"CODE and NOISE"
curated by Christine Duval
Technology has been prevalent in the art world since the early seventies. Alan Rath, Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, Jim Campbell to name a few have pioneered electronic, video, computer and interactive art, all summed up now under “media” art. Along with the introduction of the digital camera to mainstream market, “New Genre” was introduced to art programs to address the use of technology as an art form. Engineers and artists started sharing ideas and exploring possibilities. In 2003, MIT graduate Casey Reas introduced Processing, an open source programming language built for electronic arts, and new media. With all that in place, generative art exploded and galleries and museums followed closely behind by embracing this new art form. Though media art is able to take a visual experience beyond the surface and sometimes turn the passive viewer into an active participant, it remains a challenge for many collectors. While Alan Rath and Nam June Paik consciously exposed the hardware like a canvas, Jim Campbell and Bill Viola made sure that the technology was as little invasive as possible and returned to the fundamentals of art, letting an image and an idea tell the story.
Moving forward fifteen years and a new wave of media artists find themselves fully immersed in the art market and equal to their peers - the painters, the photographers, mixed media artists and installation artists - thanks to the inevitable advance of the technology with smaller portable devices, enhanced visual displays, storage space and Apple. Media artists continue to push the boundaries of technology venturing into the software world taking a chance in exchanging ideas with a code rather than a brush. Where abstract painters often rely on intuition to free themselves of any conscious direction, media artists rely or create algorithms to alter and challenge the preset disposition of the software.
“CODE and NOISE” is an exhibition that presents eleven artists from Chicago, New York, the Bay Area, China and Japan who use, create or leverage software to produce works that are engaging, stimulating and invite us to ponder many current issues such as the environment, memory, art history, data collection and surveillance.
“CODE and NOISE”
curated by Christine Duval
JD Beltran & Scott Minneman, , Mel Day & Frank Ham, Laurie Frick,
James Lanahan, Ligorano Reese, Clive McCarthy, Simon Pyle,
teamLab and Yang Yongliang.
Pyle is a photographer investigating the digital photographic technology. Using basic photographic programs and devices, Pyle reveals the gap between what exists in the world and what we see in images and on screens. By using a technological function designed to freeze a moment, Pyle actually produces the opposite effect, showing the ravages of time captured digitally. Pyle used a personal photograph which he saved over 256,000. To his amazement, very little of the photograph was recognizable, exposing the similarity between human memory and memory storage.
Pyle received his BA from Stanford and his MFA from Mills College. His work has been featured at YBCA, SFMOMA, Google Inc. among others. Pyle lives and works in Chicago.
Grandpa Back From War (Jpeg Decay)
In the Jpeg Decay series, Pyle uses the quotidian mechanism of memory storage: the jpeg image file. Jpegs remove visual data and introduce slight changes each time they are saved, just as memories shift even as we recall and reinforce them.
Video and prints available.
2015 Cameras, Thermal Printer, Screen, custom software and computer.
The more people look at this artwork, the more it grows. A screen draws attention while a surveillance camera captures the faces and eyes of the viewers. These images of faces print immediately on a thermal receipt printer, creating a physical chronological record. This stream of receipt paper accumulates over the period of the installation, becoming more of a spectacle the more that it is viewed.
Mel Day and Frank Ham
In this recent series of photohraphs and digital light boxes works-in-progress, Day incorporates large-scale scans of the inside spreads of old and sacred texts with projections of high fidelity computational fluid dynamics simulations of turbulence*. These relatively blank pages are printed on back-lit transparency paper—further modified with sparse drawings and notations—and lit from behind. The turbulent wake mixes with the quiescent surrounding flow, naturally forming larger and larger vortices. These small and large eddies continuously unfurl and transform over the large (relatively blank) facing pages in mesmerizing, fleeting, and seemingly never-ending mutations of form.
*Day is working in collaboration with Frank Ham from Cascade Technologies, a computational fluid dynamics company developing state of the art Large Eddy Simulation (LES) technology and the direct representation of large-scale, high fidelity turbulent motions for multiple platforms and applications. The complex turbulent flow is simulated in the wake of a bluff body by solving the three-dimensional Navier-Stokes equations.
Day received her MFA from UC Berkeley. Her work has been shown at ZERO1, YBCA and internationally (Toronto and Berlin). Day lives and works in Palo Alto.
The artistic duo Ligorano/Reese have been collaborating as a team on amazing projects since the mid 1980s. But Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese’s latest project is a phenomenal, interactive self-portrait derived from Fitbit and psychological data. Self-quantification has become more and more ubiquitous in our culture, reflecting an increasing trend to visualize one’s activities aggregated, quantified and reflected in a mirror of metrics and personal technology. This growing preoccupation captured our imaginations - what kind of portrait could we create given one’s personal data; is a portrait of measure a 21st century artistic innovation? Entitled I•AM•I, the display is a fiber optic tapestry that is constantly changing, a woven data portrait displaying an abstract representation of our own activities and our responses to a self-reporting emotional survey. These activities are collected and generated by the FitBit, a data collection device or if unable to wear FitBit, |•AM•| contacts the “sitter” of the portrait three times per day, by SMS or email to find out how they’re feeling. It asks 11 questions about how they feel. They input this data using a mobile device. These responses are displayed as changing color fields.
Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese are showing internationally for the past 30 years. They both live and work in New York.
“Signal Noise” explores the limitations of technology and how the human mind processes and stores memory. The base for “Signal Noise” is a set of images taken during a family trip to Europe. After returning home, the laptop storing hundreds of RAW image files was accidently dropped and shattered. In a last ditch attempt, Lanahan decided to try and save the files using advanced recovery software. Over one month, he opened each file on the hard drive to try and identify the trip images. To his surprise, the computer’s CPU and operating system had taken the RAW image files and mashed them together in random and unanticipated ways. The new scramble of information led to fragmented collages, significant time shifts and tearing of images. In reflecting on his memory of the trip, Lanahan realized that the resulting layering of random moments were an honest representation of how he had begun to visually perceive the journey both as it evolved and in retrospect. This idea became a starting point to explore the limits of technology and one's mind to faithfully retain personal experience.
Media artist and technologist James Lanahan has been involved in the development of a number of pioneering digital media software and imaging architectures since the late 1980s.
JD Beltran and Scott Minneman
JD Beltran is a conceptual artist, designer, filmmaker, writer, and educator. Her artistic practice blends the narrative and the abstract in exploring new forms of storytelling. She combines media as diverse as sculpture, film, video, photography, printmaking, painting, interactive software, installation, sound, typography, and literature in conceiving and inventing new ways of storytelling through unexpected means. Her inquiries explore what one might deem “physical semiotics” – how does a portrait of a subject rendered in sculpture create meaning or experience, and how might a photograph represent that subject differently, or even a film of the same subject? For over a decade, her award-winning work has investigated storytelling through the blending of traditional with novel materials, concepts, and technology. One of her primary concepts has been the portal. The “Magic Story Table” series, “Telephone Story,” the hidden “Secrets” project, and the Cinema Snowglobes all probe the concept and experience of looking through a window into another world – be it a foreign culture, a rapturous journey, a strange landscape, or even another person’s psychology.
Her work has been screened and exhibited internationally, including at the Walker Art Center, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The M.H. de Young Museum, The Getty Center, The Kitchen in New York, the MIT Media Lab, Cité des Ondes Vidéo et Art Électronique in Montreal, ProArte in St. Petersburg, Russia. Beltran lives and works in San Francisco.
Scott Minneman is an innovative technologist who invents, designs, engineers, fabricates, and exhibits novel physical interactive devices for public spaces. Blending art with technology, he creates innovative forms of immersive, interactive storytelling. After earning architecture and engineering degrees from MIT and a doctorate at Stanford, Minneman was on the research staff at the think-tank Xerox PARC for fifteen years, then cofounded Onomy Labs, a make-tank for interactives. He has been commissioned to create artworks and interactive projects all over the world, and his work and collaborations have garnered multiple national and international awards. He also is faculty in the Graduate Program in Design, and Coordinator of the Graduate Interaction Design and User Experience major at the California College of the Arts. Minneman lives and works in San Francisco, CA.
"The Material Language series"
The Material Language Series is an innovative, groundbreaking suite of works that examines the language and meaning of the material of painting, photography, film, and video in relationship to each other. Each work begins with a single image, then combines the mediums of painting, photography, Super-8 film, and high-definition video to portray that single image in four different media, but within one composition.
* Stills from video: right from left: painting, photo, super 8mm, HD video
The Cinema Snowglobe, Minneman’s most recent invention (with partner JD Beltran), imbues the traditional tourist tchotchke with cutting-edge video technology for a delightful handheld experience. When shaken, Cinema Snowglobes create a compelling and involving experience, transporting viewers into a tiny world, like a personal crystal ball. In June 2014, the Cinema Snowglobes were awarded the International New Technological Art Award (NTAA), recognizing the top 2014 artworks in the world blending art and technology.
A series of globes “Fireworks”, “A Walk thru a Rose Garden”, “Golden Gate Bridge” will be available for the fair.
Engineer turned artist, Clive McCarthy writes its own code to recreate painterly version of his own photographs. Juggling three mediums in the process, McCarthy's final abstract renderings are mind-bending. McCarthy spends most of his time researching master painters’ techniques in order to reproduce a specific brush stroke as an example. Coding is McCarthy's brush and his “paint” is entirely synthetic. A digital version of a painting of a photograph is happening in slow motion however never to materialize as the program works in random sequence indefinitely.
McCarthy spent years as chief engineer at the semiconductor maker Altera before taking up art in 1997. He received his MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institue. His work has been shown at ICA, San Jose and in Canada. McCarthy lives and works in San Francisco.
* Please note that the speed is accelerated for this presentation.
Imagine a painting whose appearance shifts continuously over time, so much so that millions of years would have to pass before for your first glimpse of it returned. This may sound, to some, like a gimmick, but I assure you it's not. The San Francisco based engineer/artist Clive McCarthy has achieved it. McCarthy's grounding in art history is as solid as the algorithms that control his "paintings". His works, projected on small flat-panel screens, randomly recompose before your eyes. Each is derived from thousands of photographs that neither reveal their identity as such nor recall photorealism. They serially dissolve and reconstitute with periodic screen "wipes," as if Hans Hofmann had applied a lethargic version of the "Ken Burns effect" to post Impressionist paintings. Works like these show that the much-hyped fusion of science and art is finally starting to bear fruit.
David Roth, art critic, April 2014
teamLab is a Japanese collective of ultra-technologists made up of specialists including programmers, artists, hardware engineers, web and graphic designers and more. They create works through "experimentation and innovation" making the borders between science, technology, art and design more ambiguous. “Flower and Corpse Glitch” is a video of an animated traditional Japanese scroll going thru visual transformation. The concept explores how Japanese ancestors understood space and how they perceived the world. In the animation, a virtual 3D world is created and then flattened inline with the logic of how we believe Japanese may have once comprehended space. The work is based on the themes of nature, the clash of civilizations, cycles and symbiosis. The surface of the animation flakes away and reveals the underlying structure and the complex technology that forms the background to the work.
teamLab is based in Tokyo, Japan
Courtesy of PACE gallery, New York
Data collection on our lives is one of the obtrusive realities of the modern world but Laurie Frick, an artist with a tech background, sees taking ownership of that data as a positive way. To better understand our lives, Frick turns data into abstract portraiture. She began measuring her daily actions at Quantified Self, a website where people can self- track their experiences but she ultimately created and launched her own App, Frickbits. Using the collected data, it becomes the "mother board' for the work. Lasercut rendering are actual and precise data using geolocation gather in a week, a day or a month, ultimately interpreting the quantitative data into visual representation. Overall, the images are abstract and yet they function as almost a text-book depiction of data. The combo presents an explosive marriage of number and image, of science and art.
Frickbits App is a free App available at the App store:
Frick's work is included in major museum collections. She lives and works between Austin, TX and New York, NY
Courtesy of Edward Cella Art + Architecture, Los Angeles, CA
Yongliang is known for his sprawling photographic collages that depict the devastating effects of uncontrolled urbanization and industrialization. At a distance the works look like traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy but when viewed up close, the peaceful mountains and seascapes are found to be choked with buildings, factories, and machinery. Always seeking harmony between two contrary subjects, architecture and shan-shui are just some elemental components in Yongliang's whole creative concept. In his recent works, Yang Yongliang incorporates video elements within his already heavily composed photographic scrolls to capture that time-tested aesthetic. Traditional Chinese culture permeates his cutting-edge creative process, using new techniques and software to interpret older forms, like Chinese landscape paintings.
Yongliang's work is included in major museum collections around the world. He lives and works in Shanghai, China.