Friday, from here to Helsinki and ahead

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A brief round-up of events, small and large, for our readers, this Friday:

First, a little self-promotion, here's your reminder that the next installment of Rhizome's New Silent Series is taking place tonight at the New Museum. Regine Debatty will moderate a panel entitled Media Art in the Age of Transgenics, Cloning and Genomics with artists Caitlin Berrigan, Brandon Ballengee, Kathy High and Adam Zaretsky. (Video documentation of the event will be up on the Rhizome site shortly.)

Second, this weekend, Pixelache 2008 will unfold in Helsinki. Organized by artist and curator Juha Huuskonen, Pixelache is known for bringing together innovators across discipline through provocative presentations and discussions. The focus of this year's edition is Pixelache University with "education in the cross-roads of science, technology, art and culture" explored across the four days of the festival. Following are a few highlights. For those who will be nowhere near Helsinki this weekend, some of the events will be streamed.

Friday, March 14th (5:30-8 pm)
N.I.P. - New Interfaces in Performance is a touring presentation, network and workshop series, currently featuring artists from UK, Netherlands and Portugal. This artist lead initiative is exploring gesture and movement based interfaces within live performance and interactive, mixed media installation. Teresa Dillon (UK) will give a presentation about N.I.P. in Kiasma seminar, followed by N.I.P performances in Kiasma Theatre:
-Burning the Sound by Rudolfo Quintas & Andre Goncalves (PT)
-Resonant Objects by Andre Gon�alves (PT)
-Air Stick by Ivan Franco (PT)
-BOP by Teresa Dillon & Kathy Hinde (UK)

Saturday, March 15th (time tba)
Traveling without moving seminar is exploring various means to cut down the amount of international air travel, featuring John Thackara (UK), Andreas Zachariah / Carbon Hero project (UK), Matt Jones / Dopplr (remote participation) and Daniel ...

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Media Art in the Age of Transgenics, Cloning and Genomics with Régine Debatty

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This Friday March 14th at 7:30pm, Régine DeBatty of We Make Money Not Art will moderate a panel at the New Museum entitled Media Art in the Age of Transgenics, Cloning and Genomics. The latest installment in Rhizome's monthly New Silent Series, the panel will look at what is known, in short, as 'bio-art' or, in a more elaborate form, art that responds to the increasingly powerful role that biology has come to play in our lives. Artists who will present and be in conversation with DeBatty are Caitlin Berrigan, Brandon Ballengee, Kathy High and Adam Zaretsky. As a teaser to this panel -- and also as a bit of context for the uninitiated -- we conducted a one-question interview with Debatty (see here for interview-format inspiration) on why she has honed in on this art form.


RHIZOME: Régine, you are covering so many practices that are at the intersection of art and technology, but bio-art seems to have been a preoccupation lately. What is that draws you to this field and what do you hope to bring out in this talk?


RD: What makes me particularly attracted to biotechnology is that although it is already pervading our lives (think of what awaits you on the shelves of the supermarket) we can still pretend that it's not there, that it's science-fiction. The brash headlines of magazines (our entrance gate to the labs) cultivate the confusion. Every week, scientists seem to come up with a new breed of 'fearless' mice, rice with human genes in it, super-carrots that will make your bones invincible and skimmed milk directly from the cow. The researchers who are interviewed on TV look like well-mannered guys in a pristine white coats but the reality of their work is far messier than that ...

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Reflections on the Future

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Footprints Into the Future, a group exhibition running through February 25th at Venice's Palazzo delle Arti Napoli, poses an interesting question. Curated by PAN's Julia Draganovic and Tseng Fangling of the Kaohsiung Fine Arts Museum-Taiwan, the show assumes that an artist's desire is to innovate, or to find a singularly unique form of expression. The challenge addressed is that of developing "a form of creative innovation that takes into account the cultural heritage, tradition, and all that contributes to the making up of a people's identity." In other words, how can one reflect and acknowledge the past, while focusing on treading into the future? This is, ultimately, a media change question: One must understand the forms of expression that have come before in order to adapt to new ones. Appropriately, the show is the third in PAN's exhibition cycle devoted to the theme of "Challenges" and, for this installment, the curators have selected twelve Taiwanese artists. The group draws on the aesthetics and rituals of their primarily Buddhist and Taoist culture in order to create "a fully contemporary language." Among the included projects are interactive installations by Hsiao Sheng-chien and Lu Mu-jen, and mangas drawn by Hung Tunglu and positioned in lightboxes among traditional spiritual symbols. Lin Shu-min's "Inner Force" is a playful meditation on the concept of "mindfulness." Two viewers face each other and see lotus-shaped projections of their monitored brain waves on the floor. The viewer who is most relaxed yields the most flowers. Projects like these distinguish the question of respectful innovation from classically unanswerable Buddhist "koans." They make clear that artists, of all people, are capable of finding beautiful new ways of inviting history to repeat itself. - Marisa Olson



Image: Hung Tunglu, Padmasambhava, 2002

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