Shimmering Systems

Nature is full of what those fluent in computerspeak might call algorithms--the rules and processes which guide our operations. It seems fitting, then, that contemporary artists would use computer-programmed algorithms to comment on the evolution of design in the natural world. In the New Museum of Contemporary Art exhibition, 'Shimmer' (on view through December 31), two installations generate explorations of spatial and auditory systems. The show is part of the Fresh Projects series in which emerging new media artists are given a platform for new work. In 'Bifid,' Alisa Andrasek fuses genetic engineering techniques and design software to create translucent fabric sculptures. Woven strands of variable densities comprise a hanging web evoking fractals, black hole renderings, and other mathematical curiosities. Also unfolding from an enmeshing of materials is 'Waken,' by artists Beth Coleman and Howard Goldkrand. The duo have created a spatial system akin to the auditory flows of bees, by embedding code-emitting speakers within the honeycombed crevices of a fantastic cardboard landscape. Both artists' works comment on the high level of construction inherent in nature's wonders, while demonstrating the capacity of digital media to create new sounds and spaces. - Marisa Olson