Digital Art, From The Present, For The Future
Following the 0xCollection’s September launch with a major commission from acclaimed artist Refik Anadol and group show of 8 new media artists at the forefront of technology, its inaugural group show Synesthetic Immersion has been extended until 2 November and additionally becomes part of Signal Festival’s Off Programme.
0xCollection is based in Basel and operates under the artistic direction of curator Elle Anastasiou, who champions a networked approach to collecting by working with artists, curators, historians and technologists to develop today’s digital art for future generations. With a decentralised view of collecting and curating at its core, the collection was created with the purpose of public display and engagement around contemporary artistic and technical innovation. The collection is supported by entrepreneur and philanthropist Karel Komárek.
Synesthetic Immersion. 7 September – 2 November 2023
Exhibited in the Arts Space at Bořislavka, Synesthetic Immersion highlights the work of 8 new media artists whose creations translate one art form into another through radical interdisciplinary technologies. Exploring synaesthesia (derived from the Greek for ‘united perception’) as a poetic and a neurological state, the artworks demonstrate the transformation of an input perceived by one sense into an output in another. In this hybrid mechanism, a colour can have sound, or an artwork can directly induce sensation.
One of glitch art’s pioneers, Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda is best known for his mathematical, immersive live performances and installations which span visual and sonic media. In Prague, he presents data.gram 14 (2022), a piece from his larger data-verse trilogy which translates 2D sequences of patterns derived from hard drive errors and studies of software code into dramatic rotating views of the universe in 3D.
Chinese-Canadian artist Sougwen Chung specialises in the expanding field of human-machine collaboration, a realm where the interplay between mark-made-by-hand and mark-made-by-machine unveils insights into the dynamics between humans and systems. For the exhibition, she presents works from her ongoing Ligatures series (2021 – 2023) in both screen-based and AR formats, delving into the delicate interplay between traditional sculpture and non-traditional, post-physical architecture through mathematical and gestural translations.
ǪUAYOLA, the multidisciplinary Italian artist who draws inspiration from Hellenistic sculpture, Old Master painting, and Baroque architecture, uses technology to explore the intricate confluence of seemingly contrasting forces. The exhibition sees him display Transient Suite B (2020): the innovative audiovisual concert which marks a collaborative journey of research and experimentation with experimental musician Seta, as well as ǪUAYOLA’s first music-based project.
Meanwhile, British artist and quantum physicist Libby Heaney crafts an ethereal dreamscape titled Ent-er the Garden of Forking Paths (2022) in one of the first artworks to use future computing as an aesthetic tool. Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s vibrant depictions of heaven and hell in the Garden of Earthly Delights, Heaney invites viewers to transcend the boundaries of perception by using quantum computing to animate alternate states of existence.
Collaborating with the Takahashi Laboratory at the University of Tokyo, Japanese artist Daito Manabe’s Cells: A Generation (2023) delves into generative art by harnessing the computational potential of rat brain cells. Developing a mechanism that enables rat neurons to learn and create art based on their environment, the resulting video installation transforms the neural learning process into a visual spectacle akin to human artists working with physical elements like canvas, paint, or stone.
In his sculptural installation series Aoyama Space (2009), German artist and musician Carsten Nicolai reinterprets the form of a Tokyo photo studio, creating a miniature, concave room devoid of edges to develop an enigmatic spatial conceit. Illumination emanates from electronic harmonies, ranging from deep resonant bass to high-pitched clicks, modulating sound to further spatial speculation. Between a shifting kaleidoscope of shapes and colour, elegant yet elusive hardware, and sonic irritation, this piece stands as a testament to Carsten Nicolai’s practice, which transcends traditional boundaries by embracing the intersection of science, technology, and aesthetics.
Nancy Baker Cahill exhibits The Quivering and Lively Nerve of the Now (2023): a film mirroring Clarice Lispector’s Água Viva in its celebration of selfhood, desire, and unbridled passion. Building upon the foundation of her recent series, Slipstream: Table of Contents, the American new media artist mediates literature through the realm of digital art by using a phrase from Água Viva as the animating force behind the film’s abstract narrative: ‘I am before, I am almost, I am never’.
Lastly, Lu Yang’s DOKU : Hello World (2021) continues the Chinese artist’s exploration of the digital realm. The iconic piece introduced Lu Yang’s alter-ego avatar, Doku: a striking character that transcends the rigid confines of identity, nationality, and gender. In the piece, Lu Yang weaves together virtual reality, gaming subcultures, and popular music, creating an immersive experience that celebrates the liberation of one’s identity in the internet landscape.
Full list of participating artists: Ryoji Ikeda, Sougwen Chung, ǪUAYOLA, Libby Heaney, Daito Manabe, Carsten Nicolai, Nancy Baker Cahill and Lu Yang.
Signal Festival is a festival of digital and creative culture based in Prague, focusing on new artworld ecosystems from light design, visual and digital art, artificial intelligence and conceptual art. Running from the 12 – 15 October, read more about Signal Festival here.