Fwd: Rhizome -- Software Art Installation

Posted by Rachel Greene | Fri Sep 26th 2003 5:33 p.m.

Begin forwarded message:

> From: "Shirley Shor" <ShirleyS@friskit.com>
> Date: Fri Sep 26, 2003 1:48:32 PM US/Eastern
> To: "Shirley Shor" <ShirleyS@friskit.com>
> Subject: Rhizome -- Software Art Installation
>
>
>
> _____
>
>
> Rhizome, 2003
> Software Art and sound installation by Shirley Shor
> PC projection, custom software, balloon, speakers
>
> http://shirley.friskit.com/dance/rhizome_sfac.htm
> <http://shirley.friskit.com/work.htm>
>
> <http://shirley.friskit.com/media/dance/rhizome.jpg>
>
> "Is art programmable? Can software itself be art?" -- Gerfried
> Stocker
>
> In this piece I'm using software as a material and a medium for
> artistic
> work.
> The visuals are dynamically generated in real-time by custom PC
> software
> and are projected on a 8' diameter weather balloon.
> the result is an evolving ambient light- sculpture.
>
> In Rhizome space itself becomes engulfed in time. Space becomes
> temporal.
> The environment is generated by software code that generates an on-
> going random path, and a playful evolving structure.
> The complex system is twisting around unfixed center point, and creates
> a notion of turbulence.
>
> http://shirley.friskit.com <http://shirley.friskit.com/work.htm>
>
> Now on view @ San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery
> September 10 - October 26, 2003
>
> ** Experimental electronic soundtrack credit: Alon Sadot
>
  • Rhizomer | Tue Sep 30th 2003 10:02 a.m.
    if shirley's project (which looks beautiful) were to fall under the category of 'software art', wouldn't that mean that we have to group everything that is 'generative design' under this header, just because there is a piece of code generating the graphics in realtime?

    for me, it still makes more sense to use the notion of 'software art' for projects that reflect on software as an artistic material and as a cultural artifact, rather than simply _using_ software.

    i have not seen the documentation for the piece, but from what i can see, it would not qualify for the transmediale software art competition.

    greetings,
    -a

    > > Rhizome, 2003
    > > Software Art and sound installation by Shirley Shor
    > > PC projection, custom software, balloon, speakers
    > >
    > > http://shirley.friskit.com/dance/rhizome_sfac.htm

    > > In this piece I'm using software as a material and a medium for
    > > artistic work.
    > > The visuals are dynamically generated in real-time by custom PC
    > > software and are projected on a 8' diameter weather balloon.
    > > the result is an evolving ambient light- sculpture.
    > >
    > > In Rhizome space itself becomes engulfed in time. Space becomes
    > > temporal.
    > > The environment is generated by software code that generates an on-
    > > going random path, and a playful evolving structure.
    > > The complex system is twisting around unfixed center point, and
    > creates
    > > a notion of turbulence.
  • Pall Thayer | Tue Sep 30th 2003 8:03 p.m.
    I was almost tempted to agree. I'm not really sure why though. Maybe because
    we've become accustomed to accessibility to software art via the internet.
    In this case however, the internet doesn't appear to have anything to do
    with it. Then maybe it's because it appears that we don't get to use it (no
    interactivity). It's something created only for Shirley's use. Maybe
    because it includes elements that have nothing to do with the computer
    (weather baloon). The more I tried to come up with a reason to not
    categorize this as 'software art' the closer I came to actually classifying
    it as 'software art'. Of course the lack of information about the project
    doesn't really help. But what it comes down to is that if Shirley claims to
    be using artist made software in an art context then it must be 'software
    art'. How does this work (or at least our perception of it based on the
    information provided) differ from say, Mark Napier's "SpringyDotsApplet" in
    CODeDOC?

    I understand what you mean about the notion of 'software art' as reflection
    on software as an artistic material and cultural artifact and despite the
    preferred theories of ReadMe and Transmediale, I don't think this is the
    generally accepted idea of 'software art'. What I mean is that when people
    hear the term 'software art', I don't think your definition is the first
    thing to enter their minds. This may even be reflected in the transmediale
    '03 jury statement for the software category:

    "The jury was also very aware that the particular set of projects submitted
    to the competition do not completely reflect the full range of the
    activities that fit into the scope of the competition."

    It sounds like they didn't receive the types of submissions they were
    expecting which may just be because the artists themselves have conflicting
    understandings of the term 'software art'. But if this is to be the case,
    that the term 'software art' applies only to work that reflects on software
    and software culture, then what term do we apply to the other stuff?

    Pall

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: <abroeck@transmediale.de>
    To: <list@rhizome.org>
    Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 1:02 PM
    Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: Fwd: Rhizome -- Software Art Installation

    > if shirley's project (which looks beautiful) were to fall under the
    category of 'software art', wouldn't that mean that we have to group
    everything that is 'generative design' under this header, just because there
    is a piece of code generating the graphics in realtime?
    >
    > for me, it still makes more sense to use the notion of 'software art' for
    projects that reflect on software as an artistic material and as a cultural
    artifact, rather than simply _using_ software.
    >
    > i have not seen the documentation for the piece, but from what i can see,
    it would not qualify for the transmediale software art competition.
    >
    > greetings,
    > -a
    >
    > > > Rhizome, 2003
    > > > Software Art and sound installation by Shirley Shor
    > > > PC projection, custom software, balloon, speakers
    > > >
    > > > http://shirley.friskit.com/dance/rhizome_sfac.htm
    >
    > > > In this piece I'm using software as a material and a medium for
    > > > artistic work.
    > > > The visuals are dynamically generated in real-time by custom PC
    > > > software and are projected on a 8' diameter weather balloon.
    > > > the result is an evolving ambient light- sculpture.
    > > >
    > > > In Rhizome space itself becomes engulfed in time. Space becomes
    > > > temporal.
    > > > The environment is generated by software code that generates an on-
    > > > going random path, and a playful evolving structure.
    > > > The complex system is twisting around unfixed center point, and
    > > creates
    > > > a notion of turbulence.
    > + ti esrever dna ti pilf nwod gniht ym tup
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
  • shirley shor | Wed Oct 1st 2003 3:55 a.m.
    wrote:

    > if shirley's project (which looks beautiful) were to fall under the
    > category of 'software art', wouldn't that mean that we have to group
    > everything that is 'generative design' under this header, just because
    > there is a piece of code generating the graphics in realtime?
    >
    > for me, it still makes more sense to use the notion of 'software art'
    > for projects that reflect on software as an artistic material and as a
    > cultural artifact, rather than simply \_using\_ software.
    >
    > i have not seen the documentation for the piece, but from what i can
    > see, it would not qualify for the transmediale software art
    > competition.
    >
    > greetings,
    > -a

    Andreas,

    I think that we are beyond the point of thinking about software art (or code art) only as a tool separated from the art discourse. I agree that for a while we had a need to define this art form in order to investigate, understand, learn to use, and to realize what kind of medium/material we are dealing with. We had to find the limitations of this medium but also to find the cracks, and the folds. In this sense, it was natural to deal and to focus on works that reflect on software as an artistic material. My point is that we where in this situation about seven years ago. This doesn't mean that we need to stop asking those questions about that medium itself (did we ever stop asking about the nature of panting? photography?). What I'm saying is that we are now ready to express software art through fine art itself. In other words, to combine code (as a raw material) with other methods, other mediums, and other disciplines in order to create works of fine art. It doesn
  • Rhizomer | Wed Oct 1st 2003 6:07 a.m.
    dear pall,

    thanks for your response,

    >But what it comes down to is that if Shirley claims to
    >be using artist made software in an art context then it must be 'software
    >art'. How does this work (or at least our perception of it based on the
    >information provided) differ from say, Mark Napier's "SpringyDotsApplet" in
    >CODeDOC?

    well, maybe it doesn't, which is why Napier's piece may also not
    qualify; what i am trying to argue is that to say that any 'artist
    made software in an art context must be software art', is reductive
    and makes the term utterly redundant. you can do that, but it only
    means that we have to develop a different term that holds the notion
    of reflexivity which i am arguing for.

    >It sounds like they didn't receive the types of submissions they were
    >expecting which may just be because the artists themselves have conflicting
    >understandings of the term 'software art'. But if this is to be the case,
    >that the term 'software art' applies only to work that reflects on software
    >and software culture, then what term do we apply to the other stuff?

    depends what it is: can be net art, can be generative design, can be
    interactive performance, all sorts of things; the way i understood
    the last jury at transmediale, what they meant was more in the line
    of what the tm.01 software jury also argued: within the field of
    software art ('restricted understanding'), many possible tracks have
    not been explored yet. you can also check out the many categories on
    runme.org.

    where, in this cosmos, would you locate shirley's work?

    regards,

    -a
  • Pall Thayer | Wed Oct 1st 2003 8:01 a.m.
    Hi Andreas,

    My main concern is defining programming and scripting languages as artistic
    tools. I think they should be more widely taught in art academies and
    departments as artistic tools. It doesn't really matter what the end product
    is called. Anyone can try as much as they want to coin a certain term and
    decide it's meaning but in the end the artists themselves will provide the
    definition. The only reason I have a problem with what you are saying is
    this: take something like Napiers SpringyDots. It's art. It's software.
    Isn't it then software art? I think a term like 'software art' is too
    ambiguous to be something that defines a specific genre of computer related
    artwork (one of these days, we'll probably have a bunch of sub-categories
    like 'abstract visual software art', 'interface software art',
    'data-relation software art', 'faulty error-prone software art', etc).
    Besides, doesn't work that reflects or critiques a certain element of daily
    life (such as the use of computers and computer programs) already have some
    kind of sub-category within the arts? Take for instance the project you
    mention by Matthew Fuller (the MS Word dialogue boxes). Let's say someone
    does similar work involving all the different street signs that can be found
    along Main Street in Mytown, Whereever (it's probably been done by someone).
    Isn't it the same sort of work? Aren't they addressing very similar issues?
    Should we then call the streetsign project 'street art'? Let's take another
    example, Eldar Karhalev and Ivan Khimin's Screen Saver. One of the winners
    of the Read_Me 1.2 festival. This type of instructional artwork isn't new
    and isn't unique to computers. Sounds to me more like Fluxus than software.
    I don't feel that we need a term that separates work about software from
    work about kitchen sinks. But I do feel that there is a need to establish
    the process of creating certain types of software as an artistic act so that
    it may be properly addressed within the art community and schools.

    As far as Shirley's work goes, as I said before, the artists will define
    what is and what is not software art. If she says it's software art, who are
    we to argue? Presenting this type of 'software art' as an installation piece
    is very interesting. Poses a lot of questions. As I mentioned sometime
    before, artists software is usually approachable by the public. You can
    download it and do stuff with it and gain a first hand experience of it as
    software running on your own computer. But why should that mean that it's
    'more' software than Shirley's project? Appearantly she's using the same
    processes as artists who present their software on the internet and
    elsewhere in that she's using code and the essence of code to generate
    visual artwork.

    Pall

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Andreas Broeckmann" <abroeck@transmediale.de>
    To: "Pall Thayer" <palli@pallit.lhi.is>; <list@rhizome.org>
    Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2003 9:04 AM
    Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: Fwd: Rhizome -- Software Art Installation

    > dear pall,
    >
    > thanks for your response,
    >
    > >But what it comes down to is that if Shirley claims to
    > >be using artist made software in an art context then it must be 'software
    > >art'. How does this work (or at least our perception of it based on the
    > >information provided) differ from say, Mark Napier's "SpringyDotsApplet"
    in
    > >CODeDOC?
    >
    > well, maybe it doesn't, which is why Napier's piece may also not
    > qualify; what i am trying to argue is that to say that any 'artist
    > made software in an art context must be software art', is reductive
    > and makes the term utterly redundant. you can do that, but it only
    > means that we have to develop a different term that holds the notion
    > of reflexivity which i am arguing for.
    >
    >
    > >It sounds like they didn't receive the types of submissions they were
    > >expecting which may just be because the artists themselves have
    conflicting
    > >understandings of the term 'software art'. But if this is to be the case,
    > >that the term 'software art' applies only to work that reflects on
    software
    > >and software culture, then what term do we apply to the other stuff?
    >
    > depends what it is: can be net art, can be generative design, can be
    > interactive performance, all sorts of things; the way i understood
    > the last jury at transmediale, what they meant was more in the line
    > of what the tm.01 software jury also argued: within the field of
    > software art ('restricted understanding'), many possible tracks have
    > not been explored yet. you can also check out the many categories on
    > runme.org.
    >
    > where, in this cosmos, would you locate shirley's work?
    >
    > regards,
    >
    > -a
    > + ti esrever dna ti pilf nwod gniht ym tup
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
  • Rhizomer | Thu Oct 2nd 2003 4:45 a.m.
    dear pall,

    thanks for your interesting answer. i take your point and want to
    think about what you say, because it seems reasonable, and i don't
    want to argue just for the sake of an argument. my feeling is that a
    case should still be made for a less general notion of software art,
    but at the moment i could only repeat myself, so i will shut up and
    come back to it when i have a clearer mind.

    there are other people who have also argued against the notion of
    software art altogether, as it creates another niche, another
    imprecise sub-genre of the already contested media art field. i'm
    aware of that problem, but i also believe that strategically the
    attention to software in particular has some relevance.

    i'll leave it here and will respond later, if i have points to add.

    best regards,

    -a

    >Besides, doesn't work that reflects or critiques a certain element of daily
    >life (such as the use of computers and computer programs) already have some
    >kind of sub-category within the arts? Take for instance the project you
    >mention by Matthew Fuller (the MS Word dialogue boxes).

    >I don't feel that we need a term that separates work about software from
    >work about kitchen sinks. But I do feel that there is a need to establish
    >the process of creating certain types of software as an artistic act so that
    >it may be properly addressed within the art community and schools.
  • Liza Sabater | Fri Oct 3rd 2003 7:29 p.m.
    On Tuesday, Sep 30, 2003, at 19:03 America/New_York, Pall Thayer wrote:

    > It sounds like they didn't receive the types of submissions they were
    > expecting which may just be because the artists themselves have
    > conflicting
    > understandings of the term 'software art'. But if this is to be the
    > case,
    > that the term 'software art' applies only to work that reflects on
    > software
    > and software culture, then what term do we apply to the other stuff?

    May I interject here.
    You are right in every count given my very unscholarly conversations
    with some ''software'' artists. The problem is, people feel
    uncomfortable calling some of these pieces paintings or even
    sculptures. If software is just the medium, just like oil, wax or
    acrylics --and it has nothing to reflect upon the 'nature' of
    software-- what do we call it? I vote for artware.

    / l i z a
  • metaphorz | Sun Oct 5th 2003 10:09 p.m.
    Liza Sabater wrote:

    > On Tuesday, Sep 30, 2003, at 19:03 America/New_York, Pall Thayer
    > wrote:
    >
    > > It sounds like they didn't receive the types of submissions they
    > were
    > > expecting which may just be because the artists themselves have
    > > conflicting
    > > understandings of the term 'software art'. But if this is to be the
    > > case,
    > > that the term 'software art' applies only to work that reflects on
    > > software
    > > and software culture, then what term do we apply to the other stuff?
    >
    > May I interject here.
    > You are right in every count given my very unscholarly conversations
    > with some ''software'' artists. The problem is, people feel
    > uncomfortable calling some of these pieces paintings or even
    > sculptures. If software is just the medium, just like oil, wax or
    > acrylics --and it has nothing to reflect upon the 'nature' of
    > software-- what do we call it? I vote for artware.
    >

    I am surprised that artists would think of software as only
    the medium, and not the subject material. Perhaps I am seeing
    a potential evolutionary progression from:

    1. software as application/tool
    (using someone else's software--often, commercial software)
    2. software as medium (raw material)
    3. software as target (subject material)

    This evolution may be wishful thinking on my part,
    and yet, there seem to be numerous creative possibilities
    in treating software as the subject. I think
    back to Tron as one cinematic incarnation of this
    view. We are now closer, than in 1982, to build
    "operational Trons". Thoughts?

    -paul

    >
    > / l i z a
    >
  • Antoine Schmitt | Tue Oct 7th 2003 9:26 a.m.
    :::::::::5/10/03::::21:09 -0400::::metaphorz:::::::::
    >1. software as application/tool
    > (using someone else's software--often, commercial software)
    > 2. software as medium (raw material)
    > 3. software as target (subject material)

    As Andreas said, an artwork that has as a subject the same material
    that it is made of is a very modernist approach. That was 50 years
    ago.
    It does not mean that it is not interesting (litterature about
    litterature, or video about video is interesting), it is just that
    nowadays it seems that this is not what an artistic field tends
    towards anymore. As for what happens nowadays, I dont know...
    --

    ++ as
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