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Honouring his Mexican heritage and the Latinx community in San Francisco, “TECH-MECHS,” a survey of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s interactive installations opens at Gray Area. Featured are lyrical works like Pulse Topology (2021, image), in which 3000 dangling LEDs blink the varying rhythms of visitors’ recorded heartbeats, as well as bleaker perspectives on mortality and self-sovereignty, such as Sway (2016), an upside-down noose that moves from side to side “every time ICE arrests a person, like a metronome.”
“Refigured,” a group exhibition that collapses “today’s material and virtual realms,” opens at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. Curator Christiane Paul brings together Morehshin Allahyari, American Artist, Zach Blas & Jemima Wyman, Auriea Harvey (image: SITE1, 2023), and Rachel Rossin—artists engaged in “refiguring” material forms and bodies—to showcase sculptures that are “simultaneously physical and virtual,” and videos and animations that “extend beyond the screen and into the gallery.”
Ian Cheng’s solo exhibition “THOUSAND LIVES” opens at Pilar Corrias, London, presenting the American CGI artist’s 2022 real-time anime Life After BOB: The Chalice Study and a new simulation. Thousand Lives (2023) focuses on Chalice’s pet turtle, Thousand, a key character in Life After BOB. Driven by an inferential AI model, Thousand must reconcile internal urges with the affordances (and threats) of Chalice’s apartment environment in “a new kind of ‘slow story’ achieved only via simulation.”
Seoul-based light artist and Kimchi and Chips Co-Founder Elliot Woods teases a new image—or “worlding”—system that renders “an imagined future out of the present day reality” using machine learning, optics, and electromechanics. In a nutshell: A matrix of opto-mechanical cells that “independently pick out features, colours, textures, aesthetics” paired with prisms creates a remix of features in its background. The new system, Woods notes, will premiere in Seoul later this year.
“We could almost touch the data but we cannot see it. Like the billions of images made each day that no one will ever look at. Some of these unseen photographs are made by people, others by and for machines.”
Nandita Kumar’s solo exhibition “From Paradigm To Paradigm, Into the Biomic Time” opens at daadgalerie, Berlin. A deconstruction of the climate disinformation machine, Kumar’s titular news ticker regurgitates falsehoods as concrete poetry and a musical score. Using an algorithmic haiku generator, the Mauritian artist and 2022 DAAD Music & Sound Fellow translated 91 untrue statements into a 12-meter pianola loop that sonifies dissonance—“between the scientific community, political spheres, and the populace at large.”
“Holding Up The Sky,” a solo show by Caroline Monnet, opens at the Art Gallery of Burlington (AGB) in Ontario, Canada. Foregrounding her interests in indigenous geometry and the figure of the cube (image: It Cracks with Light, 2021), the Franco-Anishinaabe artist presents The Room (2023), a 3 square metre assembly of inscribed styrofoam. The installation, and another made of PVC pipes and conduits, rebukes “prescriptive colonial architecture … the urge to square and compartmentalize.“
Noemi Schipfer and Takami Nakamoto, aka NONOTAK, unveal their latest kinetic light installation, SORA (2023), at Amsterdam’s Gashouder. A suspended architecture of rotating LED tubes performs a hypnotic choreography high above visitors’ heads in what the Paris-based light and sound art duo describes as an experiment in perpetual motion that interprets the sky. On view for a month, SORA also serves as the backdrop for a series of NONOTAK’s audiovisual live performances.
“Multispecies Clouds,” the first of a trio of exhibitions exploring the vexing question ‘who owns nature?,’ opens at the Macalline Art Center in Beijing. Participating artists include Sheryl Cheung, Wu Chi-Yu, Rice Brewing Sisters Club, and 15 others. Contributed artworks, like Chilean artist Patricia Dominguez’ video installation Matrix Vegetal (2021-2, image), engage nonhuman species and “translate them into images, poetry, and politics,” writes curator Yang Beichen.
“We wanted to evoke water, like a lake at the bottom of the cylinder, reflecting what is happening in the sky above.”
“A dreamy Edisonian wonderland awaits, where a rolling landscape of electrical conduits and vintage-style lightbulbs undulates like waves, or like gentle hills or playground jungle gyms.”
“DO COMPUTERS WORRY YOU,” an exhibition of recent work by Canadian artist Matt Nish-Lapidus opens at Toronto’s Collision Gallery. Presented alongside “Greenlight: Carlaw,” a companion exhibition by Simon Fuh, Nish-Lapidus deploys assemblies of custom networks and Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) combining “industrial and domestic materials, found texts, and bespoke algorithms” into a materialized polemic for more poetic (and personal) modes of computation.
Mario Santamaría’s solo show “Gárgola” opens at Centre d’Art la Panera, Lleida (ES), wedging two metaverses into one exhibition space. An architectural structure marks the exact plot of land the Spanish artist purchased in Next Earth, a virtual 1:1 reproduction of the planet, while suspended screens render a 13,5 billion light-years drop (the fall, 2022) into the Voxels Ethereum virtual world. A winding liquid cooling system further reminds viewers of computing’s (very real) materiality.
“Three Parallels,” an exhibition centred on a new site-specific installation by Light and Space movement artist Phillip K. Smith III opens at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA). In it, Smith’s calibrated use of mirrors, translucent panes, and lighting yields a richly hued environment that responds to atmospheric conditions and suggests “a future … [where we enjoy] a more symbiotic relationship with the digital realm,” writes curator Jennifer McCabe.
The 22nd edition of Maintenant festival kicks off across 14 venues in the city of Rennes, France. This year, organizer Electroni[k] brings together 35 artists to showcase the latest in digital art and electronic music. Highlights include Ralf Baecker’s liquid metal performance A Natural History of Networks (2021), the premiere of Tristan Ménez’s Pulse (2023) light fountains, and Guillaume Cousin’s air sculpture Soudain toujours (2022, image).
“Distant Early Warnings,” the 2022 Gray Area Festival exhibition, opens in San Francisco. A Gray Area-McLuhan Institute collaboration, the Wade Wallerstein-curated show riffs on media theorist Marshall McLuhan’s Cold War-era claim that artists are culture’s distant early warning system. Artists contributing ‘early warnings’ include Tega Brain & Sam Lavigne (image: Synthetic Messenger, 2021), Paige Emery, Huntrezz, and Alice Yuan Zhang.
Sissel Tolaas’ touring retrospective “RE_________” opens at Philadelphia’s Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA), marking the show’s U.S. premiere. Foregrounding issues including climate change, geopolitics, and anthropology through 20 interactive stations that deploy the Norwegian artist and researcher’s primary medium—scent—the exhibition invites visitors to smell, experience, and contemplate Tolaas’ provocative claim: “nothing stinks, only thinking makes it so.”
“Common Measures,” a show featuring three installations by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, opens at Pace Gallery in New York. Included are interactive crowd favourites Cloud on Water (2016) and Pulse Topology (2021), and a new generative work. The latter, Hormonium (2022, image), presents dynamic CGI waves crashing in synchronization with how the rhythm of human hormone release varies over the course of a day (i.e. cortisol in morning and prolactin at night).
“On Breathing,” an exhibition by Nina Barnett & Jeremy Bolen that examines respiration relative to “pressure, particulate, filtration, and flow,” opens at Johannesburg’s Adler Museum of Medicine. Its lone installation, On Breathing—Iron Lung With Blue Gums (2022, image), puts a hulking iron lung in conversation with Blue Gum Trees, mine dust, extraction residue, and radioactive bricks, contrasting the deep time of resource extraction with local atmospheric conditions.
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