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A Show With Electromagnetism

By Rhizome


Electromagnetic waves surround us, in fact they constantly pass through us. They propel the technologies that keep our lives in motion, so it is natural that new media artists would be drawn to them as a subject. An exhibition currently on view in Riga, Latvia, 'looks at electromagnetic waves as the principle material--the medium--of media art.' The WAVES show includes forty projects by over seventy artists from eighteen countries, many of which are much more utopian than those seen in recent medium-specific exhibits. WAVES organizers at the new media organization, RIXC, have worked to formulate a roster that 'interrogates the conventions of media art exhibitions' and educates viewers about the ubiquity and plurality of contexts in which these signals flow. The ultimate message is that taking control of the waves might actually allow for alternate realities via alternate power structures and communication systems. Considering how invisible these waves tend to be, there are some remarkably large-scale works in the show, which the curators summarize as sometimes 'based on screens and audio-visualisations of waves,' but also 'rely[ing] on physical objects... obscure or forgotten communication technologies... and the antenna as an art object.' Point your own antenna at RIXC's website to learn more about several dozen innovative art projects. - Regan McGill

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