Category: Interview

Gallery in Your Pocket: An Interview with Chiara Passa

What was your motivation behind starting the Widget Art Gallery?

Different reasons led me to start the Widget Art Gallery.

The first one is that I’ve always wanted to do my own curatorial digital art project in relation to a space.

The second reason is the economic crisis. So, it was unreasonable for me to rent an exposition space since it was too binding, and three years ago I decided to create a virtual display space that Id thought extremely coherent in order to show digital art; simple to manage for me and easy to understand for users. Due to our needs that seem to be increasingly handheld, WAG was born. The Widget Art Gallery is a mini three-D, single art gallery room that fits into people’s pocket.

The virtual gallery-room, every month, directly on people’s mobile, hosts a solo digital art exhibition related to the dynamic site-specific contest. So the WAG works both as a sort of kunsthall showing temporary exhibitions and as a permanent collection museum because it conserves all the past exhibitions inside an online archive.

The third aim is a conceptual and emotional one. Recently, I was surprised by the increasing involvement of the audience that I am seeing in some recent mobile-art projects, so I wanted to create a virtual space accessible to everybody by simply using an internet connection. The Widget Art Gallery is a free Safari Mobile Web-based App and works online through two different links for IPhone and IPad. It’s also possible to download the widget version for mac-osx dashboard.

Read the complete article at Rhizome.


Self-Playing Instruments And Visualizing Music With Fire [Q&A]


To us, machines are a part of our day-to-day existence and environment, but way back in the 19th century their presence wasn’t quite so prominent and their arrival into people’s lives was just beginning. Naturally they were treated with suspicion and intrigue. This sense of unease and burgeoning fascination with the emergence of technology is what sound artist Aura Satz explores in her sculptural pieces that utilize the physicalities of old technologies to look at our relationship to music and sound.

The idea of visualizing sound is prevalent in her work, whether she’s using the geometries of Chladni patterns like in Onomatopoeic Alphabet, the theremin, fire, or phonograph grooves, her pieces expore how sounds can be given a materiality, or a physical presence. In Ventriloqua the musician Anna Piva played Satz’s pregnant belly by capturing the electromagnetic waves with a theremin.

As well as visualizing sound in unusual ways, other aspects of her work like Automamusic, which you can watch here, explore the idea of autonomous sound devices, self-playing instruments that unsettle and astound with their mechanical music. Her work has a haunting, sorrowful quality that’s emphasized through the use of obsolete technology. We fired off some questions to Satz to find out a bit more about her work.

Read the complete article and interview at The Creators Project.

Artist Profile: Julian Oliver

You’ve been participating in the tech and art community for over a decade now. You’re work spans everything from establishing an artistic game-development collective to pushing the boundaries of privacy on public wireless networks with custom hardware. Just this past year you published the Critical Engineering Manifesto with Gordan Savičić and Danja Vasiliev. Was there a specific event or moment that inspired its creation and were their any earlier iterations of the ten statements that didn’t make the final cut?

Danja, Gordan and I felt a long standing need to frame our respective practices a little more acutely, foregrounding the languages and cultures of Engineering, rather than Art, in the creative and critical process. We’d each found ourselves frustrated under the vague, ballooning term of Media Artist – like trying to swim in a bathrobe. This came up in conversation enough times to explore alternatives. Afterall, it didn’t seem to matter whether we called what we made ‘art’, even ourselves ‘artists’, people were quick to do it for us anyway.

One thing that regularly came up in conversation between us is that Engineering, not Art, is the most transformative language of our time – informing the way we communicate, move, trade and even think. The reach of Engineering is so deep that it’s hard to disagree it has become part of our environment, with vast impacts on human culture, the Earth and how we understand it. So it follows that to ignore the languages, logics and ideas that make up this thing we call Engineering is to assume a critically vulnerable position – we become unable to describe our environment.

As thinkers with technical abilities in several areas, we want to take on our built and increasingly automated environment by the terms in which it’s given, opening it up for post-utilitarian conversation, for play and interrogation. If there’s ever a time to be doing that, it’s now, especially with opaque and hidden infrastructure in the telecommunications space deeply impacting diplomatic relations and civil liberties world wide.

The Critical Engineering Manifesto grew directly from conversations along these lines and was generally very well received, soon translated into 14 languages. A couple of people wrote in that they wondered why we didn’t include or reference ‘hacking’ as a critical practice to draw upon. Admittedly none of us had an instinct to include it, as it is also a term that has an increasingly vague meaning. I think Danja and Gordan would agree that those that hack in a way we appreciate are already Critical Engineers!

The Transparency Grenade and Newstweek are projects that are designed to disrupt traditional systems of information distribution in news organizations, companies, and governments. Do they achieve your desired affects on the systems they are designed to criticize? Have you been satisfied with the results of the two projects?

Read the complete interview at Rhizome.


How To Reimagine The Video Game

PSFK spoke to Patrick Runte, a photographer exploring the intricate relationship between the digital world and the physical one. His project, Jump and Run, stages life-sized figures from classic video games such as Pacman, Tetris, and Pong in real-world scenarios. He explained to us how he reimagines the quotidian tree, road and playground by making it his own setting for a videogame. By exploring the wondrous aspects of the everyday he celebrates the act of play as an end in itself.

Patrick, tell us about yourself and what you do.

I work as a freelance photographer based in Hamburg, Germany.

How long have you been doing that?

For a living? Since 2009, but I started to be fascinated by photography in my freshman year in high school, I believe. After my alternative civilian service I decided to study photography. I graduated from university in 2008 and during my studies I worked for several photographers as an assistant to improve my skills. I believe university is really good for gaining theoretical knowledge, but I was more focused on how photography works in real life situations, talking in terms of lighting, setting, choosing a moment of exposure and so on.

Read the complete interview at psfk.

Tech futurist Michell Zappa: Latin America is at a turning point [Interview]

With less than a month left to The Next Web Conference Latin America, we help you get ready with a new post series that will bring you everything you need to know about this exciting region and our conference’s speakers.

michell zappa Tech futurist Michell Zappa: Latin America is at a turning point [Interview]As some of you may know, Envisioning Technology‘s founder Michell Zappa will be participating in TNW Conference Latin America this August, for what promises to be a very stimulating keynote on emerging technologies. To give you a taste of what to expect, we asked him a few questions on his work and vision.

Read the complete story at The Next Web

Artist Profile: Simone Giordano

What do you feel is revealed in your utilization of rigid digital pixelated form in the medium of painting?

A constant in my oeuvre is my attempt to create works that have several layers of meaning, most of my choices are open to multiple interpretation and I think none of them are wrong. My paintings want to be the starting point for a thought rather than the embodiment of a thought. First of all, rigid digital pixelated forms attempt to create an order, give meaning to chaos, bring clarity and simplification. It is a tribute to the wonder of color, too, its power, its importance in our life. My colors in a pixelated grid most of the time represent objects, but only if you look at them from the right distance, as you move closer to them the only thing they portray are colors: how they work together and how they react between themselves, how they affect us and how we react with them. But those forms are also something that carries us back to the most synthetic, most artificial part of out lives. I refer, no matter how obsolete the definition, to the virtual sphere of our experience, a part of out lives now merged. It seemed like something I had to talk about.

You’ve stated that “Consoles, joysticks, cables and wires that litter the desks as a contemporary reinterpretation of the genre scene, aiming to capture the climax of the information society, to consider a digital alternative point of view and tell what lies behind his cold surface, because if you stop to it what we expect is just a miserable future.” I wonder if you can talk a little bit about this miserable future, and your work as a kind of precautionary measure against it.

A miserable future is a cold one. A future without the warmth of human contact is a place whee we don’t recognize each other. Is the future without trust? ….

Read the complete article at Rhizome.

Penn Jillette Is Tired Of The Video Game Bulls***

Going back to Jack Thompson, it has been our experience working with him that he’s fairly insane. What was your sense of him?

You know, it’s very important for the structure of the show to find a villain, and he casts himself that way. Like a lot of people on Bulls***, he is a complete ***. He’ll go on anything, and most people we meet are willing to go on anything. If you tell people that your show is called Bulls***, and that you disagree with them, they pretty much know they are going to be called c***pickle. They’re hungry for attention, but also they are really really sure in their position, and he is very very sure in his position. He is simply wrong,

Flipping that on its side, do you think it’s possible that video games, or any other kind of medium, might actually encourage violence?

You know, this is the problem, people in the arts self aggrandize so much that they get themselves backed into a corner. You want to believe, when you are in the arts, and I use the arts very broadly to mean anything you do after the chores are done.  When you are in the arts you like to feel like you can change the world, and if you believe that, and state it, and actually push it, you can change the world for the worse. The truth of the matter is there have been so many popular songs that have been about peace and love, and they haven’t turned the world into complete peace and love. Violence still happens. So the bad news is, you can’t just put out “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles and get world peace, and the good news is that first-person shooters don’t turn people into killers.

The fact of the matter is that violence existed before video games, so therefore were done. Violence did not bump up after video games. In fact, it’s gone down. Correlation is not causation, so you can’t use that. You have to be very careful not use the same lies that you are accusing other people of. I would never make the case that video games stop violence, but I would certainly make the case that they did not start it. Even if you add in Columbine, violence by teenagers is down. Billy the Kid and Jesse James did more damage at a younger age than anybody in modern times, and they didn’t play video games. There are all kinds studies that show that after someone has played an aggressive, exciting video game they are more aggressive. Those studies are real, but you have to remember that if you have someone go do a lot of push-ups they are going to be more aggressive too. Anything you do to get your blood going makes you more aggressive, so if you play a first-person shooter it has the same kind of effect as if you run around the block. If you’re excited you’re excited.

I get friends who play video games and they tell me about the wonders of getting into that head space, and to be perfectly honest I’ve played a few, but I won’t claim to have played them. I’ve played for an hour, and that’s just not enough. If you listen to Chopin for an hour or Stravinsky for an hour, or Miles Davis for an hour, you don’t know jack s*** about them. It requires time and constant exposure to the culture. You can’t listen to Stravinsky without listening to the other music of that time, and you can’t understand a video game without knowing the antecedents and the peers of that game.

Read the complete interview at Game Informer.

Artist Profile: Adam Harvey

It’s interesting that your career has gone from taking pictures to thwarting cameras, with projects like CV Dazzle and Camoflash. When did you become interested in camouflage and face-detection spoofing?

I became interested in spoofing and camouflage when cameras metamorphosed from art making tools into enablers of surveillance societies. This happened gradually over the last decade starting with the Patriot Act in 2001. To me, this document marked the beginning of the end of photography as I knew it from art history books. Now, 175 years after the daguerreotype was invented, cameras integrated with facial-recognition systems comprise the fastest growing sector of the biometrics industry.

But the use of photography in biometrics is almost as old as photography itself. In the late 1800s Sir Francis Galton, cousin of Charles Darwin and pioneer of biometrics, used composite imaging in an attempt to predict criminal behavior and illness. For example, if a subject has similar facial features to that of a criminal he or she was more likely to commit a crime.

I see spoofing and camouflage as intelligent responses to the uses/misuses of photography: surveillance cameras, biometric systems, and paparazzi photography.  Though these uses have always been part of photography at large, it’s impossible to ignore their presence now.

Sometimes this negative omnipresence supersedes the camera’s role as an art-making tool. As a photographer, I think spoofing and camouflaging tactics can help offset this effect and make photography more interesting, more communicative, and that this can lead to better pictures. Camoflash and CV Dazzle are projects centered on making photography more interesting.

One of my favorite quotes, by René Magritte, is that “everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.” When everyone is photographing and revealing the world, it becomes interesting to try and cover it back up, to reveal anonymity.

Read the complete interview at Rhizome.

Is Digital Art The New Pop Art?: Q&A With Michael Ruiz Of The Future Gallery

This week we’re exploring the Digital Arts Market (or lack thereof). We’re asking the tough questions: What will take for a sustainable digital arts market to form? Is that even a possibility? Can the digital arts make money? And will they ever be incorporated into the contemporary arts dialogue? We invite you to participate in the discussion in the comments section, on your own blog (send us the link!), and on Facebook and Twitter (#DIGART). Let’s get the conversation started!

If you look around your city’s local galleries, you’re likely to find the standard fare of paintings, drawings, sculpture and collage. The more experimental among them may do performance pieces or installations or the occasional video show. But few among them will be exhibiting digital art work. In fact, in New York’s Chelsea district, which is home to over 370 galleries, just one is dedicated to new media and digital art. Those aren’t encouraging odds.

Gallerists and curators looking to work with digital art certainly have their work cut out for them, not just because the stuff can often be a pain to exhibit (trust us, we speak from experience), but also because there are few collectors interested in buying. And if you’re a commercial gallery, that means you won’t be open long. Today we speak to Michael Ruiz, artist and co-curator of the Future Gallery in Berlin, who gives us some insight on exhibiting digital works, how he pitches them to potential collectors, and the importance of hyper-real installation documentation.

The Creators Project: What are some of the challenges you face when exhibiting digital art works?
Michael Ruiz:
Digital art is a quite art historical term with a history of successful artists, in both the institutional and commercial realms. Does digital in this sense refer to the tools used to arrive at a certain result, or rather is the artwork displayed in digital form?

Read the complete interview at The Creators Project.

Artist Profile: David Kraftsow

Much of your work involves recontextualizing a lot of YouTube and Twitter content. Through this rearranging and reorganizing you compose and assign new meaning to the often banal, unwittingly revealing always-growing archive of user-uploaded videos and status updates. User content here surpasses individual critique and instead is aesthetically reframed and sometimes even gamified under your curation.  What does it mean for you to work with the uploads of others? What can you say about the role of the curator in this process?

I’m not really sure if “curation” is the right word to describe my YouTube projects. While I do, on occasion, go out and hand-pick specific content for display (like for my fun cat video blog or Violet Flame supercut), most of the rest of my YouTube work is either the result of an autonomous script, or a user-initiated generator.

For example, I have a cron (autonomously executing process) running for my At My Funeral project that specifies search criteria for YouTube videos with comments that contain the phrase “at my funeral”. The script has generated a database of (to date) 21,000+ videos that people want to have played in their honor after they die.

Does this kind of algorithmic selection count as curation? The result can be really interesting and even kind of comedic. There is something hilarious to me about mechanically collecting every single “better than Bieber” YouTube comment ever written. But, beyond the initial specification of the program that does the collecting, it doesn’t involve any of my creative/curatorial input at all. The content is selected and displayed automatically.

Read the complete interview at Rhizome.