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.
The SIGGRAPH 2009 Design & Computation Gallery explores non-linear and biological processes in design and digital fabrication through selected works of art, architecture, and design. The work’s inherently generative nature encourages many lines of investigation along two main paths:
Janet Echelman and Buro Happold Consulting Engineers
Sculpture that synthesizes traditional fabrication methods with digital form-finding to create monumental public sculptures.
Greg Lynn/FORM and Kreysler & Associates
A large, volumetric lantern made of translucent fiberglass composite panels formed on CNC-milled molds.
Complex Form in Timber
Constructing free-form architecture in timber using parametric design and computer-controlled fabrication tools.
Chris Lasch & Benjamin Aranda
Architects pursuing design ideas based on Quasicrystals, forms that are rigorously modular yet grow wild.
A family of lamp designs that are unique for each customer, made with rapid manufacturing techniques.
Lionel Theodore Dean
A chair designed using genetic algorithms to determine modifications to the iconic Louis Ghost chair by Philippe Starck.
A hybrid architectural design and biological research unit that demonstrates new modes of thinking in design and material construction.
Ferda Kolatan+Erich Schoenenberger
An investigation into adaptive and variable formal and structural organizations that have more than one possible outcome yet maintain coherence.
Call for papers and artworks – ACM SIGGRAPH 2009/Leonardo
2009 Special Issue Featuring SIGGRAPH 2009 Art Papers and Juried Art Gallery
Guest Editor: Jacquelyn Martino
We are now accepting submissions for a forthcoming special issue of Leonardo. The issue will feature SIGGRAPH 2009 Art Papers and the SIGGRAPH 2009 Juried Art Gallery, “Biologic: A Natural History of Digital Life.”
SIGGRAPH Art Papers present work that illuminates and explores the process of making art and its place in society, helping people understand the changing roles of artists and art-making in our increasingly computerized, networked, multi-sensory, online world. The papers present challenging ideas in accessible ways. They inform artistic disciplines, set standards and stimulate future trends. In addition to the core topics of the digital arts and interactive techniques, Art Papers explore the theme of SIGGRAPH 2009’s juried art gallery, BioLogic Art.
The BioLogic exhibition, chaired by Elona Van Gent, will showcase work by artists who engage technology and the natural world in their creative processes. The artworks and installations chosen for the exhibition will demonstrate, celebrate, critique and conjecture about the flux of natural and technological forces. Plants and animals, insects and even the weather have long served as subjects of study and as metaphors for human experience. Technological gadgetry and digital code are amplifying our understanding of organic processes and enhancing our innate capabilities. Grafting these together–things occurring naturally with those altered or modified—offers opportunities for novel expressions of life as we know it or imagine it to be.
BioLogic will focus on projects that graft together biological forms and systems with mechanical equipment, electronic instruments, robotic devices and digital code and networks that amplify our understanding of organic processes and enhance our natural capacities, allowing us to explore expressions of life as we know it or imagine it to be. Artworks selected for the Juried Art Gallery will also appear in the special issue.
Publication of the special issue, Leonardo Volume 42, Issue 4 (August 2009), will coincide with the SIGGRAPH 2009 conference in New Orleans (3-7 August 2009). Submission deadlines are at 22:00 UTC/GMT Art Papers, Thursday, 8 January 2009
BioLogic Art, Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Submission details available online: http://www.siggraph.org/s2009/sessions/art_papers/index.php http://www.siggraph.org/s2009/submissions/art_papers/index.php http://www.siggraph.org/s2009/galleries_experiences/biologic_art/index.php http://www.siggraph.org/s2009/submissions/art_gallery/index.php
Contact information: http://www.siggraph.org/s2009/contact/index.php
‘Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders’ was made possible through funding and support from Arts Council England, Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design (MIRIAD) and Lancaster City Council. ‘Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders’ was presented by Fast-uk in partnership with folly as part of the f.city festival of digital culture in 2006. The publication is supported by MIRIAD.
[N.B. If you were involved in the show I will be getting copies to you in the near future. If your contact details have changed please get in touch and let me know].
The PBB book proofs just arrived. Even though I’ve been working on it for eighteen months, I’m impressed. They are much slicker and the printing quality is higher than I had expected. It should be available later this week…
Finally, the ‘Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders‘ publication is nearing completion. A year and a half in the making, final proofs are en route from the printer and the book will be available soon. The contents are as follows:
Introduction (Keith Brown)
Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders (me)
Design Now (Paul Rodgers)
Designing Digital Art (Cezanne Charles)
CityLab (exhibition plan)
Cyclone.soc – Gavin Baily & Tom Corby
WiFi Camera Obscura – Adam Somlai-Fischer, Bengt Sjölén & Usman Haque
What’s Cooking Grandma? – Human Beans
Flight – Take Off – Geoffrey Mann
Warp – Simon Husslein
Chicken Soup From Mars – Ben Woodeson
Watermark – NIO Architecten
Remember to Forget? – Aoife Ludlow
Coded Ornament – Justin Marshall
LSD Drive – Simon Blackmore
Ibuki – Presence in a Sigh – Masaru Tabei and Yasuno Miyauchi
Motion in Form – Tavs Jørgensen
Sheep Jet Head – Brit Bunkley
Holy Ghost – FutureFactories
.MGX – Assa Ashuach, Arik Levy, Naomi Kaempfer & Dan Yeffet
Contributing Organisations (Fast-uk & folly)
Credits and Acknowledgments
I’ve been trying out ‘Weebly‘ (fast and easy) as a means of getting the archive for the ‘Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders’ exhibition online (the Fast-uk site is badly needing a Web 2.0 update). Most of the content that has been posted on this blog previously has been collected there and I’ve posted some new stuff, too.
This exhibition was held from 29 September – 21 October 2006 at venues across Lancaster city centre in the North West of England. The main exhibition space was the new CityLab development in Dalton Square. The aim of this exhibition was to present the very latest examples of work that blur the conventional boundaries of arts and design practice through the use of computer-mediated technologies.
Coming Soon – The PBB Catalogue.
(Top) Geoffrey Mann – Flight – Take Off
These sculptural forms, the echoes of a bird taking flight, at first appear ambiguous. By capturing the first five seconds of take off, these solid forms are indeed a frozen moment in time. By materialising movement, Mann illustrates that time and motion are actually transient objects.
Mann trained in 3D Design at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen and studied Ceramics & Glass at the Royal College of Art, London. He works as a product artist, digital consultant and lecturer and his current research focuses on creative ways of ‘humanising’ the processes of digital production. Mann has recently exhibited at Pinakothek der Moderne Germany, New York Central Library USA, and at this year’s International Festival of Glass.
(Middle) Simon Blackmore – LSD Drive
Blackmore’s custom-built LSD Drive is able to read lost data on apparently useless CDs, and process it using a program written in the Open Source software, SuperCollider. Light Sensitive Disk Drive is a fully functioning prototype hardware/software product that explores ideas of technological progress, technological waste and its environmental impact. CDs in various states of degradation can be played on the drive to produce different sounds from the lost areas of data.
Blackmore is based in Manchester. Since 2001, he has been reinventing the function or image of culturally iconic objects and products to make sculptures that are presented in a range of social contexts. Projects include converting a caravan into a gallery, making audio laptops from logs, making a machine to play a guitar according to the weather and turning a pole lathe into a musical instrument.
(Bottom) Justin Marshall – Penrose Strapping 1
Through collaboration with Hayles & Howe, a manufacturer of architectural ornamental plasterwork, Marshall has developed a range of plaster mouldings that integrate digital design technologies with traditional manufacturing skills. Penrose Strapping 1, is a stunning contemporary example of traditional strapwork with scrolls, arabesques, and loops across the wall.
Justin Marshall’s practice spans sculpture, installation and design. Much of his recent work has been ceramic or plaster based, combining traditional skills with new technologies. Marshall is currently Research Fellow in 3D digital production at University College, Falmouth. His most recent exhibition was at Das Keramikmuseum Westerwald, Hoehr-Grenzhausen, Germany, and in 2005 he was awarded an Autonomatic research grant to work with Hayles & Howe decorative plaster company to develop new processes and work.
I will get more images online soon. In the meantime, have a look at Michelle Kasprzak’s Flickr stream.
Venue: CityLab, 4-5 Dalton Square, Lancaster LA1 4PP
Date: 29 September – 21 October, 2006. 12 – 5 pm, Mon – Sat.