Sound recordings from three glaciers in Iceland, pressed into three records, cast, and frozen with the meltwater from each of these glaciers, and played on three turntables until they completely melt. The records were played once and now exist as three digital films. The turntables begin playing together, and for the first ten minutes as the needles trace their way around, the sounds from each glacier merge in and out with the sounds the ice itself creates. The needle catches on the last loop, and the records play for nearly two hours, until completely melted.
Greek-Italian artist Angelo Plessas’ interactive websites (Angeloplessas.com) integrate elements of drawing, sound, Flash animation and innovative HTML coding. Each of his online two-dimensional “sculptures” is sealed with a domain name that playfully evokes the language of philosophy, literature and drama. Challenging concepts of space and ownership on the Internet, Plessas’ websites are, like graffiti bombed on a public wall, the acts of a guerrilla artist intervening in public space.
Plessas has come a long way since his first and ongoing aesthetic project: documenting face-like compositions he discovers in random configurations of objects and architecture (InternationalPortraitGallery.com). He officially launched his artistic career in 2001 when artist and curator Miltos Manetas selected his work for the Internet-inspired group show Biennale.net at Deitch Projects, New York. Now, the artist is exploring projects that take on a curatorial scope, including the recent one-day video projection extravaganza Bring Your Own Beamer at the Kunsthalle Athena.
With the lines between his online and offline work becoming increasingly blurred, Plessas is evolving in the manner of his medium. As the Internet expands, so does Plessas’ practice, and as the artist matures, perhaps he might shed light on where the Internet might take us. Sitting at his seaside apartment in Athens, Plessas takes me on a journey through his virtual universe, which ultimately leads right back to reality itself…whatever that might be, or could become.
Ujino Muneteru transforms mechanical sounds into complex rhythms. Bored by the technical limits of his instruments, the guitarist and bassist experiments with new sounds. Different sounding bodies widen the spectrum of resonance; simple mechanical motors produce new tones. In particular domestic appliances, tools, and large machinery from the fifties to the seventies play a significant role here because of their mechanical simplicity and haptic palpability. Points of reference to the Japanese "Noise Music", a type of sound movement from the eighties rooted in John Cage and the Fluxus, can also be seen...
Plywood City refers to a part of Tokyo, in the vernacular, built from wood. Inspired by it, Muneteru constructs a model city, which is animated by kinetic objects and sound. The basis of the city is formed by art-transport crates, whose misappropriation cites socialist flagstone buildings with irony.
"The Built From Scratch Apparatus" is the general title for a series of projects by Pierre Gordeeff initiated in 2006. Composed of parts salvaged from the trash, yard sales and equipment purchased from bankrupt hospitals, schools and factories, Gordeeff's work has slowly evolved into an ornate sculpture and light show along with amplified moving parts fed into a mixer. This particular configuration of The Built-From-Scratch Apparatus, La Trombe, is performed alongside a duo with electronic musician Boris Jacobek on laptop and Bontempi keyboard.
La Trombe was built specifically for a performance at Lyon, France's DIY venue Grrrndzero and this video was shot during one evening of La Trombe's installation period at the space in June of 2008. Although it seems that throughout most of this improvisation the sculpture is obscured in shadow, spectators could observe the well-lit sculpture before and after the performance.
Initially, Gordeeff's pieces were a less complex juxtaposition of drawings, sculpture and found objects, often depicting images of dystopian angst. By 2004, he began to make use of light and motion as his work became more performative. He eventually added sound by amplifying various moving portions of the sculpture and in his recent musical performances, the process of obscuring and illuminating portions of the sculpture "becomes more detailed than if I were [merely] drawing or sculpting it." When asked about the sculpture's transformation into an improvisatory musical instrument, Gordeeff observes, "I used sound and motion as a tool to overcome my habits of plastic composition. I followed the technical bias of all the items I could find [rather than my own aesthetic decisions] to end up with hybrid objects and shadows of elaborate graphic design. Sometimes sound inhabits space ...
In this work Wim Janssen cuts polarization filter into small rectangles of one cm, in random orientations, like large pixels. These little squares are fixed between two large rectangular pieces of plexiglass. At first sight, the screen looks like a banal, slightly darkened window. But in front of this screen stands a slowly rotating disc, also made of polarization filter. When the screen is seen through this disc, it changes into a half transparent field of video noise.
This phenomenon occurs because lightwaves, besides their frequency and amplitude, also have an orientation. Polarization filter let light pass in only one direction. When you look through a piece of this filter, it's perfectly transparent, just a bit darker than normal plexi or glass. When you look through the filter at an other piece of this material which is rotated 90°, the second piece becomes an opaque black surface, because the light passing through the first filter, can't pass through the second filter. Every other orientation gives a different degree of opacity.
By cutting thousands of little pieces of polarization filter and putting a rotating polarization filter in front of them, Wim Janssen succeeds in imitating television static by using an almost banal technique.
The latest edition of Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival has jumped across the Northwest UK from Liverpool, where it debuted last year to Manchester. In its second major urban manifestation, after a small rural retreat in the Peak District, the festival followed its previous format and presented exhibitions, performances, cinema screening, talks and workshops across cultural venues in the city. Seeking to agitate, AND’s theme of questioning normality in various forms was represented in Manchester with a focus on identity.
Contemporary media art collective CONT3XT.NET posted an interview with Amsterdam-based artist Jan Robert Leegte. Leegte discusses his practice, and how his physical sculptural works engage the virtual. See the introduction below, full interview here.
Between reality and illusion, between abstraction and the ornament, between the virtual and the real, between architecture and art - the main focus in Jan Robert Leegte’s artworks are the spaces inbetween. The Amsterdam-based artist continuously deconstructs the experience of architecture and sculpture by questioning the perception of space and material which is alternately brought into relation to the real as well as to the digital space. Since the mid-1990s the academically trained sculptor and architect works on the transfer of digital media into expanded installative arrangements. Very early he started exploring the multifaceted formal possibilities of the Internet-browser for its sculptural feature: buttons, scrollbars and table borders were used for real space installations which had the same quality as his previous studio and computer work. The elements of the browser appear to have a striking physical reality mostly gained by the large public daily use, interactivity, animation and especially the three-dimensional extrusion.
The experience-based way of testing physical reality defines the choice of material in his installations and Internet-based work, which has often been said to have late-modernistic tendencies. Ultimately he develops so called single-serving-sites, which are defined as “web sites comprised of a single page with a dedicated domain name and do only one thing.” In Blue Monochrome .com (2008) for example Jan Robert Leegte makes use of the tools of Google-Earth to transform satellite images of the globe’s water surface into ready-mades. Geographic coordinates are linked to the coordinates of a website, the real space is linked to the virtual; the title of the artwork represents ...
Over the weekend I popped by Audio Visual Arts (AVA), a sound and media art space located a few blocks away from the New Museum, in the East Village.
Founded by Justin Luke two years ago, the storefront space hosts a range of exhibitions and events, the majority of which relate to the experience of sound and listening. Artists and musicians alike have organized projects at the gallery, from a listening party for Glasser (Cameron Mesirow) to a sound installation by composer Alan Licht to an exhibition of paintings by the legendary guitarist John Fahey to an immersive stroboscopic light and sound installation by Nicedisc (Jeff Pash and Nick Phillips), to name a few. Justin and his brother have a recording studio in the basement of the building, and when the storefront above opened up, Justin decided to move in and start the gallery. AVA also doubles as his apartment, which is located in the back, and this aspect frees him up to be creative and take with risks with the programming, as the shows are not necessarily tied to profit like a regular gallery.
Antoine Catala’s solo show "Topologies" just opened at AVA, and it features a single luminous, magnificently mind-bending sculpture titled HDDH. On display until November 4th, the work is comprised of two HD flat screen televisions connected by what the artist terms "a magic tube." The tube is seamlessly affixed to the surface of the screen, dramatically warping the continuous flow of images emanating from the television set. The audio signal from the TVs is projected both inside and outside the gallery, thunderously filling up the space. Catala uses broadcast television as the basic material for his hallucinatory sculptures, which heighten the artificiality and absurdity of television programming. HDDH seems like a natural evolution from ...!--more-->
Chapter I: The Discovery is an impenetrable, geometric object and a series of videos restaging the moment of its discovery, as if it were a scene from a sci-fi movie, where the hero is suddenly confronted with an alien, slightly chilling figure.
The videos are broadcast in the first room. Images show the dodecahedron in places which are fictitious and devoid of any human trace. No matter the context, the alien entity reproduces the same light and sound animation, expressing a state of waiting by emitting a signal of presence. The sculpture itself waits for visitors in the second room. As the viewer gets closer, the machine detects the movement and "tries" to engage in communication made entirely of light and sound code. If the sculpture is surrounded on all its vertical faces, it will respond by releasing its maximum energy.
Chapter I: The Discovery questions the viewer's perception about the truthfulness of what is shown, right from the visioning of videos with synthetic images and ending up in an encounter with an interactive object which co-opts information flows, sound and light transmission.
Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) Technical Coordinator