May 1st2019 is the twentieth anniversary of the first day of the first Boston Cyberarts Festival. Boston Cyberarts turns 20 this day. The idea of celebrating the confluence of art and technology with a city wide festival was the product of many minds. Especially important was that people in different fields of art came together to make the festival an examination of all art forms; visual arts, video, music, dance theater, web art, sculpture, literature and recorded and live video sampling.
Besides being an all art forms event is was also a great collaboration of arts organizations. It would have been a success if twenty organizations participated; however sixty cultural and educational institutions signed up and organized over 100 events. Each organization organized their events, within the two weeks of the Festival, according to their own mission and within their own budget. The question of what was the impact of technology, particularly digital technology on the arts was a question whose time had come. An estimated 7,800 people came from across the city, garnering national attention. A feature article in the Sunday New York Times noted the Festival’s implications for Boston’s cultural reputation, “The presence of so much experimental work in and around Boston might surprise those who view the city as a bastion of cultural conservatism, but it reflects a long history blending art and science. The Boston Herald reported: “One week into Boston’s first Cyberarts Festival, the biggest surprise is not the machines but the people . . . onlookers and participants have been eager to explore this celebration of the connection between art and technology.”
The exhibit opens Thursday, April 25, with a reception from 5:00 -7:00 p.m., and runs through Sunday, May 19 at the Emerson Urban Arts Gallery, which is free and open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 2:00 – 7:00 p.m. The gallery is located at 25 Avery Street in Boston.
Interactivity is the latest tool available to artists for their eternal recreation of the world through their visions and dreams. The world, of course, is a place we interact with on a minute-by-minute basis. We hunt, we gather, we use tools, we move things hither and yon. We constantly change the environment we inhabit in order to make our lives better. Yet until recently, artists could make only passive art. We look at paintings. We look at sculpture. We read books. We watch plays. Art plays, cudgels, or seduces us with an invented reality. We don’t change passive art, though it certainly, at its best, changes us. Hyper-Active: Interactive Installation Art, is an exhibit featuring contemporary artists from throughout New England who explore interactive installations, augmented reality art, video games, smart phone apps and even dance to create new and engaging experiences for audiences.
Amorphous Ball by Joseph Farbrook, a recipient of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center visiting artist residency who has exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and Boston Cyberarts gallery, is a shape-shifting red sphere that becomes all things. The Boston Globe said, “Joseph Farbrook’s Amorphous Ball equates our ubiquitous devices with a glossy, floating red blob that swiftly shape-shifts into an ear, a mouth, a television. The piece is a nesting doll of realities – tangible, virtual, metaphoric – we may never get to the heart of.”
Karl Sims, a digital media artist and visual effects software developer who founded GenArts, Inc., presents the ‘ interactive installation, Flow, displays various fluid flow, particle systems, and image processing simulations that react to visitors as they move in front of a display. A video image of participants is augmented to give the impression that they are in the same environment as the installation’s effects. The original version of this exhibit was commissioned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and is on display in the lobby of the MIT Stata Center.
Lilliput by Jeff Warmouth, a contemporary artist whose work incorporates photography, video, objects, and installations, is an interactive video installation much like a video mirror in which small people fall out of the sky and land on the viewer’s arms, head and shoulders. They can be held and played with or helped to continue on their way down to the floor.
Jody Zellen, a Los Angeles based artist working in many media-making interactive installations, mobile apps, net art, animations, drawings, paintings, photographs, public art, and artists’ books, presents interactive iPad apps:: News Wheel, Spine Sonnet and 4 Square. News Wheel is an iOS app that explores the poetics of ever changing news headlines. Its playful interface invites users to start and stop the wheel eventually filling the screen with a collage of current headlines. Individual words can be deleted and repositioned so users can create their own poems from this content. Spine Sonnet is an automatic poem generator that randomly composes 14 line sonnets derived from an archive of 2,500 art and criticism book titles. 4 Square is an artwork that creates random juxtapositions of four different elements.
Total Jump by Caitlin & Misha, a collaborative contemporary art duo, is an arcade style jumping game that trains people for a coordinated worldwide jump where everyone jumps and lands at exactly the same time. The extreme difficulty of accomplishing a Total Jump, combined with the ease and fun of training for it, invites the audience to bridge the gap between a pluralistic world and the necessity for globally coordinated solutions to immense problems facing the human race. Original song Jump Up by Gold Bikini.
Anthony Montuori, an artist/video game-maker who lives and works in Boston presents four video games. Debtris, in which audience/participants “pay off” the artist’s student loan debt through hours and hours of Tetris-like experience; Into the Void with Yves Klein, where participants become the artist Yves Klein seeking out the void; in Sisyphus participants assume the role and take control of his epic boulder in an action packed adventure game; and in LONG, a slight alteration to one of the oldest video games around, the ball takes upwards of fifteen minutes to bounce back and forth. Players are left waiting, forced to
communicate with each other.
Opening: Friday March 29, 6pm to 8pm
Exhibition: March 30 to May 5
Gallery open Friday, Saturday and Sunday noon to 6pm.
Boston Cyberarts Gallery is proud to present World Memory: The Art of Data Visualization curated by W. Benjamin Bray and George Fifield. As Big Data continues to grow and as artists continue to mine it for both art and artistic information, World Memory presents five artists and two artists teams that have been using data visualization to examine the planet’s natural and artificial structures (both physical and economic.)
dust.zone by Dietmar Offenhuber is an autographic visualization of dust and particulate matter. Using the technique of reverse graffiti, patterns were washed into the surfaces of the city to make the material dimension of air pollution visible. As dust keeps accumulating, the patterns fade and disappear, one circle at the time.
Data Realization: Target Practice by Caitlin & Misha implicates large wealth inequalities in fomenting violent revolutions. They organized residents of A-Z West in Joshua Tree to enjoy the facts together. When it comes to violent response, the bullseye is rarely hit. The shot-through target visualizes the collateral damage inadvertently caused by upheavals.
Catherine D’Ignazio’s 12 Inches of Weather is a series of drawings that map 12 inches of weather on the human body by tracing perspiration, movement and time.
Skye Moretpresents her video Disillusioning Verdure, which challenges our assumptions of the post-colonial Amazon jungle as pristine nature. By emphasizing the nuanced hues of the Brazilian Amazon and city of Manaus, the piece encourages viewers to understand environmental violence through a chromatic lens.
W. Benjamin Bray’sPMOC incorporates molten glass and ocean temperature data in a flowing sculpture that illuminates the Earth’s primary reservoir of energy and gases. The oceans are deep relative to our knowledge of them, but shallow relative to our influence.
Steal Fire by Isabel Beavers uses digital animation and found video footage to visualize recent forest fires in the western United States. The story of Prometheus and the myth of the Theft of Fire provide a narrative context for understanding the simultaneous seduction of fire and also its capacity for destruction. It considers the relationships between satellite imagery, drone technology, and data visualization, as well as the circulation and resolution of images, ultimately interrogating the role of media and technology in desensitizing us to stories of disaster.
A Machine View of Berlin by Certain Measures presents a new map of urban space organized not by geography but purely by the formal similarity of its constituent buildings, as seen through a 40-dimensional computer vision process.
Boston Cyberarts is pleased to have commissioned new digital art for Boston Properties’ new video wall in the courtyard at 100 Federal Street, their 37-story, Class A office tower located in the heart of Boston’s Financial District. They have constructed a new street-level glass atrium adjacent to 100 Federal Street along Congress Street. Open since late February 2018, the glass atrium features 8,500 square feet of retail, 500 square feet of kiosk space and a 8,990 square foot year-round garden. Boston Properties asked us to commission five original artworks, four hour-long digital animations and one hour-long video meditation to be displayed on their thirty five foot by sixteen foot LED wall.
Seven Experiments In Procedural Animation, by Karl Sims, (2018) These animations were created directly from custom computer code that employs various fractal algorithms, procedural noise, and reaction-diffusion techniques. While the moving images are purely defined by mathematics, they still manage to evoke a biological aesthetic by resembling sea creatures, neurons, or other microscopic structures that transform from one emergent pattern to another.
Schedule for Seven Experiments in Procedural Animation:Monday at 7:30pm, Tuesday at 6pm & 4am, Wednesday at 4:30pm & 2:30am, Thursday at 3pm & 1am, Friday at 1:30pm & 11:30pm, Saturday at 10pm, Sunday at 9:30am & 8:30pm (note: schedule is subject to being overridden during sporting and other events)
Vox Populae by Dennis H. Miller (2018) is a site-specific, computer-generated animation created on commission by Boston Cyberarts and Boston Properties. The title of the work (Voice of the People) refers to the sounds created by the “public” who will view it – it will have a real-time audio accompaniment that will constantly change depending on the ambient noise and the sounds made by the people in the atrium at the time it is being displayed. The work opens with a scene vaguely resembling the shapes of people and works its way to a conclusion 60 minutes later after presenting a sequence of variations on the opening that use different color schemes, screen layouts and modified forms. The imagery was created using generative processes developed by the artist.
Schedule for Vox Populae:Monday at 5:30pm & 3:30am, Tuesday at 4pm & 2am, Wednesday at 2:30pm & 12:30am, Thursday at 3pm & 11pm, Friday at 10:30am &9:30pm, Saturday at 9am & 8pm, Sunday at 9:30am & 4:30am (note: schedule is subject to being overridden during sporting and other events)
Georgie Friedman, Film Haiku: Water Cycle, Four Corners of the Earth: 120° W | 120° E | 65° N | 65° S, (2018) Film Haiku: Water Cycle is a meditative video that focuses on various details and observations of water forms. Over sixty minutes, the video advances through several sections: fog filling the blue sky and landscape; a summer rain and hail storm; a rainbow that lasts through sunset; a quiet pond with minimalistic rings and ripples created by aquatic life; icebergs moving through a glacial lagoon; thunderhead clouds from above; mesmerizing reflections in river swirls; and the scale defying landscape of Antarctica and its giant icebergs. Friedman created the custom piece with the intent of foregrounding and adding to the light, airy, and natural ambiance of the 100 Federal Street atrium. She filmed the footage in Oregon, Massachusetts, Iceland, Thailand, Borneo, and Antarctica (in order of appearance) from 2008-2017.
Schedule for Film Haiku: Water Cycle, Four Corners of the Earth: 120° W | 120° E | 65° N | 65° S: Monday at 5:30pm & 11:30pm, Tuesday at 9:30am & 10pm, Wednesday at 2:30pm & 8:30pm, Thursday at 7pm & 5am, Friday at 5:30pm & 3:30am, Saturday at 4pm & 2am, Sunday at 2:30am & 12:30am (note: schedule is subject to being overridden during sporting and other events)
Sigils for Storms by Christen Shea is a meditation on digital divination and different forms of mysticism and ritual in new media using 3D simulation and animation. Based on readings from the iching and sigils both generated through online platforms, Sigils for Storms reimagines rituals of activation and manifestation in virtual space through 3D simulated bodies of water and symbolic animated affirmations.
Schedule for Sigils for Storms:Monday at 2pm, 3:30pm &1:30am, Tuesday at 12am, Wednesday at 10:30pm, Thursday at 10am & 9pm, Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 6pm & 4am, Sunday at 4:30pm & 2:30am (note: schedule is subject to being overridden during sporting and other events)
Mixing Simulation #155 by Mark Stock was created using custom software and algorithms. Some of the very first computer-based generative simulations (of weapons physics in the 1950s and 1960s) used a method within which information is exchanged between neighboring cells in a regular grid. While general “cellular automata” that emerged from that research can use any set of rules, simulation of natural phenomena requires specific algorithms. To create this computational generative work, the artist developed a novel scheme to simulate virtual fluids with effectively no viscosity, and another algorithm which treats color as a dimensional space. The result is this hour-long video of virtual fluids in perpetual interaction and shimmering color.
Schedule for Mixing Simulation #155:Monday at 10:30am & 9:30pm, Tuesday at 8pm, Wednesday at 9am, 6:30pm & 4:30am, Thursday at 5pm & 3am, Friday at 3:30pm & 1:30am, Saturday at 2pm & 12am, Sunday at 10:30pm (note: schedule is subject to being overridden during sporting and other events)
About the Artists
Georgie Friedman (USA) is an interdisciplinary artist whose projects include large-scale video installations, single and multi-channel videos and several photographic series. She is interested in our psychological and societal relationships to mild and severe natural phenomena. She investigates a wide range of powerful atmospheric and oceanic conditions, and is fascinated by the power of these natural elements in relationship to human fragility. She utilizes photography, video, sound, installation, engineering and the physics of light, all in order to create new experiences for viewers. She earned her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in conjunction with Tufts University and her BA from UC, Santa Cruz. Professionally, she has taught at Massachusetts College of Art and Boston College, among other institutions. Friedman was one of the first Artists-in-Residence with The City of Boston (Boston AIR, 2016). In 2017 she traveled to Antarctica via a SMFA/Tufts University Traveling Fellowship, the results of which will be shown in a solo exhibition at the MFA, Boston in 2019. Friedman has been commissioned to create site-specific video-based public art pieces and has exhibited in national and international venues including: Geneva International Film Festival, Virtual Territories: 360° Immersive Fulldome, Switzerland (2017); City Hall Park, BCA Gallery, City of Burlington, VT (2017); City Hall (exterior), Boston, MA (2017); The Cleveland Museum of Art, OH (2016); Union College, NY (solo, 2016); Strand Theatre (exterior), MA (Boston AIR project, solo, 2016); Shelburne Museum, VT (2016); College of the Holy Cross, MA (solo, 2015); Roberts Gallery, Lunder Art Center, Lesley University College of Art and Design, MA (solo, 2015); The Armory Center for the Arts, CA (2013); Peabody Essex Museum, MA (2011); deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum, MA (2010).
Dennis Miller received his Doctorate in Music Composition from Columbia University and is a Full Professor Emeritus from Northeastern University in Boston, from which he retired in 2018 after 37 years of teaching. His mixed media works, which illustrate principles drawn from music composition applied to the visual domain, have been presented at numerous venues throughout the world, most recently the London Experimental Film Festival, the Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival, the Punta y Raya Festival (Karlsruhe, Germany), the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, the Festival 2 Visages Des Musique Électroacoustiques (Brussels), the Free Spirit Film Festival (Himachal Pradesh, India) and the Largo Film Awards screening (Lahksa, Tibet). Exhibits of his 3D still images have been held at the Boston Computer Museum and the Biannual Conference on Art and Technology, and are published in Sonic Graphics: Seeing Sound (Rizzoli Books) and Art of the Digital Age (Thames and Hudson).
Christen Shea is a visual artist based in Boston and Chicago, working with 3D simulation, animation and sculpture.
Karl Sims is a digital media artist and visual effects software developer. He was the founder of GenArts, Inc., a creator of special effects software tools for the motion picture industry. He previously held positions at Thinking Machines Corporation, Optomystic, and Whitney/Demos Productions. Karl studied computer graphics at the MIT Media Lab, and Life Sciences as an undergraduate at MIT. He is the recipient of various awards including two ARS Electronica Golden Nicas and a MacArthur Fellowship Award.
Mark J. Stock is an artist, scientist, and programmer who creates still and moving images and objects combining elements of nature, physics, chaos, computation, and algorithm. Mark eschews the ‘black box’ nature of commercial software—his work is exclusively created with scientifically-accurate research software, mostly of his own design. He has been showing work since 2000 and has been in over 90 curated and juried exhibitions since 2001, including Ars Electronica, ASPECT Magazine, and seven SIGGRAPH Art Galleries. He has spoken at numerous scientific, graphics, and art conferences and workshops, and has published papers in a variety of fields. Mark completed his PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan in 2006 and works out of his studio in Boston, Massachusetts. He is represented in California by SENSE Fine Art.
Inspired by Salem’s unique history and ecology, the eight artworks delve into issues as diverse as East-West relations, New England’s maritime connections with Russia, Japan & China, American idealism, the discord between globalism and isolationism, piracy as warfare, as well as the effects of climate change, global warming and rising waters.