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March 2020

While the Cornavirus has brought the global economy to a halt, it’s a boon for some researchers. Due to the massive drop in transportation network use, scientists are able to monitor seismic and volcanic activity with far greater accuracy than usual.

Shanghai’s Chronus Art Center (CAC) launches “We=Link: Ten Easy Pieces,” a special online exhibition that responds to the unfolding global health crisis with new commissions by aaajiao, Tega Brain & Sam Lavigne (image: Get Well Soon!), JODI, Weiyi Li, Slime Engine, Ye Funa, Evan Roth and others. “We=Link” is co-commissioned by Rhizome and Art Center Nabi, and co-hosted by 12 international institutions including Arts at CERN, HeK, iMAL, LABORATORIA, and V2_.

“These messages express care, well wishes, sympathy and generosity in the face of personal adversity and systemic failure. This is an archive of mutual aid in response to a ruthless for-profit health system. It is an archive that should not exist.”
Tega Brain and Sam Lavigne, on gofundme.com medical fundraisers that inspired their poignant online artwork Get Well Soon! (2020)

Olia Lialina’s solo exhibition “Best Effort Network” opens (online) at arebyte, London, showcasing new and re-made works including Summer (2013) and the titular Best Effort Network (2015/2020) in which the Russian net art pioneer positions browsers, hyperlinks, and GIFs as spaces for art. Her latest work, Hosted (2020), distributes a 70-frame animation across 70 different hosting services, creating a fully networked flip book experience.

“The egg is a huge cell, and these proteins have to work together to find its center, so that the cell knows where to divide and fold. Without these proteins making waves, there would be no cell division.”
– MIT physicist Nikta Fakhri, on the quantum fluid-like wave pattern that drives the growth of organisms
Wendy Liu
Abolish Silicon Valley
Former Silicon Valley insider Wendy Liu mounts a blistering criqitue of ‘big tech,’ arguing that corporate interests have no business monopolizing technologies that could be used for the public good.

Known as “2020 CD3” and only discovered in February, Earth’s temporary mini-moon has left orbit and is headed for the Sun. According to astronomers’ calculations, the car-sized object—likely an asteroid or lunar rock—had been circling Earth for at least a year. It might return in 2044.

“When I was twenty, I made friends with an alien.”
– Data artist Jer Thorp, reminiscing about his encounters with a giant Pacific octopus while working “a minimum wage dream job” at the Vancouver Aquarium early in his career

New York-based video artists Meriem Bennani and Orian Barki release the first episode of 2 Lizards (2020), an animated collaboration featuring two anthropomorphized CGI lizards that are “lucky they work from home.” Made while self-isolating because of COVID-19, the video captures a “beautiful moment of communion through sound waves in Brooklyn despite social distancing.” Remember: “The virus’ protective membrane is very sensitive to soap and heat but also bass.”

“A female artist sits in the tradition of female labour in early computer history—women were often used in the early half of the twentieth century as ‘human computers,’ working out calculations manually.”
– Artist and researcher Anna Ridler, on her commitment to producing new “hand-crafted bespoke datasets” for AI-generated works like The Fall of the House of Usher (2017)

After two years of extensive renovations, Brussel’s art and technology centre iMAL reopens with “Quantum: In Search of the Invisible,” an exhibition exploring the world of quantum physics. Featuring works by Julieta Aranda, James Bridle (A State of Sin, 2018, image), Yunchul Kim, Semiconductor, Suzanne Treister, Yu-Chen Wang, and others, the show assembles artist-scientist collaborations that emerged from the Arts at CERN residency program.

After 21 years, Berkeley’s SETI Research Center announced that it will shut down its distributed computing project SETI@home on March 31st, 2020. Launched in May 1999, the popular (screensaver) software allowed users to donate CPU time to analyzing data from the Arecibo radio telescope in search of alien life.

Another test of SpaceX’s next-generation rocket, Starship, ended in failure over the weekend, after a major test article imploded at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

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