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  • Location:
    Innis Town Hall, Toronto (Canada)

Subtle Technologies Festival 2011 | May 28 - June 5, 2011 & Digicult
Curated by Marco Mancuso and Claudia D’Alonzo for Digicult
For official images and videos descriptions, please contact:
Innis Town Hall, Toronto
June 02-03, 2011
"Hidden Worlds" - curated by Marco Mancuso for Digicult
"When the eye flickers (Quando l’occhio trema)" - curated by Claudia
D’Alonzo (Univeristy of Udine, Digicult) & Mario Gorni (archivio DOCVA)
"A Myriad of vibrant phenomena. The hidden worlds of audiovisual
art-science" - lead by Marco Mancuso for Digicult
Digicult has been invited by Subtle Technologies festival in Toronto to
present 2 Videoscreenings: "Hidden Worlds" curated by Marco Mancuso and "When the Eye Flickers" (Quando l’Occhio Trema) curated by Claudia D’Alonzo (Univeristy of Udine, Digicult) e Mario Gorni (archivio DOCVA) .
"Hidden Worlds" is another chapter of Marco Mancuso’s research on
audiovisual art-science which started from Bruce Sterling’s Fabrica Workshop,
continued with the lecture taken at Museo della Scienza in Naples in 2009 and
fixed with the curatorship at Sincronie Festival 2009 and invitation at Cinema
& Science convention organized by University Roma 3.
"When the Eye Flickers" (Quando l’Occhio Trema) is a Claudia D'Alonzo's
critical research on reconstruction of the historical and methodological path of
the use of the Flickering technique, togher with Mario Gorni and Docva Archive
The videoscreening "Hidden Worlds" was enriched by a critical essay &
lecture, led by Marco Mancuso, entitled "A Myriad of Vibrant Phenomena: the
hidden worlds of audiovisual art-science"
Subtle Technologies is a gathering of artists, scientists,
technologists, engineers and the general public. The festival share
cross-disciplinary ideas, explore new technologies, showcase creativity and
incubate the next generation of practitioners at the intersection of art,
science and technology.
2011 marks the 14th year of festival and organization. The audience and
visibility have steadily grown since 1997. The festival is now well-known in
Toronto and internationally as a unique venue for bringing together cutting edge
science and art. Our events are attended by intellectually curious people from
all parts of society—especially those with an interest in art, technology,
science, engineering, architecture or design.
The annual June Festival includes a symposium (3 days of interdisciplinary
presentations, demos, lightning talks and panel discussions), performances,
exhibitions and films, speed networking and more. Starting in 2010–2011, the
festival began a series of year-round events, partnering with many community
groups to run workshops, literary events, documentary screenings and other
events throughout the year—all focused on bringing together art, science and
Screening curated by Marco Mancuso for Digicult: Short
The screening "Hidden Worlds" is a critical reflection upon the existing
connection between audiovisual art, energy and science on the borders of cinema,
video and digital.
The "Hidden Worlds" exhibition celebrates one of the most fascinating yet
obscure territories of artistic audiovisual contemporary research: the relation
between art and science. The video screening produces works that induce into a
critical reflection on the existing relation between audiovisual contemporary
artistic research (as regards to cinema, video and digital experiences) and
applied sciences.
This project, dealing with different artistic examples which investigate
new expressive forms for the representation of the sound-image relation,
deliberately avoids focusing on the existing common aesthetics among them, as
well as on a possible expressive language. It rather suggests an overview on
specific systems for sensorial perception, and emotional mechanisms of
"saturation", achieved through the use of hybrid techniques, that today like
never before expand the tradition of analog experimental cinema and digital
What it is today recognized as "immersive art-science" is a form of
creative expression meant to rise above the notion of art as abstract
representation, in behalf of a multi-sensorial experience. The purpose here is
to create aesthetical fascinating objects and also to invite the public to go
beyond ordinary perception's border. Immersivity awakens a synesthetic awareness
both in the mental and in the physic space. A myriad of vibrant phenomena,
usually beyond the observer's reach, are instead made reachable through an
accurate psychophysical conditioning.
This video screening takes the spectators to wonderful "hidden worlds",
illustrated by artists and scientists who more and more often collaborate and
share experiences with one another on the research of new expressive
potentialities within specific mathematical processes and physical, optical,
chemical and electro-magnetic phenomena.
By watching the audiovisual representation of the existing energetic and
electromagnetic phenomena on the Sun's surface and of current interferences
generated from interaction of electromagnetic fields between the Sun and Earth,
as possible instrument of aestheticization of the space phenomena by the
Semiconductor duo (in works such as "Black Rain"), the passage to the
audiovisual representation of chemical-physical-optical reactions of the
Portable Palace duo (Evelina Domnitch & Dmitri Gelfand) is extraordinary
short indeed. In their first work present in this exhibition, ("Camera Lucida")
they study the chemical-physical phenomena of "sonoluminescence", while in their
second one ("10000 Peackcock Feathers in Foaming Acid") they analyze the
potentialities of optical phenomena generated by investigating the laser light
within the nanometric structures of foams. Moreover, the first work by Thorsten
Fliesch present in the exhibition ("Energie!") shows the scorches on
photographic paper produced by an high potential energy flow of an electron beam
contained in a cathode ray tube.
The number is an ever present concept, being the fundamental element of
every mathematical and algebraic formula which involves not only a single energy
phenomenon present in nature, but also a series of disturbing/superimposition
phenomena, such as interferences, beats, accumulations, harmonies and other
optical event, like Moirè's (optical illusion created by geometrical sequences
of interference phenomena), as shown by the purely glitch and software work by
Carsten Nicolai ("Spray")
The number, in its highest abstraction of key element for a fourth
dimension representation , is still an important part of Thorsten Fleisch's
video ("Gestalt"), a sort of recognition of the quaternion worlds
(four-dimensional fractals) visualized in a three dimensional space through
appropriate software. Yet maybe John Campbell's masterpiece ("LI: The Patterns
of Nature") is the work that mostly evidences the geometric structures
spontaneously present in Nature, through a kind of magical and hypnotic
audiovisual document, perfect sample of a deep critical conviction: contemporary
audiovisual art, today more than in the past, has the technological instruments
and the ethical duty to confront itself with the empirical world and the
"natural" technologies within it. Technologies that should be collected,
observed and manipulated by man, who has already given proof of his skill with
light, sound, image and space.
- Semiconductor
Black Rain (2009, GB)
col., sound, 3'02'', HD
Format: 16:9 widescreen
- Evelina Domnitch & Dmitri Gelfand
Camera Lucida: Sonochemical
Observatory (2006 - Rus, Bel)
col., sound, 8'57''
-Thorsten Fleisch
Energie! (2007, Ger)
col., sound, 5'18''
- John N. Campbell
Li: The Patterns of Nature (2007 – Usa)
sound 9'06'', original format: 16mm
- Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfand
10000 Peackcock Feathers in
Foaming Acid (2009 Rus, Bel)
col., sound, 2'52''
- Alva Noto
Spray (2006, Ger)
col., sound, 8'
- Thorsten Fleisch
Gestalt (2003, Ger)
col., sound, 5'20''
Screening curated by
Claudia D'Alonzo for Digicult and Mario Gorni for Docva
Inspired by a 1989 film by Paolo Gioli with the same name, this screening
reconstructs the historical and methodological path of the use of the Flickering
technique, using a selection of works from the DOCVA and INVIDEO archives, as
well as from works of a number of authors connected to the Digicult
international network.
The “flicker” is a technique applied to a number of art forms, from the
experimental cinema on analog film, light installations and environments, as
well as video analog and digital audiovisual. This technique is based on a
specific perceptive phenomenon. Our perception of moving images normally happens
with a 24 frames per second frequency.
If we decrease this frequency to between 6 to 18 frames per second, we
create a visual blinking leading to a direct stimulation of the optic nerve and,
thus, to a proto-vision where the visual rhythm becomes directly synchronized
with our cerebral waves.
The flicker belongs to what Edmund Husserl defines as perceptive ambiguity,
for its potentials to go beyond and offer a chance to overcome the habitual
conventions that govern our knowledge of the real. This may be achieved through
destabilizing—in some cases violently, or traumatically—perceptive common,
almost addicted, habits.
Artists experiment with flickering using a phenomenological approach,
through the anomalous stimulation of our perceptive apparatus, as well as
through the structural analysis of the codes that compose the moving
Thanks to the collaboration with the Archive of DOCVA and Digicult, "When
the Eye Flickers (Quando l’occhio trema)" is meant also as a moment of research,
a way to conceive the archival material as a dynamic instrument through which to
establish relations and exchanges, a point of departure to establish comparisons
between the historical experiences of the audiovisual experimentation and the
most contemporary developments.
- Claudio Ambrosini
Light solfeggio (Italia, 1977)
2'17'', b/w,
Courtesy Archivio DOCVA
- Paolo Gioli
Quando l'occhio trema (Italia, 1989)
12', b/w,
Courtesy Paolo Gioli
- Kurt Hentschläger/Ulf Langheinrich (Granular Synthesis)
Form (
Austria, 2000)
3', col., Courtesy Granular Synthesis
- Thorsten Fleisch
Superbitmapping (Germania, 2000)
2' 3'', col.,
Courtesy Thorsten Fleisch
- Graw & Bockler
Because (Germania, 2002)
3'47", col., Courtesy
Archivio, DOCVA
- Scott Arford
Untitled for television (USA, 2003)
5' 57'', col.,
Courtesy Scott Arford
- Alessandrà Arnò
Stars (Italia, 2003)
4', b/n, Courtesy Archivio
- Otolab
Vagina cosmica (Italia, 2009)
video: xo00, audio: _dies, ,
4' 50'', col., Courtesy of Otolab
Lecture by Marco Mancuso for Digicult
Between 1899 and 1904 the german philosopher and biologist Ernst Haeckel
published a book of lithographic and autotype prints entitled Kunstformen der
Natur (Art Forms of Nature), one of his best known works and a symbol of his
zoological research and philosophy, centered on the observation of marine
micro-organisms as well of various natural species and animals. The complete
volume, consisting of over 100 lithographs, each accompanied by a short
descriptive text, obtained a great success even among the non-specialist public
and among some Art Nouveau artists, committed to find new models to be used in
the nascent industrial design and in architecture. 
From the first experiences on the field by Haeckel to theories of fractals
and morphogenesis, dreams of genetic algorythms, studies on quaternions,
perceptions of Moirè's and optical effects, computational periodics
achievements, recordings of electromagnetics phenomena, chemical-physical
sponteneous reactions, cymatics observations on dynamics of sound waves and
vibrations, it's clear that Mother Nature is characterized at the root by a
matrix of numbers and mathematical expressions involving a series of physical,
optical, chemical-physical, electromagnetic and nanometric phenomena influencing
its forms, species, colours, sounds and structures.
If science is considered an organic complex of knowledge obtained through a
methodical procedure, capable of providing a precise description of the real
aspect of things and the laws by which the phenomena happen, and if the rules
governing such process are generally called "scientific method", then the
experimental observation of a natural event, the formulation of a general
hypothesis about such event and the possibility of checking the hypothesis
through subsequent observations become fundamental elements in modern scientific
What it is today recognized as "immersive art-science" is a form of
creative expression meant to rise above the notion of art as abstract
representation, in behalf of a multi-sensorial experience. The purpose of the
this lecture which enrich and complete the "Hidden Worlds" screening, is to
critically map those artists acting with a “discovery approach”, observing and
recording,  sharing experiences and ideas with scientists and science
communities, working without the use of cinematographic or video or digital
tecniques but obtaining the fluxus of sound and images only by natural and
spontaneous scientific phenomena (physical, optical, chemical, mathemical and
electro-magnetical). Hidden Worlds wants to create fascinating objects and also
to invite the public to go beyond ordinary perception's border. Immersivity
awakens a synesthetic awareness, both in the mental and in the physical space. A
myriad of vibrant phenomena, usually beyond the observer's reach, are instead
made reachable through an accurate psychophysical conditioning.
- Hans Jenny Cymatics Soundscapes (1967, Switzerland)
- Mary Ellen Bute
Abstronic (Usa, 1954)
- John Whitney Permutations (USA, 1971)
Semiconductor Magnetic Movies (USA, 2007)
Claudia D’Alonzo: Graduated in Contemporary Art History, Claudia PhD
student in Audiovisual Studies at the University of Udine (Italy). For several
years, she has been interested in new media art, particularly in the audiovisual
interactions allowed by electronic and digital technologies. Within the Digicult
network she takes care of press office activities and curatorial projects. She
belongs to the management committee of Digimag magazine, with which she
collaborates also as writer in the audiovisual experimental cinema section. She
has published catalogues and articles for contemporary art magazines, among
which "Exibart" and "Luxfluflux Prototype. She collaborated with Galleria Sala1,
in Rome, MLAC, Museo Laboratorio di Arte Contemporanea, in Rome, DOCVA Centro di
Documentazione per le Arti Visive, in Milan. She has been curator for national
and international presentations, screenings and exhibitions.
Marco Mancuso: Marco Mancuso is a new media art critic, curator, editor and
teacher, expert of the impact of digital technologies on art, design, culture
and contemporary society. Founder and Director at Digicult project and Digimag
magazine, Marco Mancuso focuses his researches on the connection between sound,
light, image & space, with an historical/theoretical point of view, among a
cross-disciplinary territory crossing art, cinema, music, design, architecture
& science. With the art-agency Digimade he is working for international art
festivals, galleries, cultural and media centers as guest curator and media
partner, organizing exhibitions and cross media events, workshops, meetings,
performance and screenings and promoting, among others, Italian live media &
live cinema artists. As Digicult director, Marco Mancuso has been also
expertising and skilling in the last years on networking strategies, online
marketing & comunication developments and web 2.0 editing & journalistic
activities. His interviews and critical texts can be read on Digimag archive,
while his essays were published in festival and exhibition catalogues, and
lectures and presentations he joined, both nationally and internationally.Marco
Mancuso regularly teaches “Multimedia Art Languages” at NABA-New Academy of Fine
Arts in Milan and “Audiovisual Design” at IED-European Institute of Design in
Milan. He is also invited as guest lecturer and teacher of “New Media Art,
Design & Culture” to seminars and workshops at academies and labs in Italy
and Europe (like Transmedia-Brussels, Politecnico-Milan, Vasa Project…). Marco
Mancuso is member of international art-prices juries, like Celeste Prize, Kernel
Festival and In/Out Festival - http://www.marcomancuso.net/