Annie Machon is an intelligence expert and author who worked for 6 years as an intelligence officer for MI5, the UK domestic counter-intelligence and security agency. Together with her ex-partner, David Shayler, she resigned in the late 1990s to blow the whistle on the spies’ incompetence and crimes
A week or so ago, i was in Eindhoven for the Age of Wonderland festival and realized the city was in full Dutch Design Week swing. There was far far too much to see for someone like me who has only a mild interest in design. So i went for the blockbusters. One of them was the Graduation Show of the students from Design Academy Eindhoven.
The work takes the shape of a matrix of 99 balloons that inflate individually to surround visitors in a physical, sonic, and visual experience. The piece inhales and exhales, expands and deflates, building up an almost claustrophobic experience that aims to echo the crises and dilemmas our society is going through
My notes from the Future Food Seminar which took place at Baltan Laboratories on Monday evening and gathered people with radically different backgrounds and insights to reflect on the re-invention of global strategies for the design of our future food system
Media artist and beekeeper Annemarie Maes has been monitoring and working with urban bee colonies since 2009, not only to develop novel art works but also to better understand the connections between city honeybees and urban ecosystems, to raise awareness among citizens about the plight of the pollinating bees and to call for ecological activism
Abu Bakarr Mansaray draws futuristic worlds inhabited by flying machines piloted by skeletons, tanks that look like dinosaurs, dangerous computer virus, ‘Hell Extinguisher’, aliens and other ‘sinister projects.’
The 56th Biennale is thus set against the backdrop of economic, ecological and humanitarian crises. Any kind of art or design event has to pretend you care for the state of the world these days (unless you’re at the Frieze art fair of course) but somehow this edition of the biennale demonstrates far more energy, determination and spirit in tackling the sufferings of our world than many much younger and openly socially-engaged events i’ve attended recently
What’s hot and what will be hot in contemporary art in Italy. This book explores various aspects of art in Italy from 2000 through 2010: production centers, benchmark exhibitions, the major artistic developments that often contributed to extending if not shifting the domains of art, and the leading Italian artists in recent generations. The story is mainly told through images…
I finally made it to the Venice Bienniale this week. I hadn’t set foot there for years. My number one preoccupation was to locate the Pavilion of the Indonesian Republic. It’s at the Arsenale, I had seen a photo of it. Some kind of rusty dinosaur with angels flying around it.
It turns out there was no dinosaur but a cross between the Trojan Horse and a Komodo dragon, a large species of lizard found in Indonesia
In an era of fast-paced technological progress and with the impact of humans on the environment increasing, the concept of “nature” itself seems called into question. Bio Art explores the work of “bio artists,” those who work with living organisms and life processes to address the possibilities and dangers posed by biotechnological advancement
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
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
Simon Farid is a visual artist interested in the relationship between administrative identity and the body it purports to codify and represent. In practice, this means that the artist is ‘squatting’ identities that have been constructed by other people for surveillance, marketing or institutional purposes and then discarded.
He notoriously ‘inhabited’ the identity of an undercover police officer and the one of a politician who moonlighted as a web marketing guru
Scientists tell us that the Earth has entered a new epoch: the Anthropocene. We are not facing simply an environmental crisis, but a geological revolution of human origin. In two centuries, our planet has tipped into a state unknown for millions of years. How did we get to this point?
At this year’s edition of TodaysArt, Mike Rijnierse will submit a 100 kg church bell to regular sessions of bungee jumping. The sounding bell will drop from a bungee jump tower at the Scheveningse Pier near The Hague and its sixty meter fall will cause a Doppler effect…
Next week, NOME, one of those too rare galleries exploring art, politics, and technology, is going to open Jacob Appelbaum’s first solo show in Germany. There will be stuffed pandas, portraits of political dissidents and far too many secrets
Pater is a graphic designer who gave himself the mission to create visual narratives about complex political issues. He is not only interested in flying machines of death but also in disaster floods caused by global warming, Dutch sweets that evoke everyday racism, fishermen vs oil tankers, citizen journalism in countries with censorship, digital surveillance, etc
Moritz Simon Geist is a classical musician and a robotics engineer who builds his own musical instruments. The most famous of them is the MR-808, an oversized replica of the TR-808 produced by Roland to reproduce drum sounds. This 1980s electronic drum machine imitated the drum so inadequately that it actually created its own sound. The distinctive ‘thump thump’ became an integral part of hip hop music, gained iconic status with Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing and reached such a cult position within the music industry that even Kayne West paid tribute to the machine in one of his hit albums
This week, i’m reviewing 6 books about topics as diverse as petrocracy, control by data, photography in Belfast after the Good Friday Agreement, new media art in the Middle East and North Africa, inflatable army units, and ephemeral performative practices
The first issue of The Funambulist Magazine argues that all cities contain a certain degree of militarization. From Lahore to Oakland, CA, the use of walls and other architectural apparatuses of control vary; yet, they all bear witness of the will for architecture to organize bodies in space
The quality of groundwater is heavily affected by human industrial activities. Looking for innovative ways to get clean waters to irrigate agricultural fields, artist Rihards Vitols is currently experimenting with a new type of agronomy that relies on “cloud-farming”. In his scenario, people will raise thousands of helium balloons over their land to collect water from the cloud
CTM’s work combines appealing aesthetics, humour and language with actions that invite people to think, question and reclaim their civil rights. Their most famous project is the Tactical Ice Cream Unit, a truck distributing free ice cream along with propaganda developed by local progressive groups. Another of their initiative saw them launch a bank heist contest…
For 5 years, the Gulf Labor Coalition, a group of artists and writers, has been pressuring Saadiyat’s Western cultural brands to ensure worker protections. Gulf Labor has coordinated a boycott of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and pioneered direct action that has involved spectacular museum occupations. As part of a year-long initiative, an array of artists, writers, and activists submitted a work, a text, or an action
One of the reasons why i like the magazine so much is that it mixes and matches efficiently short articles about media artworks, music or books with long, insightful essays and interviews as well as thoughtful reports from media art events that took place in various cities around the world. So that’s the fast and informative formula of a blog combined with the lengthy and reflective pace of a magazine
The synthesizer simultaneously synthesises variations in the Earth’s magnetic field with cosmic rays and Jupiter’s noise storms
Fire and Forget is military jargon for a type of missile guidance that can hit its target without the launcher being in line-of-sight. The expression is symptomatic of a new type of warfare in which the people firing, killing and destroying are emancipated from the fear for one’s own life and the direct physical -or sometimes even visual- contact with the victim(s) of their shooting
James Bridle’s exhibition presents a series of works that use computer code, investigative journalism, and visualization to explore hidden spaces and classified information
Sonic booms and nuclear power are explored as replacements to petroleum offering up new dreams of energy efficiency and innovation through technology
The exhibition is what you would call a crowd-pleaser (although the £15.00 entrance ticket is definitely not crowd-pleasing.) Which in conservative art speak is a bit of an insult. It shouldn’t be. Because art doesn’t need more snobs and because if gigantic slides, bouncy Stonehenge and rain rooms are what it takes to get everyone to experience and discuss contemporary art, that’s good enough for me
The OpenSurgery initiative investigates whether building DIY surgical tools, outside the scope of healthcare regulations, could plausibly provide an accessible alternative to the costly professional healthcare services worldwide.
By presenting a semi-functional DIY surgery robot, theoretically capable of assisting in domestic keyhole surgery, the project provokes alternative thinking about medical innovation and aims to challenge the socioeconomic frameworks healthcare currently operates within
Drone crews, analysts, intelligence officials and military commanders all speak frankly to the author about how armed drones revolutionized warfare–and the unexpected costs to some of those involved
Over the past 45 years, the members of the collective have been documenting the industrial communities living along the river Tyne, the fishermen, the shipbuilders, the people working in the coal and steel industry, but also their families, the unemployed and the marginalized communities. The result is a vast archive of photos and films that present both both artistic and historical value
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.’
Two of the presentations i enjoyed covered the representation of intelligence agencies in films and tv fiction, another was about the influence that new forms of surveillance are having on the rise of home-grown (‘home’ being the U.S.A., the symposium was organised by the Institute of North American Studies) white extremist groups. And a fourth talk commented on the delusory quest to control State information
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
From the 1940s to the 1970s, visionary artists from across the Americas reimagined themes from science fiction and space travel. They mapped extraterrestrial terrain, created dystopian scenarios amid fears of nuclear annihilation, and ingeniously deployed scientific and technological subjects and motifs
Struth’s most recent photographs of scientific research suggests a one-sided belief of progress. The increasing degree of fascination for the tools we construct to investigate into scientific and material progress distracts us from the equal need for progress on social and political levels
In the wake of the Snowden revelations about the surveillance capabilities of intelligence agencies, this interdisciplinary symposium gathers experts to discuss the place and implications of secrecy in contemporary culture and politics
This symbiotic system re-imagines the management of sewage in order to salvage its potential as a source of energy. it is made up of a set of modular microbial fuel cells for the development or colonies of bacteria whose metabolism produces electricity and improves water quality
Photography Visionaries is an inspiring guide to 75 of the most influential photographers from around 1900 to the present. Entertainingly written by an expert on photography, it provides fascinating insight into the lives and careers of men and women working in a medium which perhaps more than any other in the visual arts has been deeply affected by technological change