Jennifer Kanary Nikolov(a)’s ongoing project Labyrinth Psychotica uses augmented reality technology to create immersive installations, environments and situations based on artistic research into psychosis.
“So what is it actually like to experience psychosis? This is not an easy question to answer. Understanding what it is like to be in psychosis is difficult. Those who have experience with it, find it hard to describe, and those who don’t, find it hard to envision. Yet the ability to engage in the process of sympathy and empathy is crucial to the interaction with a person struggling with psychotic experiences and for this we need help. Much like a flight simulator aids aspiring pilots in their journey to learn how to fly, we need tools that act as a prosthesis to our imagination to better understand and communicate what it is like to be psychotic.” (http://www.labyrinthpsychotica.org/Labyrinth_Psychotica/About.html)
In the format called THE WEARABLE participants put on a Head Mounted Display, which functions simultaneously as blindfold and wide screen cinema. A camera attached to the device allows wearers to navigate the space around them, yet this input is filtered through “semantic layers” and “digital manipulations” as well as audio effects. With the addition of a ‘gaming narrative’ in which the participant is informed that they will experience, in part, the memories of a person in a nearby hospital, who is suffering from psychosis. The experience begins. (For more information see http://www.labyrinthpsychotica.org/Labyrinth_Psychotica/TheWearable.html)
The LABYRINTH format is an installation, a labyrinth in which the viewer receives a translation of what it is like to experience a psychotic episode: “You start to experience being in another world, in which reality is there and not there at the same time. A world pregnant with meaning, which revolves around you, as the artist designed it to do so. A world, in which others become mere actors upon a stage, who infiltrate your experience in uncomfortable ways, sometimes by coming too close, while you are unable to connect to them as you are separated by the fabric. It is a world of surprise around each corner. It is a world, in which you lose your sense of time and space.” (http://www.labyrinthpsychotica.org/Labyrinth_Psychotica/TheLabyrinth.html)
Kanary Nikolov(a) is developing the Labyrinth Psychotica while completing her PhD within Roy Ascott’s Planetary Collegium at Plymouth University.
A Hidden Typology of Being, Joanna, Hoffmann, 2012
The digital works of Joanna Hoffmann relate biological microcosms to astronomical macrocosms, using new visualising technologies to question our sense of space, time and information. In A Hidden Topology of Being, produced in cooperation with International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in New Delhi and National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, Hoffmann has taken footage of a PDB 6I1B protein molecule and transformed it into a multi screen animation piece, that explores geology, geometric systems and theoretical physics as much as microbiology. The work challenges the viewer on a dual level, overwhelming our sense of perception on a visceral level while challenging us to expand our conception of system structures.
A Hidden Typology of Being, Joanna, Hoffmann, 2012
“We usually identify life with processes of maintaining and transmitting information. Obviously, it is not the only interpretation. Life can be also recognised as a way in which space exists and vice versa: space might be treated as a way in which life exists
In our daily perception we live in a four-dimensional realm. However our relationship with the reality might be much more subtle than what our senses offer us to believe. In the field of superstring theory, the M-theory assumes the existence of additional dimensions hidden from our limited perception, as well as their fluctuation and interconnectivity. What does it mean for us to live in a multidimensional universe with our own bodies hiding manifold worlds?
The project was inspired by a protein molecule (called the basic brick of life) which convolute structure, on one hand-side, reminded me of Calabi-Yau manifolds - mysterious geometric formations in which successive dimensions of our world are “curled up” on the subatomic scale. On the other hand-side, whilst exposed to X-rays, this structure reveals the arrangement of atoms that might be easily mistaken for a map of the starry Sky.
The installation bridges micro and macro scales, scientific imagery with daily recordings and poetry, translating scientific ideas into the area of art as a source of personal and collective consciousness and invite intuitive examination of the unfathomable nature of our reality.” (Joanna Hoffmann: http://free.art.pl/hoffmann/hidden%20.htm)
A Hidden Typology of Being, Joanna, Hoffmann, 2012
In it’s finished form A Hidden Topology of Being exists as a multi-screen environment such as Hoffmann presented at ‘The Unknown’ Mediations Biennale in Poznan (2012). The work is currently undergoing further transformations as Hoffmann is now currently with 3D technology.
Working with optics, light, 3D holography and film, Madi Boyd’s work explores both the science of perception and new possibilities for the representation of images within science.
“Points of Perception. Editing and camera by Anne Starkey with Amy Gibb (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SG_rr96i1Y)
Points of Perception (2009- present) is an installation developed together with neuroscientists Dr Mark Lythgoe and Dr Beau Lotto. It is an immersive light installation and multimedia sculpture which is designed to fascinate and confuse the human brain by challenging the limits of perception. This inspires the viewer to question how her brain processes visual stimuli. The installation uses moving image as well as a constructed grid system “designed to act specifically on the human eye and brain” (More at: http://www.madiboyd.com/sculpture/the-point-of-perception and http://pointofperception.co.uk/)
Other works by Boyd include collaborations with zoologists. The holographic 3D film The (Dis)Appearance of Bees uses MRI technology to create a detailed map of the bee’s structure. “Using cutting edge technology at the Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging, UCL, I scanned a bee. The bee was frozen, soaked in chemicals and then placed in the scanner for 12 hours to build up the incredibly detailed map of the structure of the bees’ body we see on the screen. It is important that both the clips of the bees and the scan are real- there is no animation, they are the reality of this insect. The filmed bees are shown in inverse colours which echoes the use of x-rays and early film or photography. The detailed portrait of the bee built up in the film comes at a time when bees are disappearing.” This film won the endangered species category at the Musion Awards for Holographic film. ( source: http://www.madiboyd.com/holographic-projections/the-disappearance-of-bees)’
Another 3D project made in collaboration with the ZSL London Zoo explores the unique visual perception of different species of birds, fish, reptiles and mammals. The piece uses animation and other technology to recreate how the world looks like to other species, and how these different modes of perception help them navigate their world. This project includes intensive collaboration with zoologists from around the world. (More at: http://www.madiboyd.com/holographic-projections/animal_vision)
Owen Mundy is an artist, designer and programmer whose work investigates public space and its relationship to data and surveillance, in the process offering tools to make hackers out of the general public.
I am Unable to Fulfill Your Wish is a series of ‘dystopian visualizations’ created using social network data and simple graphing tools. The information is rendered anonymous, a process which nevertheless highlights the borders of privacy: “[…]these network visualizations could represent actors and relationships in intricate economic systems, social clubs, or tangled power structures. Ultimately, the works highlight the inability of interfaces and other digital spaces to represent the complexity of everyday life and question whether technology and open data will ever achieve its utopian promise.” (source: http://owenmundy.com/site/i-am-unable)
A similar body of work involved with visualizing communications systems is Packet Switching, developed together with Joelle Dietrick. The project also refers to a larger interconnection between communication structures and economic and architectural systems.
“To reference this common process used in networked systems, we wrote custom software that deconstructs a 3D model’s source code and produces unique fragments. We further remixed these fragments using an original application created in Processing. The resulting images become limited edition prints, large photo installations, wall-sized paintings, and animations.
“Our process underscores how incidental fragmentation and automation can streamline markets, but also make them vulnerable to systems failure. The use of architecture specifically points to recent real estate market volatility and considers how communication technology-enabled pursuits of profit margins alters our most basic needs.” (source: http://owenmundy.com/site/packet-switching)
Screenshot source: http://owenmundy.com/site/drone-tracker)
Mundy who was a photographer in the US Navy, worked in collaboration with The Periscope Project (TPP) on Version 2 of their project Drone Ready-Made: Fine Military Detritus. Mundy’s work The Drone War Did Not Take Place, tracks a Predator drone shipping container which TPP purchased on Craigslist and retrofitted as a camping apparatus.
The container then travels through southern California, pushed by human force past various military command centers as well as the premises of various US arms contractors. The online interface combines real time footage of the performance along with Google Earth and Google Maps databases and a live Twitter Feed. (More at http://owenmundy.com/site/drone-tracker)
Paul Vanouse has been working at the crossroads of art, technology and biology since 1990. Over the past decade his work has focused on, among other topics, DNA sequencing technologies and their social and cultural implications. His project Ocular Revision from 2010 questions visualization and conceptualization in current day biology. According to Vanouse “[…] the late 20th century marks the ‘post-biological’ age, because DNA is increasingly understood as a code rather than a material substance. The post-biological turn marks a point of cybernetic fantasy in which the infinite complexity of the wet organism is finally humbled by the easily quantifiable genetic code that supposedly exercises total control over the flesh.”
“Ocular Revision is an artwork incorporating an alternate mechanism for the analysis and display of the DNA image. Typically, DNA is visualized in a rectangular chamber containing a porous gelatin that has an electrical field across it. When DNA is inserted into one side of this gelatin the electrical current pulls it across the gel at a rate corresponding to its molecular mass and thus differentiates DNA of different sizes.
“Ocular Revision uses a custom, experimental, circular gel electrophoresis rig to visualize DNA bands. I designed this circular rig to be polarized from inside to outside of the circle. The radial design and inside-out polarization allows the apparatus to create DNA images reminiscent not of a “barchart” or a “progress bar” on a computer screen, but rather a slow emergence; a signal; a flowering; an attraction or repulsion.” (source: http://www.paulvanouse.com/or.html)
The results resembling hemispherical maps, play on the metaphor of genetic mapping, and recreate the shapes of actual geographic forms. But in Ocular Revision Vanouse is not mapping DNA, but mapping with DNA, using DNA as a medium. (More at: http://www.paulvanouse.com/or-movie-video.html)
Suspect Inversion Center, Ernst Schering Foundation, Berlin, Germany. Paul Vanouse and Kerry Sheehan performing, January, 2011. Photo by Axel Heise. (http://www.paulvanouse.com/sic.html)
Suspect Inversion Center is a project which questions the use of DNA is recent criminology. Using the OJ Simpson murder trial and other cases as a starting point, Vanouse presents a working DNA laboratory in which his own DNA is then ‘reverse engineered’ to appear like the DNA of crime suspects. The audience is invited to observe this process and interact with the laboratory workers. As well as being a critique of modern day criminology and using biological material to perform a type of artistic forgery or appropriation, the work also attempts to de-mystify new biological practices. (More at http://www.paulvanouse.com/sic.html)
Alexandra Toland’s work is a hybrid of her research as a soil studies scientist and her work as an artist involved in artistic research, social sculpture and environmental planning. It “[…]covers a broad spectrum including influences from the fields of human-ecology, urban planning, invasive biology and landscape architecture.” (http://artoland.wordpress.com/about/).
Of particular interest for Toland is the urban biosphere, especially plant life. In her 2010 exhibition and public workshop Wunschgarten - Wild Urban Offshoots, she and Myriel Milicevic mapped the biosphere of an urban neighborhood in Berlin, defining sources of nutrition for human and animals alike. Residents were encouraged to discover a complex biosphere in the middle of the city as well as to propose solutions for sharing this ‘common space’. “The Wunschgarten is a celebration of the city’s wild features and creatures, and a vision of utopian measures that reach beyond existing mitigation schemes and municipal green-space planning.” (http://artoland.wordpress.com/2010/08/30/wunschgarten-wild-urban-offshoots/)
In her performance Personal Dispersal Mechanisms (2009) she combined her roles as scientist, educator and performer by giving participants a tour of an urban green space. She chose certain plants, explained their origins (native or invasive), and described their methods of seed dispersal. She then invited participants to be ‘twinned’ with a plant. The participant then described how they came to Berlin and posed for a Polaroid photo with cuttings from the plant.
She is also currently working on a project and blog for soilarts with Gerd Wessolek: http://soilarts.wordpress.com/
Seiko Mikami’s installations measure the interaction between information technology and the human body. Her work Desire of Codes is an interactive installation, shown at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM) in 2010. The installation is made up of three parts – part 1: 90 wall devices with sensors as well as highly sensitive cameras and microphones are placed along a wall; part 2: 6 moving cameras on robotic arms are suspended from the ceiling. The visitors movements activate all these surveillance devices, and the collected data is shown on part 3: a compound screen which resembles an insect’s eye. The recordings of visitors’ movements are also mixed and played back. The information system becomes an organism whose perception/surveillance is focused on its human ‘host’.
In Gravicells, an installation designed together with architect Sota Ichikawa human perception of gravity is ‘enhanced’ through visuals which propose a system of gravity and resistance. Movements of participating visitors are transformed into sound and light (LED) and images via sensors. Furthermore the exhibition space is simultaneously measured by GPS, locating the installation within a greater system of space.
MaSm Metatransformation, 2011
Maja Smrekar’s projects MaSm Metatransformation and Hu.M.C.C. – Human Molecular Colonization Capacity explore the biopolitics of new technologies in genetic modification and synthetic biology. In MaSm Metatransformation the artist has combined her own DNA with that of a common yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae which, after being genetically transformed with the artist´s gene sequence, produces lactic acid. As part of the artwork scientists perform modification of the yeast during the exhibition:
“Presentation of the project in the gallery starts with the artists venepunction and continues with the real time RNA isolation from her blood executed by two scientists at the opening. During the next two weeks, the author and one of her co-workers are executing each of the protocols which lead them to the yeast microorganism Saccharomyces cerevisiae DNA transformation. The protocols are being executed in the laboratory set in the gallery with the guest laboratory participants – general public which has been offered a possibility to apply to open call for cooperation. The installation also contains a chimeric fermentation processof the transformed yeast and the offered final product – the beverage which transformed yeast made during its fermentation process. All of the equipment has been designed by the author and her co-workers.” source
By following all the Europe Union law regulations considering genetically modified organisms and food, the product has been analyzed with the chromatography system at the Biotechnical Faculty of the University in Ljubljana, where it was discovered it is not toxic or however harmful for human health. The product has also been filtered with the 0.2 micrometer filter and does not contain genetically modified organism when brought outside of the laboratory. Visitors must as well sign a waiver, taking full responsibility if they choose to drink the beverage.
Hu.M.C.C. – Human Molecular Colonization Capacity
In a related project Maja Smrekar has taken this synthesis of her own DNA and that of yeast, produced by means of synthetic biology, and created Maya YogHurt (Creative Commons License).
This potential food product is suggested as a solution to the Malthusian problem of a growing world population facing limited food resources. It also plays upon the ‘Soylent Green’ Paradigm. Both these projects were, among other collaborators, developed in collaboration with Dr. Špela Petrič (within the field of molecular biology), at the Institute of Biochemistry/Medical Faculty/University of Ljubljana and executed in production of Kapelica Gallery in Ljubljana/Slovenia.
Špela Petrič & Maja Smrekar: Circadian Drift, 2012 (Photo: Simon Gmajner)
Along with Špela Petrič, Maja Smrekar is also producing the project Circadian Drift, an interactive installation which seeks to synchronize the circadian rhythms of human volunteers and laboratory rats. Both groups will be exposed to the same lighting conditions via sensors. The projects also seeks to discuss the effect of digital communication technologies as well as artificial lighting on our own rhythms and highlight how this effects our health. More information at http://majasmrekar.org/circadian_drift
hackteria.org is an international collective of artists and scientists promoting the establishment and development of DIY bio labs. Founded in 2009 by Andy Gracie, Marc Dusseiller and Yashas Shetty “the aim of the project is to develop a rich web resource for people interested in or developing projects that involve DIY bioart, open source software and electronic experimentation.” source: http://hackteria.org/?page_id=2
The organization functions as a community offering information, instruction, and critical reflection through meetings, workshops and ongoing projects.
The project DIY Microscopy turned a standard webcam into a microscope with magnification up to 400X. The hack is described on the hackteria.org website (http://hackteria.org/?p=52) with simple instructions, and was also recently demonstrated at the Bay Area DIY Bio lab Biocurious in a workshop led by Marc Dusseiller and Urs Gaudenz.
A similar set of workshops have beenheld around the world, including at HoNF in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Dusseiller explains the workshop as typifying hackteria’s mission:
“Perhaps the key activity and aim of the hackteria project sofar is to provide
accessible and affordable tools and information to allow artists, hardware
hackers and amateur scientists to work with micro-organisms in a
meaningful way[…] Following hackteria workshop methodologies it is
possible, for example, to produce a good quality video microscope for the
fraction of the cost of a shop bought device.
Finally, some of the hackteria projects have been further implemented in
other aspects outside of the arts world. […] it has been implemented in
Universities and High-schools in Indonesia, where, in the context of a
developing country, it can be used as an educational tool and also has the
potential for low-cost diagnostics” source: www.dusseiller.ch/cv/dusjagr_labs_2011.pdf
The House of Natural Fiber (HONF) was founded in 1999 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia as a New Media laboratory and center. The initial founders included Venzha Christiawan, Ira Agrivina, and Itaz and Imot Surya. HONF has implemented a number of projects and workshops in the fields of electronic music, digital media, technological research and DIY biology, with a focus on connecting to the local community
“In every project we concentrate on interactivity with people and environments. Thinking forward, positive and creative is becoming a vision for this community. In the implementation of this vision, in every program, they work towards the development of art with technology. This desire to contemplate the future of technology and art, is an important endeavour for the technology itself.” (source)
HONF has a particular social and educational focus in their program, providing youth workshops in new technologies.
“Education Focus Program (EFP), is a curriculum of every HONF activities that is innovated responding the global situations and conditions in Indonesia. EFP concentrate on interdisciplinary knowledge exchanges and collaborations in critical analysis towards local and global issues and creating innovative ideas to seek solutions toward it. EFP main objective is to build a modern mind and mentality of society by bridging art, science and technology that is useful in processing local potentials into beneficial outputs for the society based on human uses and urgent needs. In the implementation of EFP programs, HONF use Open-Community form, a methodology that invites local communities in Yogyakarta to take various roles accordingly to their ability and competency, which allows them to be involved in the activities with HONF acted as navigator.” (source)
HONF also organises and hosts Cellsbutton - the Yogyakarta International Media Art Festival which has taken place annually since 2007.
In 2011 HONF won the transmediale award for the work the project Intelligent Bacteria – Saccharomyces cerevisiae a performative installation created as a response to the high rate of poisonings from home made alcohol in Indonesia. The goal was to distribute knowledge on safe procedures for fermentation. The installation included a fermentation system that was also connected to a sound system that reacts to the fermenting bacteria.
Psymbiote, Exploring the Cyborg Body (Film on Isa Gordon’s Psymbiote project by Majorie Kaye)
Isa Gordon’s diverse work explores how technology is changing our bodies and minds. The Psymbiote Project, a cyborg Performance Project in collaboration with Eric Gradman, Jesse Jarrell & DEvan Brown, explores the border between woman and machine. During the performance Gordon wears a complex set of garments which include LED displays of heart rate and voice, a data glove and an exoskeleton. The garments are filled with triggers often activated by the artist, her body’s automatic processes or remote controls.
Another project Memory Ltd offers the public the chance to have outside memories implanted: “The procedure is safe, easy, and fun. The memories you trade in are recorded via electromagnetic field detectors. Your new memories are custom designed to suit your needs, and similarly transmitted with EM field generators.
“The actual perceived effect of these patented memory technologies is very similar to the normal experience of memory recall. We are not providing a virtual reality experience: the signal generated by our VMI does not immerse you in a seamless, three-dimensional VR environment. Rather, it induces the subconscious generation of new, yet familiar image patterns. These images are assimilated into your natural memories, where they will later be indistinguishable from the real thing.” (http://www.memory-ltd.com/experience.htm)
Along with Christa Erickson, Gordon produced the performance and installation Mnemonic Devices which explores the way media create and become memories.
Founded in 1995 by Amy Franceschini, Michael Swaine and others, this artist collective currently also includes Sasha Merg, Josh On, Stijn Schiffeleers, Dan Allende and Ian Cox.
Future Farmers is a collective producing multi-disciplinary projects, primarily on social and environmental topics. Their work emphasises interaction, play & accessibility, local communities and empowerment. The also have an associated artist-in-residency program.
Their art projects focus largely on projects that increase the public’s awareness of the environment and of man’s interaction with the environment (eg through agricultural traditions.) Throughout their work there is an educational and activist approach. Two examples are Victory Gardens and This is Not a Trojan Horse. (Video= http://vimeo.com/15082555).
There work over the last 17 years, has of course, been quite diverse, ranging from the shockwave piece Utopia (by Amy Franceschini, Sasha Merg and others) which was featured in Lev Manovich’s essay from 2001 ‘Generation Flash’ to Franceschini’s cooperative project with Jonathon Meuser DIY Algae/Hydrogen Bioreactor from 2004. The latter is an early example of aDIY Bioartwork, with the purpose of creating a source of Hydrogen, potentially as an alternative fuel. Future Farmers openness to collaboration, as well as their focus on participation and education has played an important role in the shaping of 21st century political-aesthetic strategies.
Shlomit Lehavi’s work moves interactive video into a new era. Her piece Time Sifter (2008-12) “is a viewer-controlled environment immersed in visuals and sounds” says Lehavi, “that plays on the theme of the time-machine in the digital age, and suggests a journey in time through motion, space and sound.” The projection surface, which resembles a totem pole, is a shaped steel construction with circular wooden sieves, hand-crafted in Istanbul and retrofitted with projection material. It represents both the mechanism and the metaphor of sifting time.
The video footage, taken by the artist, depicts movement through space at different locations over the last ten years. This repetition of similar actions – travel, work, the role of the flaneur - in different places creates a series of links over time and space.
The visitor in turn plays a crucial role in the functioning of this time machine: “Each sieve flips around the x-axis (initiated by the viewer). With each flip the video’s content changes so the viewer has control over re-creating the environment, the video sequences and the narrative. Time Sifter aims to evoke a discussion on time and space in the digital age.” (http://artlaboratory-berlin.org/html/eng-exh-26.htm)
Lehavi’s project IMNOW, 2009, investigates time, space and relationships across web based social platforms:
“IMNOW’s identity is composed of digital footprints across major social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Wordpress, You Tube, Flickr, Ustream and Skype), that is manifested as a physical installation where visitors to the space are invited to get into the role of IMNOW and as such take charge of creating and developing IMNOW’s network and identity. The installation space is composed of numerous human sized circular screens, placed in the space to create a sphere where all these mirrored identities are projected.” (http://shlomitlehavi.com/imnow.html)
“Word-Chaser is an interactive online application, that tracks, follows and maps the evolution of new coined words and phrases from their early stage to their global spread.” (http://shlomitlehavi.com/word_chaser.html)
Users are asked to add a neologism and the location they first heard it. These are located on a map, creating a real time etymological research tool (more at http://word-chaser.com/)
Since the 1990s Jacques Servin, Igor Ramos and their many helpers have become the first and last words in subtervising and cultural jamming. By creating fake websites, showing up in the guise of corporate fat cats, or even creating their own corporate events they have played a significant role in exposing corporate and governmental subterfuge, and encouraging others to become involved in shaping political opposition.
A recent example is the website http://arcticready.com/, which in combination with a gala they organized at Seattle’s Space needle, posing as representatives of Shell Oil, exposed Shell’s ambitions to increase Arctic oil drilling
In 2011 they released a statement to the press announcing that GE would return its $3.2 billion tax refund. Major news media outlets, including USA Today bought into the hoax, and GE stock declined .6%.
The Yes Men call their ‘hijinks’ Identity Correction:’ ” Impersonating big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them. Our targets are leaders and big corporations who put profits ahead of everything else.” More at their websites: http://theyesmen.org/ and http://yeslab.org/
First generation net.artists Eva and Franco Mattes (http://0100101110101101.org) recent works function as both a social psychology of the internet and a re-interpretation of recent art history
No Fun, 2010
No Fun investigates the social psychology of the chat roulette social media network. Franco devised a harness that made it appear that he had hanged himself. Chat Roulette users are screen captured reacting to this supposed suicide with frightening apathy and sometimes even glee.
Reenactment of Marina Abramovic and Ulay’s ‘Imponderabilia,’ 2007-10, Online performance
Previous works included recreations of famous performance art pieces from the 1960s and 1970s including Chris Burden’s Shoot, Valie Export and Peter Weibel’s Tapp and Tastkino and Vito Acconci’s Seedbed. All are ‘re-performed’ on Second Life.
Eva and Franco Mattes have also captured a number of their own second life performances.
My Generation, 2010 shows footage found online of children and teenagers involved in ‘computer rage’. The piece is shown (Plug in, Basel, 2010, Transmediale, Berlin 2012) on an old, broken, but still functioning computer.