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Brian Kane: Free WiFi at the Cambridge Arts Council

Apr 23, 2011   //   by van Gelder   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on Brian Kane: Free WiFi at the Cambridge Arts Council

Free WiFi at the Cambridge Arts Council. Photo by A. Hasler

Brain Kane’s Free WiFi, now on view at the Cambridge Arts Council’s gallery space, brings familiar internet iconography and design into the real world with a floor-to-ceiling replica of the Google Maps pointer. The piece represents the third item in Kane’s series, the “Real Reality Project,” which seeks to replicate in three dimensions the objects from virtual or augmented reality. Free WiFi appears at the Cambridge Arts Council through May 13th as a collaboration with the Boston Cyberarts Festival, which will sponsor events from April 22nd-May 8th.

Kane constructed the piece out of vinyl, and a pump housed inside inflates the pointer to give it its characteristic shape. Suspended from the ceiling, the pointer bears a surprising likeness to its functional and now ubiquitous online parent. In a phone interview, Kane suggested that this version of Free WiFi may serve as a proof-of-concept for a later iteration made from a more permanent material like stone. Kane has already used stone in other works, most notably a granite iPhone.

“The Cyberarts Festival features a lot of tech-based exhibits, and this project extracts the language of these and makes something real out of it,” C.A.C. Public Art Administrator Jeremy Gaucher said. Read more >>

Drawing With Code at the deCordova

Apr 21, 2011   //   by van Gelder   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on Drawing With Code at the deCordova

The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum is, up until April 24th (go this weekend!), home to the installation Drawing With Code: Works from the Anne and Michael Spalter Collection.  This exhibit, comprised of works borrowed from the Spalters’ extensive collection in Providence, displays works in various mediums, from the 1950s to the present, that all share a common element: they were created through the use of technology, frequently by employing original algorithms and letting them work their artistic magic.  You can find out more about the exhibit, the artists involved, and the deCordova itself here.

As is always the case, each individual will have their own connection and find their own meaning in the pieces of this collection.  What struck me on my first pass through (I recommend walking through the whole collection at least twice) was how ordinary much of it seemed.  While some of the pieces (those of Jean-Pierre Hébert in particular) are quite capable of inspiring awe, much of them resemble things we see everyday now, including some of the animations, which are eerily reminiscent of the outcome of a winning game of solitaire on a Windows computer.

Where the setup of this collection really shines, though, is in providing context to the pieces.  When you walk into the exhibition space, be sure to thoroughly read the provided explanation (pictured above).  While that explanation in and of itself gives great context to the pieces, you’ll also find a phone number in there that you can call to be provided with insight and analysis on various works.  As you walk around the collection, you punch in the code for a particular work and you can hear either the curator or the artist themselves discussing the state of art, the state of technology, and the state of society when these works were produced, as well as explanations of the technology involved and the artistic choices made. Read more >>

The Black Films of Aldo Tambellini

Apr 18, 2011   //   by van Gelder   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on The Black Films of Aldo Tambellini

Aldo Tambellini, Black is, 1965 still from 16mm digitized film

During the sixties and much of the seventies, people lived in a world that changed rapidly in a short amount of time. The politically awkward climate of the era was heightened by the assassinations of Robert and John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., the resignation of Richard Nixon, the Vietnam War, the fight for civil rights and other political and social conflicts. These forces ignited the creative spirit of American artists who further explored the turbulence of the times through the art that was being produced.

For those of a younger generation, it is through the New Hollywood and Experimental films made during the sixties and seventies that the struggles, turmoil and recreational pleasures of the times are experienced and shared. The Black Films of Aldo Tambellini at Emerson College transport the viewer into a world where the villain was larger than a person, or a thing, it was an ideological villain that shaped the lives of every American citizen.


Nathalie Miebach: In her own words

Apr 14, 2011   //   by Boston Cyberarts   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on Nathalie Miebach: In her own words

Nathalie Miebach in her studio

Nathalie Miebach’s site-specific installation “Changing Waters” is on view at Fuller Craft Museum through September 25.

“Changing Waters” uses weather and marine data to drive the design of the work.  Can you explain a bit about how your process works?

“Changing Waters” looks at the ecological interactions between weather systems and marine environments. I collect atmospheric and marine data from buoys within the Gulf of Maine, as well as weather stations along the coast. The data are translated through two main elements: a large wall installation that plots information through the geographic anchors of a map of the Gulf of Maine, and a series of large hanging structures that look at more specific biological, chemical or geophysical relationships between marine ecosystems and weather patterns.

In working with the data, I become a sort of detective;  I look for patterns, inconsistencies, cause-and-effect behaviors that suggest linkages between variables.  I stare at these stacks of graphs, numbers and diagrams to find something worth investigating further.  Numbers function a bit like Lego pieces, in that I assign each value a physicality that gets integrated into the basket. I never change the value of the numbers to conform to some sort of aesthetic preference. This allows the sculptures to exist both as sculptures in space, but also as actual devices that could be used to read data from a specific environment.


Looking Back to the Future

Apr 13, 2011   //   by Boston Cyberarts   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on Looking Back to the Future

The Boston Cyberarts Festival has always tried to include the history of new media in it’s programming. While the goal of the Festival is to present the most cutting edge art of the day, it is important in any art form to also discuss the innovators who came before. Four exhibitions this year look back and examine art and artists who made significant advances in new media.

At the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Drawing from Code: Works from the Collection of Anne and Michael Spalter, is an exhibition of the earliest computer-generated art by the form’s most important practitioners from the 1950s to today. The Providence-based collection of Anne and Michael Spalter is one of the largest and most important of its kind in the U.S. and shines a new light onto a darkened corner of the art historical record. In addition to the prints, mostly plotter drawings, are early computer animations made by artists, Stan Van Der Beek and Lillian Schwartz at Bell Labs in the late 1960s. Up through April 24.

As part of a joint exhibition kinetic sculpture at the Axiom Center for New and Experimental Media and the MIT Museum, the MIT Museum is showing two of the most important works of early kinetic sculpture from their collection. “Cybernetic Sculpture #301” by Wen Ying Tsai

(1970) and “Electro-Magnetic I” by Greek artist, Takis (1962) are two works by early masters of sculpture that incorporate motion. Open through the entire Festival.

Video art was the first form of new media and artists in the U. S. and Germany were the first to embrace this early technological art form. MIT’s List Visual Arts Center presents the first United States museum survey of the work of Chilean-born video artist Juan Downey (1940-1993). Juan Downey: The Invisible Architect will feature a selection of key works by this under-recognized pioneer of video art. Downey, who came to New York from Chili in 1965, was one of the masters of early video art. He mixed autobiographical and anthropological elements to make densely layered works that examined his own multi-cultural background. Opens May 5.

The Goethe Institut’s RECORD > AGAIN! – – Part 2 concentrates on early German video art, including several rarely seen, re-discovered works. The Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie in Karlsruhe has put together this fascinating compilation of early work.  The Goethe Institut will present an evening of works curated experts in the Boston area with discussion of the importance of this art form. Part 1 of this series was featured at the Goethe Institut for the 2007 Boston Cyberarts Festival. Thursday April 28, 5-9pm.


Apr 3, 2011   //   by Karasic   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on Welcome

Welcome to the 2011 Boston Cyberarts Festival Blog!

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