Len Lye at HKS

This year started with me co-curating together with Anne Szefer Karlsen an exhibition about Len Lye at HKS in Bergen, Norway. Lye has interested me for a while. I discovered him the first time in the eighties when MTV screened his experimental films between music videos (yes, they still showed music videos back then). I then rediscovered Lye through his kinetic sculptures a few years back when I was doing research on motion. I became particular fond of Lye´s “figures of motion”, he described his raw material as not being film or steel, but motion.

HKS, which has never presented the work of a non-living artist before, was eager to do an exhibition on Lye, based on my enthusiasm for his work. We ended up showing six of his films in the gallery, presented one at a time on three screens of different size, thus forcing the audience to move around and relate to his work at different scale. In this way the presentation of his films became a choreography of the movement between the screens. It was great to see his films in high quality digital copies which really brought forward the textures from the paint strokes and scratches in the original film. Presenting Lye´s films by showing restored digital files projected by video-projectors onto custom-built screens obviously influences how the films are perceived (Maybe not even Lye has ever seen them in such a good quality). We were intent on focusing on the relation between colour,texture, movement, rhythm, sound and scale instead of making a historical pristine presentation.

The films we showed in the exhibition were A Colour Box (1935), Trade Tattoo (1937), Swinging the Lambeth Walk (1939), Rhythm (1957), Free Radicals (1958, re-edited 1979) and Particles in Space (1957, finished in 1979). We also had several side programs during the exhibition period, including the lecture The Musicality of Modernism by Per Kvist, a screening of the documentary A flip and two twisters, as well as a live evening, Len Live, where we invited three sound artists, Lasse Marhaug, Maia Urstad and Espen Sommer Eide,  to create three different soundtracks to Lye´s film Tusalava (1929).

For those interested in checking out Lye´s films in a quality better than the pixelated youtube copies circulating I would recommend the DVD release.

As part of the preparation for the exhibition we got the chance to go twice to the IKON gallery in Birmingham which had a Len Lye retrospective from november 2010 to february 2011. This gave me the rare opportunity to see some of Lye´s kinetic sculptures, which I made a small documentation from.

Light on White at Oslo Lux

Last week the symposium Oslo Lux took place at the School of Architecture and Design in Oslo, organized by Anthony Rowe and Ståle Stenslie.

It was a one day event with speakers from art, architecture and design discussing uses of light in different projects. I spoke at the seminar, created a snow projection and gave a 2 days VPT workshop so it was a very intense but interesting week.

The keynote speakers were AntiVJ and UVA. The list of speakers  also included Timo Arnall who had a very interesting talk on light painting, presenting work of people which I felt I should have know about already (Gjon Mili, Michael Weseley, Eric Staller). His second topic about visualizing the RFID and wifi networks range was also interesting. In fact the mix of speakers and topics made the day go by really fast!

I went to a separate event at Atelier Nord earlier in the week where Joanie and Simon from AntiVJ gave a 2 hour enthusiastic talk about their work. They were very excited about real-time software, and it reminded me a bit of the same energy which I experienced ten years ago with realtime video software like Imagine, nato and jitter.

White on Light video:

I was part of the exhibition and decided to do an outdoor snow projection. Unlike my previous attempts on working with snow I decided to not try to build anything with the snow, but instead cut out a piece of snow and work with the top curvy surfaces and the edges. It seems I am unable to make anything but slow meditative pieces nowadays, but the result wasn´t that bad, really.

More images from the projection at flickr.

The two day VPT workshop at Atelier Nord was fun, a very focused and eager-to-learn group, and several of the participants have already started doing their own projects with the software, which is exciting.

REFRAMING REALITY: Glimpses into the Lowave video archive

On November 20th an exhibition opens at Museet for Samtidskunst in Roskilde, Denmark, showing works from the french DVD label Lowave´s archive.

I released my Cityscapes on their label in 2005, which will be part of the exhibition.

From the Museum´s website:

“This exhibition gathers for the first time in Denmark a number of videos from the Lowave’s growing archive and provides an insight into the vibrant world of contemporary artistic creations. From the groundbreaking RESISTANCE (S)-anthologies, which put into perspective thematic video art from the Middle East and North Africa to the urban landscapes where man almost dissolves like in HC Gilje’s CITYSCAPES or videos in the CITY2CITY collection, the exhibition highlights unknown affinities and underlying trends in the way video artists from around the world are still experimenting with the medium.”

The exhibition runs until 27.02.2011.

However, since I currently have a solo exhibition at Galleri 21 (more about that later when I am finished with the documentation. If you are really impatient, you can see a slideshow from one of the installations) in Malmö which runs until December 5th, this is a perfect opportunity to catch both exhibitions, as they are only a short trainride from each other.

Mark and Silke at Lowave have provided many opportunities for screenings of my work at various festivals and venues, for instance at Cinemateque Française and Centre Pompidou in Paris. Currently one of my videos is part of Verticapolis, La Festival Image de Ville in Aix-en-Provence:

“CITY2CITY – VERTICAL EXPERIENCES presents 8 international artists all working on urban subjects and in particular the verticality of architecture in our global cities. These films offer a new way of appreciating the urban aesthetics as they are perceived by today’s cutting edge video artists and experimental filmmakers. Featuring: HC Gilje, Augustin Gimel, Nicolas Provost, Nose Chan, Kentaro Taki, Toby Cornish, Kotaro Tanaka, Franck Dudouet & Aldolph Kaplan.”

U trust blink?

I spent last week in Dortmund, preparing for the Trust exhibition, showing at the new Dortmund U. Trust is an exhibition curated by Andreas Broeckmann and Stefan Riekeles as one of the exhibitions for ISEA2010 which takes place in the Ruhr area later in August.

Dortmund U used to be the Union Brauerei (brewery), and is now turning into a center for different cultural activities.

I am showing a new version of blink, with new sound and a few visual changes as well.

Other participating artists in the exhibition:

Seiko Mikami (jp), Carsten Nicolai (de), knowbotic research (ch/at/de), Milica Tomić (rs), Ariel Guzik (mx), Joan Leandre (es), Joyce Hinterding (au), Julien Maire (de/fr), Naeem Mohaiemen (bd), Sophie Bélair Clément (qc/ca), Konrad Becker (at), Verena Friedrich (de), Antoine Schmitt (fr).

I am happy to be part of this group of interesting artists, and look forward to the catalogue which will be ready for the ISEA conference.

The exhibition is on until September 5th.

VPT 4.1 available

Play Alter Native, originally uploaded by am4ndas.
An updated version of Video Projection Tool is now available.

Version 4.0 had a lot of under the hood changes, which unfortunately introduced some bugs. Hopefully most of them have been taken care of with this update.

There are also a few new features: different blend modes and a global moviesource drop zone.
Read the list of updates on the VPT page.

The image is taken from a project Amanda Steggell is doing for the theatre company Verk, where she is using the new blend mode feature for her beautiful emoticons video design.

signs of life

It´s been awfully quiet from me the last few months, and that´s not because I have not been working, on the contrary.
I spent the summer testing out ideas for my research fellowship exhibition in october, which resulted in the creation of a new lighting system, “dimsun” (more about this in a later post), and a new version of VPT (videoprojectiontools) which will soon be available.

I have also spent some time on writing, I just came back from two weeks at NKD in Dale in Sunnfjord, a fantastic place to be for concentrated work.

A few things coming up:

Tomorrow I will be part of a BUU screening in Köln, where they will screen Shiva.

In the beginning of october I will be part of Experimental 3 in Osaka, where h.k.mark1 will be screened as part of a lowave program.

(both of these videos are on my Cityscapes dvd)

I would also like to recommend Michelle Teran´s project “The city is creative” which is part of flux/s in Eindhoven, september 10th-13th.

The space between my ears

Perceptual meltdown after Granular Synthesis retrospective at the STRP festival in Eindhoven, in the old Philips facilities in the Strijp area.

The festival´s focus this year was a retrospective on maximalists austrian media art group Granular Synthesis. It was a unique opportunity to see a lot of the group´s work as well as newer work by the two members Ulf Langheinrich and Kurt Hentschläger. If you have ever seen any of their work before you would guess that this would be an overkill event, and you are right. The works are intense audiovisual bombardements, they physically attack your senses and that does something with your body and mind.
The Granular Synthesis performance installations POL and modell 5 are large scale multiple projections with a corresponding large sound system, which worked well in their monumental way in the factory space.
The solo works are not that large-scale, but more intense. Ulf Langheinrich showed Hemisphere (which I mentioned earlier from the exhibition “from spark to pixel”) and Drifter. Kurt Hentschläger showed Cluster and Zee, which could be seen as offsprings from his ARS electronica performance Feed in 2007. Zee is basically a room filled with smoke, with stroboscopic images projected into the smoke. You loose all reference to the physical space and experience psychedelic visions.

All their works relate to perception, and it was an interesting coincidence that I was reading The Space between our Ears while I was at the festival.

It was a bit strange to experience Granular Synthesis at STRP, since the audience is mainly a quite young techno crowd, and the difference between a trippy techno party and an installation like Zee is pretty vague.

Apart from the retro media artists there wasn´t so much of interest at the festival, the exhibition was a mix of two trends in the media art scene: The commodification of media art on the one side: beautiful objects in perfect collector size, and the technology fascination on the other side.

The Strijp area contains more than the festival. It is the site of the former Philips research lab Natlab, in the art world probably best known for the creation of le poéme electronique, a collaboration between LeCorbusier, Varese and Xenakis for the World Expo in Brussels in 1958 (I will probably write a bit more about this in a separate post).

The old Natlab is now dead, but last fall Baltan laboratories emerged in another part of the Strijp complex, a media lab with a fantastic space and with interesting artists like Telcosystems and Geert Muul involved. I will give a presentation there in the end of may as part of their monthly public Natlab sessions.

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