Digital Instru-Mentation: Red Forest and Emblems of Ascension

Campbell%20Red%20Forest%202015%20detail.Digital art, as in the work of Robert Campbell (Red Forest, detail) and NoiseFold is achieving the plasticity of clay, paint on canvas, or even analog electronics. Several Currents 2015 participants have developed, or cobbled together, computer based tools which provide the robustness needed to dig in, explore, and experiment with contemporary new media materials and techniques. It's much like the shift from the brush of a Mannerist painter to the sponge of a Max Ernst frottage.Progress in the flexibility and robustness of digital instruments allow them to be treated as plastic media which may lead to fully collaborative human/machine systems. We can start to imagine an actual collaboration between humans and machines where, rather than participating in a one-way struggle, each contribute what they do best in a two-way dialog. And once these collaborative systems are established, their collective behavior will become more interesting than any particular 'finished work'.

The Island of Pal

Anne-Farrell_The-Island-of-Pal-copy-940xLittle red skiffs float on undulating waters along with armchairs, fully made beds, and spiraling severed horses' heads in the throbbing air. Three toy horses are posed on synthetic turf in a theatrically raked trapezoidal corral bordered by tiny rope footlights. No bridles or saddles are ever in view; these are wild horses temporarily and ever-so-lightly penned in by a white picket fence. Enclosed inside the skewed geometry and oblique angles the equine visitors—a palomino named Pal, a buckskin called Bonnie, and her sometimes partner, the black-coated Clyde—are here to entice playmates. Inside a bricolage gilt frame a ten-minute video containing all of these disparate constituents (and new characters too) offers a dream narrative of these fantastical beings, delighting in an idyll of grasslands and wildflowers.

Two Women

stacks_image_1801.jpgTwo women: one is young, angelic, billowing and dream like; the other alternates between the fetal position and the floating corpse pose. Side by side, the wood framed vessels into which the the images are projected and submerged in water, read as both boat and coffin. Like flowers dropped from the installation’s peeling wallpaper or the Chinese screens described by the narrator as she recounts a dream that turns into a nightmare, the water is the source of life of death. In Two Women, the gasping for air is visceral as the older woman contorts her body and I, the witness, listen to her story in Korean, read it in English and hear the stylus punctuate it into fabric as Morse code, the universal language associated with distress.

Threads

threads06.jpgThere is something in the wind that is mystical: how it sounds, how it moves things. The ethereal, this effect that leads you to memories because deep inside you want things to last, we cling to what we call the root of our existence and we want to pass this on.

But just as the wind, we do our reinterpretations of phenomena, and disappear. We are forever stuck in the cycle of our perception weaving our past and colliding with our present.

30 Days of Running in Place

th?id=JN.r%2bdutxcnZzFvg28k%2b%2bcT%2bw&Ahmed Basiony's 30 Days of Running in Place was first presented at the Why Not exhibition in Cairo in 2010. Basiony performed daily for 30 days in a room enclosed in transparent plastic outside the Cairo Opera House and Palace of Arts - The artist jogged around the room wearing a plastic suit fitted with digital sensors that gathered and wirelessly transmitted data on his movements and physiological parameters - This information was in turn processed and projected on a large screen as an ever-changing visual and aesthetic reflection of the artist’s physical state. As a five-channel installation exhibited at Egyptian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2011, 30 Days was juxtaposed with videos recorded by Basiony during his participation in the January revolution, until he was killed by gunshot wounds inflicted by Egyptian Police snipers on January 28, 2011.

Virtual Mirror - Rain

Artist Tao Sambolec's expanded conception of art emphasizes tactility, embodied experience, affect and perception in space, often involving displacements that heighten our sensory awareness. In this respect, his work finds good company with pioneering contemporary artists from Duchamp to Eliasson. A case in point is Virtual Mirror – Rain, which received Honorable Mention at Prix Ars Electronica. The artist has somehow managed to achieve what might at first seem impossible: rain falling from the skies outside the gallery triggers an equivalent amount of rain "falling up" inside the gallery!

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