BioLogic: A Natural History of Digital Life
The artworks chosen for the SIGGRAPH 2009 juried art exhibition explore what can happen when nature and technology combine. Recent projects by 11 artists representing 10 countries offer both serious and playful scenarios in which biological forms and life processes are grafted together with digital code and devices. All of the projects are kinetic, most are interactive, and many are large installations that immerse the viewer in fantastic environments of shivering tendrils, singing strands of hair, and fuzzy, cloud-like surfaces that respond when stroked. The complex technologies and intriguing topics encountered in the exhibition offer viewers a compelling survey of ideas and issues that characterize contemporary life – a tangle of digital devices, natural processes, and us.
A Special Issue of Leonardo, The Journal of the International Society of the Arts, Sciences and Technology will feature the artists and projects included in BioLogic along with SIGGRAPH 2009 Art Papers.
Artifacts from a Parallel Universe: Tentative Architecture of Other Earth_Coastline Inhabitants
Xárene Eskandar, UCLA Design | Media Arts, Architecture
Artifacts from a Parallel Universe is a garment that emulates the breathing of its wearer, and its form is inspired by marine coral. Using sensors and shape-memory alloys embedded in hand-knitted and felted wool, this garment blurs the boundaries between garment, technology, environment, and wearer. Eskandar is an artist and architect. This piece was produced by Grant Davis in collaboration with Joshua Hernandez (electronics) and Christopher O’Leary (photography).
Biological Instrumentation is a time-based spatial installation of mimosa plants, each connected by a series of tubes to an air compressor and wired with audio speakers and other electronic equipment. Algorithmically triggered compressed air forces the plants to contract. As the plants begin to open their leaves again, sound signals play from the audio speakers. This work explores the poetics involved in creating new relationships between machines and plant life. Nina Tommasi is an Austrian-born media artist and architect.
Arthur Elsenaar, Nottingham Trent University
Electric Eigen-Portraits and Face Shift are original performances of algorithmic facial choreography exhibited as two video works. These works turn a computer-controlled human face into a medium for kinetic art. Arthur Elsenaar is an artist and an electrical engineer, finishing his PhD work investigating the choreographic capabilities of the computer-controlled human face. He collaborated with Remko Scha, artist, programmer, and professor of computational linguistics at the University of Amsterdam.
Kumiko Kushiyama, Tokyo Metropolitan University
Shinji Sasada and Soichiro Takeyama, Japan Electronics College
Fur-Fly is a tactile display composed of individual pieces of faux fur that uses sensor-driven computer technology to control the movement of the components in response to the user and to transform the visual effects projected onto the surface. The texture of the display surface encourages interaction. Kumiko Kushiyama is an artist, interaction designer, and professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University. Shinji Sasada is an artist and advanced computer graphics designer. Soichiro Takeyama is studying advanced technology and computer graphics at Japan Electronics College.
Growth Rendering Device
David Bowen, University of Minnesota Duluth
Growth Rendering Device is a kinetic installation that records the growth of a pea plant over a 24-hour period. It displays a dialog among plant, environment, machine, and maker all working to thrive, to grow. David Bowen is an artist and assistant professor of sculpture and physical computing at the University of Minnesota Duluth. His work has been featured in exhibitions nationally and internationally.
Philip Beesley, University of Waterloo
Hylozoic Soil is a visually striking and multifaceted installation. Made up of a network of micro-controllers, proximity sensors, and shape-memory alloy actuators, this interactive environment draws the viewer into its shimmering depths. Philip Beesley is an artist, architect, and professor of architecture at the University of Waterloo. Hylozoic Soil was recently awarded first-prize honors at VIDA 11.0.
Mr. Lee Experiment
Sanghun Lee, Jayoung Kim, Hyomi Mun, Jungmi Kim, and Junghwan Sung, Soongsil University
Mr. Lee Experiment is an interactive installation that allows the viewer to move human experimental subjects between different environments that can then be observed. In this work, humans have been reduced to the same status as other species, that of experimental subjects. Sanghun Lee, Jayoung Kim, Hyomi Mun, Jungmi Kim, and Junghwan Sung, all from the Media Department at SoongSil University, have created this work drawing on expertise across interactive media art, sound art, filmmaking, hardware and software design, and electronics.
MSOrgm (Motivational Sensitive Organism)
Scottie Chih-Chieh Huang and Shen-Guan Shih, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology
MSOrgm (Motivational Sensitive Organism) is a robot designed to interact with the viewer in a more personal and subtle way. This robot plant presents the viewer with restrained and graceful gestures, and collaborates with viewers’ movements using cameras and facial recognition software. Scottie Huang is an artist and architect interested in tangible human-computer interfaces. Shen-Guan Shih is an associate professor in the Department of Architecture at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.
Yoon Chung Han, UCLA Design | Media Arts
Gautam Rangan, UCLA Design | Media Arts
Erick Oh, UCLA Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media
Mubbasir Kapadia, UCLA Computer Science Department
One is an interactive piece consisting of a single drop of ink in a suspended Petri dish and a large projection of the same drop. Viewer interaction with the suspended dish is the means of evolution for the animated ink blot. Yoon Chung Han is an artist and designer specializing in interactive media design. Gautam Rangan is an artist and designer creating animations for the Discovery Science channel. Erick Oh is an award-winning animation artist based in Los Angeles.
Verena Friedrich, University of Art and Design Offenbach
TRANSDUCERS is an installation composed of several glass tubes, each encasing a single human hair collected from different individuals. Triggered by the machinery, the human hair is stimulated to react, and the reaction is transduced into an audible output. Every audible result provides a technological interpretation of identity. Verena Friedrich is a German artist with a deep interest in science and technology. Shown internationally, her work has also been granted the \international\media\award\2005 for science and art from ZKM Karlsruhe.
Post Global Warming Survival Kit
Post Global Warming Survival Kit is an installation that can only be experienced in infrared. In this post-apocalyptic world, viewers are invited to experience something that is at once bleak and beautiful, at a coastal outpost at land’s end. Petko Dourmana is a media artist based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Post Global Warming Survival Kit was one of eight works nominated for a Transmediale 2009 Award.