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Electronic Artworks

Page history last edited by emily derian demartino 15 years, 5 months ago


ecoarttech, Environmental Risk Assessment Rover, Version 1.0, 2008


Environmental Risk Assessment Rover–AT, Version 1.0, 2008 

“Sooner rather than later, one comes up against the law that so long as risks are not recognized scientifically, they do not exist--at least not legally, medically, technologically, or socially, and they are thus not prevented, treated or compensated for. No amount of collective moaning can change this, only science. Scientific judgment's monopoly on truth therefore forces the victims themselves to make use of all the methods and means of scientific analysis in order to succeed with their claims.” 
—German risk theorist Ulrich Beck


ERAR–AT is a mobile, solar- and GPS-powered, networked video installation that will accumulate and aggregate the environmental threats and risks faced by the population in its immediate location. ERAR-AT performs the difficulty of perceiving, evaluating, and understanding risk scenarios and presents an assessment of its given locale by producing a unique fourteen-tiered threat level embedded live within video projections onto local natural and architectural surfaces.


ecoarttech are visiting our class to give a guest artist lecture on Friday, November 7 at 1PM. Save the date!



Jean Tinguely, Homage to New York, 1960 (view video filmed by Robert Breer)


"Jean Tinguely was asked in 1960 to produce a work to be performed in the Sculpture Garden of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In collaboration with other artists/engineers, among them Billy Klüver and Robert Rauschenberg, he produced a self-destroying mechanism that performed for 27 minutes during a public performance for invited guests. In the end, the public browsed the remnants of the machine for souvenirs to take home. This hommage to the energy of a city that keeps rebuilding itself time after time is a wonderful example of the different and sometimes conflicting conceptions of artists and engineers on how machines should work–and as such an early collaborative effort that foreshadowed the events staged by E.A.T.—as well as a document on the 60s with the rise of happening and performance.

See the vivid report by Billy Klüver."

Text from Media Art Net.


Homage to New York?


"A machine that destroys itself," was the billing, and it proved irresistible to Manhattan's earnest pursuers of the avantgarde. Last week some 250 of them braved cold and slush to watch as Switzerland's Jean Tinguely fiddled and fussed with his 27-ft.-high tangle of white-painted iron in the garden of the Museum of Modern Art. An hour and a half later, the suicide-fated machine started flaming and sawing at its mixed-up insides, turned balky despite several judiciously aimed kicks from its creator, got doused betimes by an anxious fireman, and had to be finished off with an ax.

Tinguely had spent three weeks preparing his gizmo, which he called Homage to New York. "New York is a phallic city," he explained, adding that he could not possibly have conceived of a suicidal sculpture anywhere else. His materials included a meteorological trial balloon, many bottles (to break), an upright piano, a gocart, a bathtub, hammers and saws, 80 bicycle wheels and sundry other items, picked for the most part from New Jersey dumps.

The crowd was patient, and only booed the intruding fireman (who may have remembered that the Modern was almost destroyed by fire a scant two years ago). What the connoisseurs witnessed for their pains was an unbeautiful joke with no punch line. As the New York Times's Critic John Canaday gently put it: "Mr. Tinguely makes fools of machines while the rest of mankind permits machines to make fools of them. Tinguely's machine wasn't quite good enough, as a machine, to make his point."





Nam Jun Paik, Robot K-456, 1964
Nam June Paik here deploys his new 'Robot K-456', history's first non-human action artist.
The robot was purpose-built for street actions, in which it was supposed to mingle – more or less inconspicuously – with bypassers, as Paik recounts: 'I imagined it would meet people on the street and give them a split-second surprise. Like a sudden shower.'



Chance in a lifetime: John G. Hanhardt on Nam June Paik

ArtForum,  April, 2006  by John G. Hanhardt

"Only in part was Paik remaking and humanizing technology in a carnivalesque spirit of play and freewheeling invention. Consider his remote-controlled automaton Robot K-456, 1964, which he used in performances both onstage and in the street. Outfitted with tape recorders and a messy mass of wires snaking around a metal frame in a blocky humanoid shape, this comic mobile sculpture was featured in Paik's Robot Opera as part of the Second Annual New York Avant-Garde Festival, which also took place in 1964, the year Paik moved to New York. Robot K-456 shuffled down the sidewalk, playing political speeches by John F. Kennedy and, as Paik would say, "shitting" beans out its backside. When I organized Paik's 1982 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Paik set Robot K-456 in motion again, this time down the sidewalk and across Madison Avenue, where a car ran into it in a staged accident. When a television reporter asked Paik what had happened, he replied, it was the "catastrophe of technology in the twenty-first century. And we are learning how to cope with it.""

Read full article here


Art Machines Machines Art (view video)

a group exhibition at Museum Tinguely in Basel


  “People’s basic trust in machine activity, the basis of our industrial revolution and our affluence, is fundamentally alien to art’s self-understanding; and so art was very reticent to use machines to create itself. But to create a machine as an artwork and to shift responsibility to it for the development of further works of art abrogates the artist’s autonomy and transfers creativity to an apparatus. This raises an issue that is very much in vogue in view of today’s permanent shifting frontiers between the individual and technology.” (Guido Magnaguagno, Director Museum Tinguely and Max Hollein, Director, Schirn)

(Katharina Dohm and Heinz Stahlhut, curators of the exhibition)


  The exhibition starts with works by Jean Tinguely, but the interest in art producing machines is far older, since the intertwined history of art and of the machine harks back to Antiquity and continues through the ages down to the present day. Numerous exhibitions in the past have investigated the relationship between art and the machine, but here the focus is neither on the beauty of the machines nor of the objects that they produce; rather, the exhibition presents works of art that are at the same time machines that produce in turn their own artworks. These machines possess a processual character that combines machine, act of production, user and product.


  The relationship between work of art and viewer is examined in all the works without always being at the source of the latter. The viewer is not always directly involved in the production process, but, nevertheless, always gains an insight in the production and is thus led to reflect on the issue as to where the work of art begins. 


  The artist will never succeed in disappearing permanently from the work of art. The machine can produce art without his presence but never without his ideas.

(K. Dohm and H. Stahlhut, Art Machines Machine Art, exh. cat., Kehrer-Verlag, 2007/8) 



Jean Tinguely, Cyclograveur, 1959


The autonomous physical production made by a machine has often been perceived as "magic". The perception that a non-organic entity would produce something "new", when not "original" has already been vastly debated, but the fascination of the results is still a matter of fact, underlying some inscrutable "intelligence". Basically this kind of machines are moving (=giving a sign of life), receiving some input (=processing data) and producing an output (=assembling live something new). This is a potentially endless loop, further explored by artists, often focusing on how to make the output unpredictable. Jean Tinguely is in this sense the ancestor of the modern "automatique" involving everyday objects in a new functional/useless structure. The (surprising) mechanisms all of a sudden generate sense."
Text from Neural.it.



 Jean Tinguely from Méta-Matics series, 1959


 View video of Jean Tinguely's Self-Portrait


Angela Bulloch, Blue Horizon, 1990

The machine only begins to draw in response to an external impulse.


Steve Pippen, Carbon Copier (Anyway), 2007?

Two photocopiers combined produce their “drawings” in delicate gradations of gray when the viewer presses both buttons simultaneously.


Rebecca Horn, Die Preussische Brautmaschine, 1988


Olafur Elliason, TheEndless Study, 2005


"This version of a 19th-century harmonograph is part of an investigation into the correlation between space and sound undertaken by Studio Olafur Eliasson. Two lateral pendulums, mounted at right angles to one another, are set in motion, their ends connected by a hinged arm. At the connection point, a pen is affixed. An adjustable weight is secured to each pendulum, thus enabling the speed of the movement to be altered. Mounted on gimbals, a third pendulum, with a small wooden platform at its top, makes a rotary movement. A sheet of paper is attached to the platform; the pen records the resultant rhythms of the circular movements onto this horizontal plane."

Text from Spatial Vibration blog.



Robert Rauschenberg, Mud Muse, 1971

(view video)


  "During the 1960s, Robert Rauschenberg discovered that sound could be used to make art, just like a discarded umbrella or a stuffed billygoat. Excited by the promise of using sound as a material, he co-founded Experiments in Art and Technology, an organization dedicated to supporting collaborations between artists and industry."


  "The piece consisted of a big aluminum tank of mud-9 x 12 feet-that oozes, plops, bubbles and slaps in response to the sounds of its own earthy noises. Rauschenberg explained that it was intended to simulate the 'paint pots' at Yellowstone National Park, the churning pits of molten earth caused by subterranean heat geysers."




  "Engineers Lewis Ellmore and Frank LaHayne of Teledyne Industries in California-which manufactures aviation electronics as well as the popular oral hygiene tool, the Water Pik-helped Rauschenberg to realize the concept. Together they designed and built the aluminum tank filled with 8,000 pounds of driller's mud made of bentonite, a volcanic ash with grains smaller than .001 millimeter. The material can absorb great quantities of water which turns it into a gel-like substance..."


"Despite their original concept of an entirely self-activating work, the collaborators found that the system needed to be triggered by an outside sound-base. Rauschenberg commissioned performance-artist Petrie Mason Robie to create a soundtrack of recorded material taken from daily life as the basis for Mud Muse's activation."


[Mud Muse incurred several incarnations that included audience relationship to the work, and technical resolutions...]


  "In its final incarnation Mud Muse demanded nothing active of its audience; it ran by itself, asking viewers only to be receptive to its sensual stimulation. "It is primitive but I hope in being primitive that it can be simple and the intent be legible," commented Rauschenberg, who also hoped that audiences would "get involved with Mud Muse on a really physical, basic, sensual level." Perhaps he imagined that audiences would be stimulated synesthetically by the concomitant effects of sight, sound, and kinesthesia. This vision seems to have materialized in the mind of Art News critic David Antin, who suggested in 1971 that this was "the interactive work of art conceived as the perfectly responsive lover." 


Excerpts from essay by REBEKAH J.KOWAL, originally from Merge #2, 1998, reblogged by artnode.

Images from Los Angeles County Museum of Art "A Report on the Art and Technology Program L.A.C.M.A. 1967-71" (LOs Angeles L.A.C.M.A.,1977)




Bernie Lubell, Not the Sort of Ideas I had in Mind, 1988


"A word-processor wherein concepts stamped into hardwood chips are; released from the fore-brain and hind-brain reserviors, shifted to any of 3-tracks and sent careening into a maze where several collections become possible- through the use of strings, pulleys, levers and other devices. 
Interesting concepts become manifest as ideas block, trip, jump, hide, and bump each other. Groups of ideas may get stuck together, roll apart, fall off before reaching any significance or pass through all possible permutations yet finally drift off across the floor. 
Behind the main processor is the Coat Rack and Lexical List."


Artist statement: "I make interactive installations that focus on the intersection of science and the arts -- but my work is adamantly low -tech. These installations use no computers or video or motors and are entirely powered by visitors to the show. As visitors work together to animate the mechanisms they create a theatre for themselves and each other. By requiring participation, touch and manipulation I get the audience to engage their bodies as well as their minds." 


Text and images from the artist's website.



Beatriz da Costa, Pigeonblog, 2007, ZeroOne San Jose


"This weekend, pigeons wearing tiny backpacks will roam the skies over Northern California. It’s not a manifestation of pet personhood, it’s a science project. The backpacks, equipped with smog sensors, GPS and a cell phone, gather air pollution data during the flight which is submitted - in real time - to the PigeonBlog website.


As the pigeons fly about, the sensors gather information on oxdizing gases, such as Nitrogen Oxides and Volatile Organic Compounds, as well as reducing gases, such as Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide and Hydrocarbons. On theMAP section of PigeonBlog you can follow both the sensory readings and the flying trajectory superimposed onto a satellite map of the area the pigeons fly over. The site also provides information about the composition of our air, common pollutants and their known health effects as well as the EPA’s Air Quality Index and the current state of air pollution in the United States today."


Text and image from EcoGeek website.






Spencer Finch, 2 hours, 2 minutes, 2 seconds (Wind at Walden Pond, March 12, 2007), 2007

44 fans, wood, computerized dimmer board, 93 inches tall, 14 feet in diameter





Charles Ray's Tabletop, 1989, appears at first glance to be a still life in the most literal sense: a table laid with domestic objects. Yet the objects are actually moving, or spinning, very slowly. 


Text and images from MoMA website, "Objects of Desire" exhibition notes.




Diane Landry, La Moure (The Cod), performed live since 1997


Diane Landry uses two record players as carousels on which various small items are placed one after another. Lamps act as projectors that cast gigantic, dream-like shadows on a big screen. By playing with the rheostats connected to the lights, the performer, like a DJ, plays with her back to the audience and delivers in succession the images of miniature cars, plastic animals, or strainers that lie superimposed on each other, cut across one another, or run parallel to each other.


As a result, by amplifying the scratching sound of the turntables, Diane Landry tells a fabulous tale “live”, in which everyday objects take on an unsuspected dimension. Calling upon both the luminosity of photography and the movement of the turntables, the device becomes a sort of magic lantern, transforming our perception of casual objects to an artistically poetic form. 


La Morue (The Cod) has continuously evolved since it was first presented in 1997. The work is presented today for the first time outdoors, after touring across North America and Europe in numerous festivals.





Diane Landry, Flying School (Ãcole d’aviation)


The umbrellas are all on Landry’s mechanical contraptions with hand-made bellows that breathe air in and out — raising and lowering the umbrellas. Constantly moving at different rates, the bellows make sighing-singing noises, and the umbrellas slide up and down, open and close in sort of a solemn dance.




Diane Landry, Mandalas in series Blue Decline, 2002, bottlles of water, motors, selected object , aluminum, wood, halogen lamp


Mandala Perrier (view video)


Mandala Naya (view video)


"Deriving from the Sanskrit word for “ circle “, a mandala is an artistic representation of the cosmos, and is used in Eastern religious traditions as a focus for meditation. Using the now-ubiquitous plastic water bottle, Landry's mandalas conjure shadow versions of this spiritual symbol. Each of Landry's mandalas is created from only one kind of bottle, and bears the name of the brand of water it once held, i.e., Mandala Evian. In Mandala Naya, a laundry basket ringed with water bottles is attached to the wall. A tripod, supporting a light attached to a mechanized arm, stands in front of the basket. As the arm moves forward, the light shines through the holes of the basket and through the water bottles, creating a startlingly beautiful shadow that stretches across the wall. This is the reward for watching Mandala Naya for its entire one-minute cycle; just as with traditional mandalas, the time required to experience the work makes it an object of contemplation." Images and text from the artist's website.



Heidi Kumao is an interdisciplinary artist who creates video and machine art to explore ordinary social interactions and their psychological underpinnings.  Working at the intersection of sculpture, theater and engineering, she creates “performative technologies.” These devices are designed to re-enact an event, perform a task for the viewer, or mediate her roles as a woman.  These have included kinetic sculptures, electronic wearables, “cinema machines”, and digital animations.   She is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.



Brides of Frankenstein exhibition, San Jose Museum of Art

"Heidi Kumao's sculptures Protest and Resist consist of disembodied metal legs that thrash their Mary Jane-shod feet in little-girlish wrath in response to a voice-activated program." – Metroactive




Protest, 2002-04 (view video)

Image from Metroactive article "We Can Build You"  


Portrait of a Girl: A motorized pair of girl's legs takes the emotional temperature of the room and makes her presence known through loud (she's wearing tap shoes) and erratic stomping and tapping on household furniture. Responding to the presence of viewers, this girl alternates between aggressive, attention-getting tantrums and seemingly uncontrolled shaking and jerking.




Resist, 2005 (view video)


A machine portrait: audio-activated 6-year-old girl's legs. As viewers speak to this character, the legs begin a series of random behaviors from imperceptible movement to violent and fast kicking. Her actions leave permanent marks on the floor.


These two artworks are one of three sets of girls' legs that are all part of Misbehaving: Media Machines Act Out a project of Heidi Kumao supported by the Creative Capital Foundation.



Wearable technology.

LEDs line face of dress and light up with changes to volume, like a VU meter.


Tamara Stone



Are You Afraid of Dogs?, 2001 


"...features a pack of toy, remote controlled dogs, stripped of their fake fur down to their robotic essence, the installation uses a motion detector to sense the approach of visitors – sending the entire pack into paroxysms of automated barking and movement. Stone earned her BFA at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University in Boston. Several years ago, after a period of concentration on painting she rediscovered her early fascination with kinetic sculpture. Her recent installations are studies of emotion and cognition through human-machine interactivity. Tamara currently resides in San Francisco and Toronto. Her work has been shown across Canada as well as in Boston and Ann Arbor, Deadtech in Chicago and ISEA2002 in Nagoya Japan."


Text and images from simple.tech website




Future Farmers, Photosynthesis Robot, 2003


Photosynthesis Robot is a three-dimensional sketch of a possible perpetual motion machine driven by phototropism- the movement of plants towards the direction of the sun. The motion of the plants upon this four wheeled vehicle would propel slowly over a period of time. 

Text and photos from Future Farmers website.






The Sonic Body is an audio-installation that uses interactive technology to create an orchestra of the human body. Developed as collaboration between four interdisciplinary artists and a heart surgeon, the installation brings together art and medical-science to reveal the unheard sounds of the body.


View YouTube video of Sonic Body. 




Becky Stern

via fffff.at

make your own via instructables

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