In an article for Art in America, artist and researcher Nicholas O’Brien takes stock of the perennial issue at the heart of institutions exhibiting media art: a lack of technical savvy. Drawing on conversations with Sarah Rothernberg, Jan Robert Leegte, Amanda Hudgins, and Ben Fino-Radin he parses the complexities of both new and obsolete media and formats.
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Contemplating mortality from an art-science perspective, “Life Eternal” open at Stockholm’s Liljevalchs gallery. Organized by the Nobel Prize Museum, the show features more than 20 artists including ARTECHOUSE, Mark Dion, Anna Dumitriu, and Ulla Wiggen. Contributed works range from a Oscar Nilsson sculpture inspired by 2017 Nobel Prize in literature laureate Kazuo Ishiguro, to Laura Splan’s machine embroidered lace virus structure sculptures (image: Doilies: Herpes, 2004)
“*(s)twerH,” a show featuring Canadian artist Andrew Maize’s eponymous experimental drawing lab, opens at MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie, Canada. Exploring “fans, charcoal and aerodynamics to create improvised drawing tools” for years (image: Aerial Chessboard #2, 2020), the show presents Maize and peers working in-space to generate ephemeral forms via “turbulence, tumult, turmoil, turbine, and storm,” and inviting viewers to participate in the process.
Meriem Bennani and Orian Barki’s animated series 2 Lizards (2020) opens as an installation at The Whitney. In it, two anthropomorphized CGI lizards channel the artists’ experience of the COVID-19 pandemic unfolding in New York City, “a city gripped by extended isolation, and cries for social justice reform.” Originally released in eight episodes on Bennani’s Instagram, the Whitney show is 2 Lizards’s first institutional screening as a narrative film.
After its recent site-specific showing at Tieranatomisches Theater, Berlin, the online component of Rachel Rossin’s transmedia narrative THE MAW OF (2022) launches on Artport, the Whitney Museum’s portal for internet art. Co-commissioned by Berlin’s KW Institute, the Web and AR experience follows a ghostly female figure navigating a landscape of cyborgian codes and prosthetic symbolism that is directly inspired by Rossin’s research into brain-computer interfaces.
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) successfully impacts its target, demonstrating the potential for future asteroid deflection and planetary defence. After ten months of flying in space, NASA’s spacecraft crashed directly into Dimorphos, a 160 metre moonlet orbiting the larger asteroid Didymos. More than a feat of precise guidance and navigation, the test was “a mission of unity with a real benefit for all humanity,” says NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
“Systems of Belief,” a group show that dives deep into artistic worldbuilding, opens at HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark in Graz, Austria. Intriguingly, it puts works by late artists like Storm de Hirsch, Paul Laffoley, and Lee Scratch Perry in conversation with young(er) artists including Irina Lotarevich and Harm van den Dorpel. The latter contributes Markov’s Dream (2022, image), a generative subdivision study (based on a 2004 work) inspired by the Russian mathematician.
“Refined Vision,” an exhibition in which Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadir draws parallels between Texas Gulf Coast and Persian Gulf region petro-cultures, opens at the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston. Featured works include Crude Eye (2022, image), a new single-channel video piece on landscapes and infrastructures of extraction, and Spectrum (2016), a series of 3D-printed sculptural forms that abstract the ‘alien’ aesthetics of (ornate) oil and gas drill bits.
Duke University researchers develop a novel method of encrypting text, harnessing the chaos of computer simulated bacterial growth. Expanding on their recent article in data science journal Patterns, the team summarizes their use of machine learning frame-by-frame analysis of organic reaction–diffusion system animations to en- and decode text strings. “These patterns in essence constitutes a new, digitally generated coding scheme, which we call Emorfi,” they write.
Created for “Digital Self,” a group exhibition at Montréal’s Jano Lapin Gallery, ‘Famous New Media Artist’ Jeremy Bailey debuts Internet Artist (2022), another AR sculpture and NFT that hijacks art history (see here, here). An “update” to Nam June Paik’s media art classic TV Buddha (1974), Bailey—not Paik’s buddha—is shown watching themselves. Other artists co-curators Samuel Arsenault-Brassard and Anne Jano included are Chris Coleman, Francoise Gamma, Mario Klingemann, and Martina Menegon.
“Blood and Breath, Skin and Dust,” a solo show that zooms in on Kim Morgan’s eight years working with scanning electron microscopes, opens in Halifax. Featuring work across digital images, installation, and intervention (image: Blood Galaxy, 2017), the show deploys the same imaging technology that revealed the coronavirus for all to see, provoking questions about “understanding threats to human health, and of the social disparities that a virus spread exacerbates.”
“RE_________,” the U.S. premiere of Norwegian artist Sissel Tolaas’ touring retrospective, opens at Philadelphia’s Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA). Foregrounding issues including climate change, geopolitics, and anthropology through 20 interactive stations that deploy the researcher’s primary medium—scent—the exhibition invites visitors to smell, experience, and contemplate Tolaas’ provocative claim: “nothing stinks, only thinking makes it so.”
“Tracing Memories,” a show presenting two decades of projects by Maarten Vanden Eynde, opens at Berlin’s NOME gallery. Its collected works articulate the Belgian artist’s driving question (“how will we look back to the past in the future?”), and answer it with witty and incisive sculptural encapsulations of pressing issues including peak oil, broken democracy, prolific mass production, and unchecked resource extraction (image: History of Man, 2022).
Aram Bartholl debuts This Is Fine (2022) as part of the “On Equal Terms” group exhibition at Uferhallen, Berlin. In what is, perhaps, a timely follow-up to his Map public sculpture series (2006-19), the German post-internet artist erects a 3×4 meter fire emoji in the venue’s courtyard, capturing the deep anxiety many grapple with in 2022: as the climate crisis and geopolitical conflict continue to escalate, “it feels like the world is on fire.” 🔥
A group show bringing more than 30 artists together, “Territories of Waste” opens in Basel with a global roster of participants including Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Otobong Nkanga, Ed Ruscha, and Pinar Yoldas. Contributed environment and extraction focused works include Eloise Hawser’s The Tipping Point (2019), a video installation scrap metal shrine, and The Last Particle (2017), Anca Benera and Arnold Estefán’s rumination on mineral analysis (image).
Transplanting the ringing of ten iconic bells from France to Turkey, “Silent Echoes: Notre-Dame” opens. Silenced after the 2019 fire that gutted the Parisian cathedral, sound artist Bill Fontana recorded the (currently decommissioned) bells into an eponymous 10-channel mix that makes its international debut in Istanbul. The installation is accompanied by recent experimental video work that explores related soundscapes (image: Silent Echoes (Acoustic images series), 2022).
“Dark and Perfect Memories,” a solo exhibition by Tia-Simone Gardner exploring the troubled legacy of the Mississippi River, opens in Toronto. Drawing on archival research and digital cartography, Gardner maps how the river extended the transatlantic slave trade inland, and drove economic production. Included works range from inkjet prints of salt water, to steamship models, to representations of Black geography (image: …when we had a smooth sea and moderate wind…, 2019).
“IMAGE CAPITAL,” an exhibition organized by Estelle Blaschke and Armin Linke, opens in Essen, Germany. Arguing ‘photography is information technology,’ the show (and companion website) explores six themes: memory, access, protection, mining, imaging, and currency. Tracking the photograph across contexts including scientific imaging and archives (image: Max Planck Institute, 2018), the curators ask “when and under what circumstances did images become operational?”
Manfred Mohr’s solo exhibition “liquid symmetry” opens at bitforms gallery, New York, presenting vibrant algorithmic compositions from the veteran’s latest phase. Started in 2020, the titular series has diagonal paths pass through 11-dimensional hyper-cubes, leaving colour traces and generating shapes. The results are shown on-screen, as inkjet prints, or laser-cut aluminum reliefs (image: P3011_3) and juxtapozed with several of Mohr’s historical works from the 1960s and ’70s.
“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).
Curated by Miriam Arbus & Peggy Schoenegge, “Seed Systems: Neo Ecologies in XR Art Today” opens in Berlin, featuring artists that explore “speculative approaches to future human-nature relationships,” including Alison Bennett, Nicholas Delap, Matthew D. Gantt, and Nadine Kolodziey. Contributed works range from Mohsen Hazrati’s experiments with CGI bioluminescence to Lauren Moffatt’s “flourish and decay” studies (image: (De)Composition, 2022).
Delving into their (eponymous) new film (image, 2022), “Capture,” a solo exhibition by Metahaven, opens in Trondheim, Norway. In it, the artist collective explores ‘knowability’ on three fronts: a rumination on the inscrutability of bats, CERN’s hunt for the Higgs boson, and the remarkable qualities of lichens. Their displayed media, and accompanying textiles and collages contemplate consciousness in “both speculative deeply implicated ways,” writes curator Stefanie Hessler.
“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.
“This Unfathomable Weight,” a lightbox and billboard project parsing the trauma of “the massive crises of recent years,” opens at University of Toronto Mississauga campus. Curated by Farah Yusef for The Blackwood, the show invites Jessica Thalmann, Christina Battle, and Erika DeFreitas to sequentially contribute works; Thalmann’s opener, cut between the supports and collapse (2022, image), documents the emotional weight of time spent in the ICU (as a primary caregiver) during the pandemic.
Populating a former steel mill with recent media art, “IN TRANSFER—A New Condition” opens in Esch-Alzette, Luxembourg as part of the 2022 European Capital of Culture program. Co-presented by Ars Electronica, artists including Tega Brain, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley (image: Black Trans Archive, 2020), Julian Oliver & Bengt Sjölén, and Mimi Ọnụọha & Mother Cyborg collectively offer an “artistic, social laboratory in which reality and the future are simulated.”
Presenting a new series of dramatic computational landscapes, Quayola’s solo exhibition “Forces / Vectors / Chromia” opens at Marignana Arte in Venice. Storms draws on a series of “ultra-high definition videos of stormy seas shot on the coasts of Cornwall” that the Italian artist used like a dataset. “The video is not the matrix of the painting,” writes curator Valentino Catricalà, “instead it is the data inferred by it: vectors and chromia, forces and intensity.”
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