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Newsticker, link list, time machine: HOLO.mg/stream logs emerging trajectories in art, science, technology, and culture––every day
February 2021
Rebecca Morgan Frank
Oh You Robot Saints!
A poetry volume that “sings the lines between machines and the divine” by elegizing a menagerie of early automata including octobots, an eighteenth-century digesting duck, medieval mechanical virgins, and robot priests
“We require about 20,000 GPUs to perform the digital-twin calculations with the necessary throughput. This machine would have a power envelope of about 20MW.”
– Peter Bauer, co-initiator of Destination Earth (DestinE), on the processing power needed for the EU climate supercomputer. The digital twin of planet Earth “would become a data assimilation instrument that continuously cycles real-time, highly detailed, high-resolution Earth system simulations and ingests observational information from all possible instruments.”

With the help of an ultra-precise X-ray microscope, a German-Polish research team successfully recorded the world’s first video of a space-time crystal. An enigmatic state of matter confirmed to exist only recently, this micrometer-sized specimen was created using magnon quasiparticles at room temperature—another first. The video reveals the atomic oscillations known as ‘ticking’ associated with time crystals as their structures repeat in space and time. “We were able to show that such crystals are much more robust and widespread than first thought,” states Pawel Gruszecki of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland. “The potential for communication, radar, or imaging technology is huge,” adds Joachim Gräfe of the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany.

“People don’t associate softness with programming languages and I think that the p5.js community and the language itself actually shows that that kind of [love ethic] is possible.”
Dorothy R. Santos, Executive Director for the Processing Foundation, in conversation with Lauren Lee McCarthy, Moira Turner, and Cassie Tarakajian on how programming languages can foster care and nurturing

Agnes (Kingston, CA) launches the online component of the exhibition “Drift: Art and Dark Matter.” This residency put artists Nadia Lichtig, Josèfa Ntjam, Anne Riley, and Jol Thoms (image: Orthomorph (Tunneling), 2020) in dialogue with astroparticle physics researchers, and the exchange here is deep (beyond the central SNOLAB research facility being 2 km underground). Surpassing standard ‘online exhibtiion catalogue’ expectations, this folio richly detais a noteworthy transdisicplinary collaboration.

“These new marketplaces are fatally flawed. The leveraging of an artist or artwork into a speculative investment scheme is underpinned by neoliberal techno-politics.”
– Artist and writer Alice Bucknell, on the problematic legacy driving crypto art, in a sweeping survey feat. Memo Akten, Geert Lovink, Beth Jochim, Chloe Diamond, Jason Bailey, and others

Post-Zoom, post-Twitch, ‘share screen’ has ushered in a new visual regime. Picking up on this, curator Domenico Quaranta has launched “Studio Visit,” where “the desktop studio is shown off as the real space where an artist’s practice manifests,” baring its “files, tabs, programs” while the artist works away, their routine on display. Developed for the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève’s digital platform 5th floor, the first video features gonzo CGI artist Lu Yang, with future ‘visits’ planned to the desktops of Petra Cortright, Oliver Laric, Eva & Franco Mattes, and others.

“It’s not that the music they make will sound ‘more Western,’ but it is forced into an unnatural rigidity. The music stops being in tune with itself. A lot of the culture will be gone.”
Khyam Allami, multi-instrumentalist musician, researcher, and founder of Nawa Recordings, on the colonial legacy of MIDI-based music software and how Apotome and Leimma—free software he introduced at CTM Festival—can help break tuning hegemony

Curated by sci-fi author and OG cyberpunk Bruce Sterling, Turin-based Share Festival launches “Born to Be Online,” a ‘best of’ Share Prize-winning projects exhibited over the years. Among Sterling’s twelve picks are Paolo Cirio & UBERMORGEN’s Amazon Noir (2006, image), Lia’s Proximity of Needs (2008), Lauren Lee McCarthy’s Follower (2016) and Milad Tangshir’s VR Free (2019), all exploring different aspects of the Internet age. “With this summary of 15 years, we at Share Festival are bracing ourselves for what comes next.”

“We hit a wall: how can we pick a single theme with so many simultaneous urgencies? What’s the longevity of a timely research topic in light of mutating global crises and rapidly evolving tech?”
– Team HOLO, on the vexing questions surrounding the next print edition and how, eventually, a new research method provided answers

Co-curated by Sean Sandusky and Dana Snow for Toronto’s InterAccess, “QUEERSPHERE” is an online exhibition inspired by Queer and Trans social media communities in the 2000s. A site where “worldbuilding is allowed to flourish outside of the pressures of corporatization and flat representation,” the show nostalgically yearns for pre-NSFW content ban Tumblr and other platforms, while looking forward via ruminations on Queer AI and campy caricature of Boston Dynamics’ robodog Spot. Featured artists include Keiko Hart, Maxwell Lander, and Lucas LaRochelle (image: QT.Bot, 2019).

“So many people are afraid of science in the art world because it is more creative and innovative. There are far more new ideas in New Scientist than in frieze.”
Brighton-based artist duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, on the deep chasms between disciplines
Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt use scientific data as material, dialing into and amping up the noise in natural systems to conjure abstract animations and visceral embodied experiences.
“We have been told there would still be access to Double Negative, but the power of the place would be lost forever.”
– Lisa Childs, founder of Save Our Mesa, on how a solar power plant currently in the works near Overton, Nevada, could occlude views surrounding Michael Heizer’s iconic 1969 Land art work. Once finished, the plant will occupy some 9,000 acres atop the nearby Mormon Mesa.
– NASA credo attributed to an 1899 Theodore Roosevelt speech, that engineers encoded into the pattern of Perseverance’s parachute. Maxence Abela, a 23-year-old French computer science student, managed to decode the hidden message within two hours after NASA dropped a subtle hint.
“Today, much of the most influential theory no longer provides clear explanations for what we observe in the world. From being a means to that end, it has become instead an end in itself.”
– Anthropologist Daniel Miller, on the need to dethrone “fetishized theory.” In a paper published in the International Journal of Cultural Studies (IJCS), he denies “gifts to the theory deity” by demonstrating forms of highly accessible dissemination

After ousting its longstanding director Marcos García in January, Madrid City Council announces the end of Medialab Prado (MLP) in its current form. The pioneering cultural space and citizen lab will lose its iconic home of 20 years—a central building with a signature media facade, adjacent to major museums—and move to the Matadero facilities to coexist with other civic initiatives. The extended MLP community is pushing back: organized as [We Are The Lab], they call for the project’s continuation in a manifesto that you can sign here.

“Working within the art space means working through ethical dilemmas—all these disparities—unethical relations and roles, creating resources and opportunities … it can be liberating and revolutionary.”
– Curator Kefiloe Siwisa, on cultural production as “care work,” in conversation with Tamar Tembeck and Carmen Salas as part of Molior’s “Rethinking our Future: Art and Collaboration” online symposium
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