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.

snitt

On November 13th my second solo exhibition at Galleri 21 in Malmö opened, and it runs until December 5th.

I created two site-specific installations, which both derive from recent work, investigating the relation between light/projection/shadow,space and movement.

At the moment I only have decent documentation of one of the works, so I will just briefly mention “Kaos på dej”, which is basically a variation of the blink (light/shadow) installation but with some furniture.

Snitt, which spanned over three rooms in the gallery, is a projection of a white line onto the surfaces of the gallery: “A straight line moves slowly through the three rooms of the gallery space, cutting the space into different sections (snitt). The movement of the line, “attacking” the space from different angles, focus the attention of the viewer on the physical qualities of the space.

The physical properties of the galllery space (the walls, ceiling,floor, door openings, light fixtures etc) modulates/breaks up the straight line into a continuously evolving pattern of line fragments, depending on the position of the viewer and the angle of the line in relation to the architecture.”

The view in the inner room:

And here is a video showing some of possible configurations of line-space.

If you still want to see more, here is a slideshow.

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.

Wind-up birds sound recordings

As mentioned in a previous post, Wind-up Birds made an appearance in the foresty hillside of Fløien. Fløiensvingene (The Fløien turns) is a curly path up the steep hill (as steep as 25 degrees), starting at about 180 m above sea level, and ending at about 300m.
It is a city forest, blending the sounds of the city with sounds of nature, as well as the sound of all the people using it.
I quickly edited together a few sound recordings from various points along the path to give you an impression of how the wind-up birds blended into their environment.

They´re back

For the occasion of Festpillene i Bergen 2010, a flock of Wind-up Birds has taken over the mountain side of the Fløien mountain. More specifically along the windy, steep path through the spring-green forest called Fløiensvingene. They will probably stay a few weeks. This has created a lot of buzz among the people using the path, so I will try to spend as much time as possible there to listen to audience reactions.

They might sound similar to previous generations, but there has been a few changes under the hood: The wood blocks have this time been milled instead of glued, making them more robust. Thanks to Ivar Bergseth and his CNC mill!

I use a new set of xbee modules, the xbee 2.4 pro digimesh modules. This gives a more stable network and is much easier to work with than the previous firmware.

I made new more practical circuitboards, which I got manufactured at BatchPCB, making the job of assembling the woody boards much easier. This was my first attempt at working with Eagle PCB circuit design software, but I leaned heavily on Roar Sletteland´s previous PCB layout for the first generation.

blink at Sonic Acts XIII in Amsterdam

I am presenting blink at the Sonic Acts festival in Amsterdam. The installation is part of an exhibition that will be on until May 2nd at NIMK.

I have added some images of this version of the installation in my blink flickr set.

The theme of this year´s festival is The Poetics of Space, and the program is packed with audiovisual performances, screenings, a very extensive conference program as well as the exhibition. There is also an accompanying book, which contains the text that Mitchell Whitelaw wrote about my work.

I will be giving a presentation on the last day of the conference.

The program for Sonic Acts is avaible online, but also you can download the programme booklet as PDF.

Esemplasticism: The Truth is a Compromise

blink v2, originally uploaded by hc gilje.

Blink is part of an exhibition curated by Hicham Khalidi, produced by Den Haag art space TAG, made for Club Transmediale that opens in Berlin today.

From the exhibition decription:
Our brains are esemplastic. They are perfectly evolved for pattern recognition, designed to shape disconnected elements, like the incomplete or ambiguous information we get from our senses, into the seamless whole of our experience. What we see, hear, touch and feel is folded into an amalgam of data, emotions and cultural baggage. And in the contemporary world, this esemplastic power is pushed to the limit in the sea of information that we are floating in: data-visualizations, scientific studies and computer analyses become increasingly abstract and disconnected from our normal experiences. Are we losing our sense of meaning as we fail to join the billions of dots? What compromises are we making when we try to settle on a particular interpretation?

The works in Esemplasticism – the truth is a compromise are mostly low-tech, using everyday objects and media. Employing sound, objects and synchronicity; relatively ‘old’ technologies like field recordings, music, video, and projection, each piece lifts the curtain on the perceptual tactics that our esemplastic/apophonic/pattern recognising brains employ to negotiate the world; with wit and irony, they have much to say about verisimilitude as each exposes a different fracture between our expectations, our perceptions and our compromises about the objective ‘truth’ that exists ‘out there’.

Participating artists
Artists: Edwin Deen, Daniël Dennis de Wit, Lucinda Dayhew, Anke Eckardt, HC Gilje, Terrence Haggerty, Yolande Harris, Alexis O’hara, Pascal Petzinger, Mike Rijnierse, Willem Marijs, Bram Vreven, Katarina Zdjelar, Valentin Heun, Sagarika Sundaram, Gijs Burgmeijer.

I will post links to the catalogue when that becomes available.

The exhibition will be on until the end of February.

For me this was an opportunity to improve the installation both esthetically and technically. I constructed a platform for the equipment using a laser cutter, which turned out quite nice. This greatly simplified the installation of the work. As mentioned in previous posts, the installation uses my dimsun lighting system, and the design for this will be made available shortly.

Due to other obligations I needed to set up my installation before everyone else. It was a strange experience to work alone in the 900m2 empty building in Spandauer Strasse, close to Alexanderplatz. My only companion was the stepladder which also became the model for my documentation.

blink feedback

As expected, the international art press didn´t fly to Bergen to cover my exhibition. Neither did the national press or the local press (with one exception).

However, I did get a lot of positive comments from visitors of all ages (see more of the younger generation´s response here), as well as some feedback from Norwegian art blogs like kunstkritikk and ytter (both in Norwegian).

Create Digital Motion generously mentioned my work, as well as the blog Young Starving, which was just too flattering not to mention 🙂

“This is pretty darn beautiful. Projection mappings been done to death but so far most people have just copied each other and done trippy, morphing stuff on castles and libraries. HC Gilje takes a step back and puts two flat surfaces to work. We’re in love.”

For a relatively updated list of coverage, take a look here (in norwegian)