One Beat One Tree

“One Beat One Tree” by Belgian artist  Naziha Mestaoui, displays a world of innovation and technology, and its ability to simulate the spectacle of life as well as growth, in an interactive and heartfelt simulation.  The installation consists of a projection of digital forests on cityscapes, bringing the technology as well as the nature into a perceived symbiotic relationship.  However, the real magic of this piece comes with the interactive capabilities of this virtual environment, in which the participants are given a heartbeat sensor that syncs with their phones[1], where with each beat, the virtual trees seem to sprout and continue to grow in the virtual space.


Screen%20Shot%202019-02-24%20at%209.51.4 In an article on the installation written by the Huffington Post, they state that, “to further increase the fluidity between visible and invisible, the digital trees are later physically planted in regions throughout the world, from Europe and Latin America to Africa and Asia.”[2]  This creates an interesting relationship between organic life and technology, playing into the capabilities that technology, a seemingly unnatural entity, has to connect people with the natural world.  D.H. Lawrence once wrote, “The business of art is to reveal the relation between man and his circumambient universe at this living moment. As mankind is always struggling in the toil of old relationships, art is always ahead of its ‘times’, which themselves are always far in the rear of the living present.”[3]


Screen%20Shot%202019-02-24%20at%209.54.1Mestaoui seems to be taking on a similar framework, enabling her art to respark the relationship of man and Earth, when in the heart of the concrete jungle. Moreover, the sparking of her interest in this type of technological installation that emits to real world preservation stemmed from a project where she worked in the Amazon for 14 years.  The people and tribes she became familiar with inspired her with their intense connection to the natural world.  Mestaoui explained in an interview with the Huffington Post, that the people don’t just see trees as just a wood baring organic entity, but rather an entity with a spirit and intelligence all of its own that could teach them real lessons.[4]


Screen%20Shot%202019-02-24%20at%209.55.4Mestaoui found it necessary to make an art piece that utilized technology to connect other cultures and peoples to connect with this “immaterial” essence of nature, through the immaterial structuring of virtual worlds.  Furthermore, this installation encourages symbiosis with technology and nature, as well as challenging people to look at nature in a new light, housing not only physical objects, but impalpable values and lifeblood that can both ground us to the planet and advocate for conservation for the natural world as well.


[1] – Frank, Priscilla. “You Can Plant A Virtual Tree That Grows To The Rhythm Of Your Heartbeat.” The Huffington Post. December 07, 2017. Accessed February 25, 2019.

[2] – Frank, Priscilla. “You Can Plant A Virtual Tree That Grows To The Rhythm Of Your Heartbeat.” The Huffington Post. December 07, 2017. Accessed February 25, 2019.

[3] – Edward A. Shanken, Art and Electronic Media (London: Phaidon, 2014), 101.

[4] – Frank, Priscilla. “You Can Plant A Virtual Tree That Grows To The Rhythm Of Your Heartbeat.” The Huffington Post. December 07, 2017. Accessed February 25, 2019.

I Promise to Love You

        I Promise to Love You is Tracey Emin's moving series of neonworks, which was comprised of six written love messages animated especially for Midnight Moment. Midnight Moment, started in 2012, is the world’s largest, longest-running digital art exhibition, synchronized on electronic billboards throughout Times Square every night from 11:57 P.M. to midnight. 


      Throughout the month of February in 2013, fifteen billboards in Times Square displayed the glowing words slowly spell themselves out, as if being written by a ghost or an invisible presence. The gentle electric pulsing of the lettering gradually built into a powerful potent red, leaving the power of love very evident to the viewer(s). 



        Tracey talks about her artwork saying, "All my work is about emotion, it’s about feeling, it’s about subjection, it’s about witnessing, it’s personal,’ said Emin during an interview, adding, ’It isn’t cathartic, but it really is a means for me to express myself. It’s very old-fashioned and very traditional." [1]




ukrainian-sculpture-burning-man-love-ale      This sculpture, Love, is Alexander Milov's debut art piece for the Burning Man Festival. This is a reflective art piece because the sculpture calls into question of how one is to truly "discover one's genuine self in a media-saturated world" [1]. Not only is the sculpture itself sends a message to its audience, but the material that is used to create the sculpture is also part of the message as well.

      The shoulders of these two adults, give off the impression of being burdened by the weight of the world – "slumped in anguish and despondency" [1]. These adults represent the independence and solitude that comes along when one enters adulthood. The purpose of using rebars (a material that is created in the modern industrial world) to create the cages, is to represent how our current society has created this cage to trap our inner selves in for each individual. These cages are metaphors to society's standards that are set upon us that ends up burdening our souls and ultimately limiting our lives. The societal values give us distress as they are success, prestige, and independence and societal values are expected to be fulfilled first over one's own standard of themselves.

love-5.jpg      The transparent sculptures of the kids are also interactive with their environment. The sculptures begin to glow as its surroundings get darker – as the day turns into night. Milov's intentions behind this art and technology collaboration of having the statues sense its environment are so that the glowing statues symbolize the inner child that is within each adult – sincerity, purity, and innocence that is naturally part of each individual. It is also what causes one's need to connect with someone during times of distress, which is represented by the dark

      Furthermore, Milov's usage of contrasting materials for both the adults and the children is to point out the difference in the mindset that the adults and the kids have. The incorporation of raw industrial materials, rebars, to create the adults give the viewers a feeling of "a cold, rigid environment" [1]. Whereas for the children, the transparent materials and the glowing technology gives off this warm feeling that is part of a welcoming environment for its spectators. The glow from the children is also able to radiate its warm and welcoming feeling much further away and in many different directions (symbolism for open-mindedness and acceptance), unlike the rebars that are used for the adults which are very limited to where it is placed (a mind that is set in its ways and stubborn to change). This clearly illustrates how the fundamental needs that humans have of feeling connected to one another and looking out for each other, will always win over being restrained by the high and stressful demands of our rapidly growing modern society that teaches us to be competitive individuals.


Works Cited:

[1] “Alexander Milov – Love Essay,” Art, Identity, and Culture: (Re)Interpellations, accessed February 12, 2019, and

[2] “Love: A Project by Alexander Milov,” Dioniso Punk, accessed February 24, 2019,


Super awesome work of art, I was instantly captivated by how cool this concept is. Maybe the inner child could also be a metaphor for genuine curiosity and hopefullness to interact with the beauty in the world… idk just a thought? Super dope post all together. Only thing id change is either the size of the image or add another image/video to supplement this, as I'd love to see more of the actual work of art! -Jack Kennedy

Great artwork, this piece also looks like it represents how the relationship is and so much they have gone through but also how much they have known each other as you could see by the connection of the little children inside of them. Maybe add some video to the artwork so we could see different angels of the artwork, and possible have the artist talk about the artwork in their own words and what gave them the inspiration about it. Maybe also tie in some other artwork they have created that is similar to this artwork as well. – Jose Rojas


Aporia is a collection of installations by South Korean artist Lee Jung. Each of the installations consist of some sentence or phrase spelled out in neon against an empty, natural background.

Lee Jung earned an M.A. in Photography from the Royal College of Art, UK, a B.A. with honors in Photography from Kent Institute of Art & Design, UK and a B.A. with honors in Mass Communication & Journalism from Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea.

The word “aporia” comes from a greek word meaning “dead end street” and the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as: “An irresolvable internal contradiction or logical disjunction in a text, argument, or theory.” [1] The name of the piece combined with the subject matter of the piece really reveals some of Jung’s thoughts on the concept of love. Much of the text used in the installations talk about the concept of love very specifically (such as the one that reads “I love you with allJung-Lee-I-Dream-Of-You-2012.jpg my heart” and the one that reads “Have you ever loved me”). Though of the other text does not all specifically use the word love, they are all concerned with the theme of love in some way. The piece was inspired by Fragments of a Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes, a book containing fragments of literature and philosophy about love; all the text Jung uses in Aporia comes from this book.

Some examples from this piece such as the one that reads “how could you do this to me?” or the one that just reads “Why?” shows that even though love is a emption most people would consider positive, it can be extremely complicated and can have negative effects on people, such as in the case of unrequited love, or the loss of a loved one.

The piece itself seems to be drawing specific attention to some of the potentially negative aspects of love. Not only are some of the negative feelings associated with love spelled out in neon, but every piece of text, positive or negative, is set in a desolate natural background. Lee Jung says she was inspired to do this because she was thinking about the emptiness and lonesomeness of neon signs that could be found in the city, and wondered what would happen if she brought them out to a totally empty place. It is the juxtaposition of this very romantic language in bright neon set against a dreary, empty background that makes this piece so hauntingly beautiful.

Lee Jung said about the work:

“As I was working on the Bordering North Korea series, I got more and more interested in incorporating text into photo and was completely intrigued by the concept of ‘language as an image.’ The new exhibition of the Aporia series took its motif from A Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes. In this essay, Barthes discusses the dilemma experienced by people who fall in love. If you fall in love, your beloved becomes a sort of mystery so that you will ceaselessly try to figure out the reasons for your feelings for him or her and to interpret them. The desire to express your love produces lies and conflicts and leads to a dead end that is a love. As you endlessly consume the trite words of love, the object of your affection will eventually become the love itself instead of love. The sweet nothings being reiterated in the air, unable to reach anyone between you and me, seem to ironically reveal the solitude and sorrow of people in contemporary society.” [2]




Modell 5

large.jpg[1] The Modell 5 is a virtual artwork in which the performer, Akemi Takeya, makes different facial expressions while telling the story of her life. The exhibit was shown at the ICA in London in 1994, which shows four separated videos of herself performing different expressionistic traits moving rapidly in different directions. Within the AEM reading it states that, [2] "… has been described as one of the most beautiful experiments in bringing digital video to a theatrical setting." (110) which it is true in some way. Many people go and visit this piece, not knowning what to expect when they first look at the video, and later the audiences are being amazed on how much the artwork is telling of the subjects story.  


The different facial expressions by the actress shows the artwork more visually astonishing to the audience; we see her as more of a cyborg rather than a human being because of those fast repetition cut. The sound of the exhibit also shows the cybernetic side of the artwork which makes it feel as though the recording of the artwork has been damaged, but in reality this is the purpose of the piece. It can also appear her being first as a human, then later being converted as a robotic human being. From this artwork, she shows different signs of despair, happiness, anger, fearful, and curiosity. When you first look at the video below, at first you get a small sensation of what the idea of this piece really is, but later it jumps right in front of you in a blink of an eye and you kind of wonder why she did this in the first place. We could see this artwork as us as human beings in the future where technology has take over our life and even our bodies where we might have even modified ourself, and this representation of it has us short-circuiting which we do not want to follow that path. But I feel that we are following that path because since technology is such an exponential area, people are wanting to be part of that area and as advance as technology is being. We have seen some of these examples from different variety of films that has been living in the life of the technological world and being exposed to such blindness of the real world. One example would be the film IRobot where they are living in the technological era and robots are taken over the world. The main character, played by Will Smith, has a bionic arm which he got from an accident from losing his real arm. These modification could lead us to living a better life, or make it worse as the artwork is showing. 


[2] Shanken, Edward A. Art and Electronic Media. Phaidon, 2014. Page 110 

We Are All Made of Light

We Are All Made Of Light is an immersive art exhibition which exemplifies the interconnectedness that we share with our fellow humans and the universe itself. The releasing of the installation coincided with Seattle’s BOREALIS: a festival of light, debuting in October, 2018 in South Lake Union and across Seattle. The work was created by the Seattle-based artist Maja Petrić who set out to demonstrate the thought that we are all just individuals in vast and expansive universe, yet we all share some form of expanded consciousness. 


The work of art asks us to allow ourselves to experience an environment of interconnectedness and explore the world of connected consciousness, allows for an individual to abstract from their narrow perspective in order to see humans in a different light. This installation strips our identities from us at the door, abstracting our physical qualities that so often separate us as humans, allowing us to truly appreciate the human form and love one another no matter our differences. Such is the beauty of a collective consciousness, as it has a way exposing the natural beauty of the universe by evoking us to explore the connections between us and the rest of the world that often stay hidden in the plain sight. 


In order to create such an intense realization, the installation utilized interactive light, spatialized sound, and AI to create audiovisual trails of each individual as they move through the space. These human-like light threads accumulate as the exhibition progressed, emulating a constellation of lights created by visitors, who are connected to one another through past, present, and future. The result is simply an immersive starscape, evoking the beauty of the universe and revealing the invisible ties between each one of us and the rest world at large.

Through these revelations provided by such a work of art, Maja Petric would hope that humans can learn to love each other a little more and respect the wider universe in which we live. In the biography about the work of art, Petric herself says the following, "My desire is that such experience leads to answering the following questions. If we could glimpse the paths crossed, trails left by our fellow humans, would we see how we all alike shape our environments, the spatial memory of our environment? What would being immersed in this mesh of trails lend us in the understanding of each other and our collective experience?"[1]




What an amzing looking piece! It is like walking among a night sky. I wonder how many visitors will be recorded into the project while it remains active?


The placement of images and the video in this article is very well done – it gives the sense of continuously falling stardust from the top of the article to the bottom.  An issue that could be easily changed is the use of first-person grammar – the article should be informative without an obvious hint of opinion.  Additionally, would it be possible to add more direct quotes from the artist about their thoughts of their own work?

-Eric Mitchell

External Cybernetics

       Geoffrey Drake-Brockman, is an artist like no other. Geoffrey has a background in Computer Science and has exhibited in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Denmark, New York, and London. He creates installations utilizing technology and software but what sets him apart is that in order for his installations to work they require human interaction. This required human component classifies his art as cybernetic art. All of his pieces utilize sensors that detect people as they come closer to the artwork, software, and other mechanics to create installations that either move, light up, open, close, etc. The purpose of his work is to explore the relationship we have with technology and to form a creative and playful connection to his art and human interaction.  Much of his inspiration comes from "robotic" tales of "man-made beings" such as Frankenstein, Pinnochio, etc. [1] He utilizes technology to parallel these stories and by turning them into reality. Geoffrey states, "When I complete an artwork, I like to watch it respond to the audience. I watch to see how the play between the artwork and the audience." According to British cybernetic artist and theorist Roy Ascott, this is an example of behavioral triggers. Ascott defines behavioral triggers as, "Where the artist is interested less in his own behavior than in the behavior of the spectator." This behavior seems to be much of the driving force and sole purpose of his work. This the reason why all of his works calls for such interaction. He also includes mirrors in many of his works to highlight behavioral triggers and relationship between the art and the observer and vice versa. Much like the work of Parisian art research group, Groupe de recherche d'art visual or GRAV for short in the early 1960s whom Geoffrey seems to be heavily influenced by share the same sentiment towards their work. [2]

Geoffrey describes this concept as, "The procession of simulacra our creations reveal in us aspects of an 'inverse Pinocchio' – the real boy who wishes he was wooden." [3] These self-reflecting concepts and triggers create what's known as behavioral synthesis. Ascott states, behavior synthesis is formed when the boundaries of different forms of art are blurred. I find that there is a symbolic passing of the torch from the visionary interactive works of the Groupe de recherche d'art visuel to Geoffrey Drake-Brockman. Like GRAV, this blurring is something Geoffrey is also a professional at. He uses is work to push those boundaries further and further. He utilizes interactivity to create a world in which the artist is the spectator and the spectator is the artist encouraging creativity in the purest form.


Busbea, Larry. "Kineticism-Spectacle-Environment." October 144 (June/July 2013): 92-114. doi:10.1162/octo_a_00142.

Reusable Universes

Artist Shih Chieh Huang really takes on the saying of one person’s trash is another person's treasure, producing some incredible cybernetic structures and sculptures.  These sculptures utilize various pieces of plastics, fans, electronics, and circuit building that mimic organic life of deep sea organism.  The plastic deep sea animals glow with brilliant lighting, pneumatics, and colored liquids, and with their tentacles and bodies inflating and deflating, look as though they are swimming through the dark room they are set up in. 


Huang’s interest in the symbiosis of technology and living beings is very prominent through this installation, establishing the feeling of how prominent the implementation of technology and its aid in our everyday lives.  Moreover, this sculpture also suggests an importance and focus on repurposing materials that have been seen as pollutants; especially the plastics that are found scattered throughout our oceans that continuously endanger the lives of the sea creatures he sculpted.

Huang-T-24-L-2017-detail-03.jpg Furthermore, this gives a subtle critique on industry and production in the sense of the waste that is created from our world of industry, however, even though the byproducts of production are inevitable, we as the creators should take it into our hands to keep the world around us clean and even adapt them for other uses in our lives.  Huang’s art is a great display of how the world is adapting to the new advances in the technological world and how organic life can coexist amongst the mechanized world.

Roomba Paintings

Roombas, or iRobots, have cleaned our carpets and floors since the 1990s.[1] They have been an excellent innovation toward better vacuums ever since. In 2006, a Fine Arts sculptor from Virginia [2] named Bobby Zokaites saw more than just a better vacuum. Zokaites saw a potential tool to create modern art. What do you get when you take the vacuum out of the Roomba and add a paintbrush? Roomba Paintings!

One day, Zokaites wanted to express himself with a portrait and thought that a robot could be used to explore its painting potential [3]. At one point, he questioned his own expression by asking if the resulting product represented his expression or the robot's expression. The social stance between human and cybernetics is still a very unexplored subject and Zokaites' behavior should be noted for future art studies. After all, Roy Ascott mentions that cybernetic art is heavily focused on behavioral triggers and environments.

In the video, Zokaites lays the canvas on the floor for the Roomba to move around on. Some of the paint drips and splatters all over the canvas. whether it was on accident or on purpose is up to human opinion. He also uses a stick to guide the Roomba when it isn't going a direction he wants. This style of creating art is very similar to Jackson Pollack's laid back approach to art. 

Robert Mallery breaks down Cybernetic Arts in six different categories. Zokaites' Roomba Paintings is most likely categorized as a stage 3 Cybernetic Art, where the piece "requires that the computer, within limits sharply defined by the programmer, make not only routine discriminations but decide alternative courses of action governing the whole system." The "routine discriminations" refers to the walls and the direction the Roomba is going. The "alternative courses" are the paths that it takes when it bumps into an obstacle. 

may99-02.JPGAnother piece that has deeper cybernetic origins and is worth noting in junction with Roomba Paintings is Walter Grey's 1948 tortoise robots Elmer and Elisie. They way These Elmer and Elisie moved is very similar to how the Roombas move. The creator of Roombas, Joe Jones,[4] is aware of Grey's work, going as far as naming one of his robots Tertill as a homage to Grey's tortoise designs. More recently, Portuguese artist Leonel Mora used autonomous robots armed with pens to generate large artworks generated by unpredictable, emergent group behavior. His Robotarium X is a good example of this.

The origins of Walter Grey's robots and its influence on the Roombas gives Zokaites' Roomba Paintings an engineering aspect. Like the exhibitions in Cybernetic Serendipity. Roomba Paintings is indeed a cross between great engineering/science and art. 

I feel that Roomba Paintings are a very innovative display of cybernetic art, utilizing computer a.i. and mechanical parts to create a very unique painting. The path that the Roomba takes is unique in every situation. This makes every Roomba Painting its own special scenario. 





5. Robert MALLARY Computer Sculpture: Six Levels of Cybernetics [1969]


Rapper, singer, comedian, writer, director, and producer Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, is no stranger to experimentation when it comes to art. From his Emmy-winning comedy-drama series entitled, “Atlanta” (the city of Atlanta is depicted as a parallel universe of our own) to an interactive music tour, Glover has created a tradition of connecting with his audience that no other rapper or singer has done in quite some time. In 2014, Donald showcased his first interactive music tour entitled, “The Deep Web Tour”, for his sophomore album, “Because The Internet”. This tour was the first interactive concert that I’ve personally ever been to. The show was interactive in that there was a companion app available to download through a link that ticketholders were emailed. This companion app gave audience members the ability to interact with the background screen on stage during the prologue and middle of the show. During the prologue, the app would allow audience members to write short messages within the app in a Twitter-like fashion and the messages would then appear onscreen. [1] The second time audiences were able to interact with the stage’s screen was during the middle of his set a poll question appeared onscreen and the audience would vote in the app.

iw1gq1v0hgyy.jpg Most recently, Childish Gambino released a funk album entitled, “Awaken, My Love” in which the vinyl copy of the album came with a QR code and a Google Cardboard-like VR viewer and a link to yet another companion app. Once scanned in the app, the QR code would then unlock the virtual concert experience (similar to the one shown in the video below). Although, once scanned the code could not be shared and if shared the app would lock you out and codes would not be re-sent. [3]

However, Childish Gambino’s take on an immersive concert experience did not stop there. By collaborating with Microsoft, Childish Gambino created a 3-day VR concert experience for his 3rd album entitled, “Awaken, My Love.” For the event, he and Microsoft deployed a combination of Microsoft’s Kinect Cameras, motion capture technology, projectors, and other media technology, to create an immersive world that engulfs fans in a massive dome in Joshua Tree National Forest. [4] According to Creative Director of Microsoft’s Fred Warren, “We use Kinect [cameras] in an array to allow us to create a 360 model of Childish Gambino as he performs and bring that into a computer-generated environment.” [5] Childish Gambino’s likeness would then appear within the dome as a giant tribal figure standing and dancing above audience members’ heads. Donald’s approach to how the artist and the audience interact with each other exemplifies the notion that a concert can be an experience. With this 3-day experience, Glover and Microsoft have created a new intersection of music and technology, and a new format for how audiences can experience their favorite artists live. Blurring the lines between art and technology. Thus, provoking the question of whether or not technology in itself, is art?


We Went There: Childish Gambino’s Deep Web Tour

Childish Gambino announces The Deep Web Tour 2014


1] Great information when it comes to explaining Donald Glover history with with experimental art. Appreciate you including all of the pieces he worked on and included the video of his collaboration with Microsoft. I would love to see additional visuals like the album with the QR code and maybe athe cardboard VR viewers. I would maybe work on breaking the text up into paragraphs to make it easier to read and also adjust the apsect ration for the videos you included. – Cody


Around the turn of the century, artist Carsten Höller set out to create a work of art meant to challenge our perceptions of reality through coded sequences of light and spatio-temporal illusions. His immediate goal in creating the piece was to blur the lines between spectator and performer within a work of art, while instilling a deep feeling of doubt inside us.

carsten-holler-doubt-exhibition-designboThe installation begins as a single hallway of light, which subsequently divides itself into two paths, each of which is individually illuminated by either yellow or green lights. Once the spectator chooses a path, they will be presented with a multi-level maze of sorts, which combines different sequences of light projection, with moments of darkness, both to challenge our perceptual framework and our understanding of the spatio-temporal framework which we reside in. 


Upon exiting the maze, the spectators are presented with a massive open hallway which showcases the many works that Höller has previously created. Amongst these works are a series of revolving doors and mirrors (left), once again questioning one's perception of reality. Here a series of alternating encoded light strips and reflections of mirrors creating a distortion of space and unity.


Another large highlight of the work is a set of double carousels which spin in opposite directions at a much slower speed than normal. Upon entry, attendees are invited to wear 'upside-down goggles', which when combined with the effect of the carousel seemingly moving backwards, provide an out of body experience, previously compared to floating in space.

All in all, this massive installation seems absolutely breathtaking. It takes us out of our perceptual comfort zones by defamiliarizing perception, thus creatively instilling feelings of 'Doubt' amongst its viewers.

Migration (Empire) by Doug Aitken

8aaeb09fc3a0a4adb9b8988bc3c7b3b87fb7d88bMotel rooms are always, for me, impressive but not so impressive at the same time. It’s a strange creation of the modern era, a home but not a home. It is designed to make travelers feel the room is home like it’s never owned by any other people, but at the same time so many small details can reflect that this is not home at all. Even when we feel the room is too empty but we don’t have that many things to fill the closet or the shelves, and after couple days we still have to empty everything, leave this “home-like’’ place and go on a new journey. Motel is a starting point where enables people to get to somewhere, and also a temporary end point of the day when people come back and rest. Thus, motel rooms embody the contradicting sense of hominess and homelessness and sense of migration.

And American hotel rooms are where Doug Aitken’s short film Migration (Empire) takes place. The work debuted in 2008 at 303 Gallery in New York. The artist unexpectedly mixed the scenes of motel room settings with wild animals (animals are recurring theme in his work.) As the animal explore the ubiquitous industrial interiors, the film explores the relationship between these American untamed wilderness and our human involvement of industrialization. The film starts with aerial view of industrial landscape of cargo transportation with trains, along with the mix city view and nature settings to remind the viewers that human as one part of the nature, has become huge immigrator community that settles across the land. Then camera goes into the motel, and the first thing comes to the screen is the gaze of a horse, directing towards a black and white tv screen which is play video of untamed horses running in nature. The sense of restraint of the motel horse is created which also leads to the following scene, which is two white peacocks on motel beds shivering their tails and looking at the window with a tv screen playing thousands of bird flying freely. The film includes many beautiful but also cruel scenes, such as a fox wandering in the motel room and noticing the view outside of the window is different because of the mesh screen; a deer drinking water from a swimming pool; an otter bathing in a bath tub. And before we start getting into the scenario and the relationship between the specific animal with the room itself, the film shifts into another animal, another occupant with a new room, which proves again the homelessness embodied by the motel room.

525da79f6dfde2e32d9bb907a3807c55.jpegOne thing is fascinating is that the film uses the perspective of the wild creatures instead of human in all of the scenarios suggesting that industrializing movements made by human has greatly changed the landscape. The film almost feels like human disappeared for some reasons and the animals have to migrate to the motel room for living. They seem like they have to adapt to urban life since there’s nowhere else to go. One part of the video really touches me is that most of the animals seem adapting not to bad, except one bison that keeps goring the motel bed with its horn. Animals are not actors, but are innocent creatures that express their feelings through their body languages, and as a viewer, I do feel the struggle of the bison and also frustration of other animals in various ways.


The Island of Pal

IMG_2405.JPGso much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

–William Carlos Williams, "The Little Red Wheelbarrow"

In Anne Farrell's, The Island of Pal, little red skiffs float on undulating waters, but so do 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.


Contained in a Plexiglas case are two 3-D printed plastic spoons, one long and white, one short and black, each fancifully decorated with a frilly wide bow, suggestive of extravagant gifts and luxurious party dresses. Despite their differences in size and color, these spoons—emblems of the acts of feeding, digging, music-making—cohere; a second case protects a single small boat devoid of either passengers or cargo, its red and black paint painstakingly applied to appear weathered, and by inference, traveled. But how, with no oars or engine or agent, human or otherwise, aboard?


Projected on the far wall are two separate animated images, picture window size. On the left is an island in the distinct form of a leaf, and a pond in the shape of a giant amoeba in which renderings of magnified corpuscular cells pulse on the surface like fibrillating lotus blossoms. These projections of leaf island and amoeba pond, which foreground the rippling, writhing  instability of both land and water, help attune us to Farrell's primary preoccupation in this work—the shape of things. In all meanings: the particular external forms of her objects, but also their condition, what shape are they in? What is their fitness for continued existence and what will be the quality of that existence in a world where lands are gobbled for development, water is poisoned by industrial polluters, and beautiful wild things go tragically extinct, daily.


Farrell terms them “maps,” but hers is no ordinary cartography, at least the directions are not cardinal points on a magnetized compass, and the landmarks are referenced by her quotidian spoons and beds and chairs and skiffs. We might call hers an "onto-cartography" in that what she'smapping is being itself. Why would Farrell even attempt new maps, even symbological ones, if not to urge the need for, and possibility of, a reorientation? Maps are invitations, future forward ones; they move us onward, if only in our imaginations. Discovering the depth of the realms being sounded and charted by Anne Farrell, or at least trying to, is but part of the joy of engaging with The Island of Pal.

IMG_2402.JPGOn the installation's side wall near the floor, its lowly placement a curiosity in and of itself, diminutive images of certain selected elements are projected in a slow and steady slide show. The lilliputian display reminds us to read the objects qua objects, absent their environments. Here we can let all of our uncensored associations froth to the surface—charms in a board game, Van Gogh's Bedroom in Arles, Kandinsky's psycho-spiritual canvasses, the horse's head in The Godfather, coinage of fallen empires, and so on. We're also cornered into a consideration of dimensionality, as we share space simultaneously with the artifacts themselves and their various pixelated visual representations. Transformation too is in the mix—spoons were once pixels (before they were read and 3-D printed) and become pixels again in the digital animation.

The ambient sound-scape permeating the installation offers no aural clues to an easily identifiable reality: ambiguity is amplified, mystery resounds, here ecstasy is still possible.

Inside a bricolage gilt frame is a screen upon which a ten-minute video containing all of these disparate constituents (and new characters too) is played in a loop. Also called The Island of Pal, the video is a dream narrative of Pal, Bonnie, and Clyde (neo-mythical names for fantastical beings) delighting in an idyll of grasslands and wildflowers. The animation makes no attempt to be lifelike. While the horses' plush tails do swish, their legs don't bend; they don't gallop so much as absurdly hop all four legs at once from point to point, or they hurtle through space without touching down at all.

The video has its own soundtrack filled with the ringing tones of chimes and plinking, tinkling bells (accessible by headphones). One comes to feel that this music is generated from our host Pal's own imagination as he frolics and flies about the landscape, striking notes and chords all beautifully pleasing to his toy horse ears. Decorative flourishes like cascading stars and dancing curlicues stir the atmosphere into a climactic vortex, but without any sense of menace or negative consequence in the controlled chaos of creation. A gleaming metallic robotic mannequin sits on a boulder contemplating the marvelous "natural" setting, peaceably co-existing with all beings—parasites and pollinators, alike; at first the robot is bare, but then covers itself in a diagonally-striped tigerish mini-dress. Amongst a deluge of falling leaves, it departs, its “spirit” stirred and refreshed, ready to hit the dance floor.

Currents 2015 website page on Island of Pal


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.

This is Navid Navab and Eona´s work, a perfect example of fragility. That fragility that well describes the process of New Media´s innestablity and the uncertainty of how to preserve it and the experience.

The installation unravels from the personal experience of the artist finding old family letters, a past that was never spoken, being part of the Iranian left wings, the history of the family was hidden, just as a scapist hides and blurs him or herself from the scope. Navab and Eona share the same experience, both finding letters and both trying to redefine their history.

"Threads dwells with the mnemonic dimension of the written word and puts under the magnifying glass the acts of reading and writing in an intricate play of sensorial relations. Drop-spindles suspended in mid-air hold threads made out of hand-written paper, a transcription of a century-old correspondence. When touched, they produce sounds modulated on movement. Threads reveals memory as a blueprint of sensation and suggests that its capturing is volatile and ephemeral." [1]

As you walk thru the coiled paper (like the ancient japanese technique), the sounds of the  letters  follows.

Threads entry on Currents 2015 website

[1] Project description on Vimeo

Wave UFO Combining her love of sci-fi and her penchant for installations, artist Mariko Mori created a unique, encapsulating experience that literally transports the viewers to another world in Wave UFO. Mariko's goal is to make the audience experience what it would be like to go to another planet. Inside of the pod, visitors are given "a set of electrodes that gather brainwave data" [1] that feed to a video monitor inside of the pod. This is played alongside a second video screen, and those two coupled together represent both sides of the brain's psychology and functions. Viewers recline in padded seats placed around the pod, in which they watch the two screens. After the seven minutes of footage end, visitors disembark via the staircase.

This piece corresponds with each of her other pieces, such as Primal Rhythms 2007 [2], which is one of her pieces that includes multiple composite images of ancient ruins and landscapes, coupled with her own manufactured images of space ships and futuristic monuments. She has also crafted many other futuristic artworks, most of them self portraits of Mariko in costumes that resemble anime characters and cyborgs.

Another artist that plays with perceptions of reality is Robert Lazzarini, who makes skewed and surreal sculptures that toy with the viewers' sense of depth and space [3]. His sculpture, payphone, is a similar object to Wave UFO, in that it is a physical object in which the artist shows how they would reinvent things around us in the physical world.

Mariko's style is the epitome of mid 1990's to early 2000's sci-fi pop art, telling stories in single frames and sleek, complex installations. Her visions of the future are full of color, mysticism, and hyper-advanced technology, setting her apart from the darker parts of the art world.

[1] TeachWiki (

[2] Contemporary Art, Martha Garzon (

[3] AEM, Works, (Shanken, p. 94)

[4] Kunsthaus Bregenz, extra information (

Live-Taped Video Corridor


Beginning in the early 20th century, artists and philosophers began to challenge the well-defined line that had been previously drawn between an artist and their audience. These thinkers included creatives such as Marcel Duchamp, who expressed his belief that in art, the work is not whole without active participation from the spectator, that “the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world…and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.” [2]  Bruce Nauman’s 1970 closed-loop video work Live-Taped Video Corridor engages its audience in a fairly straightforward way; by allowing them to track their own movements through a well-defined space in real time, but with certain spatial contortions.

naumanpic.jpg Live-Taped Video Corridor consists of two monitors installed on the floor at the end of a vertically elongated hallway, with a ceiling-mounted camera above the entrance to the installation. The bottom monitor displays a pre-shot loop of the corridor with no one inside, while the top monitor displays the movement of the participant in real-time. Due to both physical and perceptual aspects, the work exudes a sense of claustrophobia. The primary and most obvious factor that contributes to this is the constrictive nature of the physical space itself. The corridor is extremely narrow, preventing lateral movement, and thus restricts the participant to two directions: “in” or “out”.  However, the image on the video monitors serve to compound the claustrophobic tone of the work. Due to the fact that the mounted camera is above the entrance, as observers moves towards the monitors to track their movement, their figures become smaller and smaller, seemingly disappearing down the monolithic corridor. Furthermore, due to the positioning of the camera, it is only possible to see one’s own back. This distances the participant from their own actions, making them feel helpless to the visual dissonance that Nauman has introduced.


Though the work on the whole is pure in its translation of movement to video (that is to say that Nauman does not warp or pervert the footage between its capture and its display), Live-Taped Video Corridor aims to scramble the observer’s perception of their movement. The projected images are counter-intuitive; the viewers’ attempts to see themselves only makes that task all the more difficult. The impossibility of facing forward on the monitor makes them question their own presence in the corridor. In this way, Nauman’s work serves as a distortion of the principle of technology as a mirror, as explained by David Rokeby. Rokeby states that the true purpose of an interactive technology is to work as a mirror, allowing the audience to communicate with themselves. He elaborates that interactive technologies “reflect our desire to feel engaged.” [4] Though it cannot be denied that this work engages its audience, it deliberately fails to act as a two-way mirror. Instead of providing an outlet for self-reflection, the work hinders clarity and the participant “slips into the role of someone monitoring their own activities.” [3] This deorients the observer and forces them into a sense of surveillance. In a way, Live-Taped Video Corridor functions as a dislocating device between motion and intent. Because of the backward orientation of the camera and monitors, the physical motive (the desire to either "get closer" or "move away") and the eventual resulting image on the monitor are opposite to one another. This phenomenon disrupts participants' sense of self-reflection, promoting the feeling of "watching" over "doing." David Rokeby defined a interactive technological mirror to be a "medium through which we communicate with ourselves." [4] Though it may seem like Nauman is perverting this ideal of self-communication through the spatial trickery present in his installation, such a dialgoue is still possible. However, instead of speaking to one's self face-to-face, as if standing in front of a two-way mirror, Nauman's work facilitates an exchange similar to that of a one-way mirror, where the selves are disconnected. This ultimately makes the participants feel powerless in the installation, as they can act only as monitors.

When looked at as an artistic whole, Live-Taped Video Corridor represents a work that is not simply participatory in nature, but completely reliant on the activity of its observers. The bottom monitor on the floor of the hallway serves to show Nauman’s awareness of this very fact. This monitor, which displays an endless videotape loop of the empty corridor (though it could be a still photograph and the difference would be indiscernable), acts as a sort of “negative control group” for the installation. It displays what the artwork is without the introduction of the human element: an empty hallway with two monitors on the floor. The inclusion of this “control group” by Nauman is his acknowledgment of his reliance on an active audience for this particular work. In a slightly ironic twist, it’s the movement and behavior patterns of the audience that perpetuate the unsettling nature of the work. There’s nothing inherently suspenseful about a corridor with two monitors at the end (though the interior design may be suspect). However, once the human element is introduced, the movement toward and away from the camera creates the images on the top monitor at the end of the hallway. The audience’s viewing of the monitor image in turn induces an emotional response that further affects their movement patterns. This cycle continues until the participant decides to exit the corridor. In short, there is a self-perpetuating cycle of movement inducing emotion inducing movement, and so on. At any time, an active audience member could revert back to a conventional observer by stopping in their tracks and averting their eyes from the monitors.  However, most people tend to be too curious to break the cycle.                                                                               

weibelpic.jpgJust as Bruce Nauman explores the distancing of individuals from their own movement, Peter Weibel examines the limits of self-alienation in his work Observation of the Observation: Uncertainty. This video installation involves participants standing in the center of a circle with three video monitors and cameras spaced equidistant along the perimeter. As the participants turn to each of the monitors in an attempt to view themselves from the front, they find that to be impossible. Both Nauman and Weibel’s works involve the viewing of self, but Weibel’s pushes the concept of self-surveillance to an even further extreme by imposing harsher spatial restriction on the participant. While Nauman’s Live-Taped Video Corridor operates along a gradient of “in” and “out”, representing the observer’s movement along the axis of the hallway, Weibel’s work has only one “point” where the participant can be; the center of the circle. Because of this, the images displayed are much less dynamic than those in Nauman’s work, all are shot at the same distance and at roughly the same angle. This reinforces the theme of surveillance as the participant is constantly “experiencing the piece as being observed and never as observer.” [5] In this way, Observation of the Observation: Uncertainty is an exercise in futility, examining how long an audience will attempt to see themselves before resigning to being an image rather than a viewer.


[1] Bruce Nauman – Live-Taped Video Corridor

[2] Shanken, Edward A. Art and Electronic Media. London: Phaidon, 2009. 28

[3] Live-Taped Video Corridor

[4] Shanken, Edward A. Art and Electronic Media. London: Phaidon, 2009. 223

[5] Shanken, Edward A. Art and Electronic Media. London: Phaidon, 2009. 106

Image for Weibel's work from: Observation of the Observation: Uncertainty

The Event of a Thread


Ann Hamilton's 2012 piece, "The Event of a Thread," was a massive art installation that spans the entirety of the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. The work was meant to respond and interact with the space's architecture and internal structures, as well as to be interactive with the audience. The space was divided, at its width, in the center of the room by a floor to ceiling billowing white curtain of fabric. The fabric would dance and move as the audience used swing sets attached to pulleys placed around the room. Every time someone would swing backwards, their momentum would tug a cable, thus jostling the fabric. Stationed at the entrances to the room, reader/scribes would sit at wooden tables, reading selected pieces of text to carrier pigeons, locked in wooden cages until the end of the day, when they would be released into the Armory.

In addition to the scribes, a record would play music for an entire day, and a new one would be placed on the player when the pigeons were set free. Visitors were also encouraged to listen to paper bags, which contained speakers, which would play the dialog of the reader/scribes from the entranceway [1]. Along with the sounds of other visitors and the speakers, a series of bells, attached to the pulleys, would ring out whenever someone pulled a swing a certain way.

In her statement about the work, Hamilton says that "is made of many crossings of the near at hand and the far away" [2]. She then describes how all of the elements of the installation interact, and how connected everything is in the space. She gives the examples of "a body crossing space, is a writer's hand crossing a sheet of paper, is a voice crossing a room in a paper bag, is a reader crossing with a page and with another reader" [2]. Even the positioning of the ropes mimics her intent as they spider web across the ceiling space. The division of the room is also symbolic of her idea that paths cross.

In her piece The Fantasy Beyond Control, artist Lynn Hershman Leeson writes about a video game experience that involves the viewers interacting with the environment around the main character. She writes that "viewer/participants access information about [the character's] past, future, and personal conflicts via these artefacts [the objects in the character's apartment]" [3]. In the same way that the audience is supposed to discover things about the character, Hamilton wishes her audience to forge connections with others in the room, as well as with the audience themselves, through the reading of the texts she provides, and the actions of the viewers. While Leeson is describing an experience ruled by fear, Hamilton's piece creates a sense of calm in the people who came to see it, as they interacted with it in ways she had never thought of. People spent hours laying on the floor beneath the curtain, listening to the speakers in the paper bags.

As is the plan of most of her installations, The Event of a Thread was a temporary installation, and was dismantled in 2013.

[1] Park Avenue Armory, ANN HAMILTON: the event of a thread (location website)

[2] Ann Hamilton, the event of a thread (artist's website)

[3] Ian Forster, Exclusive: Ann Hamilton: "the event of a thread" (installation review)

A Sound Garden

A Sound Garden, by Douglas Hollis, is an installation of 12 tower-like structures in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Seattle location, near Warren G. Magnuson Park on Lake Washington, a few miles northeast of the University of Washington [1]. It is a part of that NOAA facility's Art Walk, which contains 4 other pieces in addition to A Sound Garden [3]. The structures contain pipes that generate a wide variety of sounds, depending on how fast the wind is blowing and in which direction [2]. As the area that A Sound Garden is usually windy and the winds can vary greatly, you'll almost always hear something if you pay the piece a visit and you're unlikely to hear it play the same patterns of sounds if you visit it more than once. Actually visiting it doesn't come without hurdles, though: Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the NOAA facility and all of the art pieces on it, including this one, have been placed under semi-restricted access. It can still be visited for free, but there are a lot of things you can't bring with you and any bags you carry will be searched on entrance to the facility [1] [2].

origin.jpgAlthough the pitches and "notes" played by the pipes vary a lot, the sounds generated by the pipes almost always sound similar, as they would for any instrument: The notes usually take the form a loud, whistling, moaning, howling sound, which can be both beautiful and a little bit eerie to listen to.

Though there are five pieces of Art on the NOAA Art Walk, A Sound Garden is by far the most popular. In part, this is because the sound aspect of it makes it the most interesting but it is also notorious because The Seattle Grunge band Soundgarden named itself after it[3]. Viewpoint Terrace or Berth Haven are not very good names for a band!

The artist, Douglas Hollis, who styles himself as a "Sound Sculptor" [3] has done many other aeolian public art projects, including Singing Bridges on the Niagara River and Aeolean Harp (2013, video below) at the Exploratorium on Pier 15 in San Francisco [3].




Rain Room

Rain Room is an interactive installation piece created by rAndom International, a multimedia artistic team based in London. This artwork seeks to emulate the experience of rain in an indoor setting; within a large room, drops of water fall from the ceiling, creating a constant, thunderous downpour. When a person is introduced to this space, they are monitored by 3D depth cameras that inform Rain Room’s software system of the person’s exact location, causing the rain directly above the individual to cease. As a result of this technology, a person remains dry as they move throughout the space.

The following statement taken from Charlie Gere’s Digital Culture is particularly relevant to Rain Room and the topic of charged environments: “it is now recognized that all works of art require participation from the audience to be completed” [1]. Gere describes these types of artworks as “open works,” meaning that the involvement of both the artist and the audience are required for a work to be fully realized. Rain Room fits this idea of an open work; without human interaction, the piece can be simply described as an oversized shower, but with the participation of an audience, Rain Room is transformed into a paradoxically fascinating tool of art that pays attention to its audience and assigns them with the role of both artist and performer.  This characteristic of Rain Room is consistent with the typical works produced by rAndom International. As described by rAndom International artist Florian Ortkrass, “all the things we do, they’re kind of nonsense without someone being there” [2].

Aside from its requirement of audience interactivity, another interesting aspects of Rain Room is that its artists did not specifically endow it with intrinsic meaning or an explicit message. Instead of trying to contribute any significant cultural commentary, as so many new media artworks so often do, Rain Room simply extends further the responsibilities of the audience and asks them to decide what the piece means to them. In this way, Rain Room can be quite accurately described as an experiment, a study of human behavior interested in the various reactions that different individuals have to the piece. As Ortkrass explains, “we put these things out and then see what people do with it rather than us kind of forcing a certain way of people—how they have to behave” [3]. Without a concrete message conveyed through the artwork, participants of Rain Room are free to have their own unique interactions with the piece. Some describe their experiences with Rain Room as pleasant sensory experience. Some were intrigued by the idea that they could control the weather. Others even challenged the capabilities of the piece, testing the limits of Rain Room by attempting to run through the space. Overall, the significance of Rain Room is left for the audience to determine, resulting in varied array of reactions and ideas.

A compelling comparison can be made between Rain Room and a similar work of art, Virtual Mirror – Rain, which involves a room in which rain falls upwards inside the room according to the rainfall outside, as detected by outdoor sensors [4]. Similarly to Rain Room, Virtual Mirror – Rain, by Tao Sambolec, also has an interactive component in which an individual can control the flow of upwards rain by dripping droplets of water onto a sensor located in the middle of the room. Both pieces give their audience the ability to control the weather. However, they differ with regard to the immersion of the audience in the work and the attention given to them. In Rain Room, the artwork is defined by the participation of the audience and makes its audience its focal point; the piece literally arranges itself around its participants and obeys their every move. In contrast, Virtual Mirror – Rain simply allows its audience a low stakes opportunity to impact the movement of the piece, while the upwards-falling rain remains as the key focal element of the artwork; unlike Rain Room, Virtual Mirror – Rain can still change and be manipulated without human stimluation.

[1] Charlie Gere, Digital Culture, 2nd edition (Reaktion, 2008) Pg. 84




The Weather Project


The Weather Project by Olaffur Eliasson is a grandiose and immersive work of art that in the height of it's installment attracted over 2 million visitors.The project was set inside the Tate Modern in London starting in 2003 and filled the space of the Turbine Hall. A circular disc in the center radiated a glowing yellow light reminiscent of the sun from hundreds of monochromatic lamps. The air was filled with a mist that consisted of sugar and water and was created using humidifiers. The final element of this project was the massive mirror on the ceiling that visitors would lay down and view and watch their tiny shadows move around.

When it comes to aesthetic, this project brings it all. The ambience and glow created by the artificial sun creats a warm atmosphere the viewers can become immersed in. It becomes a place of sanctuary where there is no lack of energy. Coupled with the beautiful and warm atmosphere is the interactive aspect that having the massive mirror brings. Viewers can actively explore the artwork and lay down and view their shadows from far away. The change in perspective becomes extraordinary and allows a viewer to become lost in thought and fully experence the magnificent installment. 

This project is very relatable to other artwork created by Olafur. A theme Olafure tends to play with is the construction of light and creating a certain atmosphere with that light. "Remagine" is another work created by Olafur that takes an otherwise plain room, and uses a spotlight to create geometrical shapes along the wall creating a mesmerizing scene. The difference however between the two is that while "Remagine" creates an image and has a narrow perspective, "The Weather Project" however creates another world and atmosphere that can vary greatly in perspective between viewers.

Dialtones Telesymphony

Dialtones, produced in 2001 by artist Golan Levin, is a musical ensemble of participant’s cellphones that is much like an auditorium-style concert. This work of art has played in many places, including its debut at the Ars Electronica Festival (Linz, Austria) in 2001 [1]. The performance is put on by a group of people, such as composers, technicians, and interactions, but it is played by the partcipants themselves! Levin had a pretty specific purpose in mind when he made this, which was in essence to bring the human-technology interaction into a performance. By allowing the users to methodically become a part of the show, allows the user to become one with the technology surrounding them. This work was meant to give a certain feeling towards the audience, and to let the audience feel the effect of the technology in their pocket, in a visual and audio performance.

The whole performance works by participants sitting in the right places with the right dialtones. When participants enter the show, they are assigned seats and assigned ringtones. On stage there are four people who control the entire performance, including the sound, and what comes up on the screen. The sounds heard are a diverse variety of common dialtones heard on cellphones from the last decade. It is very melodic, and combines sounds in beats. Two screens make up the focal point of the stage, while there is little ambient light. Some seats in the crowd light up when those sitting there play their dialtone. The lit seats are represented by positions on the screens, so viewers can see where the noise is coming from, as well as hear the sounds surrounding them.

In terms of its presentation, it reminds me a lot of Datamatics (2006) by Ryoji Ikeda [2]. Datamatics takes computer sounds and makes a melody out of it, while there is matching visuals on a screen.  Both have melodic beats matched with visuals, but the contrast here is that Dialtones is more about the participation of everyone, whereas Datamatics could go on with no viewers. This connection between the viewers of the performance is very important, and intentional, to give the desired effect.

This show is gripping both with its sound and visuals, but I think connection to the audience is what gives the intended feel of the work. As the viewers are intrigued by the familiar sounds of the cellphone world, there is a certain visual pattern that goes along with the noise. Golan Levin says on the work, “It is hoped that the experience of Dialtones can permanently alter the way in which its participants think about the cellular space we inhabit.” [3] It is intriguing to look at the audience’s seats be lit up, and then seeing the matching pattern on the screen onstage. The locus of interaction is kind of virtual in this case, as it lies invisibly between the people. Of course they can see it, but more importantly they are making it, so I think that is what gives it a virtual locus of connectivity. It gives the viewer a way to participate and add to the whole performance, which makes it dynamic. Lev Manovich, a very well know person in digital art, would see the sophistication in this design. Lev Manovich is quoted saying, “Smart design, of course, is not just about using good lighting and quality materials, and thinking about how to create comfortable spaces, which have ambience and atmosphere using variety of means … "Ultimately, smart design is about fresh thinking: not taking anything for granted, and re-thinking every convention and every detail of space, an object, or a process." [4] Golan Levin certainly did that, and I would imagine accomplished his goal of trying to permanently alter the perception of the cellular space we inhabit.

Only one of Golan Levin’s many works, Dialtones is still very important for its implications in society at that time. The year 2001 was around the time of the cellphone boom, right as society was all starting to use them. This really showed the connectivity between all of us now, which is new a concept for our society. I’m sure Levin knew that the cell phone was going to boom, so that is probably why his goal was to alter people’s perceptions. He does this, by showing participants and viewers the interactivity and connectivity of cellphones, which we are constantly reminded of with performances like this. Of course we all know of the power of cell phones now, more than 10 years after this concert. This medium of charged environments from crowd participation is really something interesting, and this is just the start of more to come as technology advances, hopefully. Golan Levin had a goal with this piece that I think he achieved, being so interactive the crowd can really feel the effect, which was awareness of cellular connectivity in today’s day and age.

[1] – about

[2] – Datamatics official AEM-OC

[3] Edward A. Shanken, Art and Electronic Media. Works. pg. 33

[4] Manovich, Lev. Designing Shanghai, or Why East of the New West. 2007 – Lev Manovich

[5] – about and videos

Elektrostatic Interference

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Elektrostatic Interference by Barry Schwartz and Arterial Group


The following is an excerpt from

The huge, wide walls of the Brisbane Powerhouse Turbine Hall wrap around us, flooded with images moving slowly, vertically, the effect is vertiginous. In the centre of the hall digital images play on a large screen above a collection of bright metal sculptures standing just above water. A projection on another wall picks up artists and technicians as they move purposefully about the space. A choir appears on various levels delivering text in song, chatter, chirp and mutter. The recorded voice of an elderly one-time Powerhouse worker, Max Ham, intones the fun of working life (including his workers’ skiffle group, The 5 Kilowatts) and the horrors of a building then awash with asbestos and machines that chopped off fingers and limbs. A long row of artists and technicians sit at a bank of computers, lighting and sound desks. Centre stage is the American Barry Schwartz (electro-mechanical structures, RT#44) and, constellating about him, the Belgian Bastiaan Maris (chemo-acoustic installations), the Brisbane artists Andrew Kettle (sound) and Keith Armstrong (visual production) and others in their coveralls.

As the installation-performance slowly unfolds over the hour, sparks begin to fly, shooting out of the top of a condensor accompanied by shards of sound. Schwartz activates the sculptures. The stroking of a large metal disk yields eerily primal metallic groans. The artist lowers what looks like a huge, smoking turntable arm onto the same disk unleashing pure, massive cymbal-like tones. The pace of the work accelerates, the tone growing more ominous, the choir heralding something apocalyptic, Ham telling of death by electric shocks, death by asbestosis. Schwartz dons long, protective, insulated yellow sleeves and big gloves, dips them into water and turns to the big screen, now streaming with water. He strikes, igniting the water with balls of electricity that travel up and fade, as others climb higher and higher, each stroke ringing out like chorded bells heralding the end of time. Unlike the workers in the Powerhouse who were electrocuted and resuscitated or died, Schwartz is safe, transforming danger into awesome, if grim beauty.

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Contact: A Cybernetic Sculpture

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Contact: A Cybernetic Sculpture by Les Levine

LES LEVINE produced two installations, Iris (1968) and Contact: A Cybernetic Sculpture (1969), which were important predecessors to Wipe Cycle, although less complex. In Iris, six monitors in a grid show imagery of viewers in close-up, mid-range, and wide angle; in Contact, the concept of Iris is extended with similar imagery on 18 monitors (nine on either side), with images switching from screen to screen.

– Marita Sturken, May 1984, Afterimage, Vol. 11, No. 10


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Iris by Les Levine


Also in 1968, Levine produced his first “television sculpture”, Iris. Once again, Levine had the viewer confronting himself via television. In this case, all the hardware for the closed-circuit system was contained in one eight-foot-tall sculpture-console. Standing in front of this console, the viewer faced six monitors and three concealed video cameras. The cameras shot the space in front of the console, and presented views of the environment in close-up, middle distance, and wide angle. Each of these cameras had its own monitor and the three others provided distorted images that might or might not be recognizable. Thus, a viewer standing in front of the console could see three different views of himself juxtaposed with other random video information.


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Curiosity Cabinet at the End of the Millennium

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Curiosity Cabinet at the End of the Millennium by Catherine Richards



Curiosity Cabinet at the End of the Millenium 1995

Inside the copper cabinet the spectator is a rare collectable, independent from our electro magnetic media environments. This ‘unplugged’ viewer is displayed as a kind of endangered species.

Copper mesh, mahogany wood, copper cable. 96 x 48 x 48 inches.

Commissioned for Self Determination/Body Politic at the Gemeentmuseum, Arnhem, Holland, 1995.

All technical equipment is supplied and part of the piece. Technical instructions and support can be provided as negotiated.

Solar Audio Window Installation

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Ted Victoria (1970)

“Solar Audio Window Transmission” (1969-1970) came out of a series of sound scultptures in which Ted Victoria attempted to create something akin to an audio painting by isolating sound onto a visual surface. Eventually, he started to make works that could be transmitted outdoors and powered by the sun, and with “Solar Audio Window Transmission,” he used the sun to transmit radio signals through a variety of unlikely materials and surfaces such as trees, windows, and water.

As designed by Victoria, the series’ pieces took a variety of shapes and responded directly weather conditions at the time they were left outdoors. The sound source was completely random and came from a variety of radio sources—some were tuned into the National Weather Station and solely transmitted meteorological forecasts, while others were tuned to news, sport, music, and talk stations. Each sculpture’s physical dimensions were designed to alter the radio signals’ sound: a series of columns slightly distorted the audio source as it emanated from the piece and, in some works, several sources overlapped each other to produce a collage of sounds.

When exhibited at the Jewish Museum’s Software Exhibition in 1970, “Solar Audio Window Transmission” consisted of six solar pieces on the roof of the building, each connected to the various windows near the museum’s entrance. With each sculpture tuned to different radio sources, a collage of constantly changing sound blanketed the front of the museum whenever the sun was shining. By subtly altering the building’s façade, Victoria implored the audience to engage with the museum’s physicality in a new way while also considering alternative uses of solar energy—in this case, as a source material for information capable of producing works of art.

Poème Électronique

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Poème Électronique by Le Corbusier, Ianis Xenakis ,Edgard Varèse




Poème électronique is the first, electronic-spatial environment to combine architecture, film, light and music to a total experience made to functions in time and space. Under the direction of Le Corbusier, Iannis Xenaki’s concept and geometry designed the World’s Fair exhibition space adhering to mathematical functions. Edgard Varèse composed the both concrete and vocal music which enhanced dynamic, light and image projections conceived by Le Corbusier. Varèse’s work had always sought the abstract and, in part, visually inspired concepts of form and spatial movements. Among other elements for «Poème électronique» he used machine noises, transported piano chords, filtered choir and solo voices, and synthetic tone colorings. With the help of the advanced technical means made available through the Philips Pavilion, the sounds of this composition for tape recorder could wander throughout the space on highly complex routes.

«The Philips Pavilion presented a collage liturgy for twentieth-century humankind, dependent on electricity instead of daylight and on virtual perspectives in place of terrestrial views.»


(Source: Marc Treib, Space Calculated in Seconds, Princeton, 1996, p. 3)


Bicycle Wheel

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CRI_63009.jpg“Bicycle Wheel is Duchamp’s first readymade, a class of objects he invented to challenge assumptions about what constitutes a work of art. Duchamp combined two mass-produced parts—a bicycle wheel and fork and a kitchen stool—to create a type of nonfunctional machine. By simply selecting prefabricated items and calling them art, he subverted established notions of the artist’s craft and the viewer’s aesthetic experience. The 1913 Bicycle Wheel was lost, but nearly four decades later Duchamp assembled a replacement from newly found prefabricated parts and affirmed that the later version is as valid as the original.”

Source : MOMA collection:

“First Tighten Up on the Drums” Norman White

First-Tighten-Up-on-the-Drums.jpgArtist Norman White was fascinated by how computer almost run themselves.  So he wanted to created a piece that involved integrated circuits that seemed to act like they had lives of their own.  "Using several hundred early-vintage digital integrated circuits donated by the Sprague Electric Company, Norman set about creating a machine which would autonomously generate shimmering light patterns similar to those seen at the bottoms of swimming pools. Much of the ten months spent making the machine involved teaching himself electronics. When it was finally done, the patterns generated turned out to be more reminiscent of clouds swirling past an airplane porthole, or rain dripping down a window-pane. Looking back now, Norman realize it is an early Cellular Automata experiment."[1]

His piece did created shapes by illuminating different neon bulbs which gave off a calming and soothing sight, but at the same time demonstrated the use of common elextronic to create something beautiful. 

[1] Compart "First Tighten Up on the Drums"

“Electrum” by Eric Orr

electrum.jpgWhen most people think of electricity, they simply see it as a way to power everything.  Some people also see it as as dangerous and almost uncontrollable in its raw form outside of conductors or wiring.  Artist, Eric Orr, used technology previously invented by scientist Nikola Tesla.  Nikola introduced the Tesla reactor to explore electricity and alternating current.  Little did he know, he would open the door for huge inventions like home light bulbs.  Eric Orr did not invent the Tesla reactor, just took on a different aspect of the original.  Orr used his reactor to make large somewhat controllable lightning bolts that can be used as visualizations and even to make music. When asked what were some of the ideas behind his work Orr said,”‘The most widely held misconception about Light and Space art is that it involves things; in its purest form, it’s completely intangible and exists only in the sensate mind,”  So Eric wanted to explore this idea and try to find a way to sort of control light and electricity.  To do this, he contructed a massive Tesla tower that can make lightning bolts over 50ft long.  Below I have attached a video of Tesla reactors being used to create music. 

[1] “‘Eric Orr’s ‘Electrum’: Call It Heavy Mettle” by Kristine McKenna

Faraday Cage

Tom-Sherman-Faraday-Cage.jpgIn the early 1970s, Tom Sherman’s work focused on the form and definition of sculpture. In 1973, Sherman became very interested in radio waves and how they interact with each other and with humans. [1] As his facination with radios grew, he decided that he wanted to build a “shelter” or a “radio-free” environment to test signal strength. He essentially made a six-foot cube that was free of electromagnetic radiation. He named these safe cubes, Faraday Cages.[2]



Sherman%2CTom.jpgThus began the birth of Faraday Cages being placed within gallery spaces. He explains his Faraday Cages (image right) as indoor, portable laboratories that allow him to run further experiments within the gallery space. With this aspect of the piece, this cage becomes an interesting work of art that viewers can experience real-time as Sherman is working. Some could see this piece as performance art, but when Tom Sherman was not busy experimenting, the large metal box would stand alone in the gallery space. Even on it’s own the box would still have a huge impact on viewers within the gallery setting. When the Faraday Cage is open, viewers in the gallery are able to enter this “safe house” that closes off the viewer from “outside distractions.” This whole theory of creating a getaway from everyday distractions is much more common now, due to social networks, emails, and constant contact, than it was when this cage was built in 1973.



This same theory inspired the works of Catherine Richards in her version called the Curiosity Cabinet at the End of the Millennium. With Richards work, she was very fascinated with how surrounded we are with mixed media, advertising, and visual pollution in everyday life. So much so that we need to sometimes get away form all of that and realize that we rely on those things too much. The box created by Catherine Richards was much smaller than Sherman’s Faraday Cage


bild.jpg[3] Her Cabinet works very similar to Sherman’s Cage, in dealing with electromagnetic fields and allowing the user to interact with the space. The user is allowed to climb into the Curiosity Cabinet at the End of the Millennium. Closing the door creates a closed circuit. With the box completely closed, the metal outer “webbing” serves as a shield from outer interference from the magnetic and electrical wavelength that surrounds us in everyday life. The outside of the cabinet is wired with thin copper wiring connected to larger copper wiring which is grounded through copper pipes.[4]

These two great examples of “safe houses” opens the eyes of viewers as they interact with electromagnetic fiends in everyday life and also reminds us to “unplug” ourselves from society’s threshold.



[1] Edward Shanken, A4t and Electronic Media (Themes & Movement), (New Yourk: Phaidon Press, 2009) p. 29

[2] Tom Sherman Interviews: LINKED HERE

[3] Richards’ Curiosity Cabinet: Media Art Net entry LINKED HERE

[4] Other examples of Faraday Cages: LINKED HERE

“Fly” by rAndom International

AI-FLY-6.jpgAccording to the artists, “Fly studies the movement of objects and insects within a confined space. An abstract representation of a fly is held captive inside a glass box, centrally ensnared by eight cables. The behaviour of this ‘fly’ is controlled by a unique and autonomous algorithm, accurately simultating the observed behaviour of real flies.The ‘fly’ has the freedom to move anywhere within its box, but lacks spatial reference.” [1]

This piece immitates the actions of an insect or fly in real life. rAndom International, an experimental art/design collective based in London, used a system of pullies to suspend the titanium ball inside the glass box.  When a viewer walks up to the piece, the ball moves sporadically away and around the enclosure like a fly naturally would.  If the person stops, the object becomes more comfortable and moves closer, but when motion continues, the ball moves away again and continues to “fly” around.  This piece uses mechanical aspects like titanium cables and pullies, but creates an environment with an organic feel to it.

[1] rAndom International, Fly project website

30 Days of Running in Place

th?id=JN.r%2bdutxcnZzFvg28k%2b% 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.

The work was shown again posthumously as a five-channel installation in Egyptian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2011. Here, 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. The videos intermingled, creating a poignant counterpoint between aristic performance and political action.

According to Egyptian Pavilion curator Aida Eltorei, the project “marks a specific time when the artist ran in place in anticipation of countering [and recording] a digital reaction; the aim was to observe how through the act of running in place – with sensors installed in the soles of his shoes and on his body [to read levels of body heat] – a visual diagram of codes could be extracted, and to visually witness the movement of energy and physical consumption be born in an image.”2

Eltorei underlined that the choice of Basiony for this year’s Venice Biennale was not motivated by the fact that he is a martyr of the January 25 Revolution. “The Biennale honours artists who create something new in the contemporary fine arts field; artists who have original artistic propositions and sustain activity in their visions and projects,” Eltorei asserted.2

Pavilion executive curator Shady El Noshokaty considers 30 Days “one of the greatest creative concepts presented by Basiony – by him and about him – during the last period of his life.  It certainly marks its significance as a critically acclaimed work, and the first of its kind in new media arts in the Middle East.”2



See also

Artist’s biography:


Polygon Playground

Polygon Playgound is a ‘dynamic lounge object,’ incorporating 3D projection technologies and sensors to detect movement and proximity of people in the room. The physical structure is such that up to 40 people may climb, rest, or walk around it, while sensors cause the ‘landscape’ to continuously change as as long as there is human presence. Often the imagery responds to movements, so running across the top of the structure may cause it to highlight the participants footsteps. Other motifs include grids, filling with water, orbs or color that can be ‘kicked’ around, and various abstract color forms.







Emerge relies heavily on viewer interactivity. It features childish cartoon figures that are projected onto a wall. Visitors control the movement of the figures and change them through these interactions. The figures in this piece can be seen as fables about our own daily struggles and activities as they move, expand, and escape. In Emerge each character is inside of an individual chamber and this examines, in a humorous way, the illusions that drive us and the small worlds we confine ourselves to. They cover all available surfaces, reacting to viewer’s intrusions into their small worlds. Emerge is part of the Exempla series and is the first item in the above video.

Artist Brian Knep often uses humor as a tool to re-engage the viewer so they are receptive to his work and to a new perceptual experience. This approach is very successful as humor makes his work approachable and entertaining even when it is actually quite content heavy. He states that his works purpose is to enlighten his audience, “For me, that’s what art is about, to try to give people shivers, to try to open them up to a new way of thinking or to revisit an old way of thinking that they’ve forgotten about.” 


http://www. .com/emerge/index.htm


Healing Pool



picKnepHealingPoolWeb-747755.jpgThe Healing Pool by Brian Knep is a six channel interactive video floor projection. A glowing pool of organic patterns move and pulse. As a person walks across the video the pattern tears and then continues to rebuild itself. However, the pattern never returns to its original form. Each person who walks across this work leaves a scar. The regenerative piece holds a record or a memory of every interaction it has as it constantly evolves. This work is part of Knep’s healing series and this work investigates artificial intelligence and artificial life. Of this work Knep says, “with these pieces I am focusing on the complexity possible with very simple rules. The patterns and their growth are completely emergent phenomena; they arise from the mathematical equations that the software simulates.” This work exhibits life-like behaviors such as growth, mutation, and healing. Visitors explore new ways of interacting with this installation and create a community as viewers interact not only with the work but with one another.

The importance of the virtual reality or immersive space is that it allows for direct involvement and participation of the visitor and even the collaboration of visitors within an artistic space. This type of experience has high impact and this medium affects perception and understanding.

Knep’s background in computer science and math influence the themes found in his work, such as the regenerative nature of life, patterns and cycles found in nature, and living organisms


Sweet Crude I

sweet crude


sweet crude



“Sweet Crude,” is a “a multi-channel video installation that visually interprets the quantity of flow from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill with light and movement [1].” The center of the installation is a projection of a live feed from the oil leak itself, flanked by two other projections of a beam of light moving slowly upward to fill the space, representing the volume of oil released by the spill in real-time. When the side projections reach the ceiling, they empty and begin the process again. This helps to visualize the scope of the BP Gulf oil spill disaster and the sheer amount of pollution caused by the event, represented by the constantly refilling “containers” of released oil.

The effectiveness of the piece lies less in its environmental message, but rather in its expression of that message without resorting to browbeating or oversimplification of a tragic event. By taking a straightforward approach rather than an aggressive or satirical one, the viewer can arrive at their own conclusions regarding the impact of the piece and the event it seeks to illuminate, both figuratively and literally.



Funky Forest

One of Watson’s first works—and one that has been reproduced many times internationally—is the Funky Forest. The interactive installation is a collaboration with Emily Gobeille for the 2007 Cinekid festival in the Netherlands. Designed as a way to teach children about ecosystems, the installation is comprised of a room with projections on each wall and the floor.[1] The room is transformed into a colorful, playful ecosystem full of imaginative creatures. Children can create trees using a specific body motion and then move around projected water in order to water the trees they created. Trees that are not watered wither and die. The health of the forest determines the types of digital creatures that inhabit it. In 2009 another version of the forest was created called the ‘Moomah’ edition, which expanded on the original by introducing four seasons with unique environments and different wildlife for each. The new version also has what is described as a “particle system”, where in the fall leaves fall from trees and in the winter it snows. The Moomah edition is installed state-side at the Moomah Children’s Café in New York City.[2]

[1]Watson, Theo. “Funky Forest.” Accessed March 10, 2012.

[2] Watson, Theo. “Funky Forest
Moomah Edition.” Accessed March 10, 2012.


Le jardin des mots perdus

Johannes Gees’ 2009 installation piece, “Les jardins des mots perdus”, consisted of a portable laser projector which displayed various pieces of text throughout the city of Bordeaux, France during the Evento 2009 festival.

The goal of the piece is to celebrate unplanned and ungroomed urban landscapes. Snippets of text, representative of what one might hear on a city street, guide viewers away from the planned and polished sections of the city into more mundane or run-down areas. Gees argues that these niches that “resist the process of revitalization” are integral to the nature of the city and worth exploring.

Artist’s Statement

Nemo Observatorium


Lawrence Malstaf - Nemo Observatorium

In this single viewer experience, a person is invited to enter a transparent PVC cylinder, about 6 feet in radius, and sit in a comfy armchair. To the right is a button that when pressed activates 5 fans that create a simulated typhoon using bits of polystyrene. The viewer is engulfed in a whirlwind of activity, which is both awesome and overwhelming, and mysterious in that there is obviously no real storm cell overhead but the energy of air speed and movement is made apparent in a form that begs an emotional response: one might feel the chaotic activity is unpleasant and entrapping, but more likely the viewer will find calm in the rhythmic undulations of the beads. After a time period the wind dies down, and the participant is allowed to leave, or begin round two. The mesmeric environment causes one to loose sense of time and has been called a practice in meditation. One must ask themselves if it’s the enveloping energy or the connection to a storm being made that is so evoking.