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Open Territories Report

Report by Nadia Palliser about the various presentations of Open Territories at DEAF00.

Vicente Carreton on holography

Lighting up the disillusion on holography, Vicente Carretón unraveled the history and hibernation of the medium. Holography, as a formulation of quantum mechanics, was first developed by Dennis Gabor in 1947, a pioneer in physics (for which he also received a Nobel prize in 1971). In an attempt to improve the electron microscope, Gabor researched the possibilities of different light films, magnifying the space-time relationship. In so doing he accidentally bumped into the holographic aspects of light, a crisscrossing of light with and without information. As an exercise in serendipity, Gabor developed the wavelength reconstruction, the basis of holography. Swallowed into the realms of science, its recording qualities were researched and developed, only accessible for alternative use at the end of the seventies. Using holographic stereograms to create 3-dimensional cinematic, cylinder and composite images, artists such as Dali experimented with the medium. As "a perfect replica of the hyperreal" however, holography became an easy victim of post modern critique, speedily assuming the status of a spectacle art of the eighties. Its 3-D speciality was ridiculed and the medium mysteriously returned to the shadows. Carréton’s immense enthusiasm, however, moves towards an intermedial status of the hologram: emphasizing its time-based taxonomy (also assisted by the laser and the possibilities of acoustical holography). Aspects of simultaneity, time suspension, discontinuity, real-time, linearity and time reversibility show the aesthetic diversity of the medium, as developed in works by Dieter Jung (also at the DEAF_00 Exhibition) and Eduardo Kac, who mixes poetics with holography - Holopoetry. According to Carretón, the aesthetics of holographic elements should be interlocked with telematic media to find new optical venues of virtual reality. Combined with optical diffractive elements, holographic data storage may radically change the face of optics, merging into the electronic landscape to assist in the potential density of spatial networks. Being stereoscopic by nature, each point of the holographic plate carries a crisscrossing of information, creating retinal rivalry through its time-delay frame. Hence, holography may help develop new interfaces of volume within the contemporary flat space of the digital realm. Carretón enthusiastically claimed: "Holography has no beginning and no end!". He is now preparing an exhibition on holography in Malaga for the coming year.

 

Looping Time to Space

On the past, present and future of time based holography and holographic interfaces


Well known as a spatial imaging technology, holography's ability to play with time is just starting to be acknowledged. Contrary to other stereoscopic and 3-D technological traditions, holography has developed along the last thirty-five years a body of creative works exploring its unique visual capabilities, its unique syntax and its potential to become a time based medium. In this process, artists have sometimes been pushing the boundaries of what was technically possible. By means of investigating the hyperparallax of pseudoscopic space and the negative space of holographic shadowgrams; by experimenting with multichannel recording techniques or the different formats of holographic stereograms (multiplex, digital, imageur system, etc..), artists are paving the way towards holographic literacy, a knowledge that could be crucial to confront the next wave of spatial imaging interfaces.

If interactive holo video -- as investigated by the Media Lab, at MIT -- will get the proper computer to turn holography into a mass communication tele-medium or if other autostereoscopic projection systems will end up imposing themselves as future interfaces for the digital networks, is something that remains to be seen. However, holography’s legacy as a photonics turning point in the transition from a flat mediascape into a three-dimensional one, will last as yet another milestone of the XXth Century’s visual culture, because holography and stereography share a unique feature, which is alien to other monocular representation systems: binocular parallax. Such a peculiarity is what allows stereopsis or perception of relief, a visual wealth the war machine has not yet forgotten or achieved for its visualization systems.
 

Time, duration, images and colour

John F. Simon's presentation for Open Territories

As an artist and programmer, John F. Simon looks for all possibilities of colour and image in the digital medium. Instead of concentrating on one image, Simon is intent to make the computer find all possible images to choose from; a programmer’s dream wrapped in numerical analysis. He began by clarifying his work Every Icon, now showing at the exhibition (NFI). This conceptual work deals with the question of all conceivable pictures: Is it possible to let the computer generate every possible icon? The consensus on the most reduced picture was defined as a grid of 32 by 32 boxes, filled in with black or white. The programming (made with java) gradually works through every black and white possibility on the grid, creating 400 icons per second, (plugged into its own hardware). It thus takes 500 million years for the two first lines to be filled in. Displaying every icon may then be possible but not in one’s own life-time! (Every Icon is for sale, though slower – only 62 icons per second depending on the computer). His “Art Appliances”, as Simon calls them, involve other theories of time and colour as well. Playing with time without duration – a square wherein two balls swing in constant movement without result, or his project (also at NFI) where he dynamically applies Paul Klee’s colour variable scheme and the Bauhaus Colour Theory to a never-ending whole of digital colouring parameters. The aesthetics seems to stem from the idea that there is no way all parts will be the same at any point of time - Simon’s ‘programming artistry’ revolves around the digital accumulation of incessant movement without a trace of analog simulation.


Cybernetic Cultural Research Unit (CCRU)


Accompagnied by the drone of a dark techno-beat, the Cybernetic Cultural Research Unit (CCRU) presented half an hour of entertaining electronic dread. Elaborating on the findings of two scientists, Sarkon and Moravec, the CCRU proposed a latent tri-axial theory of time, enveloped into AI evolution. "Dividing memory by speed defines a time constant, roughly as long as it takes a computer to run once through its memory. One megabyte per MIPS gives one second, a nice human interval". Bombarded by monumental statements and images, the idea of "Chronomancy" splits into time compression, time simulation and time integration. Moravec tracks the progress of AI onto the speed of available computer hardware, thus compressing 700 million years of biological evolution into 70 years of technical development – a switch from extensive to intensive time in which "the future of intelligence crosslinks with changes in the intensive nature of time". Apprehending human intelligence as a computable function, Moravec defends the fundamental postulate of AI reseach. Soon transported to the technosurgical interface, brain activity will be replaced by its digital simulation, uploaded and inserted, one layer at a time. The second becomes central to the idea of time integration, defined as nine billion one hundred and ninety-two million six hundred and thirty-one thousand seven hundred and seventy radiopulses of the caesium-133 atom. In its purely arithmetic aspect, the second is also an ancient Mesopotamian relic - sexigesimal numeracy, sixty the number of Anu, the over-god and the mythical history of Babylon. Absorbing the music, hypnotically drumming the bass and the images, flashing phrenetically on the screen, I’m afraid the historic details escaped me and perhaps this was not the point: it was the combination of AI and numerical unity, polluted by some "Babel Virus" which seemed to take on strange proportions: the inevitability of microscopic speed... The CCRU, surfacing from the drum and bass era in Great Britain , wrapped in musical euphoria as Kodwo Eshun, is indeed a form of "hyperstition" – exploring myth, (science) fiction and theory: entertaining and elusive, hazy but dense, its theories flow as music - "What divides in modernity is not the year but the second".

 

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