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Newsticker, link list, time machine: HOLO.mg/stream logs emerging trajectories in art, science, technology, and culture––every day
June 2023
“I hope it becomes a vehicle for advocating for the work of festival makers.”
– MUTEK co-curator and AI researcher Maurice Jones, on facilitating the Future Festivals think tank and tackling cultural sector struggles through openness and collaboration
“At the bottom sat four lone digits—2.913. That’s the number of breeding birds in billions that had disappeared since the early 1970s.”
– Investigative reporters Anders & Beverly Gyllenhaal, narrating Canadian biostatistician Adam Smith’s discovery of the dramatic collapse of North American bird populations in their new book A Wing and a Prayer: The Race to Save Our Vanishing Birds (2023). Smith’s findings, documented in a 2019 paper, reveal “an astounding third of the adult birds that not long ago filled North America are now gone.”

Fragmentin’s solo exhibition “Subsoil Speculations” opens at the Swiss Alpine Museum in Bern (CH), presenting new works from the Swiss collective and 2023 SAC (Swiss Alpine Club) Art Prize winner’s post-digital archaeology series. Global Wiring (2023, image), for example, imagines a tech-contaminated core sample of Alpine strata in LED-illuminated glass—a gallery version of the 2022 outdoor original. By extension, the generative video Data Core (2023, image) traces CGI drill hole depths.

“If they’re worth exhibiting at all, surely it’s as expressive artifacts—interfaces, not just between bodies and virtual systems but between people and their worlds.”
– Writer and critic Julian Lucas, on the austerity of MoMA’s videogame exhibition “Never Alone” that narrowly looks at the medium as interaction design, rather than rich manifestations of mass culture. “There ought to be exhibitions on Myst and Surrealism; The Sims and interior design; Red Dead Redemption, Albert Bierstadt, and the American West,” Lucas writes.

Dutch media artist Lotte Louise de Jong releases REALITYBYTES (2023), a web-browser plugin that substitutes images and photographs within news articles on websites like cnn.com and thesun.com with AI-generated counterparts. “The plugin blurs the boundary between AI-created and human-created images,” providing “stark insight into AI’s deeply engrained biases,” de Jong writes. REALITYBYTES is launched at Berlin’s panke.gallery within a week-long solo exhibition.


French visual artist Joanie Lemercier shares glimpses of new works in progress that draw on solar rather than projector light. “These photons travelled 150 million kilometers,” he writes about the beam of sunlight used in his lens refraction experiments. “It encompasses the entire electro-magnetic spectrum—visible light, infrared, uv, radio waves, x and gamma rays—and conveys about 500W of energy,” Lemercier notes in subsequent posts. “It’s low tech, yet so much brighter than any high-end projector.”

“AGI-ism is just a bastard child of a much grander ideology, one preaching that, as Margaret Thatcher memorably put it, there is no alternative, not to the market.”
– Tech critic Evgeny Morozov, pointing out that artificial general intelligence (AGI) is synonymous with neoliberalism. In a screed warning we should not be fooled by well meaning entrepreneurs and AI-boosters who see AGI as a way to ‘fix’ institutions, Morozov states exactly how high the stakes are: “good luck discerning the meaning of the Hippocratic oath by observing hospitals that have been turned into profit centres.”

Deep demake or meta media archaeology? Thanks to programmer WebFritzi, retro gaming fans can now enjoy Windows 95 classics Solitaire, Freecell, and Minesweeper on a Commodore 64—iconic Windows 95 desktop interface and mouse support included. Recreating an authentic 1995 PC experience on an 8-bit platform from a decade prior required some assembly language wizardry. “How are the icons created? Can you make a user interface like this? I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” stunned Commodore fans wrote online.

“I was afraid that if I did not participate, I and everything I represent would be erased from the digital memory of the world.”
– American artist and curator Linda Dounia Rebeiz, on incorporating AI into her image-making practice to feed future training sets with deliberate representation of diverse demographics and perspectives. “AI has the tendency to be an echo chamber of our world order,” Rebeiz says, “which, as a Black woman artist, makes my relationship with it complicated, but also makes my participation critical.”

“In the Screen I am Everything,” a solo show by transmedia artist Ellie Pritts opens at Bitforms New York. Foregrounding an aesthetic of video feedback, digital glitch, and fervent AI hallucination, the American artist presents works across video, giclée prints, and wallpaper. In the show’s titular video (2023, image), Pritts finds new avenues in self-portraiture by feeding an AI image generator text prompts from her journal—turning green screen footage of herself into a morphing dreamscape.

MacKenzie Art Gallery launches “Echoes from the Future,” a virtual showcase of “Speculative Creatures & Post-Human Botanicals” created with the gallery’s own Digital Exhibitions Toolkit. Curator Tina Sauerländer presents eight artists including Laura Colmenares Guerra, Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes (image: Last Species on Earth, 2022), Sarah Oh-Mock, Sabrina Ratté, and Tamiko Thiel whose hybrid lifeforms and immersive eco-futures “render current environmental issues visible in virtual reality.”

Against the backdrop of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) retrospective “Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952-1982,” four artists gather to ‘fill’ Casey Reas’ software installation An Empty Room (2023) with intimate, evocative gestures. More happening than performance night, the program fittingly called “A Full Room” brings together Edgar Fabián Frías, Lauren Lee McCarthy (image), Romi Ron Morrison, and Reas himself who, through song, poetry, and prayer, ask a vexing question: “What is social software?”

“Unlike traditional artists, I think generative artists operate a lot more, structurally speaking, like musicians. When a musician releases new music, they have tour tickets, which are somewhat reasonably priced and fans can feel like they’re directly supporting the artist.”
– Digital artist Maya Man, on how NFT releases (in the hundreds or thousands) facilitate more “expansive” artist-collector relationships than limited editions aimed at a few wealthy collectors

In anticipation of a July platform refresh, “FF1” opens on Feral File. Founding curator Casey Reas selects a memorable piece from each of the 33 shows mounted on the marketplace since its (pre-NFT boom) origins as a 2019 social experiment. Featured are Morehshin Allahyari, Kim Asendorf, Claudia Hart, p1xelfool (image: 3 + 2 * 11, 2022), Rafaël Rozendaal, and many others. “This is the end of the beginning and we’re ready to keep it moving,” writes Reas.

“How do we hold digital space? We hold space as usernames, user profiles, icons, and avatars. The ability to hold a unique space is fundamental to taking part in society.”
– Researcher Theresa Reimann-Dubbers, on the types of ‘placeholders’ we use to represent ourselves online. Just one of the analytical questions raised in her video essay We Need to Talk about Avatars, Reimann-Dubbers probes how “our digital self is a carefully angled window to our physical self.”
Back Office 5
The Next Dimension
Contributors including Emmanuel Debien, Jean-Michel Géridan, Nolwenn Maudet, Julie Woletz, and interviewee Tereza Ruller (The Rodina) collectively trace the history of 3D technology and software—and consider its impact on graphic design.

Never shy to insert his eccentric alter ego into art history as a form of playful provocation, Canadian artist Jeremy Bailey tasked the generative AI system Midjourney to put his ‘Famous New Media Artist’ persona into a David Hockney pool painting (“it keeps twisting my legs up!”) and to combine it with one of Jeff Koons’ balloon dogs (image). Credit where credit is due: Balloon Bailey is the blue, bespectacled kitsch we didn’t know we needed.

“Like powering an engine with the methane that comes from decomposing corpses in a graveyard.”
– Computational Poet Allison Parrish, using a visceral analogy to characterize how large language models (LLMs) compose new text from old text. In conversation with Joanne McNeil about generative AI, Parrish describes LLMs as “inherently conservative. They encode the past, literally.”
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