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.

All Things Fall


Zoetropes are nothing new. First invented by William George Horner in 1834 brought to life the first pre-film animation [1]. These devices produce the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of drawings or objects that the mind perceived as a continuous phase of motion. But with new technology brings a new spin to the zoetrope (pun-intended).

3D printers have produced amazing things and artists have taken noticed. Artist Mat Collishaw made in collaboration with Sebastian Burton brought to life a once two dimensional  baroque painting using old conventions of the zoetrope. [2]. The massive zoetrope is titled "All Things Fall" and measured over six 1/2 feet in circumferenceThe zoetrope was moded after historic painting titled  “Massacre of the Innocents". The painting was painted by artist Peter Paul Rubens in the year 1612 in which it horrifically illustrates the slaughter of infants in the biblical Massacre of the Innocents of Bethlehem, as related in the Gospel of Matthew (2:13-18). The painting portrays an incredible amount of violence that is only fully realized when the over 350 character figures spin in motion around the zoetrope bringing the action to life.

It took six months to design and create the piece. "All Things Fall"  was first presented in 2014 during a solo exhibition titled “Black Mirror” at Galleria Borghese held in Rome [3]. The piece is powered by an electric motor and lit by numerous led lights placed all around the figurines which flash in repetition creating the illusion of motion. The zoetrope was originally designed in three dimensions. Each model figure was 3D printed at Sicnova 3D, a Spanish company specializing in 3D printing. The material used is not your average plastic found in most conventional 3D printers. Each of the figures are made from an ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) material, which is a specialized hard plastic used for the prototype printer that created all of the individual components of the piece.  


(One of the over 350 figurines being retouched)

As the chapter" Motion, Duration, Illumination" in Art and Electronic Media [4] states, this art in motion defies the traditional conceptions of art as just being a static object. Despite the horrific imagery that “All Thing Fall” illustrates, it’s a fantastic example demonstrating how a new technology can revive historical art as well as the old conventions of a zoetrope and give it a new life.


(Painting :"Massacre of the Innocents")





4: Art and Electronic Media. Chapter: Motion, Duration, Illumilantion. By Edward Shanken

Route One

Road%2Bmap.JPGIcelandic avant-rock band, Sigur Rós hailing from Reykjavik, Iceland in 2016 created this 24 hour long format, slow tv production called Route One intended to be broadcast live on BBC4 as well as The band created this television event to accompany the release of their then newly released single, ‘óveður’. In this live-streamed youtube production, the band travels on the longest day of summer in Iceland, traversing route one, a road spanning around the entirety of Iceland’s 1332km Ring Road.“the soundtrack to this “slow tv” adventure was created using generative music software taking the multi-track stems of the sigur rós song ‘óveður’ and endlessly reinventing them to create new and unpredictable musical directions in real time.” (1) This meant that over the duration of the 24 hour TV event, the sounds heard, like the scenes filmed, would never be repeated exactly. The soundtrack was produced in a generative music software called ‘Bronze.’


 Accompanying the 24 hour-long song, was the equally important 360 degree footage capturing the entirety of the visible landscapes at any given point while on the road. This access to 360 degree views from a remote location allows the viewer/listener to telematically transport themselves to the location of the bus at any given moment on its journey. This dynamic of the piece exposes art’s ability to exist in several different modes simultaneously. Firstly, Route One can be observed statically, from the comfort of the home on a stationary screen. This method allows the viewer to take a more passive mode of spectatorship that lets the experience present itself in a more ambient and atmospheric form. Secondly, the spectator may choose to access Route One in a much more dynamic manner, as it is an interactive piece that can be manipulated digitally to perceive the work from different angles and perspectives utilizing the 360-degree camera angles. sigur.jpg

Erkki Huhtamo is referenced in Art Electronic Media stating, "The user is invited to travel, but not simply up and down the shaft of time, as if encapsulated in a chronographic elevator. Instead, the traveler navigates in a much more complex realm of past-present and present-past, in which layers of time overlap and associate with each other…" Route One shares a very similar function. The 360-degree camera introduces an interactivity with the piece that grants the viewer opportunity to observe the piece that is both moving and simultaneously static repeatedly in different perspective. The sheer duration of the art piece, visually and sonically, allows Route One to be observed in a near infinite amount of perspectives. Long-format television was created in hopes of removing the average citizens from the fast paced, hustle and bustle of modern society and placing them in a more meditative and trance-inducing state, witnessing and experiencing, second hand, the outside world.


Sigur Ros’ Route One accomplishes this feat, leaving viewers in awe at the mysterious vastness of the Rim Road’s chilling and empty landscapes, while at the same time utilizing new technologies to invite viewers to explore this empty vastness and uncover hidden gems caught with the camera’s gaze. One such gem was the Icelandic horse that gained short internet fame in the most majestic fashion.(2)



Force of Nature

tumblr_nock79w2XF1qav3uso2_r1_540.gif?zoIn April 2015, Nike released its revolutionary kinetic digital art project, Force of Nature, for the Nike Innovation Summit at Truman Brewery in London. The work was created in collaboration with Field, a London-based design studio. By stepping onto a treadmill and beginning to create movement, the participating runner is presented with a fluctuating shower of stunning, multicolored sparks, similar to an energy “mirror” of themselves, created by the movement put forth by him or her on the treadmill. The flux of lights is meant to imitate the runner’s motion and turn the human body into a digital art piece. [1]. The work recalls earlier artworks, including Nancy Paterson's Bicycle TV (1989) and Jeffery Shaw's Legible City (1989-91), both of which used a bicycle as the interface by which the user's activity generates an animated video environment. Also a similar work in terms of light presentation and movement is Otto Piene's Light Ballet (1959-60), featuring beams of light that move with each other as the synthetic projector spins from a fixed point.

This installation also reflects a quote from Mario Merz “on the symbolic significance of neon as an artistic medium: Light is nevertheless technological energy in the making … Light is a comprehensible representation of the human mind, whereas flame is incomprehensible and hence difficult to represent. So the decision to use neon represents the possibility of mental control.”[2] The neon colors in the display of the installation seem to directly influence the mentality of the runners, convincing them to get into a rhythm for exercise. FIELD_NIKE_FON_0398.jpg

Additionally, the beams of light are controllable, whereas natural flame is not, therefore also alluding to the notion that the human mind is able to be overseen by the bright flashes of neon light, and not so much flame. The kinetic beams are created by the movements of the runner, leading the runner to believe he or she is in control of the lights, while the lights are directing the person’s movements and enhancing his or her endurance.

The custom-fitted sensors in the treadmill and the Kinect interaction from the screen allow the runner to be able to visualize the flow of getting into a rhythm during exercise. The visuals on the screen depend on the runner’s speed, movement, tempo, and the colors they happen to be wearing as well. The image mirrors the runner in a way that conveys the message of individuality, that you are running your own path and creating your own flow, and that Nike is geared towards everybody.

“Force of Nature” was directed and designed by the co-founder of Field, Marcus Wendt, who specializes in shareable digital artifacts through advanced technology and research led approaches. [3] Also contributing to the installation were Maran Coats and Vera-Maria Glahn in Project Management, Andrea Cuius and Laurence Symonds in Electronics, David Kamp for Sounddesign, David Li in Software Development, and James Medcraft in Documentation.



The color that the runner wears, as well as the speed of the runner on the treadmill directly impact how quickly the beams of light move, in parallel to the motion sensed from the treadmill.






The Clock

Ironically it took the passing of several years for Christian Marclay’s montage The Clock  (2011) to come together. The twenty-four hour long cinematic timepiece is a carefully assembled series of film clips centered on the subject of time, and all the while in synch to real time. [1] One may ask, “What makes Marclay’s montage any different from the innumerable cinematic homages screened at award ceremonies?” In fact, numerous critics of Marclay’s cinematic piece make that same exact point. However, the artist himself noted, “By putting the clips back into real time, it’s contradicting what film is.” [2] The montage was not necessarily intended to pay homage to cinematic film, but rather to accommodate this conceptual deconstruction of time.                                                                                                                      

  images-2.jpeg  images_0.jpeg

Christian Marclay and a team of six assistants dedicated three years to masterfully editing the twenty-four-hour long medley in a smooth methodic fashion while the audio seeps and oozes from clip to clip. However, as suave as the transitions are from scene to scene, from decade to decade, or from mood to mood; the true beauty and remarkability of the piece is found in the juxtaposition of these clips. The story-less storyline actualizes and virtualizes the actual act of time passing.

Even from under the dim and dingy lighting of the library, I sat in awe as I watched the twenty-minute segment of The Clock from my laptop screen. As one listens to the ticking and tolling of a clock and segmented dialogue, they are mesmerized, almost hypnotized, by the content. However, as the twenty minutes stroll by, it occurs to the viewer that within those twenty minutes nothing substantial had occurred, only a beautiful nothingness. And yet nostalgic sensation creeps into one’s mind, of both the past and of the present. Although Marclay’s content is not necessarily his own, his conceptualization of time enables the onlookers to view time through a more critical and conscious lens.

The deconstruction of time through the manipulation of the clock; however, was not Marclay’s precedent. In fact, the link between time and the clock has plagued and intrigued many artists’ works including the iconic Salvador Dali’s Persistence to Memory (1931) to the recent and modern piece from the collaborative group Humans Since 1982, A Million Times (2013). The artistic duo’s electronic installation pays homage to the concept of time and the clock once more; however, in a rather innovative approach. Bearing 288 single clocks and tolling 576 hands, the group Humans Since 1982 heightens the stirring movement of the clock’s hands through customized software [3]. Unlike Marclay and Dali’s works, the medium and instrument of A Million Times is the clock itself, as all 576 hands mechanically move in a choreographed dance in slow motion until finally transforming into an analog portrayal of time. The relaxed and leisurely motion of the clocks’ hands characterizes the dream-like essence to time, as the clocks are no longer a reliable indicator of time (until the analog depiction). Per Emanuelsson and Bastian Bischoff of Humans Since 1982, stated that their installation unveils time’s “hidden figurative qualities without denying its primary purpose”. [3]

dezeen_A-Million-Times-by-Humans-Since-1 dezeen_A-Million-Times-by-Humans-Since-1 dezeen_A-Million-Times-by-Humans-Since-1

Both the modern and digital works of Marclay and Humans Since 1982, create what is acknowledged as a charged environment. Edward Shanken defines the charged environment not as a “representation that corresponds with physical reality but rather utilize real space in way that renders it virtual and enables alternative, expanded forms of experience and reality awareness”. [4] The Clock and A Million Times decomposes the modern man’s rushed perception of time, and inherently plagues the observer with a more critical and conscious awareness of the passing of time.



[1]: “Is “The Clock” Worth the Time? – The New Yorker.” The New Yorker. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014. <>.

[2]: “The Hours – The New Yorker.” The New Yorker. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014. <>.

[3]: Shanken, Edward A. Art and Electronic Media. Berlin: Phaidon, 2014. pg 96.

[4]: “AMT.” Humans since 1982. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014. <>.


Images (left to right):


Nocturnal Flow

3.jpgErwin Redl’s large-scale light installation Nocturnal Flow presents itself as a sea of LEDs stretching from floor to ceiling of the University of Washington’s Allen Center. Composed of over 10,000 individual light units whose intensity varies through time, the grid-like work serves both to emphasize the verticality of the space in which it is housed, but also to accommodate a natural motion birthed from sterility. The use of environmentally-reponsive sensors also imbues the work with a streak of subjectivity, as it can be perceived in contrasting ways depending not only on angle of view, but also time of day or year.

Nocturnal Flow fits the characteristic mold of the Austrian-born Redl’s light-based art installations; highly organized illumination patterns of varying complexity, most of which utilize color as a predominant element to arrest or, in the case of Nocturnal Flow, soothe the audience. Redl himself acknowleges the importance of strict organization in his work, stating that he often employs “complex algorithms, controlled randomness and other methods inspired by computer code.” [1] These factors impose a sense of sterile control over the organization of Redl’s installations. In some of his smaller-scale works, the strict alignment of the individual components creates a self-contained perfectionist universe. Matrix II, in which the LEDs combine to form an engulfing sphere and Crystal Matrix, matrix.jpgin which the 15 “crystal modules” float at precise intervals, are two such examples of Redl’s creation of organized, computationally perfect worlds. [2] [3] However, in Noctural Flow, where the piece is allowed much more room to breath in the expansive atrium of the Allen Center, the gridding of the LEDs forms a monolithic effect. However, the work is not imposing or daunting in its emotional reponse due to Redl’s almost uncharacteristic use of reserved coloration. While Redl’s Matrix pieces (especially the previously mentioned second installment, which drowns the environment in green) often involve the chromatic consumption of a space, Nocturnal Flow opts to fade into the brick background of the atrium wall, its steel-blue LEDs pricking out of the surface to illuminate.



The precision of the LED placement and the subtlety of the light hues both serve as effective context for the motion of the installation. In the mornings and evenings, the LEDs gradually wash up the wall in crests of intensity, while the entire wall remains statically lit during peak daylight hours. The resulting effect is a juxtaposition of the natural, manifested in the wave-like oscillation of the lights at the bookends of each day, with the digital, represented by the precise gridlike orientation and cold tone of the LEDs. However, it is this dichotomous motion that characterizes Nocturnal Flow as a work of new media art, rather than a traditional installation. Though Nocturnal Flow is certainly a work of the present, its core values have been verbalized in many decades previous. For example, the founding Spatialist Lucio Fontana wrote in the White Manifesto that “Matter, colour and sound in movement are the phenomena whose simultaneous development completes the new art.” [4] Redl’s work certainly exhibits the first two of these three traits (with the third most likely omitted due to practical constraints) to introduce the possibility of art that shifts. In the case of Nocturnal Flow, time and environmental conditions are both modulating factors.



The ultimate result of the modulating light intensity and movement pattern is to inject perspective subjectivity into the work.  Just as two people will not view a traditional piece of art in the same manner, Nocturnal Flow’s dynamic nature ensures the same person will not view it in an identical fashion at two different points in time. Redl’s work could thus be seen as a less upfront representation of ideals articulated by GRAV (Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel), a collection of experimental artists centered in Paris who aimed to explore the possibilities of art as an active medium. In their written manifesto, they expressed a wish to create works that would engage “by a direct appeal to active participation” or “to exert a direct influence on the public’s behaviour.” [5] By imposing a varying visual pattern in the installation, Redl is inviting the audience to not only consider the light sculpture once, but to frequently observe its appearance. Simply by observing the piece at different times of day, and at different stages of its illumination pattern, the audience members, whether they realize it or not, are acting as participants in the cyclical installation.


A similar work, Catso, Red, constructed by the prominent artist James Turrell focuses on the perversion of audience perception to transform a space. In Catso, Red, Turrell projects red light onto the corner of a wall, creating the sensory illusion of a red cube at a certain angle. [7] Though this work, similarly to Nocturnal Flow, transforms a space and the audience’s perception of it through the dispersal of light, it differs from Redl’s work in its deceptive nature. Catso, Red is preoccupied with what is not present and using illumination as a means of trickery, while Nocturnal Flow is concerned with what is present and how illumination can emphasize the unique qualities of a space. The light cube in Catso, Red is not more than a mirage, while the verticality of the Allen Center is very much real, and only emphasized by the presence of the installation. One major commonality between the works, however, is their focus on light as the predominant element of the work, rather than relegating it to its traditional role of illuminating other media. James Turrell has been vocal in his belief in light as a space-forming entity and something whose abilities to form an artistic work have been overlooked. According to Turrell, “light is a substance that is, in fact, a thing, but we don’t attribute thing-ness to it.” [8] In Catso, Red, Turrell is manipulating the oft-perceived “thing-less” entity of light into what appears to be a tangible, physical object by conventional standards. However, it is only due to the audience’s pre-conceived notions regarding object-based art that Catso, Red could be considered perceptually deceptive. Turrell never explicitly states an intent to turn light into an object. Instead, that idea is generated entirely by observers who recognize a box as an artistic “thing”, but cannot extend that description to colored rays of light. Nocturnal Flow works in a similar fashion by stripping light of its practical illuminatory duties and allowing it to exist in solely an art context. However, Redl uses motion instead of perceptual deception to highlight light’s aesthetic capabilities. By assigning a wavelike motion pattern to the LEDs, Redl is humanizing the light. Overall, this emphasizes the notion, presumably shared by Turrell and Redl, that light can be a stand-alone artistic medium rather than only an illuminatory tool.




Selfie.jpg  Nocturnal Flow in background.



[1] Paramedia

[2] MATRIX II: LED Installation

[3] Crystal Matrix

[4] Shanken, Edward A. Art and Electronic Media. London: Phaidon, 2009. 195.

[5] Shanken, Edward A. Art and Electronic Media. London: Phaidon, 2009. 199.

[6] Catso, Red

[7] Shanken, Edward A. Art and Electronic Media. London: Phaidon, 2009. 65.

[8] James Turrell Interview


Photographs by Mencius Leonard, selfie by Olivia Ding (I am on the left!)

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].




Times Square

Amidst the busy crowds and bustling traffic, people walking in New York Times Square can easily become lost in the various sounds. But if someone truly and intently listens, he or she can hear the unique art of sound sculptor Max Neuhaus, who specializes in sound technology works, including "Sound Figure" that he made in 2007. In 1977, Neuhaus installed his artwork, Times Square, beneath the subway ventiliation on 45th and 46th street. However, despite the large radiating sound, most of the people passing by do not even notice it. The way the sounds blend into the background was part of Neuhaus’ plan. He stated that “[t]he piece isn’t meant to startle, it’s meant for people who are ready to discover.” [1] In lecture, guest speaker Joel Ong described one of his artworks in which the sounds he created reflected the stories, histories, and emotions of the hospital. In the same way, the subtle Times Square creation works with its surroundings to form a system that creates the art. Like Labyrinthitis, another art in the AEM-OC, and Yantra, an artwork in the Works section of the AEM created by James Whitney in 1950, Times Square is a sound art that combines art, sound, and technology. [2]

Times Square is made up of a machine that was placed underground to amplify the sounds of the subway vent chambers, so the sound varies at different locations due to the different lengths and resonances of each chamber. So this artwork relates to the theory of motion, duration, and illumination because it reveals the motion of the air traveling through the vent chambers by capturing the resonances through sound. Listening to Times Square gives a feeling of action and movement, as the sounds have different pitches. As writer Lucio Fontana wrote in “The White Manifesto” in the Documents section of the AEM, society should ask “scientists of the world, who know that art is a vital necessity of the species, to direct part of their research towards…produc[ing] sounds that permit development of four-dimensional art.” [3] Neuhaus had done well in this manner, as he helped continue the evolution of art by creating sounds that were novel in the 1970’s and are still fascinating to listen to today.

[1] “Daily What?!,” Untapped Cities:

[2] Edward Shanken, Art and Electronic Media (New York: Phaidon Press Limited, 2009), 14.

[3] Edward Shanken, Art and Electronic Media (New York: Phaidon Press Limited, 2009), 5.

Cory’s Yellow Chair

Cory’s Yellow Chair is a kinetic sculpture by Arthur Ganson that assembles, disassembles, and reconstructs a small, four-and-a-half-inch tall yellow chair indefinitely.  Ganson says he got inspiration for this piece when his “son’s little yellow chair explode with infinite speed, travel to the far reaches of the universe and slowly come to complete stillness. Then, beginning to collapse slowly at first, they reached infinite speed at the moment of becoming a complete chair again. They stopped instantaneously, for just a fleeting moment, and then exploded!” [1]

The piece, driven by a few small gears and belts with a driving motor hidden behind never stops, but somehow allows the chair to stay in completed form for a second before it explodes again, leaving for a bit of suspense whether or not the mechanism will keep going or not.  According to, “Ganson recognizes the comic yet poignant quality of chairs.” [2] Cory’s Yellow Chair is not the only piece by Ganson that involves a chair getting moved around and such.  His large machine called Machine with Chair [3] rolls over to a single chair on the ground and picks it up, lifts it high in the air, spins it around, then places it right back down in the exact spot it was in before. Ganson’s smaller piece, titled Thinking Chair is another tiny yellow chair that stands up on its legs and wobbles about over a floating rock.

Ganson’s sculptures are very similar to Metzger’s installations of auto-destructive and auto-creative art [4], although Ganson’s works do both the destruction and creation in the same piece, allowing for a creation that lasts longer than just one demonstration.




[4] Edward A. Shaken, 2009, Art and Electronic Media, Pg. 20

Sonic Water


“Sonic Water,” by artists Sven Meyer and Kim Pörksen, is an interactive installation that explores the visualization of sound though water. [1] Earlier this year the piece was exhibited at the Photography Playground in Berlin, Germany and was created by Meyer and Pörksen through the Laboratory for Water Sound Images. [2] Sonic Water is categorized as a “Cymatic Installation” which is art that uses substances such as sand, water etc to visualize sound. [3] In Sonic Water’s case, water is obviously used. The installation has a pre-recorded projection of captured images, however the really interesting part of the piece comes from the interactive element of it. Individuals are able to walk up to a container of water, which is set atop speakers, and introduce their own input sound whether it’s their voice, a song recording or another sound source. The result of these sound vibrations is unique patterns in the water that are photographed from above. [4]



A very similar piece to Sonic Water, is artists Sachiko Kodama and Minako Takeno’s 2001 piece, “Protrude/Flow.” [5] Like Sonic Water, Protrude/Flow is and interactive piece through which sound is visualized, though Protrude/Flow uses magnetic fluid rather than water. Both pieces utilize feedback loops in which an individual can create their own sound input, which is then visualized in the medium of the artwork followed by a blending of this feedback with new input. Both the feedback loop and then nature of the material being used lends itself well to the creation artworks that can smoothly incorporate new input into its system.

In the discussion of art piece, Lorna, Lynn Hershman Leeson discusses the importance of interaction in pieces such as these. “The very act of viewing a captured image,” he says, “creates a distance from the original event. The captured image becomes a relic of the past. Life is a moving target and any object that is isolated becomes history.” [6] While Sonic Water includes a camera as part of the exhibit, whose still-photos are later part of the slideshow project, the most compelling part of the instillation comes not from the patterns in these still images, but from watching and interacting with the ever changing medium of water itself.

Finally, Sonic Water can be compared to less physical representation of sound visualizations that function in a similar manner. Like Sonic Water, “Piano – As Image Media” by artist Toshio Iwai deals with the digital visualization of sound. [7] Both pieces rely on input from individuals contain an almost infinite variety of patterns that can be produced by changes in sound combinations. In some ways however, Piano – As Image Media is a good contrast to Sonic Water in that Piano – As Image Media is capable of turning a patter in a corresponding sound rather than the opposite, which Sonic Water achieves.

Sonic Water is certainly most effective as an interactive installation. More so than it would have been in any other medium. This exhibit is an interesting example of how feedback can create and alter a physical medium to visualize something so invisible as sound.

[1] Sonic Water. Laboratory for Water Sound Images.
[2] Sonic Water by Sven Meyer & Kim Pörksen. Creative Applications Network. 2013.
[3] Sonic Water. Laboratory for Water Sound Images.
[4] Sonic Water. Laboratory for Water Sound Images.
[5] Protrude, Flow. 2001. Sachiko Kodama + Minako Takeno. 2003.
[6] Lynn Hershman Leeson. "The Fantasy Beyond Control." 1990. Art and Electronic Media. Edward Shanken. 2009. Documents. PDF page 30.
[7] Toshio Iwai. Piano – As Image Media. 1995.

Images from: Sonic Water. Laboratory for Water Sound Images.

Video from: Sonic Water documentation.

Machine with Concrete

Arthur Ganson's Machine with Concrete stands out because it breaks the unwritten creed of machines. Almost all machines we build are created to make things go faster. In factories, machines build products with precision much faster than human workers could. In our pockets, our cell phones convey messages from person to person over vast distances in the blink of an eye and our airplanes can cary us distances that would have before taken months to traverse in a matter of hours. As Eduardo Kac noted in 1993:

…we see the continuity of real time overcoming the contiguity of real space. We experience this new condition daily, when we are in the office or studio and activate by remote control our answering machine at home to retrieve recorded messages or when we withdraw money from an automatic teller machine that communicates with a remote computer. The impact of fiber optics, monitors, and video cameras on our vision and our surroundings will go beyond that of electricity in the nineteenth century: ‘In order to see,’ Virilio observes, ‘we will no longer be satisfied in dissipating the night, the exterior darkness. We will also dissipate time lapses and distances, the exterior itself. (Shanken 234)

This immediacy of machines making space and time irrelevant by serving us with what we want with unmatched immediacy can be observed in almost every aspect of modern life. Machine with Concrete, interestingly enough, also invites the user to question the relevancy of real space and object permanence by performing the reverse of the basic function of most machines: by taking a relatively fast and immediate action and converting it into an inconceivably slow one. Using a series of twelve pairs of worms and worm gears, it slows down the rotation of a motor spinning at 200 revolutions per minute by 1/50th with each gear pair, resulting in the last gear turning at a speed of 1 revolution every 2.3 trillion years. This is a speed that is far beyond imperceptible, it is so slow that it is for all intensive purposes a non-factor within our temporal frame of reference. A clear demonstration of how slowly it is turning, the last gear is embedded in a concrete block so as to be completely immobile, and yet the main motor still turns at its brisk 200 rpm. To give an idea of the amount of time it would take for any sort of measurable rotation of the last gear to occur, it would take approximately 6.4 billion years of continuous operation of the motor for the last gear to turn by one degree. Given that the sun itself will die and destroy all life on earth as we know it within 4-5 billion years , it is safe to say that the machine itself will be destroyed by either planetary annihilation or simple decay of its own materials over time before the motion at one end came into conflict with the solid concrete at the other.

By extending the quick motion of a small, relatable object over such a massive time frame, the machine extends our thoughts to a galactic timescale. The linear physical construction of the machine also aids in this by providing a visual metaphor, each new gear pair is an exponential slowdown of motion, and our minds attempt to keep up with the ever more subtle speeds the gears turn at as our eyes travel from motor to cinderblock.

This work has an odd relationship with Thijs Rijkers' Suicide Machine Sand, as both works engage in a motion that in theory will lead to the ceasing of that motion, and yet Sand results in a conceptual temporal self containment, a machine that will end itself and cease its own existence in this world, and Concrete points to the exact opposite: a motion that is naturally conceived of as a single unit (one rotation) which forces us to consider the insane amount of time which it would take to complete. Even though both pieces focus on unsustainable motion, one calls the viewer to view its life as relatively small and feel sympathy for it, and the other inspires feelings of awe and personal insignificance in the face of such a monumental task being undertaken by such a physically small and immediately present device.


Shanken, Edward A. "Documents: Eduardo Kac: Telepresence Art" Art and Electronic Media. London: Phaidon, 2009. 234. Print.

Text Rain

Text rain is an interactive piece of art that allows viewers to manipulate the motion of letters that emulate rain falling from the sky. Users have their image displayed on a screen in front of them as the letters begin to fall down the screen. Once the letters reach a certain darkness threshold, they stop falling. This has the effect of making it appear like you can catch the letters falling from the sky with any part of your body or any sort of dark object. You can then push the letters back up and they fall down again or move yourself out of the way so they continue falling. The longer you wait, the more letters fall and then begin accumulating themselves to create words and eventually phrases to a poem. The poem is about bodies and language thus it creates a bridge between the physical act of viewing text rain and reading about it. [1]"‘Reading’ the phrases in the Text Rain installation becomes a physical as well as a cerebral endeavor."

This piece is an interesting take on how a viewer can interact with a piece of written artwork. It emobodies a physical component that simply reading a poem does not have. Not only is it unique but can engage the viewer and make the poem a much more complex and deep work of art. The viewer also has many ways to engage with the text by using different objects or using multiple people to create distinct images across the screen. Such interaction simply makes it that much more immersive and notable to people who come and 'play' with Text Rain.

There are plenty of interactive works I feel like would be interesting to compare them too one of which is called 16 pillars. Despite 16 Pillars being more of an auditory experience they both contain an interactive component that allows users to manipulate how the art works. in 16 PIllars users can move around to create sound as opposed to moving around to shape the physical appearance of a poem. Text Rain also has been written and the poem you read will be the same that other people can read. 16 PIllars on the other hand allows for the user to create their own song and piece and it becomes an even more individualistic work. [2] A more apt comparison of works is with the Animate Field created by Justin Liu. People can walk through a field of lights and as they move the lights appear to be moved by their body as if wading through a pool with little objects sitting everywhere. [3] Text Rain is a virtual simulation of people being able to manipulate the motion of objects (letters of a poem) while Animate Field is actualy a physical and real version of Text Rain using lights. You can create interesting flows with your body and get lost in the beautiful swirls and patterns it makes. It is very interactive however it does lack the integration of multiple forms of art that Text Rain employs. However, you can still create an image and build an aesthetic through your own personal means which is an immersive task and brings much more value back to someone who experiences Animate Field. [1] [2] [3]

Future Self

View a video of the Opening Night performance here:

Future Self is an interactive light and sound installation that mimics human movement. The piece consists of hundreds of draped strands of LED lights that are suspended in the middle of a studio room in the formation of a rectangular prism. The structure remains lightless until human form comes within range of the 3D camera sensors. Within this range, an individual’s movements are mimicked by the object of light in front of them. One key idea behind Future Self is that it adds depth in its attempt to create a mirror image of a human form; one artist from rAndom International notes that Future Self “it’s not just about a screen—not just about this kind of two-dimensionality—it’s about this real depth, and it’s an exploration of that” [1].

Future Self’s LED light structure is accompanied by a composition by renowned British composer Max Richter. Similarly to the LEDs, Richter’s eerie, echoing score is also manipulated by a person’s movement.

For the opening of this exhibition, choreographer Wayne McGregor was brought into this collaborative effort to create a dance piece to accompany Future Self. McGregor was particularly inspired by the notion that one has the “ability to be in this space facing this extraordinarily beautiful object and knowing that you can shape it—you can shape the way in which it moves and you can see a different version of yourself” [1]. With this idea in mind, McGregor treated Future Self as an individual performer. His opening-night performance involved a male and a female dancer whose fluid movements around the LED form simultaneously conducted the installation, manipulating its visual and acoustic impact which thereby allowed Future Self to perform in the dance.

Future Self can be interpreted as an example of modern transductive art. Through human interaction, this piece transforms movement and images into a dynamic, multi-dimensional display of light and sound. This artwork treats its audience as its own subject, examining their form and reflecting it in an abstracted mirror image that can be said to be a reflection of one’s own future. The subject is fully responsible for its outcome; it resembles one’s present self, yet it is not an exact duplicate, and it is not a crystal clear projection.


Suicide Machine Sand

Suicide Machine Sand is a work from artist Thijs Rijkers which explores the concept of self destruction in in a maner that is both thought provoking and highly unsettling. Its function is to slowly tilt a small plate on which rests a pile of sand. The sand pours into its own gearbox, wearing down and ultimately destroying the same gears that cause the plate to be slowly tilted downward.


The work both embodies and exceedes Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s description of the new role of sculpture in his 1928 work, The New Vision, where he proposes:

[…] Examples of […] sculpture, which do not depend on […] an illusion are, for the present, difficult to find. Such sculpture must effectively be kinetic as well, since only through the action of opposed forces can it be brought to balanced rest, to equipoise. […] An actual realization of equipoised sculpture can be made through the application of magnetic forces, or with electric remote control. […] To the three dimensions of volume, a fourth – movement – (in other words, time is added). […] In sculpture: from mass to motion. (Shanken 193-4)

Suicide Machine Sand fits Moholy-Nagy’s description of a transition in sculpture away from implicit motion created by static visual cues, an illusion as he calls it, and toward actual motion that works with the other components of the piece to create the sculpture's aesthetic. Suicide Machine Sand is as the title states, a machine, a word which implies a mechanical object built with purpose, one that's identity is inextricably tied to functionality. Because of this functional identity, its action, the motion with which it caries out its purpose becomes its defining component. When viewing most any machine the purpose it serves causes the viewer to think of its creator, and why and how they built it, and consider how the object in front of them reflects the mind that brought it into being. Because Suicide Machine Sand's sole purpose is to unmake its own making, it is stripped of a practical use: if its goal is to destroy itself, wouldn't it have been more efficient had it never existed at all? Attention is drawn to the machine rather than the creator, and the viewer is more likely to empathize with the former than the latter. We do not innately understand what would drive someone to build something that serves only to destroy itself, but we are very familiar with issues related to purposelessness, questioning the meaning of ones own existence, and self destruction. We identify more with the machine than its human creator, something that is relatively uncommon in non-anthropomorphic mechanical art. Perhaps more heart rending is Rijkers' Suicide Machine Saw, which has the same purpose of self destruction as Sand but much more violently turns a crank which pulls a saw over its own motor. While Saw is more direct and immediately affecting, some may find that Sand hits closer to home, as we as humans do not often violently and immediately destroy ourselves, but Sand's slow and incremental death can be viewed as a metaphor for the human condition itself.

Again, since its only purpose is to destroy itself, Suicide Machine Sand's entire being is a part of the action of its own destruction. The entire point to every piece of the machine is to bring an end to its own operation, an idea that blurs the boundaries between spatial and temporal self containment. The sculpture, like many artworks, is self contained within a particular space, and its only action is upon itself. It exists independent of the rest of the world, save a power source. It stands out from the majority of kinetic sculpture however, in that its own actions bring themselves to a close, meaning it in a way turns itself off in the most jaring way possible. It brings thought to the human condition, as we ourselves are born with a built in expiration date with our shortening telomeres and weakening bones, as well as the greater structure of human society, which may would call self destructive (a sentiment particularly popular during the cold war era). In this respect it is not unlike Jean Tinguely’s Homage to New York, a machine that operated so vigorously it tore itself apart. Suicide Machine Sand however, is more direct, as instead of ensuring its own demise as a by product of its operation, its function is to create its own demise. Humanity has long been plagued by visions of bringing itself to ruin, and we are resultingly morbidly fascinated with the concept of self destruction, particularly at the hands of our own creations. Perhaps this work can be viewed as an alternative to that future, maybe it asks of us if it would not be better to have our machines destroy themselves rather than be the death of us.


Shanken, Edward A. "Documents: Laszlo Moholy-Nagy: The New Vision" Art and Electronic Media. London: Phaidon, 2009. 193-4. Print.

“Remagine” by Olafur Elisson

(Source: MoMA)


Created by Olafur Eliasson, “Remagine” has been featured in various exhibitions by the artist. It was first displayed at the Musée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France in 2002, then in “Take your time” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2007, and finally in an exhibition with the same name at The Museum of Modern Art and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York in 2008.

“Remagine” utilizes spotlights to project a series of geometrical shapes onto a wall inside an otherwise empty room. Each individual element of the projection may have different brightness, and are shifted around rhythmically in a way that creates an illusion of space [1].

Despite its visual simplicity, or rather because of it, the piece prompts the viewer to take a retrospective look at how one perceives depth and volume in reality. In this sense, the demonstration space of “Remagine” includes not only the physical space of the room and the wall, but also the mental space of the viewer. Moholy-Nagy have commented that “light – as time-spatial energy and its projection – is an outstanding aid in propelling kinetic sculpture and in attaining virtual volume” [3]. In occupying this “virtual volume”, the piece expands into a dimension that is usually not accessed by arts that are object. The experience created by this piece has been named by one of the viewers as “illusory architecture” [2].


“Remagine” bears some similarity with other pieces of Olafur that also uses light to create a volume, such as “1m3 light” or “Wannabe”. However, this similarity is only superficial. The light volume in the latter two are constructed explicitly in physical space, and which requires no participation of the viewer to be realized.

(1m3 light. Source: Rhizhome)

(Wannabe Source: MoMA)

One might argue that “Remagine” is closer in its conceptual form to “The Weather Project”, a large scale installation that mimics the glowing sun; or “Din Blinde Passenger” (written about here) in which the piece is a closed space filled with dense fog and illuminated with colored light. Both of these pieces triggers introspective actions on the part of the viewer. Their volumes, either virtual or real, extends into the hidden dimension that is the experience of the viewer.

(The Weather Project. Source: Tate)

[1] Olafur Eliasson | Take Your Time | Remagine (2002)

[2] Olafur Eliasson – Red Design Group Blog

[3] Edward  A. Shanken, Art and Electronic Media, Page 18.

Leo Villareal’s – Bay Lights

Leo%20Villareal.jpg          Next time you plan a road trip to San Fran, don’t be alarmed when crossing the Bay Bridge around 8:30 PM from now until 2015.  Standing 500 feet high and stretching over a mile and a half long, The Bay Lights installation is bound to surprise and grasp the attention of a few drivers. This LED installation is a magnificent work by renowned American artist and New York resident, Leo Villareal

          The structure consists of large individually wired LED rods of varying heights, erected on the bridges bace, following a structural vertical pattern. Villareal explains, “People's perception of what the piece is will be highly subjective, no two people may see the same thing.”  Yet at the same time Villareal’s intention is to tap into our emotional state of mind, on a level that we can all relate to.  Similarly to Nocturnal Flow by Erwin Redl, the Bay Lights react to natural varying elements of nature, therefore the LED’s never repeat the same sequence. Both these installations are also most active in the wee ours of the night. According to Villareal, “things that you do as an artist in society should have a bing impact, otherwise its not really worth it unless thats the case.”


Fontana%27s%20Spatial%20Light.jpg          Arguably, one of the most influential light artist of his time, Lucio Fontana, impressed viewers with his aesthetically pleasing Spatial Light installation, in 1951.  This structure was suspended on the ceiling of the ninth Triennial of Milan, illuminating these vibrant linear arcs.  Referring to the qualities of light in art, Fontana stated, “This is the beginning of a new expression, neon, with this means we have created a fantastical new decoration.”  Even after the removal of the piece, it still left a massive imprint on many future artist willing to jump into new, uncharted territory, like Villareal has done with The Bay Light installation.

          The Bay Light's 25,000 LED’s react in various ways based on set algorithms, reacting to the natural elements such as weather, water and wildlife, and the unnatural, such as cars, boats and planes as well.  In my opinion, the dancing LED’s create a visually calming sensation, relaxing the mind and rejuvenating our senses. The remarkable visual display triggers and almost “natural high” experience to the viewer.  If your ever in San Francisco, The Bay Lights are a spectacle you can’t miss.

                                                                             List of Works Cited:

Anderson, Lamar. “Massive Public Artwork by Leo Villareal Lights up San Francisco Bay.” Architectural Record. McGraw Hill Financial, 2013. 30 Oct. 2013. Retrieved from:

“Erwin Redl.” Computer Science & Engineering. University of Washington,
26 Jan. 2013. Web. 7 Oct. 2013. Retrieved from:

“Lucio FONTANA 59.” Motion, Duration, Illumination. Wikimedia Foundation, 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013. Retrieved from:

Pasini, Francesca. “It Is not a lasso, an arabesque, nor a piece of spaghetti.” Tate. n.a., 1 Sept. 2008. Web. 30 Oct. 2013. Retrived from:

Villareal, Leo. “Artist.” The Bey Lights. Words Pictures Ideas, n.d., Web. 29 Oct. 2013. Retrieved from:

Villareal, Leo. “Bay Lights.” Youtube. Youtube, 6 Mar. 2013. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. Retrieved from:

Villareal, Leo. “The bay Lights – San Francisco.” Youtube. Youtube, 5 Mar. 2013. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. Retrieved from:

METRO Re/De-construction

METRO Re/De-Construction is a 6 minute video compilation of a series of 3D rendered scenes from a trip along the Denver Light Rail. Artist Chris Coleman created this thought provoking animation by bringing a handheld 3D scanner onto the train he takes to work every morning. He scanned the inside of the light rail cars while the train was in motion, and hopped  off the train to walk around and scan stations before catching the next one.


Because Coleman scanned the insides of cars by walking through them with the scanner in hand as the train was moving, the bumps and jostles that resulted from his steps and the movement of the cars manifested themselves in the final image as distortions, moving objects and ripping holes in the readings from a device that is otherwise accurate to the millimeter. The result is a digitally fractured and frayed re/de-construction (as per the title) of an otherwise familiar setting. Because the medium of a 3D render allowed Coleman to explore the world his scanner had recorded, something not unlike an ''out of body" experience has been created in the final video, in which the camera approaches the boundaries of what the 3D scanner could sense. As the viewer travels further down successive train cars the picture becomes more and more abstracted, until finally it collapses at the edge of perception.





What makes this artwork truly special is its perspective from the center of motion. Most artworks that involve digital perception place their instruments as externally as possible, outside the immediate area of change and movement. Morphovision by Toshio Iwai engages with concepts of distortion similar to METRO, combining a spinning 3D objects with projections of lines onto that object to create controlled distortion effects make viewers see a 3D image that does not in actuality exist. Sanctum by James Coupe and Juan Pampin also collects data on a well traveled commute location, but explores the concept of automated profiling based on artificial intelligence. Legible City by Jeffry Shaw is highly similar to METRO in that it is an exploration of a 3D rendering, but allows for greater immersion and less realism; it is more immersive in that viewers operate a stationairy bicycle to virtually ride through a model of a city, but less realistic since the model city has large 3D rendered words instead of buildings. These and many other works place their digital devices above, around, or outside of the action in some way, as this is the best way to gather accurate data or project a stable image. METRO breaks this paradigm by subjecting its sensor to the random, jerky, high velocity conditions that we as humans experience every day of our lives. We do not sit perched on high all day watching the goings down below us, we are at our core transient beings, and thus always in motion. Our perception of the world around us is born out of that state. In particular, this piece draws to mind the words of Herbert W. Franke:

It is now possible through information psychology to give a quantitative expression for optimally perceivable information aggregates. We now find that in the case of periodically changing patterns not more than 16 bits per second of information enter consciousness and that a maximum of 0.7 bits per second can enter the memory; here one bit stands for the unit of information represented by 1 or 0 in a computer store. In the case of static arrangements, the complexity of the picture must not exceed 160 bits – at least not in one plane of observation. (Shanken 205-6) 

In this excerpt from Franke's Theoretical Foundations of Computer Art  [1971], he talks about how an average person can't store more than about .7 bits of information per second in their memory, and only perceive about 16 bits of information per second. The 3D scanner can store much more information much faster than we can, so the fact that the world in motion us, and later our memory of that world, does not seem as distorted as the image produced by the scan speaks to the enormous power of the brain. They fill in missing bits and smooth out the rough corners of the pictures we build in our minds. It makes you wonder, if you could go back and fly through your memories, would they really be any more organized or complete than METRO?


Shanken, Edward A. "Documents: Herbert W. Franke: Theoretical Foundations of Computer Art" Art and Electronic Media. London: Phaidon, 2009. 205-6. Print.

Nocturnal Flow


4459655172_197888131c_o.jpg"Nocturnal Flow" is an installation created by artist Erwin Redl, who has done a number of similar pieces around the world involving LED lights. [1] Nocturnal Flow is housed in the atrium of the University of Washington's Paul G. Allen Center and consists of a grid of 17,400 LED lights, which cover the 85-foot brick column at one end of the atrium. [2] Erwin Redl is quoted to have said that his piece "emphasizes the vertical dimension of the building's atrium…The installation uses this wall to create an enormous plane of light that conceptually links the different floors of the building." [3] The lights of the piece also respond directly to the outside environment by pulsating more strongly the less light it detects.

While visiting the piece, I noticed first-hand how unifying the piece was within the space it occupies. It covers the entire column, reaching floor to ceiling, and is impressive to see. Just in the time that my classmates and I were there, we noticed a perceptive change in the intensity of the pulses, related to the amount of light outside at the time. My classmates and I also discussed the possible meanings of the title in relation to better understanding the piece. We concluded that "nocturnal" is a reference to the fact that the pulses are at their most intense at night when there is a lack of natural light. The "flow" part of the title was a more interesting question. Personally, I relate the word to the flow of water, but interestingly, the flow in this piece is upwards, against gravity. We had some discussion of how it could possibly refer to the flow of information or how the pulses could be interpreted as radio (or other) waves that lessened in intensity the further from the source they went. (Which was what seemed to occur on the wall the closer the waves got to the ceiling and more natural light.) We also considered that the upward motion emphasized the height of the column better than a downward flow would have, perhaps because the upward motion suggested an upward push again gravity. We thought that the pieces would be particularly impressive at night, without the natural light from the glass ceiling, when the piece could be very clearly seen and be the only real light source that still showed the entire height of the room.

I believe a parallel can be drawn between "Virtual Mirror – Rain" by Tao Sambolec [4] and "Nocturnal Flow." Virtual Mirror – Rain takes in the precipitation data of the outside environment and uses light to respond to the data in an inside environment. [5] Similarly, Nocturnal Flow senses the amount of light in the environment and reflects that data in the LED light grid on the column. Both use light to reflect a measurable element in the environment in an artistic way. Also, both send the reflected light back toward the sky, where the data originally comes from. (Rain and light.) I think both show a very interesting way of bringing attention to the outside environment and natural phenomena in a very subtle way.

A key aspect to the success of both of these pieces is the medium of light. As Laszlo Moholy-Nagy states in The New Vision, "light – as time-spatial energy and its projection – is an outstanding aid in propelling kinetic sculpture, and in attaining virtual volume." [6] This is certainly true for Nocturnal flow for, while observing the installation, we noticed that the lights were not really distracting and were actually pretty calming to look at, despite the fact that they could be pulsing quite quickly. The upward, kinetic movement of the piece is only implied motion of course, and is successful because of the optical illusion provided through the medium of light, which creates an dynamic piece of art on what would have otherwise been a very tall but rather uninteresting, static brick wall.

This idea of implied motion and volume is one that artists have always been intrigued by. Contemporary artists like James Turrell and Erwin Redl have had great success in using light as a medium to imply not only movement but also volume in a space. Erwin Redl captures both these concepts not only in Nocturnal Flow but in all of his similar LED projects where the pulsation of light provides the "motion," which in it's movement implies a volume and space. I think Nocturnal Flow was very well done and is fittingly incorporated into the space in which it is housed. It's very neat that there is such a great example of this kind of art on the UW campus.

[1] Portfolio Erwin Redl.
[2] Computer Science & Engineering. University of Washington. "Erwin Redl."
[3] Computer Science & Engineering. University of Washington. "Erwin Redl."
[4] Tao Sambolec, Virtual Mirror – Rain. and
[5] Tao Sambolec, Virtual Mirror – Rain. and
[6] Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. The New Vision. c. 1928. Art and Electronic Media. Edward A. Shanken. 2009. Documents. 4.

Images from: (Left) My own photo 

The LED Kimono Project

SFEMF-BIRGHT-620x413.jpgMiya Masaoka's LED Kimono Project is an installation based, performance piece in which 444 hand-sewn LED light sensors respond to musical and physical conditions. The artist's website, describes how the instrument/garment is used and offers insights to her mission:

The LED Kimono Project represents an extension of and an expansion upon the large body of work that I have developed in the last decade addressing interactivity with insects, plants, and the human brain. My past performances have often incorporated some aspect of “thinking improvisation” in the software. I envision the kimono as an embodied mind and creature. With this creation, rather than harvesting data from the biological world, the kimono will be the embodiment of particular characteristics of living things, cultural icons, and memories.

This video shows a performance where the sounds, video and movement interact to create a united whole.

The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths

Nauman.jpgBruce Nauman’s neon sign asks a multitude of questions with regard to the 
ways in which the 20th century conceived both avant-garde art and the role of the 
artist in society. If earlier European modernists, such as Mondrian, 
Malevich, and Kandinsky, sought to use art 
to reveal deep-seated truths about the human condition and the role of the artist 
in general, then Bruce Nauman’s The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing 
Mystic Truths questions such transhistorical and universal 
statements. With regard to this work, Nauman said:


The most difficult thing about the whole piece for me was the statement. It 
was a kind of test—like when you say something out loud to see if you 
believe it. Once written down, I could see that the statement […] was on 
the one hand a totally silly idea and yet, on the other hand, I believed it. 
It’s true and not true at the same time. It depends on how you interpret it 
and how seriously you take yourself. For me it’s still a very strong thought.

By using the mediums of mass culture (neon-signs) and of display (he originally 
hung the sign in his storefront studio), Nauman sought to bring questions
 normally considered only by the high culture elite, such as the role and function of art and
 the artist in society, to a wider audience. While early European modernists, 
such as Picasso, had borrowed widely from popular culture, they rarely displayed 
their work in the sites of popular culture. For Nauman, both the medium and 
the message were equally important; thus, by using a form of communication 
readily understood by all (neon signs had been widespread in modern industrial society) and by placing this message in the public view, Nauman let everyone ask 
and answer the question.

While it is perhaps the words that stand out most, the symbolism of the spiral (think of Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, 1969), also deserves attention having been used for centuries in European and other civilizations, such
 as megalithic and Chinese art, both as a symbol of time and of nature itself.

Theosophy in interesting in this regard, and since was such an important aspect of the early European Avant-garde. In 
particular, Theosophists believed that all religions are attempts to help humanity
 to evolve to greater perfection, and that each religion therefore holds a portion of 
the truth. Through their materials, artists had sought to transform the physical into 
the spiritual. In this sense, Malevich, Mondrian, and Kandinsky sought to use the 
material of their art to transcend it: Nauman, and other of his generation, did not.

Instead, Nauman’s work transgresses many genres of art making in that his work explores 
the implications of minimalism, conceptual, performance, and process 
art. In this sense we could call Nauman’s art “Postminimalism,” a term coined
 by the art critic Robert Pincus-Witten, in his article “Eva Hesse: Post-Minimalism into Sublime” (Artforum 10, number 3, November 1971, pages. 35-40). Artists such as Nauman, Acconci, and Hesse, favoured process instead of 
product, or rather the investigation over the end result. However, this is not to 
say they did not produce objects, such as the neon-sign by Nauman, only that 
within the presentation of the object, they also retained an examination of the 
processes that made that specific object.

In this sense, Nauman’s neon sign isn’t only an object, it’s a process, something
 that continues to make us think about art, artist, and the role 
that language plays in our conception of both. The words continue to ask this of each beholder who encounters them. Does the artist, the “true 
artist” really “reveal mystical truths”? Or confined to the 
specific culture that it was made in? If we are to believe the statement (remember, it is not
 necessarily Nauman’s, he merely borrows it from our shared culture), then we might, for example, recognise Leonardo 
da Vinci as a Neo-Platonic artist who showed us ultimate and essential truths through painting. On the other hand, if we reject the statement, then we
 would probably recognize the artist as just another producer of a specific set of 
objects, that we call “art.”

This type of logic and analytical thinking was influenced by Nauman’s reading
 of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations (1953).
 From Wittgenstein, Nauman took the idea that you put forth a proposition/idea 
in the form of language and then examine its findings, irrespective of its proof or
 conclusion. Nauman’s “language games,” his neon-words, his proposition about
 the nature of art and the artist continue to resonant in today’s art world, in 
particular with regard to the value we place on the artist’s actions and findings.

Text by Jp McMahon

Source :


This is a STUB article please make edits and adjustments as suggested on Wikipedia to make it more robust.  Thanks!



Computers in the 1960s were too slow to generate complex images in real time, however, so Whitney instead used the computer to output frames of animation to film. In animations like Permutations (1966–1968; developed in collaboration with IBM researcher Jack Citron) and Arabesque (1975; created with the assistance of Larry Cuba), Whitney explored the ways in which the kinetic rhythms of moving dots could produce perceptual effects that were strongly analogous to modulations of musical tension.


This is a STUB article please make edits and adjustments as suggested on Wikipedia to make it more robust.  Thanks!


Vassilakis Takis



TAKIS (VASSILAKIS) was born in 1925 in Athens. Preferring, as a matter of principle, to teach himself rather study in an institution, he left Greece in 1954 and lived as a citizen of the world, traveling through Europe and the USA. Starting in 1946, from his earliest years as a sculptor, Takis was interested in natural phenomena: stones molded by time and river water, the unexpected shapes taken by exploding metals. He regarded them as sculpture. Some of his earliest manifestations consisted of explosions carried out in open places. From 1954 to 1959 he lived in Paris, the Cote d’ Azur and London. In 1955 he exhibited sculptures in the round at the Hanover Gallery, London, and the Galerie Furstenberg, Paris.




This is a STUB article please make edits and adjustments as suggested on Wikipedia to make it more robust.  Thanks!


Nicolas Schoffer

The artwork is a cybernetics and space dynamics construction. Its movement is completely autonomous. It has an electronic brain, developed by SA Philips. The 16 polychrome composing plates, driven by small motors,  rotate around an eccentric axis. The photocells and microphone are integrated in the sculpture, giving it a life and an organic sensibility: the  “Abstract Robot.”  The “CYSP I” represents the synthesis of sculpture, painting, choreography, music and cinema. The first cybernetic sculpture of art’s history.

Source :

Model for Kinetic Light Sculpture


This is a STUB article please make edits and adjustments as suggested on Wikipedia to make it more robust.  Thanks!

See more of his work on Art and Electronic Media Online :


Pešánek was using neon light and creating imaginative kinetic and light sculptures at the time. The optimism of the Czechoslovak nation between the wars was thus expressed and emphasized by bright lights and neon. It was all possible because of Tesla.


Source :

Light Prop

This is a STUB article please make edits and adjustments as suggested on Wikipedia to make it more robust.  Thanks!


Also called Light Prop for an Electric Stage, this kinetic sculpture that László Moholy-Nagy designed and photographed was intended to create light displays for theater, dance, or other performance spaces. With its gleaming glass and metal surfaces of mobile perforated disks, a rotating glass spiral, and a sliding ball, the Light-Space Modulator created the effect of photograms in motion. As photographed here, the geometric complexity of the design and the shapes created by shadows and light convey the dynamic possibilities of both machine and camera.



Source : Getty Museum



Rotary Glass Plates

This is a STUB article  please make edits and adjustments as suggested on Wikipedia to make it more robust.  Thanks!




In January 1920, Duchamp made (again) an optical experiment with the assistance of Man Ray. Making us of the fact that the eye retains an image for a fraction of a second after it diappeared, he built a motorized machine, ‘Rotary Glass Plates (Precision Optics)’. Segments of a circle were painted on five glass plates mounted on an electrically operated metal axis. Rubber strips connected the axis to the motor. The experiment was no success.

Three years later, Duchamp tried this experiment again, now using a turntable of a record player. He made a series of ‘Disks Bearing Spirals’ (1923) mounted on cardboard. This anticipated the spiral theme that would later appear in ‘Rotary Demisphere’ (Precision Optics, 1925) and in the film ‘Anémic Cinéma’ (1925-1926). The revolving disks produced a three-dimensional effect.


Source :

Well of Lights

This article is a STUB please make edits and adjustments as suggested on Wikipedia to make it more robust.  Thanks!

iwai_table.jpgToshio Iwai is a Japanese interactive media and installation artist who has also created a number of commercial video games. In addition he has worked in television, music performance, museum design and digital musical instrument design.

Well of Lights (1992), was developed by Toshio Iwai while artist-in-residence at the San Francisco Exploratorium, Iwai used computer graphics and a video projector to create several hundred animated aquatic creatures that “swim,” play, and change form in an ethereal vivid blue environment that suggests both air and water.

“Wooden Mirror” by Daniel Rozin

woodenmirrormuseum.jpgDaniel Rozin has produced several artworks that function as mirrors but use materials that are seemingly non-reflective.:  trash, cork, metal, and paper.  Arguably his most awe-inspiring piece is the Wooden Mirror.  When asked to describe this piece, Rozin replied, "Built in 1999, this is the first mechanical mirror I built. This piece explores the line between digital and physical, using a warm and natural material such as wood to portray the abstract notion of digital pixels."[1] 

A built in videocamera captures the subject or viewer in front of the piece.  Then, the glossy coated wood pieces are rotated varying degrees by a tiny motor to reflect the appropriate amount of light to create the highlights, midtones, and shadows (grey-scale values) of the viewer standing infront of the work. "Wooden Mirror uses 830 square pieces of wood which are hooked up to an equal number of small motors which move the wooden blocks according to a live feed from a built in camera. The camera picks up movement in light and transfers the signal to the wood. The result is an eerie representation of reality depicted in tiny wooden pixels."[2]  

As the following video demonstrates, Wooden Mirror operates between the digital and physical worlds by using a tangible, physical material, such as wood, to imitate the function of a digital pixel. 


[2] Amusing Planet "Wooden Mirror"

“The Mandelbrot Set” Benoit Mandelbrot

322px-Mandel_zoom_00_mandelbrot_set.jpgThe Mandelbrot Set by Benoit Mandelbrot is a fractal that employs the simple equation “z = z *z + c”.  This equation basically controls a feedback loop.  “The equation is calculated dozens, or even millions of times for each pixel. Each time through the loop, the result of one calculation is used as the input for the next calculation. It is this feedback loop that gives the Mandelbrot set, and many other fractals, their complex behaviour.” [1]  The shape created occurs an infinite number of times and is rotated, distorted, and shrunken.  All the color bands used are connected throughout the entire piece and do not cross any other color bands as well.  The Mandelbrot set also requires millions of calculations and without a computer, it would be invisible even in the lowest of resolutions.  It also possesses infinte detail.  The viewer can zoom in as far as they want and the equation will still keep creating the shape and colors. [1] 

This equation and many like it are now used to create a world of different fractals for man uses from art all the way up to musical visualization. 

[1] Fractal Extreme: The Mandelbrot Set

Tribute in Light


“More recently, light has been used as an artistic medium to illuminate a metaphorical passage between the earth and the heavens.” [1]

Tribute in Light is not only beautiful aesthetically, but also beautiful in content as it paid a tribute to the victims of 9/11. The NY Daily News describes the work: “The Tribute in Light is an art installation near the site of the World Trade Center in remembrance of the September 11 attacks. The lights were turned on at 7:11 p.m. and will shine until sunrise at 6:34 a.m. Wednesday, according to officials. The Tribute in Light, which is composed of 88 searchlights installed just west of the former Ground Zero, first blazed on the six-month anniversary of the worst terror attack on American soil.” [2]

The work was truly a collaboration of minds, consisting of “architects John Bennett and Gustavo Bonevardi of PROUN Space Studio, artists Julian LaVerdiere and Paul Myoda, architect Richard Nash Gould, and lighting designer Paul Marantz.” [3] The project was funded by Municipal Art Society and Creative Time. Tribute in Light exhibits a vivid and crisp light in the approximate area were the towers once stood and emits a message of strength and hope over the horrible attack.


Light has always been a symbol of hope or of God’s presence in art, specifically since the enlightenment period as well as the early paintings of the annunciation of Christ. Julian LaVerdiere and Paul Myoda use the medium of light well in this piece as it boldly proclaims hope and, to an extent, a sense of peace that America will overcome the devastating attacks and will not forget the victims. Furthermore, Creative Time describes the work as the following: “Tribute in Light is a profound symbol of strength, hope and resilience, a reclamation of New York City skyline and identity, a tribute to rescue workers and a mnemonic for all those who lost their lives.” [3]


[1]Edward Shanken, Art and Electronic Media (Themes & Movements), (New York: Phaidon Press, 2009) 19

[2] NY Daily News. “Tribute In Light”. Accessed 28 November 2012.

[3] Creative Time. “Tribute In Light”.

Clock for 300 Thousand years

Clock for 300 Thousand years, by Tatsuo Miyajima, is a work of reflecting the Buddhist notion of time. (AEM p 73). His philosophical ideas are created by his concepts of ‘keep changing’ , ‘connect with everything’ , and ‘continue forever’.  In his yearning to understand time, Miyajima states, “Eternity consists of its vigor, which keeps changing”. He is prone to using the digital numbers in a few of his other works, giving light to his strong ties to Buddhism and its spiritual truths. Many times, the digital counters appear in groups of ten, for mathematical purposes, and symbolism for human life. In the way that Miyajima was interested in human life and time, so were philosophers Bergson and James “to theorize vitality and duration with respect to human perception and consciousness.” (aem p 17)

Numbers are so significant in human culture. Numbers are used universally, and a way of communication that is understood by the masses, unlike language. We become attached to specific numbers, and Miyajima portrays this emphasis on life and death through numbers. 





Pictured above, is another work by Miyajima called Counter Line No. 2. This is yet another work involving the digital numbers and time. This worked was created only 2 years after Clock for 300 Thousand Years. 

His work shows consistency in his interests in time. 

Another clock that Miyajima created was Luna, in 1994


His concept on this clock involves the creation of clocks, whether it be the telling of time by nature, and the invention of the first mechanical clock in Europe in the 13th century. 

1. Shanken, Edward A. Art And Electronic Media, p. 73, 17


A better article on Allvision is here

Allvision – Marita Steina (1976)


Before inventing Allvision, Marita Steina studied art and music in Prague, Czechoslovakia. As she was studying these various art forms, she met her husband, Woody, who was very skilled in videography and electronic connectivity. Around 1975, Marita became extremely fascinated with technology of VHS video and surveillance. She went on to create videos and collaborate with her husband on artistic, multi-media dance performances in New York. This inspiration and creative joining of this couple pushed Marita to design Allvision which is

Screen%20Shot%202012-11-28%20at%203.39.0one of the most discussed surveillance pieces in 1976.[1] Allvision was composed of two surveillance cameras, four video monitors, one central mirror sphere, and a turntable device. The mirrored sphere was placed on the turntable and centered between the two video cameras. [2] These video cameras were connected to four separate video monitors placed around the gallery space. This setup allowed users to experience full surveillance of the central gallery space. The base frame rotated by a motor allowing the image to constantly change. It also permitted viewers to see different angles within space. The image was a bit warped and contorted, but the premises of the ideas were very bold. This invention was later used as inspiration to help record video in prisons. This idea of something that is “all seeing” can make some a bit paranoid. This instillation pushes the boundaries of what the human eye is capable of and allows blind spots to be controlled or eliminated.

size_400_image1540.jpg?PHPSESSID=3a4aff7The idea of this piece calls to mind the artwork Twins by Richard Kriesche. The entry regarding the work can be seen HERE on Art and Electronic Media. Twins, by Richard Kriesche creates this mirror image of two twins reading the same text. These images are then broadcasted via video camera and monitor to the viewers to create their own hypothesis of what it means to them. Another parallel work that fits hand in hand with Allvision is the piece produced by Robert Adrian’s, called Surveillance (1979).


The entry regarding the work, Surveillance can be seen HERE on Art and Electronic Media. Robert Adrian wears a unique white baseball hat as he passes trough the vision in Karlsplatz train station in Vienna. The multiple tapes of him captured, was relayed through several, stacked video monitors, and played over and over to portray this meaning of Allvision.


Book Reference: Edward Shanken, ARt and Electronic Media (Themes & Movement), (New Yourk: Phaidon Press, 2009) p. 31 & 37

[1] AllVision Documentation: LINKED HERE

[2] Setup Docuentation: LINKED HERE

[3] Twins: LINKED HERE

[4] Surveillance: LINKED HERE

Joseph Kosuth’s Five Words

Five Words in Blue Neon by Joseph Kosuth


kosuth.jpgFIVE WORDS IN BLUE NEON (above image) is the exact description of what this work displays. This glorious, florescent glow of blue neon spelling the simple phrase “FIVE WORDS IN BLUE NEON” contains a particular aura in what this work portrays.[1] With the work displayed in a brightly lit studio, the piece doesn’t have the same feel as it would if the studio was strictly lit by the blue neon sign. With the majority of the surrounding lights off, the signs seems to have the illusion of a floating phrase that embraces the viewers attention. It seems to pull you in to the simple phrase and makes you wonder if there is anything else behind the modest work besides the brightly lit phrase. This specific work has been argued to coincide with the same “respect” as a still life painting, a sculpture, or any other contemporary art form. The simple phrase contains, light, contrast, and a variation of hue and saturation similar to other art works, but has a more modern twist. When Joseph Kosuth created this work in 1969, he wanted to branch out beyond the canvas and create something that can be as attention grabbing as a historical painting or ageless sculpture.


The idea of creating a “variation” of what is, was strongly displayed through his earlier work, One and Three Chairs. (above image)[2]  The perspective presented questions what defines art and how far it can be conveyed and expressed?

images.jpegThe boundaries that Kosuth pushes compares contrary to Claire Bishop’s perspective on Digitalization of Modern Art. He is expanding outside the realm of  traditional art and showing how something so embracing and beautiful as these neon forms can become. Other similar works can be found in Edward Shanken’s, Art and Electronic Media,2009. Estructura Luminica Madi “F”, (image right) by Gyula Kosice shows the same momentum of modern art forms shown by Joseph Kosuth. [3] This work by Kosice was created in 1946, quoted as “…the first to consist exclusively of unadorned neon.” I can see the inspiration that Kosuth could of embraced for this previous work by Kosice.


[1] Five Words in Blue Neon: Edward Shanken, ARt and Electronic Media (Themes & Movement), (New Yourk: Phaidon Press, 2009) p. 19

[2] One and Three Chairs: LINKED HERE

[3] Estructura Luminica Madi “F”, : Edward Shanken, ARt and Electronic Media (Themes & Movement), (New Yourk: Phaidon Press, 2009) p. 59

[4] Extended work by Joseph Kosuth: LINKED HERE

Heart Beats Dust

bild.jpgJean Dupuy really begins to take advantage of and enhance our perception of the world around us. Dupuy does this by transducing one sense into another, allowing the viewer to experience that sense in a different way than ever before. For example, the work Heart Beats Dust, exhibited in "The Machine" in 1968, takes an organic process that takes place within our very bodies, our pulse, and solidifies it into movement and sound. The dust within the black box is bounced and a sound is generated in response to the viewers own pulse. [1]

The viewer actively participates in the art, and thus is essential to its completion; however, they are also separated from the work itself (viewing it from the outside through a window). They are not completely immersed in the new dimensions of motion and sound, so how enriched is their perception of their pulse? The viewer experiences their own heartbeat in a new way, but are separated from it and now experiencing it from a distance.Jean_Dupuy.jpg

The choice of color is quite interesting as well. The deep red of the light is reminiscent of blood and the frequency of the light is one that excites the senses [2]. The viewers reaction to this color would play a role in the piece itself because it would be evident in the rate of their pulse. The loop that is then formed by this realization causes a never ending chain of reactions (or interactions) between viewer and installation, each responding to the other.

Rather than creating illusions of motion and sound like traditional art [3], Dupuy creates a new reality in which each sense and action takes on these dimentions and acts within them. It is concrete art, existing within actual space and time rather than illusions, so it "exalts Being, because it practises it." [3]

1 Edward A. Shanken, Art and Electronic Media, (Phaidon Press Limited, 2009), 21.
2 Wassily Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, (1911).
3 Art and Electronic Media, Asociacion Arte Concreto-Invencion, Inventionist Manifesto, (1946).


0ablackwhit3f9959f966.jpgBalint Bolygo’s Mappings is a 2005 kinetic sculpture which utilizes the core aspects of the Bolygo’s ethos as an artist. In the sculpture/installation two pens rigged to outlying pendulums transcribe the motions taken by the pendulums onto a rotating sphere, or blank globe. Viewers can interact with the pendulums, pushing them to behave more erratically, or calming them to induce smoother lines. The resulting process essentially becomes the earth mapping its own forces onto a replica of itself, a truly interesting portrayal of mapmaking that encourages the viewer to consider the mass our planet, whose gravitational pull directs the motion of the pendulum and creates the drawings. 


Picture credit:


Bolygo’s take on the self portrait, Trace, is a 2008 sculptural device by the artist, which connects conventional ideas of sculpture, especially of the human form, to contemporary notions of topography and transcription. The piece involves a rotating cast of the artist's head traversed by an extension of a complex but completely mechanical device, which records depth onto a circular piece of paper rotating at the same rate as the head. The artist's own head is then transformed into a compelling topographical map of itself under rotation. The resulting image is noticeably a head, but a heavily distorted one, appearing almost like an image from a spirograph, an evolving concentric diagram of recorded depth.


Electronic Moon No. 2

Nam June Paik and Jud Yalkut began working together in the 1960’s and collaborated on several short pieces throughout their time together. Using both B&W and color 16mm film, footage was captured and electromagnetically distorted (a method that Nam June Paik used quite frequently during this time). Then a second taping was completed filming the shadows of various objects projected overtop the footage of the moon to create the end product. In Electronic Moon No. 2, electromagnetic charges create an effect that mirrors and compliments the rhythmic motion of the water. The accompanying sound is Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller, a classic sound in contrast to this avant-garde media of the time, createing an environment that feels familiar and comfortable in the face of this new and unusual art.

The work is serene, contemplative, and provaocative. One can see the experimentation taking place as the “video-film” unravels; this video reveals much about the progression of these artists’ successes. 

The origional work is approximately 16 minutes long and includes color, silhouettes, households items and an appearance by Charlotte Moorman (long time friend and collaborator) at the end.


The Tristan Project


In 2004, Bill Viola was asked to create a video production for Tristan
un Isolde, being put on by Peter Sellers and Esa-Pekka Salonen,
premiering in Los Angeles. His video was going to create a backdrop for
the opera, which took place all around the audience in the theater.



For those not familiar with the story of Tristan and Isolde, it
goes like this. Tristan is a Cornish knight sent to Ireland to bring
back the Princess Isolde (sometimes spelled Iseult) for his uncle King
Mark to marry. Along the way the couple injests a love potion, causing
them to fall madly in love. Though Isolde marries Mark when they return
to England, she and Tristan carry on the affair in secret, driven by the
love potion. The court often tries to accuse them of adultery, but the
couple are never caught. King Mark finally hears of the relationship and
sentences the couple to death. Tristan rescues Isolde and they run away
and hide, only to be discovered by Mark. Tristan agrees to give up
Isolde and runs away, marrying Isolde of the White Hands, because of her
name. The endings of the tale vary on who is telling it. In one
version, Tristan is attacked by Mark with a poison lance and killed.
And in yet another, Tristan is struck by a poison lance while rescuing
six maidens from a group of knights. He tells his wife’s brother to sail
back to Cornwall and retrieve Isolde, his first love, and to fly white
sails if she will return and heal him. However his jealous wife switches
the sails to black and Tristan dies of grief thinking Isolde has
betrayed him.



Bill Viola’s specialty is slowing down time, manipulating the time flow of his video pieces. He wants you to see the seconds within a second, to let the viewer dwell in the emotion of that moment. By coordinating these slow, symbolic sequences with music, we get a powerful wave of emotion and symbolism. The video displays scenes from the opera using symbology. Tristan walks through a wall of fire and the embers stick to his chest like dozens of little stars. A galaxy. Yet another scene shows the couple cleansing theselves, an act of purification before they plunge into a pool together, hands clasped. In death, Viola created a sequence called ‘ascention’, in which Tristan lies on a stone slab, seemingly underwater, and light and water rise from his body like backwards rain until he has dissolved entirely. Viola’s trademarks of fire and water are heavily used here. Viola was inspired by the essential nature of myth — “the
drama of human beings in context with and engaging the natural forces,
the cosmic forces.” (NPR).

Interesting Fact: When Viola was first given the music to the production by Sellars, the artist couldn’t get past the first scene. Overwhelmed by the music, he thought he couldn’t do it, and shelved the project for a week.


Behind the Scenes:


Sources of information:

Hydrospatial City

Kosice and Hydrospatial City

Gyula Kosice is an Argentinian kinetic artist whose work includes the use of light, color, space, and form and channels themes of utopianism, culture, time and space. Kosice is a member of the MADI movement, an abstract artistic movement that started in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1946. MADI is an acronym which stands for “Movimiento, Abstracción, Dimensión, Inveción (Movement, Abstraction, Dimension, Invention).”

In 1940 Kosice proposed a project called “Hydrospatial City.” This was essentially a series of models, sculptures, architectural designs, and a number of other multi-media works. All of which flesh out the concept of “a sustainable community of mobile habitats.”0 The full exhibit features 19 three-dimensional models that are suspended at varying heights and represent these habitats floating around in space.

The shape and construction of these models follows Kosice’s MADI principals, mainly, abstract shapes and unconventional design methodologies. 

The purpose was to depart from the traditional form of inhabitable architecture, and follow a path more fitting with our technological progression in modern society. Kosice states, “In accordance with its impulses and vital responses, mankind has not advanced at an even pace concerning its own habitat.” Kosice is referring to “the small constraining flat which a society imposes upon us trough its compulsory economy.” (Google translation from Spanish)1

Kosice is trying to expose his audience to the possibility of a new type of living space. A radical shift from the cultural norms of our living conditions which have given so little way to advancement in the past century or so.

He proposes these structures, suspended in our atmosphere, could extract moisture from the clouds and create oxygen for us to breathe. They would use nuclear power to keep the structures afloat indefinitely.

While turning the Hydrospatial City from concept to reality may not be feasible in our near future, the exhibition is a fantastic social, environmental, and design experiment. Kosice’s attunement to the environment and prescience of our strained relationship with technology and culture is ahead of its time.

For him, I believe the project is a metaphor for larger MADI concepts: bucking the trend; disassociating one’s self from all ties to traditional methods of approach. “This transformation… supports our belief that it is not too bold to penetrate and investigate the absolute, through the possible, on the basis of a deliberate imaginative and chain-like interaction: a trans-individual imagination, without goals set in advance.”2

“To have our roots on the Earth or, to be more accurate, on the water planet – even though its atmosphere, its food and its waters are contaminated -, to witness, helpless, the persistent geographical and geological depredation, to watch how the ecological balance is slowly destroyed, to verify the constant demographic growth – all these are so many incentives for the radical changes we are already anticipating as a biological need. What we are suggesting here is the construction of the human habitat, actually using space at a height of a thousand and five hundred meters, in cities conceived of ad-hoc with a previous feeling of co-existence and a differentiated ‘Modus Vivendi'”3


A beautiful shot of the structures in "Hydrospatial City"

“33 Questions per Minute”

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer:

Born 1967 in Mexico City, B.Sc. in Physical Chemistry from
Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.

Mainly uses forms of electronic art to create interactive
installations and gallery pieces.

“33 Questions per

Year of Creation: 2000

A computer program uses grammatical rules to select words
from a dictionary and generate questions. These questions are then displayed on
21 different small LCD screens. All the questions are “grammatically correct,”
but almost always make little to no sense, (Ex. How badly does it metabolize in
order to continue setting funding? Where does he cradle repulsively?).  The questions are displayed at a rate of
33 per minute, “the threshold of legibility,” meaning there is no time for one
to reflect before the next question is displayed. The program is capable of
generating 55 billion different questions, and if running continuously would
take over 3,000 years.  A nice
variation of this piece is that viewers can interact with it by typing their
own questions to be integrated with the computer-generated ones. This allows
for a unique type of interaction that blends the line between program and
human. All questions are displayed the same, so there is no way to distinguish
between the two.

Information obtained from: