means to ‘go viral’ and, be it a cat playing piano or David After Dentist, what becomes of an overnight YouTube sensation months or years after the fact

Interview express with Chris Salter about n-Polytope. The light and sound environment combining cutting edge lighting, lasers, sound, sensing and artificial intelligence software technologies was inspired by composer Iannis Xenakis’s radical 1960s-1970s works named “Polytopes”. As large scale, immersive architectural environments that made the indeterminate and chaotic patterns and behavior of natural phenomena experiential through the temporal dynamics of light and the spatial dynamics of sound, the polytopes still to this day are relatively unknown but were far ahead of their time: a major landmark in the history of the audio-visual arts and performative architectural practice

This year’s edition of the FutureEverything festival in Manchester brought a well-known and much discussed phenomenon to the fore: participatory culture. From Wikileaks to Iceland’s crowd-sourced constitution, to the Arab Spring, participatory technologies have demonstrated their powerful political potential. The world of culture is harnessing the same connected energies with projects that involve citizen scientists cataloging celestial bodies in the Milky Way galaxy, crowd-curated photo exhibitions and of course the many projects created by artists and designers who either directly use collective action or bring it under a new light

An architectural Time Machine by architect Heechan Park explores how to create an architectural time-based event.

As the machines blow vapour rings that double as ephemeral scent zones, the public not only experience a visual performance of smoke vortices travelling through space, but they also perceive scents that are temporally spatialised and visualised

A wire brush spins around randomly, threatening your open-toe sandals. A motion activated vacuum pump sucks out the air from a sealed gallery space: the longer the viewers remain inside, the less air for them to breathe. A cobble stone is rotating on a rope. The sole purpose of that kettle is to spread red acrylic paint on your shoes. An electric fence used to control livestock on farms criss-crosses the path that leads to an art gallery or the bar. Elsewhere a randomly activated tripwire awaits visitors…

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

I like GAMERZ because it’s eclectic, because it makes me discover plenty of artists i had never heard about before but also because it reminds me that festivals should be left more often in the hands of artists. They take risk, follow their whim, trust other artists barely out of the academy, and care little about sticking to genres and formulas

This year, the organizers and curators at STRP had the admirable and timely idea of setting up an exhibition that brought the spotlight on the history of Dutch art and technology. The show was both a celebration of the talent of media artists in The Netherlands but also a gesture of support towards the Dutch new media institutes (namely V2_, Waag Society, STEIM, Mediamatic, WORM, Submarine Channel, NIMk) whose survival is threatened by drastic (and short-sighted) governmental cuts

To understand how mysterious jumping fish can survive in a puddle with trucks driving through it, Mateusz Herczka recreated a South American puddle in an unheated Belgian space. The huge cube of glass and metal contains a reconstruction of a puddle found in the middle of a road in Guyana, with a truck wheel rolling through it. His work is documented in an exhibition which recently opened in Antwerp

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

The work of Kris Verdonck focuses on the confusion of man in an estranged world due to technological development. The tension between man and machine, between living species and dead materials creates an atmosphere of Unheimlichkeit or eeriness. This ‘current state of the world’ – with its environmental problems, ecological disasters and wars – is the central theme through his oeuvre

A few weeks ago, i was in The Netherlands to see the result of the first competition. You might remember that i had interviewed the 3 winning artists/designers just as they were about to start developing their projects (The Miscroscopic Opera, 2.6g 329m/s, aka the ‘bulletproof skin’ and System Synthetics) so i was curious to see whether the final pieces lived up to their (and my!) expectations

If you happen to be in or around Sao Paulo this Summer don’t miss FILE, the Electronic Language International Festival that takes place at the FIESP Cultural Center and all over the Avenida Paulista till late August. And because FILE makes it its duty to attract the general public and not just the art&tech aficionados, the event is not only free but also packed with surprising installations, games, videos and events

As usual, the FILE festival in Sao Paulo mixes and matches immersive installations, animations movies, performances, machinimas, besides works of web art, documentary, and other goodies you expect from this ambitious new media art festival. This year, however, i’ve been particularly blown away by the least techy works in the exhibition.

I’ll come back to them in the coming days but i’d like to kick off my reports from the festival with a few words about ADA – analoge interactive installation, by Karina Smigla-Bobinski

A couple of years ago, Nils Völker built a robot out of Lego parts that replicates the way we look. The resulting large scale images demonstrate how differently the same objects have been perceived. The robot was the one work that attracted me to Nils Völker’s portfolio but it’s his creative path that started with communication design and moved to the use of physical computing in contexts as different as advertising and art exhibitions that kept my attention

This exhibition brings together 3 pioneers of sound art, Max Eastley, Takehisa Kosugi and Walter Marchetti. Each artist has developed a distinct approach to the problem of representing immateriality, while sharing a lightness of touch, approaching sound with patience, restraint and fidelity. As well as presenting new and historic work, the exhibition features live performance, and material from the artists’ archives

Back to Berlin where a few weeks ago i was visiting the DMY design festival. As i explained the other day, the most exciting part of the exhibition was the MakerLab where visitors could discover, discuss and handle new technologies, materials, tools, open-source ideas and concepts. In the middle of this happy creative feast, a group of young smiling girls were introducing visitors to the joys of mushroom cultivation. All ‘in the comfort of their own home’

Oscar Lhermitte attempts to turn our attention back the stars in the city sky by adding new constellations, narrating contemporary myths about London. Twelve groups of stars have been designed and catapulted guerrilla-style at different locations in the city, and can only be observed by the naked eye at night time. Each of these constellations tells a story that is directly relevant to the Londoner

The book presents an international spectrum of interdisciplinary projects at the intersection of laboratory, trade show, and urban space that play with the new frontiers of perception, interaction, and staging created by current technology. The work reveals how technology is fundamentally changing and expanding strategies for the targeted use of architecture, art, communication, and design for the future

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

Niklas is one of the most facetious characters of the ‘new media art’ world. His dance machine without ‘annoying Dj”, moving curtain, ‘distributed’ fountains, white cube gallery in a box, physical teapot inside a Commodore cabinet or his electromechanical version of the game Pong are certainly entertaining, absurd and at times, even hilarious. But don’t let the jesting fool you. Behind the playfulness of Roy’s machines, lay much irony and lucidity about the world of art & tech he belongs to

I had never heard of Laurent Montaron before last week. I was preparing a trip to Paris and going through the list of exhibitions open when i stumbled upon a small photo of a Catholic saint and, more interestingly, a press release that mentioned the artist’s interest in the history of media from the appearance of mechanical modes of representation in the late 19th century up to today’s different digital forms

The piece currently on view in Florence is directly inspired by early prototypes of sound weapons. As the artist explained: I found a series of very suggestive images of some real “sound armies” set up by the Japanese army during the Second World War. They were like guns pointing to the sky, conceived for shooting down planes by using particular airwaves. Unlike current acoustic weapons, which are real weapons, those first prototypes have never been activated. Those images fascinated me a lot. This work probably still recalls these suggestions. It is a structure that juts out a lot from the wall, overhanging and conveying a sort of dangerousness. It produces a deep guttural sound and can be “exhibited” in every sense, both from a spatial and a sound viewpoint