September 14, 2004

Christiane Paul Curates

by Noah Wardrip-Fruin · , 10:02 am

Tonight’s the opening of “The Passage of Mirage — Illusory Virtual Objects.” It’s curated by Christiane Paul and Zhang Ga, and features works by Jim Campbell, Vuk Cosic, John Gerrard, W. Bradford Paley, Eric Paulos, Wolfgang Staehle, Thomson & Craighaid, and Carlo Zanni. There are artist talks coming up on the 30th, and then a symposium titled “Negotiating Realities: New Media Art and the Post-Object” on October 10.

But that’s hardly all Christiane’s been up to. For example, two cool projects have recently gone up at the Whitney Artport (a space she curates). One is {Software} Structures by Casey Reas (with Robert Hodgin, William Ngan, Jared Tarbell). The other is Demonstrate by Ken Goldberg and Alpha Lab (click “view again” if your browser blocks popups).

More details on all of these below.

agent.netart presents

The Passage of Mirage — Illusory Virtual Objects
featuring works by Jim Campbell, Vuk Cosic, John Gerrard, W. Bradford Paley, Eric Paulos, Wolfgang Staehle, Thomson & Craighaid, and Carlo Zanni

September 14 – October 16
Chelsea Art Museum
556 West 22nd Street, @ 11th avenue
New York, NY 10011 USA

+Opening reception: Tues, September 14, 6-8 PM
+Artist Talk: Thurs., September 30, 7 – 9 PM
+Symposium: “Negotiating Realities: New Media Art and the Post-Object”
Sun, Oct. 10, 11-5 PM, Tishman Auditorium, New School University, 66 W 12th St.

Exhibition and symposium organized by agent.netart
(joint public programs by Intelligent Agent and the Netart Initiative of the Parsons School of Design)
Curators and symposium co-ordinators:
Christiane Paul (Director, Intelligent Agent; Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts, Whitney Museum)
Zhang Ga (Director, Netart Initiative; Professor, MFA Design and Technology program, Parsons School of Design)

The exhibition and symposium are made possible by funding from THE ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION

The exhibition “The Passage of Mirage” explores concepts surrounding the “virtual object” and the issues of representation that have been raised by it. While the coalition of virtual and object seems contradictory at first glance, it dialectically illuminates the complex relationships between the virtual and the real that unfold in new media art. In classical optical theories of the 18th century, the word “virtual” was used to describe the reflected image of an object. Today’s digital image does not require a physical object to represent a physical reality; rather than reproducing reality, it encodes data and therefore alludes to an expanded concept of objecthood.

New media art both connects to and expands the dematerialization of the art object that occurred in earlier art movements. The new media object is a process in flux that is potentially interactive, dynamic, participatory and customizable and often oscillates between its inherent ephemeral nature and its material components or people‚s desire to objectify it.

“The Passage of Mirage” features nine projects that address these issues by portraying the virtual object as a process, a data structure (or carrier thereof), or as an encoded reality. The artworks expand notions of the traditional art object, sometimes quite specifically with regard to more established art forms such as photography, film, or painting.

The works of Jim Campbell and Thomson & Craighead, for example, offer different approaches to processing the medium of film. Campbell’s “Accumulating Psycho” continuously collapses and accumulates the images of the entire 1 hour, 50 minutes Hitchcock film; by contrast, the artist’s “Night Light” visualizes Psycho’s sound level and the brightness of the image throughout the film. Thomson & Craighead’s “Short Films about Flying” is an edition of unique cinematic works that were generated in real-from existing data found on the World Wide Web: each “movie” (replete with opening titles and end credits) combines a video feed from Logan Airport in Boston with randomly loaded net radio sourced from elsewhere in the world.

John Gerrard’s “Watchful” and Carlo Zanni’s “Oriana” both transform a portrait into a “living” process that is networked or responds to haptic sensation; and Wolfgang Staehle’s and Vuk Cosic’s works present a “live” version of a photograph or painting. In very different ways, the idea of the object as data carrier unfolds both in W. Bradford Paley’s “Code Profiles” and Eric Paulos’ “Limelight,” a sculptural object that doubles as automated threat detection and indication system.

While still informed by the aesthetics of more traditional media, the artworks in the exhibition are media objects that are process-oriented, reactive, or open to (real-time) data processing and intervention.

new commissioned project at artport, The Whitney Museum’s portal to net art

{Software} Structures

by Casey Reas (with Robert Hodgin, William Ngan, Jared Tarbell) /

Inspired by Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings, {Software} Structures explores the relevance of conceptual art to the idea of software as art. As many works of conceptual art, software art is ultimately based on instructions and language.

Reas implemented three of Lewitt’s drawings in software and then made modifications. After working with the LeWitt plans, he created three unique structures — text descriptions outlining dynamic relations between elements — which were then implemented: 26 pieces of software derived from the textual structures were coded to isolate different components, including interpretation, material, and process. Reas invited three people to interpret and implement one of his software structures (“A surface filled with one hundred medium to small sized circles. Each circle has a different size and direction, but moves at the same slow rate.”). In addition, this structure was implemented in three separate programming environments (Java, Flash, C++). Finally, the process of realizing one structure is revealed by documenting its evolution from the first lines of code to the completed work. For each of the implementations, you may view the software, source code, and comments by the artists.

artport gate page September 04

“Demonstrate” by Ken Goldberg and Alpha Lab

Through a web camera, “Demonstrate” provides public access to UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza, where the free speech movement originated 40 years ago. The networked installation combines an advanced robotic camera and a visual database with a collective camera interface based on mathematical optimization.

One Response to “Christiane Paul Curates”

  1. noah Says:

    Here’s more info on the upcoming symposium:

    Negotiating Realities — New Media Art and the Post-Object
    A symposium in conjunction with the exhibition The Passage of Mirage — Illusory Virtual Objects
    Sunday, October 10
    Tishman Auditorium, New School University, New School University, 66 West 12th Street, NY, NY

    Synthesizing Realities (11 AM – 1 PM)
    A panel discussion featuring Barbara London, Brad Paley, and Kelly Dobson

    Reception / Break (1-3 PM)

    From Image to Digital “Image World” (3-5 PM)
    a panel discussion featuring Ron Burnett, Timothy Druckrey, and Ken Perlin

    The symposium will focus on new media art as “post-object” and the issues this art raises about the representation of realities. While art projects using digital technologies as a medium may still possess material properties — referencing art forms such as sculpture, painting and film — their underlying mechanism is code and a data structure. The programmability and instruction-based nature of new media art invites indexing and filtering and constitutes a shift to data representation and the image as tool for visualization. The principle of random access as a basis for processing and assembling information connects to notions of controlled randomness and the dematerialization of the art object that has been extensively explored by John Cage, the Fluxus artists, or Chance performances.

    The process-oriented nature of new media art and its responsiveness to audience intervention enables a different experience, meditatively as well as haptically. The “post-object” suggests a new reality that obscures the boundaries between the material and the ephemeral, introducing a perceptual twist: the virtual as tangible and the real as “illusory.” How do the language and aesthetics of new media art as a dynamic and fluctuating entity affect what we know as representation and what are the cultural and social changes brought about by this shift?

    The symposium will address issues surrounding the post-object in two separate panels.

    Synthesizing Realities (Sunday, October 10, 11 AM – 1 PM)
    A panel discussion featuring Barbara London, Brad Paley, and Kelly Dobson
    Moderated by Christiane Paul and Zhang Ga
    While the virtual and the real are frequently understood as antithetical, they are closely connected states of human perception. Any intersection between the virtual and real (as in the phenomenon of virtual reality) relies on a process of mediation. This mediation is made possible by various kinds of “interfaces” ranging from the human-machine interface to the audio-visual layers that translate one form of data, information, or sensory input into another. The panel will explore the ways in which our realities are interfaced and the effects this mediation has on relationships between the subject and object.

    >From Image to Digital “Image World” (Sunday, October 10, 3-5 PM)
    A panel discussion featuring Ron Burnett, Timothy Druckrey, and Ken Perlin
    Moderated by Christiane Paul & Zhang Ga

    The digital image has a profound effect on the way in which our culture communicates and perceives itself. Instant documentation, manipulation, and distribution are just a few of the characteristics of digital technologies that have changed how we “visualize” ourselves. Conventional approaches to exploring a work of art are challenged by the tension between “materiality / immateriality” inherent to digital technologies. In the digital world, the image seems to have changed from an object for viewing to a temporal, evolving and interaction-oriented space. The panel will address questions about today’s “image world” and how it is reflected in art, news media, and a science context.

    Organized by agent.netart (
    (Joint public programs by Intelligent Agent and the Netart Initiative of the Parsons School of Design)
    Coordinated by: Christiane Paul (Director, Intelligent Agent; Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts, Whitney Museum of American Art), Zhang Ga (Director, Netart Initiative; Faculty Member, MFA Design and Technology Program, Parsons School of Design)
    This symposium is made possible through funding from the ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION

    Speakers’ Bios

    Ron Burnett is the President of the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design in Vancouver, and a member of the Board of Governors, New Media BC, as well as numerous boards of cultural organizations. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Graduate Program in Film and Video, York University, Toronto; a William Evans Fellow at the University of Otago, New Zealand; and a Burda Scholar at Ben Gurion University, Israel. He is the former Director of the Graduate Program in Communications at McGill University, the recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for service to Canada and Canadians, and a recent inductee to the Royal Canadian Academy of Art. Burnett is the author of Cultures of Vision: Images, Media, and the Imaginary and the editor of Explorations in Film Theory. In his latest book, How Images Think (MIT Press, 2004), Ron Burnett explores how images become spaces of visualization with more and more intelligence programmed into the very fabric of communication processes. This new ecology transforms the relationships humans have with the image-based technologies they have created.

    Kelly Dobson is a design engineer and artist. Working in the realms of technology, medicine, art, and culture, her projects involve the “parapraxis” of machine design — what machines do and mean for people other than the use for which we consciously designed them. She is currently a researcher at the MIT Media Lab working towards her Ph.D. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Cornell University’s Department of Architecture, Art and Planning and a Master of Science degree from MIT’s Visual Studies Program. Kelly has performed/lectured at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.; and at Metapolis in Barcelona, Spain. She has shown her work in solo exhibitions at Cornell University’s Tjaden Gallery and as performances/interventions in public places. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum in Ithaca, New York (1994); Witte de With in Rotterdam, The Netherlands (July – September 2000); The MIT Media Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts (October 2001); The Kitchen in New York, New York (December 2001), Beall Center for Art & Technology, University of California, Irvine (January 2002); and Metapolis at the Circulo De Bellas Artes in Madrid, Spain (November 2002). While working in the Physics and Media Group at the MIT Media Lab, Dobson collaborated on work with the Flying Karamozov Brothers (1999 – 2000) and for The Un-Private House exhibition at MoMA (1999). As a member of the Interrogative Design Group at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, she worked on the Aegis Project with Krzysztof Wodiczko, Adam Whiton, Sung Ho Kim, Jurek Stypulkowski, and Brooklyn Model Works, which was featured in the Whitney Biennial in New York (2000) and at the Berlin Art Forum International with Gabrielle Maubrie Gallery (1999).

    Timothy Druckrey is a curator, writer, and editor living in New York City. He lectures internationally about the social impact of electronic media, the transformation of representation, and communication in interactive and networked environments. He co-organized the international symposium “Ideologies of Technology” at the Dia Center of the Arts and co-edited the book Culture on the Brink: Ideologies of Technology (Bay Press). He also co-curated the exhibition “Iterations: The New Image” at the International Center of Photography and edited the book by the same name published by MIT Press. He recently edited Electronic Culture: Technology and Visual Representation and is Series Editor for “Electronic Culture: History, Theory, Practice” published by MIT Press. This series now includes Ars Electronica: Facing the Future, net_condition: art and global media, Geert Lovink’s Dark Fiber, and Future Cinema: The Cinematic Imaginary After Film (edited by Jeffrey Shaw and Peter Weibel). Recent exhibitions he has curated include “Bits and Pieces” and “Critical Conditions.” He currently teaches as Critic in Residence at MICA and is Guest Professor at the University of Applied Art, Vienna.

    Curator Barbara London founded The Museum of Modern Art’s video exhibition program and has guided it over a long pioneering career. She has helped assemble the Museum’s premiere media collection. Her recent activity includes “Music and Media,” with Laurie Anderson/Greil Marcus, Michel Gondry/Ed Halter, and Brian Eno/Todd Haynes; Gary Hill’s installation HanD HearD; “TimeStream,” a web commission by Tony Oursler; and a series of Web projects undertaken in China, Russia, and Japan. She has written and lectured widely.

    W. Bradford Paley creates visual displays with the goal of making readable, clear, and engaging expressions of complex data. His visual representations are inspired by the calm, richly layered information in natural scenes. His process invokes three perspectives: rendering methods used by fine artists and graphic artists are informed by their possible underpinnings in human perception, then applied to creating narrowly-scoped, almost idiosyncratic representations whose visual semantics are often driven by the real-world metaphors of the experts who know the domains best. Brad did his first computer graphics in 1973, founded Digital Image Design Incorporated ( in 1982, and started doing financial and statistical data visualization in 1986. He has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art; he created; he is in the ARTPORT collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art; has received multiple grants and awards for both art and design; and his designs are at work every day in the hands of brokers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. He is an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University, and is director of Information Esthetics, a fledgling interdisciplinary group exploring the creation and interpretation of data representations that are both readable and aesthetically satisfying.

    Ken Perlin is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science, and Director of the New York University Media Research Laboratory and co-Director, NYU Center for Advanced Technology. Ken Perlin’s research interests include graphics, animation, and multimedia. In 2002 he received the NYC Mayor’s award for excellence in Science and Technology and the Sokol award for outstanding Science faculty at NYU. In 1997 he won an Academy Award for Technical Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his noise and turbulence procedural texturing techniques, which are widely used in feature films and television. In 1991 he received a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. Perlin received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University in 1986, and a B.A. in theoretical mathematics from Harvard University in 1979. He was Head of Software Development at R/GREENBERG Associates in New York, NY from 1984 through 1987. Prior to that, from 1979 to 1984, he was the System Architect for computer-generated animation at Mathematical Applications Group, Inc., Elmsford, NY. TRON was the first movie for which his name got onto the credits. He has served on the Board of Directors of the New York chapter of ACM/SIGGRAPH, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Software Industry Association.

Powered by WordPress