“What really got me thinking about this is the pandemic and how unprepared the world was. There was no protocol to deal with it effectively, and it’s the same with internet resilience.”
– Computer scientist Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi, on her recent paper “Solar Superstorms: Planning for an Internet Apocalypse” that shows continent-connecting undersea cables being particularly at risk. “Our infrastructure is not prepared for a large-scale solar event,” explains Abdu Jyothi. “We have very limited understanding of what the extent of the damage would be.”

1,066 days, 1,617 entries ...

Newsticker, link list, time machine: HOLO.mg/stream logs emerging trajectories in art, science, technology, and culture––every day
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“Chronos/Synthesis,” a solo show by Canadian artist Oliver Pauk, opens at Toronto’s J Spot Gallery. For the window gallery show, Pauk presents an array of 3D printed, CNC milled, and hand carved sculptures alongside video and AR works. The selection underscores two driving interests: rendering pure digital form, and his efforts “to replicate the patterns and aesthetics of automated, computerized processes” in more traditional mediums (image: Object #90, 2017).

“I’m worried. I could see people signing away contracts right now that could have really detrimental impacts on their future ability to make work as themselves.”
– American composer and “computer musician” Holly Herndon, on how AI complicates intellectual property. “I want people to understand how powerful these systems are and how having sovereignty over training data is really important,” Herndon says, encouraging artists to experiment with her vocal model Holly+.

After exploring “Water” in a major 2019-20 exhibition, the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) opens “Air,” a showcase with more than 30 artists including Dora Budor, Nancy Holt, and Katie Paterson that explore the cultural, ecological, and political dimensions of Earth’s atmosphere. “Air” is anchored by Tomás Saraceno’s Drift: A cosmic web of thermodynamic rhythms (2022, image), a new commission that suspends 13 partially mirrored spheres in GOMA’s central atrium space.

“I needed to train myself to cry in order to continue feeding those tiny marine ecosystems.”
– Polish artist and designer Kasia Molga, on gathering enough tears for her installation How to Make an Ocean (2021), a set of 12 miniature marine worlds that ‘bottled’ climate grief at the COP27 WHO Health Pavilion. Molga’s secret: a special “tearspoon” and her Moirologist Bot, an AI-driven video piece that serves alarming environmental news.
Jonas Lund
By Opening This Book
An edition of 100 sealed books, each key to a unique web experience. By opening the book, readers agree to contractual terms that, much like the often ignored internet fineprint, remain the Swedish artist’s secret.
“We can keep suppressing the wages of Uber drivers—keep them below the cost of living—because they can always supplement by renting out their apartment on Airbnb.”
– Technology studies scholar Aaron Shapiro, describing the circular logic of worker exploitation under platform capitalism. Chatting about his latest article on dark stores and ghost kitchens, he describes the recent failure of several post-Amazon “flimsy logistical companies.” [quote edited]

“ON AIR: The Sound of the Material in the Art of the 1950s to 1970s,” an exhibition excavating the pre-history of contemporary sound art, opens at Kaiser Wilhelm Museum in Krefeld, Germany. Assemblies, experiments, and media by Joseph Beuys, Bruce Nauman, David Tudor, and co-presenter Museum Tinguely’s namesake Jean Tinguley, demonstrate how “sounds, tones, noises, signals, and voices became ‘substantial’ sculptural material” in the second half of the 20th century.

“She represents us—an idealized us—with all of our body dysmorphia and best and worst qualities, warts and all. That’s who we are as consumerists, which is filled with those contradictions.”
– Sculptor Tom Sachs, discussing Barbie, whom he interprets as “a spaceship, because she’s a vessel for genetic code.“ Beyond his recreation of the iconic blonde, other ‘spaceships’ in his eponymous current exhibition include the Titanic and the Technics 1200 turntable.

A project of Wm (Bill) Perry, “LOST & FOUND Telidon art of the early ’80s,” opens at Toronto’s Cameron House. Presenting limited edition prints of videotex art made on Telidon (1978-85, Canada’s precursor to the world wide web), Perry resurfaces both an overlooked early digital art movement—predating net.art by a decade—and the burgeoning creative networks that founded Canada’s first media and electronic art-focused artist run centres (image: Robin Collyer Cameraman, 1981).

Sofian Audry
Art in the Age of Machine Learning
A critical examination (and historical positioning) of the use of machine learning across art and new media
“It’s in our DNA to acquire paintings when the paint is still drying—acquire contemporary art when it is contemporary. That continues here: we’re exploring what work a museum can do in the blockchain space right now.”
– Buffalo AKG Art Museum Curator Tina Rivers Ryan, in conversation with Simon Denny, Sarah Friend, and Rhea Myers to mark the launch of “Peer to Peer,“ an NFT exhibition co-presented with Feral File
“The problem is that, unlike the moon or Mars, we have no idea how to get there—and that’s a challenge that engineering fixes cannot solve.”
Joe Bak-Coleman, on why social media is harder than rocket science. The American research scientist rebukes Elon Musk’s Space X approach to Twitter and argues that despite R&D efforts that “dwarf the Apollo space program,” social networks struggle with the “dizzying feedback loops and chaotic interactions” between users that are impossible to model, let alone control.

American software artist Everest Pipkin releases The Barnacle Goose Experiment, an “abiogenesis body horror idle clicker” where you play as researcher Dr. Evergreen G. Branca locked in a biodome and tasked with generating a working world with objects, music, and living things out of her own body. The browser game is inspired by the medieval barnacle goose myth that had people, then unaware of bird migration patterns, believe that geese emerge fully-formed from barnacles.

“A premature extinction event occurs before we’ve flooded the universe with ‘value.’ We, then, shouldn’t spend money on global poverty: those resources should instead go to ensuring that we realize our ‘longterm potential.’”
– Philosopher and author Émile P. Torres, parsing the moral bankruptcy of longtermism, an ideology espoused by, for example, crypto fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried, who claimed to “get filthy rich, for charity’s sake.”

“Unsupervised,” a solo show by artist Refik Anadol opens at New York’s MoMA. Working with the metadata for the museum’s 130,000 artworks, the Turkish-American artist’s eponymous AI model (image) fluidly morphs through the latent aesthetic space of the collection. Viewers revel in flowing transitions between myriad possible artworks, the experience subtly intensified by camera, microphone, and local climate data-informed real-time interactivity, tweets Anadol.

“Paid in attention, the critic becomes captured by their audience and prioritizes subject matter that maximizes attention, retains or pleases an existing audience, and does not jeopardize their reputation.”
New Models’ Caroline Busta & Lil Internet, schematizing how the attention economy has (largely) eradicated substantive art criticism, during their The Future of Critique keynote at Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, Germany

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clears “slaughter-free” lab-grown chicken by California-based Upside Foods (image) as safe for consumption. The approval caps a decade of research to bring lab-grown meat substitutes to market, in hopes of reducing both factory farming’s carbon footprint and the cruelty of industrialized poultry production. “Now we shift focus towards what really matters in this industry, which is scale up,” says Good Food Institute scientist Liz Specht.

“From compromised system integrity and faulty regulatory oversight, to the concentration of control in the hands of a small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated, and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented.”
– Lawyer and corporate restructuring specialist John Jay Ray III, bluntly assessing bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX

“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.

“Our land, our ocean, our culture are the most precious assets of our people and to keep them safe from harm, no matter what happens in the physical world, we will move them to the cloud.”
– Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister Simon Kofe, announcing plans for a metaverse twin of the Pacific island nation as sea levels rise. “The idea is to continue to function as a state and beyond that to preserve our culture, our knowledge, our history in a digital space,” Kofe told COP27 climate summit attandees.

Daniel Franke’s CGI short Ich sitze in der Wolke (2022) premieres at the Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival in Kassel Germany. In his film, the German artist and researcher takes viewers into the digital cloud, a GAN-generated post-nature dreamscape where semiconductors, bitcoins, electricity, rare earth minerals, and crystals manifest to force questions about “environmental sin and digital evolution.”

Immersive Collection
A trio of XR projects that blend electronic soundscapes with abstract explorable environments from Line Katcho, Chloe Alexandra Thompson & Matthew Edwards (image: House of Moiré, 2022), and France Jobin & Markus Heckmann
“Duckweed doubles its weight in just two days, is harvested continually, and is high in protein, nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins. Only a few essential elements are missing that could make it a reliable base source for complete human nutrition.”
– Life sciences researcher Kim Johnsons, on how the Lemnoideae plant subfamily (aka duckweed) is stellar space food. Bonus: human urine is acceptable plant food for duckweed.

German artist and designer Philipp Schmitt publishes Blueprints for Intelligence, a “visual history of artificial neural networks from 1943 to 2020.” Compiling 56 diagrams sourced from machine learning research papers, the web project invites visitors to trace key tendencies in AI evolution. “It draws connections between the visual representations of neural networks and the researchers’ conception of cognition,” Schmitt writes in his introduction.

“Consider how we think of AI as a black box and thus in accounting for its harms demand transparency or explainability of algorithms rather than of the institutions that create and maintain them.”
– Cultural scientist and AI researcher Maya Indira Ganesh, contemplating the “performative force of AI imaginaries” with a thorough “metaphorology” published in ACM Interactions and as part of Philipp Schmitt’s Blueprints for Intelligence visual history

Probing for human qualities that escape capture in AI training datasets, Lauren Lee McCarthy and Kyle McDonald’s new collaboration Unlearning Language (2022) opens at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan. Both an experiential performance—“a one-act play for four,” as described by McDonald—and an interactive installation, the American artists (with support from Rhizomatiks) conjure a “futuristic AI that tries to help us become more human.”

“DATA STREAMING,” featuring late Luxembourgish artist Michel Majerus, opens at Kunstverein in Hamburg. Lost to a 2002 plane crash, Majerus made waves in the dotcom era for playfully integrating digital images—videogames, animation, desktop publishing—into his paintings. Now, a major retrospective sees Kunstverein and 12 German museums mounting exhibitions reviewing the artist’s work “with the hindsight of artistic and technological developments of the past twenty years.”

“The hermit crab is, unlike its name suggests, a social creature. They live in groups and are probably much more comfortable in the wild than in an exhibition space.”
– Art blogger and critic Régine Debatty, questioning the ethics of Aki Inomata’s Why Not Hand Over a ​“Shelter” to Hermit Crabs? (2009-) within the “Biotopia” exhibition at Le Pavillon, Namur (BE), as part of KIKK Festival. The installation features a living hermit crab, sheltering in a “fancy” 3D-printed artifact.

“Timefall,” a solo exhibition by Spanish artist Karlos Gil, opens at The Hague’s 1646. Designed to evoke the archetypal image of the cave, the exhibition centres Hollow Ghost (2022, image), video depicting the vernacular of contemporary caves—data farms, seed vaults, doomsday bunkers—in all their liminal (and terminal) glory. More mythos: also featured is a Jacquard loom-woven tapestry series, each depicting the sonic frequencies of a “fantastic” animal (cyclops, mermaid, etc.).

“What Fukushima revealed is that we are also living in an age of climato-politics in which we must confront the chaos of planetary flows that trespass the borders of nation states and evade their attempts at control.”
Radiation and Revolution (2020) author Sabu Kohso, on how the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster foreshadowed COVID-19 governance failures

Swiss artist and designer Jürg Lehni celebrates the 20th anniversary of his seminal robotic drawing machine, Hektor (2002), in a commemorative Twitter thread. “Imperfect and full of character,” the hanging computer-controlled spray-paint plotter drew at transmediale, Design Museum London, and the MoMA, and remains a DIY marvel for its time: “edged circuit boards, assembly-programmed microcontrollers—we did everything by hand,” Lehni notes about making in the pre-fab era.

“Moments when pop culture and politics collide are about regressive, puritanical control over women’s bodies, over culture, over challenges to the status quo or perceived progressive shifts.”
– Feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian, on mapping media culture wars in her new series, That Time When, that concludes with Gamergate, the 2014 harassment campaign she was at the center of and that is now “part of our understanding of how internet culture exists, how communities form and what they form around”

As the lacklustre presentation of NFTs even at major exhibitions and conferences continues to disappoint, Swiss software artist Andreas Gysin shares an “opinionated” mini-guide for newly-minted curators and organizers. Works that use the popular square aspect ratio, for example, suffer in particular on standard 16:9 screens, Gysin notes and offers three simple tricks that improve the overall composition. “The important thing is to NOT put it in the center!” (example on left).

“These cycles of boom and bust are incredibly destructive within organizations because people employed there feel like they don’t know where they stand.”
– Harvard Business School Professor Sandra J. Sucher, commenting on Meta laying off 11,000 employees, the latest in a series of major Big Tech cutbacks

The V&A launches an online resource to explore their 3,000+ item Digital Art & Design collection. Thus far 574 items are posted, with initial highlights including Vera Molnar’s plotter drawing Structure of Squares (1974) and Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s Radical Love (2016), a 3D-printed mask of Chelsea Manning’s face. Additional tools for researchers include two ‘selection boxes’ of noteworthy items, an incisive history of digital art, and a glossary of technical nomenclature.

“The rumours for this blowup seem so egregious and unnecessary to me. I can’t imagine running an exchange that makes mid-8 figures per day in revenue and thinking ‘how can we leverage this for more?’”
– Crypto pundit Cobie, trying to make sense of the insolvency of leading cryptocurrency exchange FTX, a collapse so significant and shocking that it is drawing comparison to the 2008 Lehman Brothers bankruptcy

Artists Vladan Joler, Gordan Savičić, and scholar Felix Stalder launch Infrastructures of a Migratory Bird (2022), a data visualization of rewilding efforts of the Northern Bald Ibis in the European Alps. The iconic bird, regionally extinct since 1621, was reintroduced into its historic habitat in 2013. Hatched within ZHdK’s Latent Spaces research project, the map reveals the extent of the conservation infrastructure, from GPS satellite tracking, to data analysis, to cost.

“Big social media reduces interface friction to increase user engagement. The smoother your experience the more likely you’re the product. Celebrate moments of friction as opportunities to see, feel, grasp what the system is, who it works for, and who it makes most vulnerable.”
– American software artist Ben Grosser, on the platform capitalism game plan—and how to navigate it

For Artnet, Vivienne Chow delves into South Korean projections of ‘soft power’ in the cultural sector. Patrons of recent exhibitions worldwide, South Korean corporations are praised for “listening to what we want to do,” by LACMA Director Michael Govan. Of note: Chow’s discussion of Hyundai, who, beyond pumping money into the sector, use the language of digital art (image: Hyundai Motorstudio Goyang) to communicate brand values in concept showrooms worldwide.

“The good news is that we are halfway to making a true NerveGear. The bad news is that so far, I have only figured out the half that kills you.”
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, working on a new VR headset that will kill the user if they die in-game. Inspired by the NerveGear helmets in the Sword Art Online anime, Luckey’s prototype features three explosive charges aimed at the player’s brain. “At this point, it’s just a piece of office art,” he reveals in his personal blog, “a thought-provoking reminder of unexplored avenues in game design.”

Milan’s MEET Digital Culture Center launches a new exhibition series on digital art history with “GMM RELOADED,” a retrospective of the Italian multimedia art group Giovanotti Mondani Meccanici. Active from 1984 to 2004, GMM pioneered the genre of computer comics (using Apple IIs), video art, and performances. The show presents a complete history with all their works as well as an immersive re-actualization of their 1991 video installation Tecnomaya in Infotown.

“One of my co-workers described it as ‘like hack week, but with a gun to your head.’”
– Anonymous Twitter Employee, on the intense pressure of (unachievable) 3-4 day software engineering deadlines imposed by Elon Musk as part of the billionaire’s frenzied shake-up of his newly acquired social media platform

The first-ever solo exhibition of Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF opens at Perrotin, New York, presenting elaborate interventions that leverage the absurdity of late-stage capitalism. Transforming the gallery into an interactive strip mall, “No More Tears, I’m Lovin’ It” showcases the group’s art as merchandize. Spot’s Revenge (2022, image), for example, trolls Boston Dynamics with a heavily armed robot dog, after the manufacturer disabled the legally purchased unit remotely.

“When you hit corporate America, it hits back—MSCHF have been subject to innumerable cease and desist decrees and being de-platformed from social media and online payment services.”
– American curator Michael Darling, on the Brooklyn-based art collective’s many provocations that are now on view at Perrotin, New York.
“The Flipper Zero is not going to turn a legion of IT guys into Watch Dogs protagonists.”
– Tech journalist Chris Person, joking the wireless, NFC, and RFID-capable Flipper Zero multi-tool (aka ‘Tamagotchi for hackers’) will not transform its users into clichéd cyberpunks

The New Angel, a digital image by Cao Fei and the latest edition of the “Safety Curtain” series, debuts in Vienna. Yearly since 1998, artists including Tauba Auerbach, Matthew Barney, and Joan Jonas have turned the Vienna State Opera house safety curtain into a temporary exhibition space—Fei shared her CGI avatar. “She silently observes the real world through the heavy layer of the stage curtain, without giving any answer,” says the Chinese artist.

“These works consisted of painted boxes and floppy disks describing the imaginary software, which was so hypothetical that it could only be suggested by invented titles and handmade images.”
– Artist Suzanne Treister, describing the imaginary Software (1993-4) she conceived in the aftermath of painting Fictional Videogame Stills (1991-2)

“SIREN,” a solo exhibition by Canadian-German-Jamaican artist nichola feldman-kiss, opens at Toronto’s Koffler Gallery. Extending her ongoing critique of colonialism, it presents eponymous Siren III (2022, image), underwater video with ambisonic recordings of vocal ululations to capture the migratory flows across the “geo-cultural corridor that is the north Atlantic,” and Siren IV (2021, image left), glacial CGI forms rendered on digital tapestries.

Central London live music venue Outernet debuts a new kinetic identity designed by type and motion studios NaN and DBLG. Dense and dynamic, a grid of animated wordmarks and mutating colourful 3D forms scroll across the venue’s prominent 200 m media façade. NaN describes their contributed custom tilted display monospace typeface as drawing inspiration from “coding vernacular,” a graphic “doubling down on the tech-oriented physical internet identity of the venue.”

“In one of Milan Kundera’s novels, the character of Ludvik says, ‘Now all that is left is the task of laughing because we are too unhappy to cry.’ That’s what I feel these days.”
– Filmmaker Werner Herzog to philosopher Slavoj Žižek in an Infinite Conversation (2022) of their AI language models unleashed by Italian computer scientist Giacomo Miceli [quote captured by writer Luka Ivan Jukic]

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