DEAF98 Open Territories
Presentation of various media art projects at DEAF98.
Open Territories presented a variety of recent media art projects, and
work-in-progress. In order to catch the latest and the unexpected, some
of its items were scheduled only briefly before the festival. The
programme included, amongst others:
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (MX/CA): Relational Architecture (urban intervention projects)
Mark Bain (US): Transient Architecture (anti-architectural devices)
De Balie (Amsterdam/NL): Permanent Flux (CD-ROM project about the history of multimedia)
Yukiko Shikata/ARTLAB8 "SoundCreatures" (artist: Kouichirou Eto)
Short report by NN
Open Territories is a program in which new media art projects are presented. As the title already indicates the artists come from very different disciplines and talk about various fields of art. This time there were presentations of Mark Bain, whose work borders on the line between art and technology; Chris Keulemans & Jariv Alter Fin from De Balie, who presented their CD-Rom 'Permanent Flux'; Yukiko Shikata from ARTLAB, presenting a work by Koichirou Eto; and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, who talked about his previous works and his future plans.
With the use of slides Mark Bain gave an overview of the installations he created and explained how they worked and what his motivations were. He describes some of his work as anti-architecture which is most apparent in 'Projectiles' in which he armed the people who inhabit a building with projectiles that slowly destroy or influence (part) of the structure of that building. He calls these objects "agents of time", meaning that they accelerate the process of time. Architects create buildings to last forever but time will eventually destroy them and Bain quickens this process: anti-architecture. Another, quite morbid, project of Bain is the 'Ventilator Project' in which he used the ventilator shafts of a building created by the architect Paul Rudolph to distribute some of the ashes of that architect, bringing the creation and the creator close together. Mark Bain is exhibiting his latest project 'The Live Room - Transducing Resonant Architecture' at the DEAF98 exhibition.
Chris Keulemans and Jariv Alter Fin have, with many others, created a CD-Rom, which gives an anthology of the history of multimedia art in the last century. This is strange because multimedia is not much older than a decade so it is more about the present and future of multimedia art. The rest of the project is a history of the ideal of the "Gesamtkunstwerk", starting with Richard Wagner and his dream of the perfect work of art that touches all senses, and going on to the point where this ideal meets the seduction of technology with its totalitarian character and becomes futile. This CD-Rom presents some of its parts in an almost analogue manner, which is not strange because it is originally analogue material. The contents (moving images, text and audio) are all brought together in a giant collage poster. You can fly over this collage and click on for example a frame of an old picture and it will start running within this poster. Or you can click on a text and see and hear the speaker and read the words, all at the same time.
Yukiko Shikata is a curator at ARTLAB in Tokyo. They are currently developing a work by Koichirou Eto called 'SoundCreatures'. This project consists of three parts: an active role of Internet users, eight randomly moving robots and two consoles where the public of an exhibition can work on. The Internet users can compose sort of a melody with five to ten notes. These melodies/sounds, which can be changed at every moment, are constantly repeated by one of the robots at the exhibition space. The eight robots together make a hell of a noise. Looking at a video recording of this project it seems like the small creatures that are always moving around are trying to communicate to each other. Sometimes two of them appear to make contact when the reproduce the same sound and move in the same direction, but most of the time they are just trying.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer explained his Relational Architecture by comparing it with virtual architecture, in which something (data) is pretending to be a building. With relational Architecture real buildings are pretending to be something else than buildings. Another difference is that the virtual architectures are made smaller so visitors can easily access them. Lozano-Hemmer does the opposite; he makes the people bigger so they almost tower over the buildings. He is currently making plans for a project he wants to do at the end of the millenium at the Zócalo plaza in Mexico. At this place all powers (central, left- and rightwing political parties, church and money) are represented and it is a primary meeting place for people. One part of the project '100 million Mexicos' consists of three huge screens to which people from all over the world can send messages via the Internet. It is still uncertain if this part will be realized since Mexico has a sensitive political climate where censorship is not unknown and you can never know what messages people will write.