bitforms gallery is pleased to announce a group exhibition that celebrates art and ideas in a new publication by art historian Edward Shanken, Art and Electronic Media. Highlighting work by more than a dozen groundbreaking artists, the exhibit "Art and Electronic Media" embraces a wide range of creative practices in the last four decades.
As visual artists embraced emerging theories and techniques of information, computation, and communication in the 1960s and 1970s, many partnered with research laboratories and broadcast networks. For example, inspired by German philosopher Max Bense's "information aesthetics," artist Manfred Mohr used the Fortran programming language to create ink drawings with a Benson flatbed plotter at the Institut Météorologique in France. In 1971 he displayed his work at the Museé d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in the first museum exhibition comprised solely of computer-generated images. Among work from this period is P-, included in "Art and Electronic Media."
At Bell Labs that year, artist Lillian Schwartz collaborated with Kenneth Knowlton to create Olympiad , a rhythmic and mathematically rigorous 16 mm computational film that was inspired by the cycles of kinetic human form captured by 19th century photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Later, echoing Schwartz's interest in figurative representation and film-making, Jim Campbell created Ambiguous Icon #1, Running Falling (2000), a flickering, pixel-based experience generated by LEDs arranged in a Cartesian grid.
At the turn of this century, a new generation of artists first gained recognition in exhibits such as "BitStreams" and "Data Dynamics" at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2001. Pieces from this period in the exhibit include the emblematic oak and steel Hammers by Robert Lazzarini and documentation of the performance, Dialtones (A Telesymphony), by Golan Levin, which premiered at the Ars Electronica Festival in 2001. Also included is Processby C.E.B. Reas, who co-founded the open source programming language Processing.
Rounding out the exhibition is a 1988 wall drawing by Michael Joaquin Grey, Object as. A mid- 990s sculpture by Laurie Anderson will be on view, as well as a surreal Preposition kinetic sculpture by Tim Hawkinson which clanks out a rendition of Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle" using a rotating thermos and steak knives. Also included is Jennifer Steinkamp's video installation, Dance Hall Girl 11, along with new documentation of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Voza memorial commissioned for the 40th anniversary of the 1968 student Alta (Loud Voice), massacre in Tlatelolco. In addtition, a new generative collage using imagery from the Internet will be shown by Mark Napier, who has constructed a screen-based Futurist portrait of Pamela Anderson that is reminiscent of marionette puppetry and Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase.
Edward Shanken is Assistant Professor of New Media at the University of Amsterdam. For more information on the author and the book, please visit www.artexetra.com