Running through the end of December, "ZEE[RANGE]," at Pittsburgh's Wood Street Galleries, furthers Kurt Hentschlager's inquiry into the facets and limits of multi-sensory perception. The Austrian artist describes the exhibition's central work, ZEE (2008), as a "mind-scape" composed of artificial fog, stroboscopic light and adaptive surround sound. These elements conspire to efface the traditional contours of the exhibition space, replacing them with "a psychedelic architecture of pure light." An accompanying piece, RANGE (2008), makes its world premiere in this exhibition. Building upon Hentschlager's past work with 3D video game software, such as KARMA / cell (2006), RANGE presents a collection of virtual characters, contained in a small space, dividing from and agglutinating into a larger mass. Taken together, Hentschlager's latest works recall FEED (2005-6), a multi-tiered performance, created for the Theater Biennial Venice, first featuring a projection of suspended, virtual characters, followed by "a composition for artificial fog, pulse- and stroboscopic light." These seemingly unrelated modes of production thus work together, staging a condition of unreality characteristic of contemporary life and then immersing the audience in an affective simulation of this condition. But if Hentschlager's uniform, virtual mass betrays a nihilistic take on society, the subsequent dissolution of the audience into a phenomenal field may also suggest other forms of self- and collective constitution to still be possible. - Tyler Coburn
Kurt Hentschlager, ZEE, 2008
"Welcome to my jazzy collection of Psychoactive Wallpapers. My aim in this project is to generate static and animated .gif images with a low filesize that provide interesting visual effects. I am inspired by the Structural Film movement of the 60's and 70's as well as stereographic 3d images and early webdesign."
In 2000, electronic musician Kim Cascone proclaimed the emergence of a discernable "post-digital" genre, using the example of 'glitch music,' through which artists crafted "deconstructive audio and visual techniques" to test the limits and possibilities of their software. Cascone points to this tendency as the harbinger of a conceptual shift in art practice, in which "...the medium is no longer the message...specific tools themselves have become the message". Over the past few years, "post-digital" disassembly has run parallel to a more widespread interest in dismantling and refiguring analog technologies. Many of the artists selected for this year's Netmage, an international electronic arts festival held in the castle Palazzo Re Enzo in Bologna, Italy, reflect this direction. The live audio and visual performances slated for the three-day event, which kicked off yesterday, demonstrate a variety of methods by which artists work with and through analog hardware. TONEWHEELS, by sound artist Derek Holzer and media artist Sara Kolster, is inspired by the peculiar electronic music contraptions of the early 20th Century. Revolving see-through tonewheels form the locus of the performance, whose unwieldy movement across the lens of an overhead projector activates sound and visuals through light sensitive circuitry. The open exposure of the technology used in TONEWHEELS demystifies its inter-workings, revealing how rudimentary most systems are. Media artist Luka Dekleva, sound artist Miha Ciglar and musician Luka Princic draw on analog video feedback techniques in FeedForward Cinema, a project in which the trio perform distortion generated by a feedback loop between two video devices. Similarly, audio/visual group Demons (Nate Young, Steve Kenney, Alivia Zilich) produce stark, mind-bending analog video feedback alongside bleak, resonating soundscapes eminating from damaged vintage synthesizers. The overall jarring effect recalls 1960s psychedelia, yet is stripped of its joyful exuberance and deeply cognizant of the anger ...