Curated Catalog // Summer 2018
During the last decade we feel technology should be everywhere and nowhere at the same time, perfectly integrated into our everyday experience, or our homes, without intruding. The future art audience has technology in their everyday life; through technology they experience the world around them, and this is what connects them to
The Niio Featured Exhibition is dedicated to the moving image and public space, aiming to present curated screening programs to a wider audience. It is based on the idea of mediating works from an extended list of contemporary video artists, through new digital exhibition formats and cloud-based platforms.
- Daniela Arriado, Co-Curator
The "Elixir" pieces describe impossible landscapes: cut-crystal bottles bob and toss like buoys in the ocean, beacons bearing potions, poisons, messages, genies. Each bottle contains an animated figure engaged in a repeated, metronomic action. In "Elixir I", a woman is rowing; "Elixir II", a blindfolded man stumbles to stay upright. "Elixir III" holds a little girl trying to fly with paper wings; and in "Elixir IV", a high diver twists and arcs, while the bottle presses forward in an Antarctic landscape. The highly layered video treatment pays tribute to the 19th century Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky, whose portentous, luminous paintings of tiny ships on huge swells of ocean both mesmerize and terrify the viewer.
“Zurkow plays with motion and fixity, the graticule projecting from its enlightenment centering and creating, drawing out and forth a landscape that never has existed quite: but that may now be describing a new polar circumferencing. And the possibilities of this landscape are also internal, or not seen on official maps.”
– Elena Glasberg, notes from The Anthropogenic Landscape and Feminist Art Practice
From the series "Glass"
Digital video, media player, screen or projector
Dimensions variable, landscape orientation
10 min, seamless loop
Weights and Measures
Airplanes, elephants, and plankton – three beautiful “machines.” "Weights + Measures" compares proverbial apples and oranges, in order to probe a system of relative values. Take any two of the three creatures in the system: in water, airplanes sink while elephants swim. Elephants and airplanes both release methane, and both have been instruments of transport and war. Airplanes produce carbon dioxide (CO2), while plankton consumes it. As the largest land mammal, elephants are at the top of the terrestrial food chain, and microscopic plankton is at the bottom; yet without phytoplankton, the oceans would starve. Each ‘machine’ brings into focus several facets of a complex ecosystem, which includes the economics of short-term imperatives and long-view evolutionary time; the microscopic and the monumental; and human interventions of biological technology.
All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace
All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace is a computer generated (CG) 3D Animation based on the 1967 poem by Richard Brautigan. The poem envisions a world where cybernetics has advanced to a stage where it allows a return to the balance of nature and the elimination of the need for human labor. It was written after being a Poet-in-Residence at the California Institute of Technology. The music is Sonata Movement (After Beethoven) and was composed by Experiments in Musical Intelligence, a software written by former UC Santa Cruz professor David Cope that analyzes existing music and creates new compositions in the style of the original composers.
The video work "the invisble city" is an exploration of the way global cities will develop in the future. Of similar magnitude to the impact of the industrial revolution in the late 19th century, it is now computer networks and the information society based on them which are the main vehicles for change, the key elements transforming the face of our urban living spaces. The digital fusion of panoramic views taken from different angles transforms the landscape into a woven fabric of relationships. The work shows the endless ocean of information, an all pervasive network. A compression of space and time evoking intense and constantly growing global interconnectivity. The megacities New York, London, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo, São Paulo, Shanghai and Mexico City are appearing in the video.
The Swing features a plump nude avatar, named Machina, whose appearance is loosely based on Baroque painter Peter Paul Reuben's portraits of his wife, and personifies Rococo fleshy decadence. In this multi-channel animated installation, the character swings on a seat suspended from the sky, set inside super Mannerist slow time. Her wooded surroundings ebb and flow at another rate, imitating stop motion, as years pass in a matter of moments. The driver of all of these cycles, but a driver scarcely in control, this female figure is a Mother Nature heading straight for what she suspects might be Oblivion.
Jonathan Monaghan creates sculpture and animated video installations that challenge the boundaries between the real, the imagined, and virtual. The video "Mothership" appropriates characters and objects from science fiction, advertising, video games and art history. Funny and colorful, Monaghan's work travels a space between Super Mario's Rainbow Road, the landscape of German romantic painting, and the Technodrome in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Absurdly pulling together disparate populist imagery that evokes value, power and technology, it fuses luxury apartments and medical operating rooms, as well as the London skyline and a sacred cow.
Founder/Director bitforms gallery
Steven Sacks is the founder and director of bitforms gallery, considered one of the leading galleries in the world focusing on new media. Founded in 2001, the gallery represents established, mid-career, and emerging artists critically engaged with new technologies. Spanning the rich history of media art through its current developments, the gallery’s program offers an incisive perspective on the fields of digital, internet, time-based, and new media art forms. Supporting and advocating for the collection of ephemeral, time-based, and digital art works since its founding, bitforms gallery artists are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Center for Art and Media (ZKM), Karlsruhe; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, among other institutions internationally
Marina Zurkow is an American visual artist based in New York City who works with media technology, animation and video. Some of the less traditional mediums are known to be dinners, life science and bio materials. Her subject matter includes individual narratives, environmental concerns, and reflections on the relation between species, or between humans, animals, plants and the weather. Her artworks have been seen in solo exhibitions at DiverseWorks in Houston Texas and at FACT in Liverpool. Zurkow is the recipient of a Creative Capital grant and has had fellowships from the Guggenheim and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Sara Ludy’s practice investigates the confluence of the physical and virtual. Her works include websites, animation, video, sculpture, and audio-visual performance. Traversing the online virtual world Second Life, Ludy photographs domestic interiors, landscapes, and other scenes that are iconographically familiar, yet feel otherworldly. Alongside this practice, she three-dimensionally renders architectural forms and sculptures, each one imbued with the mysticism of the digital uncanny: a space between what is known and unknown, within reach but just out of grasp.
Pascual Sisto is an artist and filmmaker currently based in New York. Sisto’s workprimarily focuses on video installation and sculpture. Sisto is the recipient of a BFA from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California, and an MFA from the University of California Los Angeles. Sisto also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2011. Sisto is the recipient of the 2012 California Community Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship and a 2011 ARC Durfee Foundation grant.
The pace of technological progress has accelerated to the point that the future is happening far faster than we could ever have anticipated. Michael Najjar belongs to that contemporary artistic vanguard which takes a critical look at the technological forces shaping the early 21st century. In his photo and video works Najjar approaches art with an interdisciplinary mindset, transmuting the fields of science, art, and technology into visions and utopias of future social structures emerging under the impact of cutting-edge technologies.
Born in 1966 in Landau, Germany, Najjar attended the bildo Academy of Arts in Berlin from 1988 – 1993, where he was trained in the practices of conceptional and interdisciplinary art. During this time he discovered the visionary theories of media philosophers such as Vilém Flusser, Paul Virilio and Jean Baudrillard which have markedly influenced his later work.
Claudia Hart (born 1955 in New York, NY) is an artist and associate professor in the Department of Film, Video, New Media, Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. She is represented by bitforms gallery, New York. Hart has been active as an artist, curator and critic since 1988. She creates virtual representations that take the form of 3D imagery integrated into photography, animated loops and multi-channel animation installations. Hart's work applies a feminist perspective to a discussion of digital technology and a critique of the media. Much of her work attempts to introduce women into a male-dominated technological culture and condemn the violent impulses of a masculine digital production environment. In her artist statement, Hart says, "By creating virtual images that are sensual but not pornographic within mechanized, clockwork depictions of the natural, I try to subvert earlier dichotomies of woman and nature pitted against a civilized, “scientific” and masculine world of technology. In my own way, I am staging a romantic rebellion against technocratic and bureaucratic culture."
Jonathan Monaghan works across print, sculpture, and video installation. His work challenges the boundaries between the real, the imagined, and virtual. Drawing on a wide range of sources, from science fiction to Baroque architecture, he creates bizarre, yet compelling narratives and imagery with the same high-end technology used in Hollywood or by video game designers. His work has been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at bitforms gallery in New York, Spazio Ridotto in Venice, and Market Gallery in Glasgow. Group exhibitions include New Frontiers at the Sundance Film Festival, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and Postmasters Gallery.