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Artificial Imagination: Is it just an illusion? (2/2)

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 20:27:28 +0000

As present time felt obsolete compared to the new realm of AGI everywhere, I started wondering about the possible consequences of Artificial Imagination and Intelligence on human creativity and subsequently on the arts in the post-Anthropocene. From the technical realm of Samuel Doogan’s computing scope throughout the critical positioning of Johannes Bruder’s research, these discussions inquire topics such as whether AI could create art? What could be the philosophical, political and sociological "consequences" of such progress? And Could this change our anthropomorphic vision of creativity? Hoping you will enjoy the speculative ride I met Johannes Bruder at the critical media Lab/IXDM (Academy of art and design FHNW) where he researches how infrastructures and technologies support epistemologies & empiricisms in art, design, science and their (sub)cultural distortions. Juliette Pépin: Do you think it is possible to create an ontology of art which could be used as a training framework for an AI? Johannes Bruder: I don’t like to think art apart from social context therefore it would be hard to effectively train an AI on an ontology of art, if something like that even exists. At least in the cultures and societies of the Global North, we define ourselves as artists when we believe that we are making art, if it is our profession and if others are recognizing it as such. We can have endless discussions as to what ‘real’ art is, yet the perspectives and standpoints that subtend this discussion will be ever so different and incompatible. In fact, we must study art to recognize and make it; we start with art education in school, then we gradually learn to understand how the art market and its institutions has made a fair point defining what we perceive as art. What we currently understand as AI - particularly deep learning systems - is quite good at figuring out such contextual factors and might thus, after analyzing a corpus of data wrought by contemporary art, be able to come up with ideas for new art projects that would probably not be distinguishable from those of ‘real’ artists. (e.g. our common failure friends’ Predictive Art Bot project. Tweets from the Predictive Art Bot project: by Disnovation  JP: If AGI is reached, do you think that an AI could be creative and have imagination? JB: I find it much more interesting, as you suggest, to talk about the concepts of creativity and imagination in this regard. I would rather not delve too deeply into the discussions around ‘real’ imagination that emerge as Google DeepMind’s deep reinforcement learning systems have successfully taught themselves to play Go without any human input. Since then, the public discourse has been divided over the question whether this means that algorithms are imaginative in an anthropological sense or whether they are just blindly executing programs. I believe that both camps are right and wrong at the same time. Algorithms are indeed characterized by their restlessness and hunger for optimization. As Demis Hassabis, CEO of Google DeepMind told a reporter of the Guardian, his algorithms “don’t even have Christmas off”. We humans, however, seem to be not so different. For instance, to become a professional Go player, one needs to exhibit an exceptional ability to fail without surrendering, as in the process of creating art: we develop techniques and learn to master technologies, we stay up all night and hope for the cathartic incursion, we intoxicate ourselves to get a better view on what we are about to do. Essentially, then, we produce art by constructing and employing systems that force us to leave the beaten path and produce the illusion that we are looking at the world ‘from beyond’.   allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="343" src="" width="610"> Google's AI AlphaGo Is Beating Humanity At Its Own [...]

Green fingers: digital and botanical art (2/2)

Wed, 20 Dec 2017 14:30:50 +0000

Artistic practices involving video, robotics and biotechnology have completely changed our aesthetic perception of nature. We have moved from depicting "still life" to using living materials. The following is an overview of a few creations with digital combining with plant. By Lityin Malaw Have you read the First PART of this article? There are cacti behind their smiles… Some plants, aside from symbolism, seem to be favoured over others. A cactus was the subject of a photography installation produced from scans carried out directly on plants by Adrien Missika (Cactus Frottage, 2012). In contrast to these enigmatic and fragmented images, this artist and traveller has also designed a sundial the needle of which is…a cactus thorn (Sundial, 2016). Adrien Missika, Cactus Frottage (2012) c-prints from prickly pear scan on metallic paper pasted on dibond  Alain Fleischer’s videos (artist, film director and director of Le Fresnoy), immerse you in another dimension: between metamorphosis and morphing, as if subject to accelerated growth, the cacti develop hybrid and disturbing forms, turning into fantasy creatures (The Appearance of a Monster, 2016). Similarly, two other devices reflect the same principle: spreading dandelion seeds by blowing on a screen. Firstly, Edmond Couchot & Michel Bret (The Dandelions, 1990), secondly, Sennep & YOKE who have resumed this principle of interaction that can also be activated with a hairdryer (Dandelion, 2009). From photosynthesis to CGI We recognise the importance of flowers and nature in the work of Miguel Chevalier: Baroque & Classical (1987), Other Natures (1996), Ultra-Nature (2005-), Sur-Natures (2007-), Fractal Flowers (2008-), Trans-Natures (2014-), Flower Power (2017-), etc. Different versions of these artworks display a brightly coloured and lush imaginary flora, alternating between diffracting and retracting, swirling on the screen. Artificial plants and flowers have generative and interactive properties. But what seems even more significant in this context is Herbier Virtuel Sur-Natures (2005): Miguel Chevalier has devised his own conservatory based on 18 virtual seeds developing wired plants that grow and die in real time. Another version of this device looks like a conventional herbarium, in the form of a book. Inspired by Herbarius, the traditional bible for herbalists, this work also generates "fractal flowers" in real time, combined with equally generative texts by Jean-Pierre Balpe (Herbarius "2059", 2009). Music of spores Let’s leave the screen and virtual world and return to reality with artists who literally choose to listen to plants or to use them as instruments. Among the many sound installations of this kind, there is for example IN SITU: Sonic Greenhouse (2016) produced by Otso Lähdeoja & Josué Moreno who have transformed the greenhouses at the Helsinki Winter Garden into an actual natural sound-system: devoted to field recordings, they restore and amplify sound, silence, reverberations, moisture, water lapping and, depending on the sections, palm groves murmuring, cacti creaking and more. allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="343" src="" width="610"> IN SITU: Sonic Greenhouse by Otso Lähdeoja and Josué Moreno. Winter Garden Greenhouse (Helsinki, Finland) Martin Howse practices the "ecology of signals" by connecting sensors in the ground, amplifying electromagnetic whispering trees, plants and mushrooms (Radio Mycelium). With Sketches towards an Earth Computer, he elaborates a sort of motherboard the components of which are metallic, electronic and above all organic (compost, mushrooms). Martin Howse: Sketches for an earth computer. photo: iMAL The chemical reactions of these constituents and the variations in light and humidity establish feedback, "natural dialogue" that works like an evolvi[...]

Green fingers: digital and botanical art (1/2)

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:51:18 +0000

Artistic practices involving video, robotics and biotechnology have completely changed our aesthetic perception of nature. We have moved from depicting "still life" to using living materials. The following is an overview of a few creations with digital combining with plant. By Lityin Malaw Ecological warning In tune with our era, artists have also become watchdogs and sometimes even hackers. Many committed artistic initiatives have arisen from issues surrounding ecology and climate change. Alexandra Regan Toland alerts us to the valuable role flowers play in our urban ecosystems by photographing their stamens and collecting dust from their spores on the streets of Linz. The Dust Blooms: a research narrative in artistic ecology project was exhibited in the Hybrid Art category at Ars Electronica 2017. The duo YoHa (Graham Harwood & Matsuko Yokokoji) are among activists who document, denounce and expose damage to the environment. Their project Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone is a kind of "exhaustive foray of a place"; in this case the Thames estuary, painstakingly identifying the flora, rubbish, mud, junk, etc. The collective Critical Art Ensemble, also involved in this project and whose fight against "economic rationale" we are familiar with, furthermore rallied against GMOs through a performance where the public was invited to test fruit, vegetables and food items (Free Range Grain, 2003-2004). Bad seed The mammoth project involving a vault buried in the ice in the far reaches of Norway, with almost a million seeds stored since 2008, in theory forever protected from any human or natural disaster, emerged as a response to the issue of food risks. In 2016, global warming gave rise to melting permafrost, and the access gallery to this "Noah’s Ark of plants" was flooded…Magali Daniaux & Cédric Pigot staged a sit-in in front of this entrance forbidden to the public, then published an inventory of the place and the context online (video, sound, texts), and a 3D device depicting, like an allegory, desperately empty tunnels like the end of time (Svalbard Global Seed). In this spirit of conservation, they also initiated another project this time aiming to collect plants from wherever their work takes them (The First Garden, 2015). Magali Daniaux & Cédric Pigot build on green strategies to devise models of society (with) the idea that flora, given its active immobility, plasticity and adaptability, could be viewed as a relevant model to envisage new economic and social structures. This is also the philosophy behind the Vegetation as a Political Agent exhibition that was held in Turin in 2014-2015 initiated by the artist Piero Gilardi, extending the reflections and actions of artists, activists, architects and theorists on the subject. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="610"> Vegetation as a Political Agent curated by Marco Scotini at the PAV 2014 (trailer) from Dan Halter   allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="610"> MAGALI DANIAUX & CÉDRIC PIGOT : « Devenir Graine »   During this event, Dan Halter attracts public attention to the proliferation of invasive species (Mesembryanthemum Space Invader, 2014) with his intervention that resembles Land art — a space invader formed by a bed of flowers. Inès Doujak also focuses on invasion, more precisely the colonisation of living species, reworking the packaging and codes on seed packets in order to expose the theft — biopiracy — performed by multinational companies with their patents and genetic modifications (Siegesgärten, 2007). Roots & cyberculture Despite its familiarity the [...]

Liam Young - "I don't think there's anything new or radical about VR"

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 11:54:13 +0000

This November, renown speculative architect Liam Young honored the Impakt festival: haunted machines and wicked problems with one of his atypical video performance, depicting a brave new world of digital myths and natural catastrophies. Internationally acclaimed architect, his works plays of the thin line between design, fiction and futures. He is at the origin of the think tank Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today and also co-runs the nomadic research studio Unknown Fields Division. From the death of VR to the designers duty of critical thinking, here’s what we talked about. You were educated as an architect, what made you take this radical shift into speculative design throughout fictional story telling? Liam Young: I was trained quite traditionally since in Australia the dominant form of architecture is based around genius local place specificity. It inquires the meaning of designing something on a particular site or context. Yet, as the conditions of that context are now mediated through technologies, it's no longer sufficient to use the skills of traditional architecture. To understand these new relationships I moved toward forms of speculation, of story telling and future making. In order to apprehend the room we’re sitting in we need to think about the shadows casted by the iPad you are reading your question on, the landscape that produced it and the mines which were hollowed out in order to make those things. And that's really what I do, telling stories about this messy present and how we might start to engage with it in ways that are productive. "New City: The Edgelands" (vidéo) Would you say that there is a disparity emerging between storytellers and traditional designers? L.Y: No, I just think designers need to open up their forms of practice to include methods that allows sufficient engagements with the complexity of our reality. We are at a time where Facebook is a new kind of public space, and it is not managed by an elected government but by a dude in sneakers and hoodie. And if a designer confines himself within the realm of its own discipline, based on what he expect the public space used to be, then he denies this kind of mediated reality that we all occupy. You know, we use words like “virtual” and “real” and describe them as being different but those terms are just outmoded. Our modern context is just a contradictory reality formed of all kinds of influences, some of which have a physical footprint, some of which don't. "Rare Earthenware: Radioactive Ceramics by Unknown Fields"; Film Still © Toby Smith/Unknown Fields Your projects are deeply involved in revealing the new victims of modern industries and by that dealing with urgent topics such as mass surveillance, technology everywhere… Is being a speculative architect a form of political activism? L.Y: Telling stories is a primarily political act, I mean, fiction is an extraordinary shared medium, it is how cultures have always disseminated ideas and that is the way I seek to operate. Within the film we make and stories we tell, I encode important critical ideas about what it means to exist today… And hopefully they will operate like Trojan horses in these mediums of fiction and popular culture. We are in this urgent reality where we desperately need to change our relationships to computers, to technologies and this is not going to happen with small, incremental steps since it needs to be, and will be, a cultural change. Therefore, storytellers, film makers, game designers are on the front line of this battle for a preferable future. How do you deal with the paradoxe of using the the technology you/we are ethically questioning? L.Y: I am a techno optimist actually! This claim for a return to the hills to live off the lands and grow carrots is not a reality I believe in. I see localism as a myth especially since we are not going to retrieve from this[...]

Robotic: Do androids dream about media art? (2/2)

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 14:11:39 +0000

We are not facing a "complete replacement" just yet, but robots have never been as present as they are right now: they integrated the presidential campaign 2017; there is a French union for professional robotics (Syrobo); a moratorium on killer robots is being explored by the UN; in Japan the first funeral rites for robotic toys have taken place, as is right and proper, in a temple, with a Buddhist monk, incense and prayer wheels, etc.  Read first part The aim of certain choreographers who have created performances with robots is to find a body language to minimise this menacing appearance. In Robot (2013-) by Blanca Li, eight dancers share the stage with strange musical machines by Maywa Denki and seven Nao (small humanoid robots created by Aldebaran Robotics). It is quite moving to see these high-tech mechanical dolls adopt contemporary dance moves. The choreographer Éric Minh Cuong Castaing also uses Nao robots, two dancers and children invited to participate in the performance space, for his piece School Of Moon (2016) created like a metaphor for post-humanity awakening. With Link Human/Robot (2012-15), Emmanuelle Grangier also engages with a small Nao, but she initiates a more intimate dialogue, establishing a link between humans and machines. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" src="" width="610"> Robot, Blanca Li allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="610"> Link Human/Robot - Emmanuelle Grangier 20.02.2015  This approach is more apparent when the robot has a more obvious humanoid shape. We are not then far from the famous "uncanny valley", the stage when according to the roboticist Masahiro Mori "geminoids" resembling human beings, with the technical imperfections that exist in the current state of scientific progress, cause feelings of unease. Until this gap, this valley, is overcome this feeling is no doubt also prevalent when watching Oriza Hirata’s theatrical performances. With this stage director, the robots "play" with the actors and are part of the cast, but it is above all their "being" — the texture of their "skin", the clothes, their posture, presence and facial expressions— that disconcerts the audience. It is especially evident in the play called The Three Sisters Android version, a story in which one of the dead sisters has been replaced by an android by her father, a robotics researcher. Also in Sayonara ver.2 presenting the everyday dreariness of a young patient assisted by a humanoid robot reciting poetry to them... In his theatre adaptation of The Metamorphosis by Kafka, the character transforms into a robot of course and not into a cockroach!    Sayonara ver.2, Oriza Hirata La Métamorphose, Oriza Hirata In another genre, the "cyber-dolls" by France Cadet, who also produced performance installation with robot dogs, are equally disconcerting with their soft erotic charge; even if they are ensconced in a virtual world of 3D and holographic projections. The common feature of these different robotic creations is therefore the humanoid form, but other options are possible. For his installation called Sans Objet/No Object (2014), the choreographer Aurélien Bory (Cie 111) has chosen to conceal his robot under black tarpaulin. As a result, any movement causes circumstantial folds in the plastic material that become a moving sculpture. Aurélien Bory, Sans Objet    For his mechanical ballets,Peter William Holden chose to structure his devices around several central components, and not a complete robot: mannequin arms and legs for Arabesque, shoes and mechanical feet for Solenoid, hands and metal armatures for Vici[...]

When digital artists take up the challenge of new stakes in artificial intelligence

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 11:47:17 +0000

  Whereas the Web giants prepare their industrial and commercial strategies around new stakes of AI (Artificial Intelligence), how do digital artists seize this new technological implementation and how do they devise a simultaneously creative and premonitory outlook of the concerns that stress out this two-faced new IT technology advances? If the virtual reality tools (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or Sony PlayStation VR headsets) are still today on top in terms of hi-tech communication and financial investments within the new devices of digital entertainment (1.48 billion dollars invested in 2016 in VR sector against 331 million dollars in 2015, according to Pitchbook), and this in spite of disappointing sales figures1, the big multinational companies of new media platforms, of internet and other social networks (the main tech giants are of course Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft) seem already turned towards another target – and its economical, strategic and technological main stakes -, the one of AI, for Artificial Intelligence or Advanced Informatics. This is anyway what some specialists of this virtual assistant technology imply, when talking of this functional entity that will serve us soon as a double, a ghost, attentive and rational, coming to substitute to all our non-perfect and disorganized human quirks by nature, in a generalised and home automation controlled digital environment system. 
Last October, during “Artificial Intelligence, where are we now?” conference held at Grenoble’s Maison Minatec during sixth edition of Experimenta show organized by Atelier Arts Sciences, CEA and Hexagone Scène Nationale, the researcher Vincent Le Cerf, counsellor in digital future, demonstrated the current strong reflection of Web giants about brand new developments in this field. According to him, Watson, the AI made by IBM should do 50% of the company’s revenues in 2018.   Artificial Intelligence: the necessity of a shared creative impetus is a must In this economic perspective that seems to happen, how appears the artistic positioning that has always closely followed (sometimes even preceded) the big technological advances by shaping the aesthetic subtleties and thinking proceeding from computing art, web art and, widely speaking, from digital arts? Let’s making it clear first for the most curious ones, the current artistic propositions directly coming from the AI – notably the much talked about automated visual tool of Deep Dream (a program created by Google) – is perplexing. But the techniques in continual improvement allowed by the teaching of deep learning assiduously granted to these new non-organic intelligences open wide many perspectives. For several AI specialists, the necessity of a creative impetus that would associate the artists to the general thinking in this domain is a must. This is what has recommended, still in Experimenta conferences cycle, the CNRS/INSHS researcher Véronique Aubergé who makes the wish of an “algorithmic revolution”. A premise, shared by other actors of this area (cognitive psychologist and CEA scientific counsellor Théophile Ohlmann, French Ministry of culture’s digital politics coordinator Eli Commins or Atelier BNP Paribas vice director Philippe Torrès), to express in the first place some hesitations on the way the big corporations appropriate themselves a new power de facto over the citizen/consumer, throughout these new code lines that could have great influence, thanks to your new personalized virtual avatar, on your daily life. What are ethical choices of these algorithms? What global legislative framework to find for them in this new and always reminded ratio of power between omnipotent companies and traditional nation states? Should we let the Silicon Valley firms to decide of our future? Ther[...]

Teaser : Datasmog

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:50:12 +0000

L:ED introduces its new creation: Datasmog .


Datasmog illustrates the immersivity of nowadays digital practices and its impact on mankind.


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Lately, human beings seemed to reach the maximum amount of information they can process, their attention constantly drained by advertisement, social networks or e-mail notifications. Because of this information overload, mankind seems on the verge of a massive cognitive dissonance : too much information leads to overchoice, too much sollicitations leads to continuous partial attention which both leads to poor choices or analysis paralysis. But on the other hand, it seems that people are already evolving to integrate these constant datastreams into their lives: nomophobia, Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) are signs that our brains are reconfiguring to filter this data glut with a poor signal to noise ratio into something valuable.


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Datasmog aims to illustrate this current change by depicting the immersivity of nowadays digital practices by, on the one hand, drowning a living being into digital streams of images and sounds, and, on the other hand showing the permanence of the immersed self and the way it reacts and integrates that streams. To do so, Datasmog is blending together several techniques like contorsionism, contact juggling, live visuals and live music into a new kind of performance. Datasmog, using music and VJing to represent datastreams and contorsionism to represent the inner self, shows how a human being necessarily evolves to take into account its surroundings now including digital and data streams. Contorsionism represents the plasticity required to apprehend the information as well as the tensions born by the gigantism of the data streams.



BRAIN MUSIC - Audiovisual performance made with an EEG and Processing.

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 11:54:07 +0000


The raw data of a Neurosky Mindwave EEG is used here to play generative music.
Incoming raw data from the EEG is divided into 512 samples covering brain waves from 1 to 50Hz.
These 512 samples trigger piano notes when their values are beyond the decided limit.
As the performer enters into meditation, his brain waves cool down and thereby, he's able to increase their amplification.
The musical score and its rhythm are certainly depending on his mood and on the environment, but the performer's real challenge is to focus his mind entirely on the registered sounds, in order to enter into a closed musical loop where his brain waves - translated into sound waves - become the reflection of the registered notes and so on.
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BRAIN MUSIC V3 from Jean-Michel Rolland on Vimeo.


Sounds, visuals and lights: the multidisciplinary experience of Atonal 2016

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 13:19:23 +0000

Taking place in the industrial cathedral of Kraftwerk, Berlin, the post-techno and hybrid audiovisual festival Atonal offers new perspectives of physical perceptions when it comes to gather live and installation experiences around sounds, visuals and lights confronted with a very specific architecture. Born in 1982 as a music festival unveiling with powerfulness the newest radical sonic expression of West-Berlin experimental artistic scene, Atonal Festival was reborn in 2013 on a more pluridisciplinary approach. Sticking to the multimedia considerations of the most famous A/V festivals worldwide (from Mutek/Elektra to city neighbour of Transmediale), Atonal has kept its experimental/electronic music roots (his founder Dimitri Hegemann went on to open the legendary techno club Tresor in 1990 at the end of first version of Atonal and by the way Atonal currently takes place in the new Tresor club domain) and its industrial setting highly connected to the History of Berlin, embodied today by the impressive venue of Kraftwerk (a large and multi-levelled impressive abandoned power plant in central Berlin) that welcomes the five-days event: A manner of playing the underground card within multimedia/digital art festivals context and to express a raw vision of an ontological audiovisual creation, rid of too-much speeches and conceptual meanings. Indeed Atonal is firstly a genuine experience, in which multimedia arts, including music, digital and filmic installations, and live A/V rely on the purity of their self-expression and on the way they find a unique resonance in the industrial cathedral of concrete and steel of Kraftwerk.   Hybrid and physical installations Incidentally, the first (and best) way to appropriate the festival is then to explore the place and to confront oneself to the inner and physical experience it offers. Emerging from the darkness that guards the entrance, the multi-TV-screen installations Common Areas by Montreal-based artist Sabrina Ratté stresses out the merging principles of Atonal. Common Areas: Perspectives, 2016 Proceeding from her work that investigates the creation of virtual environments generated by analogical technologies, Common Areas connects to our minds, through the slow motion of the images, vibrating lights and electricity effects that act like an interplay between the illusion of depth and the flatness of electronic patterns, and creates a new rigid audiovisual architecture interfering with the massive one of the building. In the basement, the New York artist Rose Kallal presents her Four Pillars piece that creates through immersive multiple 16 mm film loop installations a weird and very trance-like conjunction of techniques, including traditional animation, video synthesis/feedback and computer animation. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="610"> "Four Pillars" 16mm film installation, Lyles and King gallery NYC, 2016  On the stairway leading to the gigantic first floor, home of the main stage and live A/V shows, the small projection room (Projektionsraum) invites to the same hybridization of audiovisual creativity. On a long screen running as a surface of projection along the wall, several artists - one different everyday - present installations sharing the same idea of hypnotism and minimalism but using different technical approaches. The STM~Intemporal by Peruvian artist Luis Sanz plays on an abstract choreography of digital lines, floating and decomposing to define organic landscapes, sometimes very close to analogical TV snow.   Luis Sanz, STM~Intemporal   On a opposite way, the And So On To Infinity by duo Recent Arts formed by Chilean visual artist Valentina Berthelon and German musi[...]

INFERNO: I was a robot at Elektra Festival

Thu, 09 Jun 2016 09:36:15 +0000

Amongst the main obsessions to haunt the modern-day imagination, robotics still feature prominently. In contemporary imagery, from Robot Cop to Iron Man, fantasy surrounding anthropomorphic machines continues to grow. So it is hard to refuse when you are invited to participate by the organisers of the “mechanical” themed Elektra Festival, AUTOMATA, in INFERNO, the Rolls Royce of robotic performances by the Quebecois artists Bill Vorn and Louis-Philippe Demers. This is an opportunity to experience INFERNO through the psychological preparation and equipment in a first-hand experience of the show.    The robotic future of art at Montréal’s Elektra Festival Robots were indeed well represented at this 17th Elektra Festival. At the exhibition AUTOMATA, Art Made By Machines For Machines, visitors were able to discover several archetypes of the genre, with for example, Bios (Bible), the mechanical arm by the German Robotlab team, that precisely (re)-writes the Bible with the nib of an ink pen.   Bios [Bible], Robotlab ©MaxenceGrugier But also, Orchestrer La Perte / Perpetual Devotion, the participatory performance by Simon Laroche and David Szanto (QC-CA), with another arm attempting to feed the human who appeared before it. There was also What Do Machines Sing Of, the both funny and moving karaoke singing robot by Martin Backes (DE), as well as the robotic installation like a drawing class 5RNP Etude Humaine #1 by Patrick Tresset (FR), or the sexual machines by Norman T. White and Laura E. Kikauka (Them Fucking Robots). allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="610"> What do machines sing of? from Martin Backes  Even sculpture was broadly mechanical this year (see Machine With Hair Caught In It and Silence Of The Wolf_Secret Keeping Machine by the Koreans U_Joo + Limeeyoung). Other mechanical entities haunted the huge Arsenal Contemporary Art hall, like the Mega Hysterical Machine by Bill Vorn, moving about on the ceiling. Bill Vorn (accompanied by LP Demers), also responsible for what many now describe as a participatory and immersive performance: INFERNO. “Impressive”, “captivating”, “stimulating”, but also “stressful”, INFERNO is a unique experience that deserves this string of epithets, with a few superlatives for good measure. To end up in the body – and the mind – of an upper atmosphere minor or a futuristic soldier, during a show, is an outstanding event that you will not easily forget.    Silence of the Wolf: The Secret Keeping Machine Ujoo+Limheeyoung (b.1976+1979, Korea) kinetic sculpture Don't spin, don't fight, against the machine There was great excitement on Friday 3rd June 2016 at 11pm. A crowd of visitors, including my lucky self, had been invited to participate in the performance that would take place an hour later, adorning the famous exoskeletons! Before the start, the artists invited the volunteers to a short briefing. This was essential for the creators of the piece to explain the technical aspects, as well as the postures to adopt during this performance esteemed to be emotionally and physically testing.    The exoskeleton created by Vorn and Demers, a mechanical structure that covers the upper part of the body, shoulders, waist and arms, weighs about 44 pounds (20 kilos). Despite its harmonious design, above all it is destined to keep you in a state of submission close to sadomasochistic confinement. The artists control each part of its structure during the performance. Your movements are chosen for you here. Bill Vorn explained this to the participants from the outset[...]

The mutant abstractions of Quayola

Wed, 20 Apr 2016 09:38:36 +0000

  Aesthete of connection between figurative art and digital abstraction, the Italian artist Davide Quayola turns classical Western tradition of pictures and landscape to new audiovisual dimensions, in direct contact with technological disruptions of our time. Since last 1st April, the domain of Chaumont-Sur-Loire in The Loire Valley welcomes among all the invited artists of its cultural program 2016 the very intriguing Italian (but settled in London) Davide Quayola for a presentation of its piece Pleasant Places. Pleasant Places is a digital and contemplative painting offering to the spectator the occasion to observe the progressive transformation of the pictorial textures of its bucolic landscape into a living and evolving photographic image, swarming with blurred and anthropomorphic details. This piece that has been principally using mapping technology is particularly representative of hybrid experiments led by Quayola, merging 3D animated images, immersive audiovisual installations and inspirations guided by ancient art and its very formal representations. Pleasant Places, Audiovisual Installation, 2015 - © Quayola   Mesmerizing hybridisations Quayola’s work has indeed always induced a rather quirky and mesmerizing link between a certain artistic tradition (transmitted by painting, sculpture and iconic art), and a truly technological modernism. A link he enjoys to blend into digital frames, into kinds of new hybrid paintings including a modification at the surface of the images with abstract and animated geometric forms (like in his Strata series and more specifically in his piece Topologies  in which he appropriates original paintings from Diego Velasquez and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo to operate his formal transfigurations), but as well into robotic sculptures (the mechanical processes of his project Captives, where car assembling  industrial robots are reprogrammed to become digital “Michelangelo”, carving polystyrene blocks until obtaining new “classic-contemporary” figures), and more recently again into exploration of new intricate craft of algorithmic engravings and prints that has taken place in his project Iconographies that relies once again on classic, even biblical, figures such as the Caravaggio’s Judith and Holofernes painting. A whole range of combining artistic approaches that refer to the permanent work of research and synthesis that Quayola drives between representation and abstraction.   Captives allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="610"> Strata #3 - Excerpt from Quayola  Captives voir vidéo   “I’ve always been fascinated by the space between abstraction and representation, real and artificial, and I feel this is explored deeply in Pleasant Places as well as in other series like Iconographies or Captives”, Quayola says. “I bring forward many different series and each with its own theme and subject. However the relationship between different modalities of vision is a key principle behind all my works. In this sense, Pleasant Places pays homage to the modern tradition of Western art that takes landscape as a point of departure towards abstraction.”   Shock of cultures Throughout this singular process, Quayola offers a rare opportunity: the one to bring back together two aesthetics, even two audiences that oppose often themselves - the followers of figurative and the total fans of abstraction – in a practice that literally transcends the relationships between classicism and new digital technologies. [...]

OPEN CALL InShadow 2016 | Deadline > May 31st

Wed, 23 Mar 2016 13:24:43 +0000

InShadow - International Festival of Video, Performance and Technologies is an initiative of Vo'Arte, in co-production with São Luiz Teatro Municipal, which has established itself as a reference in contemporary artistic creation and programming, with emphasis on the convergence of language between body and image, based on technology.
It has obtained the  prestigious recognition of EFFE – Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe, 2015-2016 label.
The period for submissions to the 8th edition is oficially open!

Submit your work in the areas of Video Dance, Documentary, Animation, Performance, Installation and Exhibition until the 31st of May.

Apply and have the chance of winning one of InShadow's awards and have your work recognized internationally.

All the information here:


Follow your Shadow!



Tue, 05 Jan 2016 17:08:38 +0000



Digital ocular harpsichord designed according to 1735 father Castel's writings.

Synaesthetic instrument where each note played sparks a specific color, for example blue for C, yellow for E and red for G.

The lower the octave, the darker the color, and higher octaves show lighter colors.

The user choses the number of keys he wishes to appear according to his dexterity, the octave in which he wants to play and the volume of the instrument.

He also choses his design among 10 proposed patterns.

Download on Google Play

Webpage :


Kyle McDonald, adding a digital art dimension to human relationships

Thu, 12 Nov 2015 16:46:06 +0000

American artist and researcher Kyle McDonald now enjoys international recognition. On the line up at the biggest international festivals like Ars Electronica, Sonar and Click Festival, he is notably the name behind several installations acclaimed by the digital world. Amongst them, Augmented Hand Series, Sharing Faces and Social Soul echo social relationships between people. An enthusiast of collaborative ventures this artist stands out for his contributions to the openFrameworks community of which he is an active member.  In 2015 the jury of the Ars Electronica festival awarded a prize to Kyle McDonald for the installation Augmented Hands Shadow (created in 2014 with Golan Levin and Chris Sugrue). A famous award that gave an audience acquainted with digital arts an opportunity to experience the world of this specialist in 3D environment. This piece, comprising a box in which a visitor inserts their hand, simultaneously displayed an altered limb on a huge screen. The artist has developed twenty or so different transformations.  allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="610"> Kyle McDonald discussing the Augmented Hand Series from Golan Levin  In some situations the hand has an additional or one less finger. Sometimes, while the thumb moves to the end of the hand, a piece of the phalanx is missing... The general idea behind the work is to explore identity or at least an awareness of or amazement at his or her physical being.  allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="610"> Augmented Hand Series (Demonstration, 2014) The presence of the body is a recurring theme in Kyle McDonald’s work. Like in Sharing Faces, an installation presented at the festival Bouillants near Rennes last May, which enables remote individuals to connect via interactive mirrors. The latter have a particular feature enabling the image to be reflected to someone else. Operating on the principle of facial and behavioural recognition, the piece questions relationships with others and our desire to share. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="610"> Sharing Faces from Kyle McDonald  Spectators are surprised and sometimes embarrassed, but nobody is unresponsive to his or her new reflection. In one of his last projects, Transcranial (programmed last April at the Resonate festival in Belgrade) resulting from an association with the choreographer Klaus Obermaier and the artist and software developer Daito Manabe, Kyle McDonald continues experimenting with the human body. The result of work initiated with Face Substitution, the artist transforms the face of the dancer guinea pig in real time.  The relationship with the body therefore seems essential to the artist’s work. Perhaps it is just a coincidence. “Digital identity emerges naturally in my works but it’s not a prerequisite. If I use the body it’s for its universal dimension and to explore a social relationship between individuals.”  allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="610"> transcranial / embodied cognition – Klaus Obermaier, Daito Manabe, Kyle McDonald from Klaus Obermaier  Human interactions at the heart of artistic projects These wi[...]

Moscow’s MediaArtLab: interview with Olga Shishko

Thu, 29 Oct 2015 15:31:49 +0000

The first stage of a mini-tour around the world of media labs takes us east. We interviewed Olga Shishko, the curator and artistic director of Moscow’s MediaArtLab about the activities of this structure mainly dedicated to image and, more generally, about the future of digital art in Russia. A graduate of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Olga Shishko took an interest in the Russian artistic avant-garde. When new media appeared, at the end of the 1990s, she naturally considered the interconnections and links between this new form of art and traditional culture. As Olga Shishko points out, there is a striking similarity between avant-garde and new media discourse. Artists are often visionaries, and new technology made avant-garde dreams possible. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="610"> Open Innovations Expo from MediaArtLab  The MediaArtLab was created in 1997 as an integral part of the Soros Center for Contemporary Art (SCCA) before becoming, two years later, an independent structure aiming to bridge the gap between different cultural fields and evolving information technology. This is the first institution to have explored media arts in Russia through organising interdisciplinary events and educational programmes. MediaArtLab proposes innovative projects linked to new technology and digital culture. It is also a community network of video artists and directors of alternative films. New media is the current format for the cultural avant-garde, and MediaArtLab’s purpose is also to build up audiovisual archives of this culture, to present its different stages and trends, to work on the educational models that emerge with these techniques, to show the artistic potential of the new technology and lastly to offer everyone access to digital creations. Exposition "Disturbances in the state of things."  Educational programmes have been conducted throughout Russia, as well as many gatherings in partner events. Thus, for example, over the last 3 years, MediaArtLab has produced over 30 projects on Moscow, involving over 50 Russian and foreign artists and experts, in collaboration with several partnerships and Russian cultural institutions (MEA Manege, Moscow MOMA, Garage Center for Contemporary Art, Ekaterina Cultural Foundation, etc.).  Amongst the main events driven by MediaArtLab, there is Pro@Contra, an international symposium around new media, and the Open School Manege/MediaArtLab that enables, in spite of the economic situation in Russia, the educational component to be developed. This structure was founded 2 years ago and is intended to promote young talent in the field of video art, and to provide an opportunity to present work in big artistic events worldwide and to the most influential curators. However, MediaArtLab’s cornerstone remains the Media Forum. 16 years ago, the Media Forum was originally initiated in the framework of the International Moscow Film Festival, as an event devoted to experimental cinema and video art. From one edition to the next, it has expanded and become a fully-fledged event in itself. Thanks to Media Forum, the public has had the opportunity to discover video, interactive cinema and sound performance works by directors and artists like Peter Greenaway, Zbigniew Rybczynski, Omer Fast, Ryoichi Kurokawa, Ryoji Ikeda and JODI… The 2015 edition of Media Forum, "Walk with a troubadour", has long-term interests. Screenings, workshops and exhibitions will continue until 2016 in several venues in Moscow. The works shown at the [...]

Digital lovers

Sat, 12 Sep 2015 13:12:34 +0000



Let us please introduce you our "digital lovers": 


allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="600">


This is a new experimental video from L:ED (Laboratory of Experiments in digital) , an edition of a live capture (no After Effects or post prod'...)


Music by Exomène, available on available on WEATNU records :

Video by Dorianne Wotton

"Twilight bounded with a kiss, two lovers delighted in bliss, the ethereal high becoming more intense.

The eternal fireworks of the good deeds recognized and magnified a yet glorified within the boundary of images digitized"

Thank you to our lovers, Jean Francois B and Louise Dumont


Watch and let yourself go. 

Thomas Cimolaï’s reflections at cross-purposes

Tue, 01 Sep 2015 13:54:56 +0000

Through his pieces connecting screens and objects, Thomas Cimolaï makes the spectator look at themselves differently, offering another experience of our relationship back and forth between physical reality and its representation. In his recent Miroir Fuyant (Elusive Mirror) this experience of ‘reflection’ at cross-purposes transpires again. What happens when the narcissist function of the mirror no longer works, and your reflection seems to escape you when you approach it? This interesting reflection is driven by the piece Miroir Fuyant (Elusive Mirror) by Thomas Cimolaï, produced in coproduction with Digitalarti and notably exhibited at La Laiterie in Vern-sur-Seiche as part of the Bouillants Festival, or more recently at the Pavillon Carré de Baudouin as part of the exhibition Miroir, Ȏ Mon Miroir (Mirror Mirror on the Wall) put forward by the city council of the 20th arrondissement in Paris and L’Extension. Small version of Miroir Fuyant exhibited at the pavillon Carré de Baudouin in Paris Situated at a crossroads between object, sculpture and media technology, the piece testifies to artist Thomas Cimolaï’s continuing interest in this relationship between screens and frames situating the spectator on the brink of a new form of exploration. This principal of creative hybridisation between a plastic form and a more technological screen medium is fairly typical of his very individual approach, favouring a form of offbeat humour. ‘At the beginning, my approach questioned our relationship with images and their production due to dissatisfaction or incomprehension,’ explains Thomas Cimolaï. ‘What is presented and how is it made? This is semiology. Then, given that today we experience more screens and means of browsing dynamic content, I stopped to think of the repercussions that a certain type of object intended to give access to content may have on its user.’ In his career that led him from the Beaux-Arts in Rennes to the Centre de créations pour l’enfance, from decorative arts to producing a dissertation on La Jetée by Chris Marker and a post-graduate course in multimedia, Thomas Cimolaï has brought his various areas of interest into play, focusing for example on some philosophical works like those by Vilém Flusser about design and photography techniques. This intellectual stance has led him to address certain principles in his work, such as mnemonics.  ‘It is a subject that I have been very involved in,’ he says. ‘It is the history of storage techniques, a very interesting point from the point of view of the relationship with ‘data’, its organisation and use. In this history, there are recording methods as well as transmission methods and methodologies for invention before the advent of the printing press. For that I studied the writing of Frances A. Yates. Today, these questions are the background to my work. This has allowed me to locate changing motivations and methods for recording and transmitting. Technology and systems are very informative regarding understanding all kinds of interfaces. They are the ‘code’ that enable a flow of audio-visual events that are just the tip of the iceberg.’ Trophées du Sixième Continent This rigorous and methodological approach has not prevented Thomas Cimolaï from positioning his sculptural work on objects in often elliptical, or even symbolic dimensions, as is the case in his collection Trophées du Sixième Continent (Trophies from the Sixth[...]

incite/ live @ Fantoche Festival

Sun, 30 Aug 2015 10:36:56 +0000

incite/ live @ Fantoche Festival, CH

(Animation Film Festival)

Friday, Sept 4th

our audiovisual show starts around midnight @ Royal Fish 

also looking forward to be part of the jury for the vj-competition.



Pascal Bauer: Constraint of the body

Tue, 18 Aug 2015 13:30:07 +0000

Whether he presents the body –especially his – as an unswerving walker, a faltering Christ or a contorted figurine, Pascal Bauer continues his portraiture with the same strong aesthetic identity, depicting the alienation of individuals by an increasingly technological community. The body is constrained in the shot using even more robotic methods and tactile videos in his new projects Notre Bon Plaisir (Our Pleasure) and Senseimage developed with Digitalarti. A visual as well as audiovisual artist, Pascal Bauer has investigated aesthetics looking at the strength but also the fragility of the individual through the alarming prism of the collective vantage point. Bodies fixed in the object, like his contorted figurines in Ne Laissez Jamais Vos Enfants Seuls (Never Leave Your Children Alone); Bodies enclosed in the screen, whether human, like this Christ-like body subject to expiatory tension (L’Elu – The Chosen One), or this naked body parading virtually on its track (La Foule-The Crowd), or animals, like this bull mounted on a gyratory robotic arm and ‘charging’ the audience surrounding it (Le Cercle – The Circle). Through image Pascal Bauer’s work transcends this forced progression of the individual towards the omnipotent group. An often chaotic and always disturbing progression, where the artist sometimes seems to put his body on the line by directly sacrificing his own image, but who bestows these pieces with fascinating strength, where the choice of the medium is less decisive than the search for meaning. ‘My work is in the first instance significant,’ explains Pascal Bauer. ‘I then choose the technique that will best champion the resulting form. I use other mediums like photography or text in other works.’   Pascal Bauer - Le Cercle (2012) allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" src="" width="610"> Exhibition Synesthesie: Le Cercle, la Foule, l'Elu et les Objets d'ego(s). In the framework of  festival Némo It is intriguing to observe how much the use of all these techniques in Pascal Bauer’s pieces uniquely translates a form of hybridisation, of simultaneity between the ‘primitive expressiveness of the physical form and the new technological framework that transforms it. This approach may be very symbolic, as in the piece Deep Captive that presents a semi-missile, club-like object.  Deep Captive, Pascal Bauer Or in Master of the Wolves revealing a chat engraved in Carrara marble. But it does not lead to devotion, on behalf of an artist quoting Kafka and Zappa as a reference, claiming to be fascinated by ‘the controlled madness of Goya and Delacroix,’ to the new digital fairy. ‘Digital is not particularly special to me; it’s a material like any other,’ confirms Pascal Bauer. ‘Well, its distinctive characteristic is that it is the only material that I cannot work on independently, as I do not have any coding skills. In any case, simultaneous techniques suit me. Like many artists, I love antagonism. For example for Master of the Wolves, the natural darkness of this chat pushed me to translate it into an object, with its protocol of expression, its intangible and instant nature, to give it a form seeking material eternity.’ Is man a social animal? In Pascal Bauer’s work, the core element nonetheless remains his way of putting people at the heart of his devices. And if this expression can be conceptual –like in[...]

The art of drone

Mon, 22 Jun 2015 17:25:42 +0000

Misappropriation has often been a principle of creation for digital artists. The current trend for drones provides both a new technological medium, as well as a reflection on a militant position re-engineered against the current geopolitical backdrop The drone, this ‘non-identified violent object’ as described by philosopher Grégoire Chamayou in his book La Théorie Du Drone (The Theory of the Drone) now plays a part in our everyday lives. A topical subject referring to new concepts of ‘clean warfare,’ of ‘waging war remotely,’ in reference to targeted bombings operating in Pakistan, Syria and Iraq. But it is also an object used on a daily basis, for shooting films, managing agricultural enterprises or for personal entertainment, thereby creating a growing number of outlets for the companies that make them (Parrot, Skycatch, DJI being the principle ones). Players on the digital scene obviously cannot turn their backs on this hi-tech context. The recent LeWeb 2014 in Paris, gathering some 4,000 protagonists in the digital economy, featured drones as one of its main themes by inviting big companies - Skycatch and its self-charging autonomous drones, Parrot and its universally accessible toy drone– to its series of conferences and meetings to promote the opportunities of this visibly lucrative business to the full. The Drone Bebop, one of the leasure drone of the french brand Parrot    These new flying objects and the prospects for partnerships around development and projects in collaboration with innovative specialised companies, noted with interest by digital artists and designers who are often entrepreneurs themselves, are an essential component of digital creation, as well as its industrial status.    allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" src="" width="610"> Flying Robot Rockstars, the musical ballet of flying drones by Kmel Robotics, sponsored by Lockheed Martin and Intel. Designers and developers specialising in the production of experimental robotic devices–with their famous Flying Robot Rockstars, small flying musical machines -, the Kmel Robotics duo (Alex Kushleyev and Daniel Mellinger) recently approached the electric aviation company Yuneec International to produce small flying devices for photography, Flying Eyes, which has an entertaining profile and can be fully integrated into perfomative robotic ballet performances by Kmel Robotics such as their Quadrotor Show. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" src="" width="610"> A troupe of 16 quadrotors (flying robots) dance to and manipulate sound and light at the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors' Showcase 2012. On more of a par with an art lab, other drone design experts consider design methods closer to the prototype. This is the principle of FlyLab, created in 2013 by Akim Amrani Montanelli around a community of specialists working open source and accommodating other integrated structures, like Yves Béranger’s Wemakedrones, in its workshops located in the second arrondissement in Paris. The principle here is to create professional and creative drones, particularly in terms of research on taking photos, commissioned by companies and individuals, and far from the gadget type of drone produced in industrial quantities– some prototypes are then able to fly at 80km/h and have a parachute! The fun aspect is also a c[...]