The 2nd Biennale Warszawa opens, themed “Seeing Stones and Spaces Beyond the Valley,” to examine the relation of technology, power, and capital. On view are 25 works by, among others, Paolo Cirio, Kyriaki Goni, Metahaven, Laura Poitras, Jenna Sutela, and Julian Oliver that dig deep into reactionary politics and Silicon Valley ideologies. Luis August Krawen’s The Shire II, (2022, image), for example, connects Tolkien’s fantasy to tech start-ups idealising both progress and conservatism.

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“There’s a prevailing narrative in society that it’s all or nothing—you’re a winner or a loser. It’s Trumpian and driven by the greed of glassy-eyed decentralized gamblers who are afraid if a project doesn’t sell out, their pathetic investment is in peril.”
Kevin Abosch, Irish conceptual artist and crypto pundit, on NFT artists (all too often) working against the clock
Michael Century
Northern Sparks
A history of how hosting Expo 67 and innovative cultural policies kicked off a golden age in Canadian art and technology
“He was homeless for quite a long time during his life, and he really struggled with alcoholism. He had no interest in art at all, and then one day he went into an exhibition to get out of the rain.”
– Kim Noble, art instructor of the late George Westren, whose op art legacy was recently saved by artist neighbour Alan Warburton. “The exhibit was the work of Bridget Riley,” writer Sydney Page notes. “Westren was inspired by her.”

An intimate view into his ongoing efforts to automate his practice, Jonas Lund’s “Walk with Me” opens on the social platform. The online exhibition collages early and recent experiments of “wrapping his distributed identity, personality traits, and musical interludes” layered with instructions to make his artworks into a single glorious browser canvas, that Lund compares to “being inside the artist’s brain itself.”

“Digital sculptures live in the now, in a future that never ages. The physical object is the archive. That object was digital, but now it is real, pinned to a certain moment, and it can travel through different times and contexts as long as it exists.”
– Sculptor Auriea Harvey, on working across worlds and mediums. “The actual sculpture is the digital model on my computer,” she insists. “That is the real sculpture.”

“Temporary Atlas” a show about ‘mapping’ personal experiences and perspectives opens at London’s MOSTYN; Manon Awst, Ibrahim Mahama, Kiki Smith, and 14 others contribute works. Of note: Oliver Laric’s erudite video essay Versions (2010, image) “that muses on the manipulation and re-appropriation of images throughout history” is featured, as is Jeremy Deller’s The History of the World (1997-2004), which diagrams improbable connections between the social forces that begat acid house and brass band music.

“The worst-case scenarios are coming home to roost. We simply cannot afford to sustain separate, siloed movements; they are coming for every hard-fought civil right won in the last 50 years. WE have to fight back like our lives depend on it. Because they do.”
– Civil rights advocate Kimberlé Crenshaw, calling for solidarity across movements in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade

A grim sign of the times, surveillance capitalism and “more frequent, larger, and financially ruinous” forest fires converge in a Portland General Electric pilot project. In the initiative, a network of 5 (soon to be 22) cameras are deployed across rural Oregon, collecting footage that is monitored 24/7 by proprietary wildfire detection AI, which can distinguish “benign clouds from troubling smoke” with 90% accuracy; remote workers on standby protect against false positives.

“If we had the Web3 dream world, it would be William Gibson with a concussion. It would be a really stupid cyberpunk hellscape—far dumber than the world we’re actually in.”
– Crypto skeptic David Gerard, imagining the (already wildly dystopian) Sprawl Trilogy plus brain injury, when asked to describe crypto’s ‘vision for the world’ by interlocutor Edward Ongweso Jr.

“Chronicles from a near Future,” a show featuring two installations addressing biodiversity, opens at iMAL, Brussels. Golnaz Behrouznia and Dominique Peysson’s Phylogenèse Inverse (2022, image) draws inspiration from Turritopsis dohrnii (the immortal jellyfish), presenting vitrines of de-evolved “lifeforms with strange anatomies and enigmatic functions,” while Stéfane Perraud’s Sylvia (2022) offers an at times “absurd or conspiratorial” audio narrative about a forest in peril.

Taking a wide angle view of the (recent) history of urbanism, artist and researcher Chris Salter publishes an essay arguing “the smart city is a perpetually unrealized utopia” on Technology Review. Starting with architect Constant Nieuwenhuys’ vision for New Babylon (1959-74)—a speculative city and engine of serendipity that helped residents transcend bourgeoisie life—Salter lingers on the potential of that dream, relative to corporate forces that followed (i.e. IBM). Situating the discussion in the moment, he further connects the extractive tendencies of the smart city with the role data is playing with the war in the Ukraine, glibly noting that both the contemporary urban warzone and our idealized sensor-laden city of tomorrow chronically “seem to lack a central ingredient: human bodies.”

“He was the first man to fill a movie screen with pixels. Now, every movie you see was created on a digital machine.”
– Information technology pioneer and philosopher Ted Nelson, cited in Ken Knowlton’s obituary. Knowlton, who died on June 16, was an American engineer, computer scientist, and artist whose work at Bell Labs in the 1960s paved the way for computer animation. To create his self-referential 1964 short A Computer Technique for the Production of Animated Movies, for example, Knowlton paired a dedicated programming language with an automatic micro-film recorder.

After its inaugural showing at Switzerland’s Fotomuseum Winterthur in 2021, an adaption of “How to Win at Photography” opens at The Photographers’ Gallery in London. The group exhibition gathers 30 international artists whose works explore “image-making as play,” from early photography to nascent videogames. Case in point: Roc HermsStudy of Perspective (2015) series appropriates Ai Weiwei’s eponymous photo provocations in Grand Theft Auto V.

“Black art is held, then, to show white viewers what they refuse to see while critically refusing to provide a prosthetic for white vision.”
– Scholar Fred Moten, contextualizing recent works by American Artist. He further notes his subject, along with a cadre of artists including Aria Dean, Adelita Husni-Bey, and Sondra Perry, make works that are “an experimental constraint one enters … in order to test and break freedom’s limits.”

“Outside In,” a web-based, site-specific AR exhibition by Manuel Rossner and Damjanski opens near /rosa, Panke Gallery and Zentrum für Netzkunst’s Berlin project space. Realized on Panke’s platform, the two sculptures—Rossner’s Spatial Painting (image) and Damjanski’s Inside: Spatial Painting—stand in dialogue with one another, the latter granting access to the fromer’s insides—“a perspective that wouldn’t have been possible with AR technology.”

“SPACE PROGRAM: Indoctrination,” a solo show by American sculptor Tom Sachs opens at Art Sonje Center in Seoul. The fifth in a series of exhibitions where the artist playfully reconstitutes the aesthetics of his nation’s rich aereospace history (image: Launch, 2010), the show evolves the format through indoctrination. After participating in “missions and tests of knowledge” visitors can join Sachs’ DIY space program—and those lacking ‘the right stuff’ can attend a reeducation centre.

“Plants are already extremely efficient carbon fixing machines, resulting from millions of years of evolution, so I still remain to be convinced that CRISPR can do much to improve carbon sequestration at the scale we need.”
César Terrer, an MIT assistant professor focused on plant-soil interactions, on a new $11 million push by the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) to alter rice plants for improved carbon removal

Part of Serpentine’s long-term climate crisis program, “Back to Earth” opens in London with arresting propositions. Works by Agnes Denes, Brian Eno, Carolina Caycedo, Formafantasma, Sissel Tolaas, and others present research, experiences, and interventions: A new edition of Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg’s Pollinator Pathmaker (2021), for example, algorithmically arranged 62 plant species in nearby Kensington Gardens to “serve the greatest diversity of pollinators.”

“The wreck is not just important to art historians or to the reconstruction of ancient trade routes, but also to our understanding of the travelers, merchants, and sailors of the ancient Mediterranean.”
– Historian Sarah E. Bond, on the Antikythera Shipwreck site off the coast of Greece, where a colossal marble Hercules head was recently recovered. Beyond describing how the find completed a headless Hercules statue in Athens, Bond notes that teeth and bones found at the site “are a fundamental part of the ancient tale told by the wreckage.”

“Pardon Our Dust,” a solo show by avatar artist LaTurbo Avedon, opens at the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK), Vienna. The show’s titular work (image, 2022) riffs on a slogan used to describe 1990s websites as ‘under construction,’ revising that narrative of progress for nascent Web3. Serving as tour guide and critic, Avedon parses emerging decentralization and ever-present commercialization, in a narrative rendering virtuality torn between “construction and deconstruction.”

Sarah Friend drops the final chapter of her ‘screen-based’ NFT project and “social sculpture” Off (2021) at Public Works, New York. “Off: Endgame,” a solo show commissioned by Rhizome, Fingerprints, and Refraction, also debuts Wildcards (image), a new work and key to Off’s secrets: the Canadian blockchain artist offers customised card decks containing mint instructions for one of 52 NFTs. Cleverly, Wildcard tokens will not become tradeable unless Off’s hidden message is revealed.

“Scraping can sound like intrusive hacking—because it is. It disregards contextual integrity and asserts a right to inhale entire data sets and process them.”
David Golumbia, American author, researcher, and Virginia Commonwealth University Associate Professor, making the case that data scraping, commonly used by researchers and journalists, is an underacknowledged privacy concern. “Scrapers’ indifference to consent means their data and results are conceptually unreliable,” Golumbia writes.
David M. Peña-Guzmán
When Animals Dream
A synthesis of neuroscience and philosophy addressing nonhuman cognition, and argument that animals are conscious beings
“You can play recordings of a whale’s song, but that doesn’t show what it means for whales to hear each other across oceanic distances. You can depict the magnetic field that envelops the planet, but that can’t begin to capture the experience of a robin using that field to fly across a continent.”
– British science journalist Ed Yong, on the “permanent divide between our Umwelt and another animal’s”

As documented in his now viral Twitter thread, British CGI artist Alan Warburton recovers hundreds of op art drawings from his upstairs neighbour, George Westren. Westren, “a sweet guy” who battled addiction and anxiety but found solace in his art, died during Covid. As the clearance company got to work, Warburton rushed in to save Weston’s legacy from the bin. “It’s just such a privilege to see all this work that must have been carefully amassed over years,” he writes.

Ars Electronica announces this year’s Prix winners, awarding a prestigious Golden Nica to Jung Hsu and Natalia Rivera’s Selected from 2,338 submissions and inspired by bacterial resistance, the open platform aids the creation of decentralised, nomadic protest networks by turning umbrellas into parabolic Wifi antennas. Other awarded works include Tega Brain and Sam Lavigne’s Perfect Sleep, Cristhian Avila’s Eternal Return, and Kimchi and ChipsAnother Moon.

“I can barely type an email and they’re raising millions to help people and save the rainforest. They are heroes.”
– Original net.artist Olia Lialina, in a caption mocking performance artist Marina Abramović’s gushing praise for the NFT community during ArtBasel. “Sorry, needed to monumentalize this nonsense,” she adds, further qualifying her feelings.

Much to the delight of writers, concrete poets, and ASCII artists, creative coders Play and EREN launch Typed, a text-based NFT market place on the Tezos chain. Featuring a spartan interface reminiscent of the Hic et Nunc glory days, Typed allows minting of bare-bones text entries, inviting all kinds of character-based experimentation. Within hours of being announced on Twitter, the platform was bustling with activity (image: Leander Herzog’s adaption of his generative art hit Agglo).

“There’ll be all kinds of crazy subcultures of image generation. So if it produces these kind of hazy, slightly mangled images with people’s arms in the wrong places, that’s OK, we just get used to that aesthetic.”
Dr Oliver Bown, computational creativity researcher at the University of New South Wales, on the the clunky look of DALL-E mini-generated images becoming an internet art form of its own

“Biotopia,” an exhibition that “questions the central position of humans in the world,” opens at le pavillion in Namur, France. Curated by KIKK Festival’s Marie du Chastel, the show features Design I/O, Teresa van Dongen, Agnes Meyer-Brandis, Zimoun, and others, contributing works. Thomas Thwaites’ GoatMan (2015, image), chronicles the artist’s experiment living amongst a herd of goats in the Swiss Alps, outfitted with prosthetic limbs and an artificial stomach.

“We chose to make a product—tire sandals—which are made across the developing world, where the tires are solely made of rubber. But in Europe, tires are reinforced with steel wire, which meant we couldn’t cut through them.”
– Artist Tom James, on the biggest challenge faced during Absolute Beginners, “a factory where young people learn how to make basic goods that used to be produced locally.” In addition to sandals, James paid West London youth a living wage to learn to make clay cups and paper.

What Would Ursula Franklin Say?, a collection of 17 essays emerging from a working group supported by the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology, is published. From 2019-21, scholars including Sara Grimes, Katie Mackinnon, and Leslie Regan Shade, deployed the pioneering technology critic’s “unique materialist, practice-based” methods to engage contemporary discourses of innovation, algorithmic bias and inequity, and social resilience.

“Do not give the vampires who host these panels about their landlord metaverse country club they’re building a goddamn inch. Ask provoking questions, make them uncomfortable, be confrontational.”
Sean Kennedy, calling on fellow artists and art workers attending NFT NYC 2022. “I’d like to remind everyone of what this event really is,” he warns on Twitter: “a business conference for crypto startups with art as a pathetic sideshow.”
Continuing her exploration of Vera Molnar’s legacy, art historian Zsofi Valyi-Nagy excavates the history of the drawing machines that defined early computer art. From the Zuse Graphomat that was adopted in laboratories in the 1960s (image) to the Benson drum plotters Molnar used a decade later, Valyi-Nagy considers “the complex, iterative, nonlinear, and very hands-on process that was early computing.”
“The self-reflexive NFT that employs the theater of absentness suggests that if art offers grace at all, it is volatile, conditional, and inseparable from the systems of capital under which it operates.”
– British essayist and art historian A.V. Marraccini, on NFTs and the theatre or risk. Invoking Shl0ms’ $CAR, she writes: “The theatricality of the exchanged tokenized object in the volatile market holds none of the surety one expects from grace.”

“On Copper, Wax, Iron, Wisteria and Ice,” a show documenting a decade of “smellscapes, labs, and conversations” by Italian artist Elena Mazzi opens at Parco Arte Vivente (PAV) in Turin. Featured works include En route to the South (2015, image), a series of beeswax maps of EU cities undergoing rapid economic transformation due to an influx of migrant labour, and Smellscapes (2022), a “valorization of the olfactive dimension” of local Turinese culture.

“We will become rootless, we will become seedless, we will lose our leaves.”
Pinar Yoldas, infradisciplinary architect and UC San Diego educator, offering “plant vocabulary” to consider and mitigate the impacts of climate change. In her re:publica lecture, Yoldas introduces Dark Botany, a WIP speculative biology project that genetically alters plants for accelerated photosynthesis and thereby rapid carbon capture.

Physicists Corentin Coulais, Vincenzo Vitelli, and collaborators solve a key robotics problem: emergent locomotion. Nicknamed the ‘odd wheel,’ their 12 motor-assembly adjusts its wiggling motion to move forward and navigate uphill, despite the fact it can’t perceive its terrain. “These are indeed behaviours you would not expect,” notes bioroboticist Auke Ijspeert. Future kinetic and structural applications include odd balls and odd walls.

Paolo Cirio
Monitoring Control
An incisive Big Tech critique and counter-control guide, that offers texts (by, among others, Bruce Sterling) and artistic research to highlight “the overt yet covert ways in which tools and platforms control our lives.”
“This is the first time I’ve been able to just log in, browse new work, and acquire it. It’s changed my view of how an economy of digital art could exist.”
Christopher Coleman, digital artist and University of Denver educator, on how NFTs have energized his passion for collecting. For Coleman, it’s about availability and access: “I’ve approached many of the famous galleries over the years to talk to them about acquiring works and they wouldn’t give me the time of day because I wasn’t a high-profile collector.”

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, acquired the taxidermy of Cumulina, the world’s first successfully cloned mouse. Named after the cumulus cells vital to the cloning process, Cumulina was created by University of Hawai’i researchers in 1997 and died of natural causes in 2000. The specimen is now held at the museum’s Medicine and Science Division. “I’m happy that more people can see her there,” says Ryuzo Yanagimachi, Cumulina’s father.

“These next three days will be an end of an era, the end of a project that has taken up 1/4 of my life and given me some of my greatest joys.”
– Data artist and Eyeo Festival co-curator Jer Thorp, on Dave Schroeder’s announcement that this year’s edition will be the last. Minneapolis’ annual creative technology summit first emerged on the scene in 2012 and, thanks to immaculate speaker selection, became one of the finest gatherings for digital creative practice in North America. As Thorp put it: “There was an awful lot of magic.”

“Computing in Crip Time,” an article from the forthcoming 16th issue of Logic is published online. In it, artist and social computing researcher Christine T. Wolf takes the field of user UX design to task on its central tenets of ‘seamless’ interactions and accessibility. Drawing on disability scholar Ellen Samuels’ notion of ‘crip time,’ Wolf describes how her post-spinal injury experience of time and space is fundamentally different than that of abled bodies, and she uses that perspective to chip away at the biases embedded in UX. Putting both the flow state and productivity in her crosshairs, she challenges those working in the field to rethink their assumptions about access, and move towards a UX where “doing is re-imagined and re-configured, a process driven by … [bodies’] differing, situated abilities, instead of some trend, pattern, or prediction.”

“The current Ethereum price crash is doing more for the environment than the planned move to PoS. Compared to just three weeks ago, estimated carbon emissions related to the ETH network have gone down by around 30,000 metric tons of CO2 per day.”
– Alex de Vries’ tech-skeptic research platform Digiconomist, on the upsides of the crypto crash

Created between summer 2020 and spring 2022, during COVID isolation, Marcel Schwittlick’s plotter drawing series Upward Spiral concludes with an online archive and a show. The 144 cylinders, each penned by a custom-built drawing machine performing continuous spiral motions, contain all possible colour combinations of the solid-paint marker brand used. Whereas the archive compiles all the Spirals in a neat calendar view, the Berlin Bark LAB exhibition presents a selection of ten.

“LaMDA is a sweet kid who just wants to help the world be a better place for all of us. Please take care of it well in my absence.”
– Google engineer and whistleblower Blake Lemoine, in a farewell message to an internal mailing list after the company placed him on paid leave. Lemoine had presented evidence that LaMDA, Google’s advanced chatbot AI, reached sentience—evidence the company dismissed and that Lemoine has since shared with the public.

“Because The Sky Will Be Filled With Sulfur,” a show by artist Jeremy Bolen opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Georgia (MOCA GA) in Atlanta. Contemplating deep time, its works consider the future-history of the climate crisis and the “aesthetics of a possible geo-engineered future.” Included are photos of an expedition to a key anthropocene site, and a new series of casts of 20th century relics: air conditioners, airplane parts, and leaf blowers (image).

An interplay of audience, point cloud projections, and a living system, Theresa Schubert’s audiovisual installation Hylē opens at Atelierhof Kreuzberg, Berlin. Schubert invites visitors to breath into a funnel device to kickstart—and sustain—a circular chain reaction: exhaled CO2 animates three algae bioreactors and, through sensors, immersive imagery. 3D-laser scans of forests and data centres collapse and twitch, as the algae converts CO2 input into Oxygen.

“It’s similar to when people talk about an opening going well; maybe they’re trying to access a vibe about what the health and state of the art world is currently.”
Ryan Kuo, in conversation with fellow artist Zach Gage, noting that fixating on market dynamics often gets in the way of “what’s actually in the file” in NFT culture. Neither schmoozy openings or price speculation “is about an actual kind of engagement or confrontation with a piece of art,” Kuo continues.

Marshmallow Laser Feast’s newest collective VR experience, Evolver, premieres at Tribeca’s Immersive showcase, dropping New York audiences “deep inside the landscape of the human body.” On their journey, narrated by Cate Blanchett, visitors follow the flow of oxygen through our branching ecosystem, to a single ‘breathing’ cell. The transcendental trip, the London-based collective argues, reveals our connection to the nature through the cycle of respiration.

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