The Museum of Tomorrow Built for the Future

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The Museu do Amanha incorporates sustainability into its structure. 

Image credit Finotti

Jutting diagonally into the sky from the old port of Rio de Janeiro is an other-worldly edifice that looks like a cross between a solar-powered dinosaur and a giant air conditioning unit. Resembling a huge alien exoskeleton, the 15,000-square-metre Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow)  brought together architects, researchers and government to create a space where climate change and the Earth’s future are its core focus. “We thought, why not make the social and political discussion of sustainability the main approach of a museum?” says Hugo Barreto, secretary general at the Roberto Marinho Foundation, which oversaw the building’s development and partly funded its construction.

Hugo Barreto, the head director of content, said the museum aimed to set itself apart from other science museums by editorializing about the near-term need for sustainability.

“When people think of the ‘Future’, it usually seems very far away. That’s why we called the museum ‘Tomorrow’. It’s closer. It depends on what we do today,” he said.

 Mixing science and art, the 230m reais (£40m/$59m) institution devotes itself to a topic that is divisive and often depressing: the need for change if mankind is to avoid climate disaster, environmental degradation and social collapse- and all within what must already rank as one of the world’s most extraordinary buildings. The two-storey building, which opened in December 2015, explores five themes: the Cosmos, the Earth, the Anthropocene, Tomorrow and Us. Inside, a 140-metre-long pearlescent gallery is flanked by parallel spaces where visitors are guided through several future-gazing displays: one is
an egg-shaped auditorium showing a 360° film about the Universe. In another, six ten-metre pillars display images and data that demonstrate humans’ impact on the planet.

The experiential art and science museum, : the metal roof is fitted with solar panels that supply nine per cent of the building’s electricity, 
and water from the adjacent bay cools the museum and feeds its surrounding pools before returning to the sea.

Calatrava’s talent has produced sculpturesque bridges and transportation hubs worldwide, and now, his sustainably-focused museum for Rio de Janeiro will also gain international attention.   The architect/engineer has just unveiled his design which will be part of a larger urban design project to transform Rio’s waterfront into a thriving cultural and residential community.

 Inspired by the natural landscape of the country, the two story museum features a cantilevered roof and facade with moving elements.  The museum retains Calatrava’s sleek signature aesthetic as it seems to be moving outward, pushing out into the bay.  The design incorporates a continuous strip of landscape along the southern lenght of the pier adding to the effect of the museum floating on top of the natural setting.

By using interactive exhibits and discussion, it encourages visitors to ponder the planet’s future — something the museum emphasises as a current concern. “The idea of ‘tomorrow’ brings a kind of proximity to the idea,” Barreto says. “The future isn’t far from what we are doing now.”

 Ten years ago this was one of the city’s poorest and most crime-ridden areas. Today it is in the midst of a vast redevelopment that should make it one of the most desirable areas in Rio. The overhead expressway – the Perimetral – has been demolished, new plazas have opened up, the poor have been driven out and the wealthy corporate residents, including Trump Tower developers, are being invited in.

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Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the steel structures on the museum’s roof move like wings to capture solar energy. 

To attract them, a new Museum of Art was completed here two years ago. It is impressive, but the Museum of Tomorrow is on another scale altogether.

The main exhibition is almost entirely digital, focusing on ideas rather than objects. Asking questions about where we come from, where we are and where we are heading, it leads visitors along the 200-metre-long hall through displays ranging from the origins of the planet to our possible futures.

The journey is a little trippy, a little hippy, very worthy but almost never dull. The entrance is a “cosmic portal” containing a film co-directed by City of God director Fernando Meirelles that compresses 13.7bn years of geological change and natural evolution into eight minutes of sensory overload projected by nine projectors inside an egg-shaped cinema.

This contrasts with the next three displays, which are more elegant and thoughtful, each housed within a giant cube with commentary in three languages (Portuguese, Spanish and English). The first is an ethereal installation commissioned from US artist Daniel Wurzel that conveys the flux of matter. This is followed by an immersion into biology, DNA and the connectedness of life within and without our bodies. The final cube takes us into the nervous system, human relationships and culture with 1,200 images arranged as pillars of prayer, sensation, relationships, home life and other themes.

Next is the heart of the museum and its message – a Stonehenge-like cluster of 10-metre tall digital totems that literally overwhelm the visitor with data and images about where we are now: the Anthropocene, an era in which mankind has become a geological force. Standing in the centre of these huge screens and loudspeakers is an impressively discomfiting experience. Clips of burning forests, melting glaciers, dense traffic and Brazil’s recent toxic mudslide flash by, along with a real-time counter of global births and deaths, hockey stick graphs of ocean acidification, ozone depletion and greenhouse gas emissions, and the latest figures on consumption of energy, water and beef.

If that is not enough to convince the viewer, a dark and urgent soundtrack booms out as giant letters flash up in three languages: “We have lived on earth for 200,000 years … Since 1950 we have modified the planet more than in our whole existence … We are more … We consume more … More … More … More.”

“We hope people will come out feeling disturbed or inspired but not indifferent,” the curator Alberto Oliveira says. “If they feel pessimistic, it’s not because of us; it’s because of reality … This is all based on the best available science.”

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The Museu do Amanha is part of a larger urban design project to transform Rio’s waterfront into a thriving cultural and residential community.

The museum has partnerships with Brazil’s leading universities, global science institutions and collects real-time data on climate and population from space agencies and the United Nations. It has also hired consultants from a range of related fields, including astronauts, social scientists and climate experts.

Projecting current trends 50 years into the future, the next three exhibits in the Tomorrows area feature interactive games that allow visitors to shape different futures. One measures the visitor’s ecological footprint and then calculates how many planets would be needed to support mankind if everyone on Earth had the same standard of living. Another is a collective Sims-type exercise in which four visitors make decisions – on energy sources, finance, land usage – that can enhance or diminish the survival prospects of humanity.

Given its name, many will come to this museum expecting a sci-fi fantasy future of lasers, robots and space travel. They will be disappointed. There is no technology on display.

The lives of coming generations will undoubtedly be influenced by nanotechnology, robotics, droids, artificial intelligence, geoengineering, hive minds, nuclear fusion and other staples of the commercially imagined future. The absence of any substantive exhibitions on these innovations underplays the role that industry will surely continue to have on our society. Yet it also allows for a sharper focus on human behaviour and a vision of the future that is different from those usually presented by wealthy, industrialised countries.

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The museum is the most striking example yet of the regeneration and gentrification of Rio’s port district.

The world already has plenty of gadget parks, science labs and electric dreamlands. Some are commercial showcases by corporations like Matsushita or Toyota. Others are state-funded patriotic reminders of the host nation’s history of innovation (London’s Science Museum or Paris’s City of Science and Industry and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry) or commercial showcases of national corporations (Tokyo’s Miraikan)

So it is refreshing to find something different in Brazil, a country that is largely on the receiving end of innovation. Like other emerging economies with huge, fast-urbanising populations, the consequences are often environmental and social pain as much as economic gain. Fittingly, the displays concentrate on ecology more than technology, impact more than innovation.

The beautiful structure was built in the middle of a large green open expanse that includes gardens, bike paths and recreational area. The roof is formed by large flaps that open and close according to the intensity of the sun and serve not only to provide shade but also as bases for the capture of solar energy through photovoltaic panels. The building uses natural resources – for example, water from Guanabara Bay serves for the air conditioning system and is returned to the lake. With this sustainable underlying energy-conscious structure, the museum seeks LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ), awarded by the Green Building Council.

The interiors of the museum pay due homage to the great Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, designer of the country’s capital, Brasilia, and the UN HQ in New York City. Rio’s city administration funded the museum with public money to the tune of $59 million, but already it would appear the money was well spent and that the inexhaustible energy of Brazil has produced yet again a startlingly exciting modern building to house a seemingly contradictory concept – a museum about the future – the ultimate paradox.

Given this outlook, the final exhibit is unsurprisingly not about travel to a galaxy far, far away, but instead a back-to-the-pre-modern-basics appeal for sustainable values. It is a wooden structure based on an indigenous house of knowledge where communities share stories. In the centre is the only physical object in the main hall – an ancient Australian aboriginal tjurunga, which is a symbol of learning, fertility, ritual power and the ability to cope with change. Sensors embedded in the structure around it adjust the lights and sounds in the hall according to the movement of visitors – another reminder of how individuals affect the world around them.

From there, visitors exit via the rear of the building, where the glass walls look out over a “reflecting pool” on to one of the world’s most stunning and complex views – distant mountains, the polluted waters of Guanabara Bay, oil tankers, a warship, a plane flying into Santos Dumont airport, the vast span of Niterói bridge and the higgle-piggle of a city of 6 million people.

In this all-too-real today, the museum’s vision of a better tomorrow feels both anomalous and important.

As with the sustainability agenda as a whole, detractors will argue that the museum is filled with contradictions. It is reliant on sponsorship from conglomerates, such as British Gas, Santander Bank and the Roberto Marinho Foundation (which is part of the huge Globo media group) and it is at the forefront of a development that has forced many poor people from their homes.

But for anyone who believes the biggest challenges facing our species are environmental rather than economic and that the most likely solutions are behavioural rather than technological, Rio’s Museu do Amanhã may come to stand out as one of the most engaged museums in the world.

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Source:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/17/museum-of-tomorrow-rio-de-janeiro-brazil-sustainability

http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2016/04/play/brazil-museu-do-amanha-architecture

http://www.archdaily.com/66019/the-museum-of-tomorrow-santiago-calatrava

Additional image sources:

Brazil reveals the Museum of Tomorrow – today

http://www.konigi.org/things-we-liked-most-in-rio-de-janeiro/

http://www.e-architect.co.uk/brazil/museum-tomorrow-rio/attachment/museum-tomorrow-in-rio-by-santiago-calatrava-architect

 

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How The Internet Is Rewiring Your Brain

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 Emoticon by Artist Tom Estes for Communication Futures at The Old Royal Naval College during DRHA 2014

 Greg Sholette describes a  “Mockstitution” as a mock institution that is an informally structured art agency that overtly mimics the name and to some degree the function of larger, more established organizational entities. Mockinstitution thrive within the voids left by an increasingly fractured social framework whose coherence is faltering thanks to rampant privatization, economic deregulation, ubiquitous social risk and day-to-day precariousness. Inserting themselves into these deterritoralized spaces, Mockinstitutions typically sport their own ersatz logos, forged mission statements, and fake websites, all the while engaging in a process of self-branding not aimed at niche marketing or product loyalty, but rather at gaining surreptitious entry into media visibility itself. One such entity, the London based Art Selectronic presents an alternative to mainstream publicly funded museums and speculative market based sales galleries. Their exhibition, Ultraviolet Sun,  in association with The Museum of Modern Media (MoMM) and New York City’s eMediaLoft.org is an evening of performance, sonic and retinal art.

Michael J. Lewis’s essay on the the demise of art-as-culture, was published this July in Commentary magazine Titled “How Art Became Irrelevant: A chronological survey of the demise of art,” the essay’s central claim is that “while the fine arts can survive a hostile or ignorant public, or even a fanatically prudish one, they cannot long survive an indifferent one.  And that is the nature of the present Western response to art, visual and otherwise: indifference.”

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Biomorphic Robot Action Painting Performance by Tom Estes at the exhibition Ultraviolet Sun for Art Selectronic

In the 1960s and ’70s, politicization meant taking a position, establishing and following a political program, taking up armed struggle, putting one’s skills (including art) at the service of the revolution, fighting in the name of the horizon of state socialism, and acting in solidarity with anti-imperialist and decolonization struggles. Artists and militant networks were drawn together by political affinities, and Palestine, Vietnam, and Chile were symbols of anti-imperialism.

This form of politicization translated into an aesthetic practice of international vanguardism, contestation, criticality, counterhegemony, and postcolonial memorialization and assertion, within the framework of a politics of representation. Since that time, however, this kind of politics has come to be perceived as a form of violent nationalism that led to authoritarian states and propagandist aesthetics.

Unlike forty years ago, institutions today are more opaque, more exclusive, and they share objectives intrinsically linked to corporate, neoliberal agendas (to the point that those agendas have become invisible). Cultural institutions are the administrative organs of the dominant order, and cultural producers actively contribute to the transmission of free market ideology across all aspects of our lives.

Politics has become inseparable from the neoliberalized political economy, as well as from culture. This is in part, of course, due to the whitewashing of Capitalist violence through military intervention and underplaying of the role of economic disparity as a form of violence. Neoliberal ideology celebrates itself as the epiteme of ‘freedom’ through free market competition while a mainstream corporate controlled media works around the clock to secure vested interests with a barrage of rhetoric ignoring any of the drawbacks and silencing any criticism.

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Biomorphic Robot Action Painting Performance by Tom Estes at the exhibition Ultraviolet Sun for Art Selectronic

Within representation’s ruin, what used to be “outside” of capitalism—like marginality, queerness, or race—has been symbolically incorporated and deprived of its capacity to disrupt and contest. Figures of otherness have disappeared and been subsumed into “lifestyle” options. The underclass is a blurry horizon disconnected from the flows of global capitalism; far from being a political figure, the underclass is sometimes subject to site-specific intervention, pacification, betterment, development, and community-building projects. Its emancipatory horizon lies in entrepreneurship.

Moreover, in the twenty-first century politics is no longer representative, but what some theorists call “post-politics.” Following Jodi Dean, this means that politics now aspires to a superficial democracy that neutralizes antagonism and denies democracy’s limits and mechanisms of exclusion. “Post-politics” thus implies the disavowal of the fundamental division conditioning politics, as equality has come to mean inclusion, respect, and entitlement. “Post-politics” means consensual politics, the end of ideology, the neoliberal withering away of the state in some areas and its strengthening in other strategic ones, and the financialization of the economy. Under these conditions, is there any room left for politically committed art?

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Biomorphic Robot  Abstract Action Expressionist Painting by Tom Estes at the exhibition Ultraviolet Sun for Art Selectronic

Technology is big business. Most devices become ubiquitious before there is even a chance to question their impact on society. In the arts there is very little discussion of the impact of technology, more of a sales pitch. However, Ultraviolet Sun, is an evening of performance based on the idea that the internet is changing the structure of our brains. London based Art Selectronic in association with New York City’s eMediaLoft.org  The Museum of Modern Media (MoMM) present an alternative to mainstream publicly funded museums, festivals and speculative galleries. Their exhibition is an evening of performance, sonic and retinal art.

Technological progress has accelerated to the point that the future is happening to us far faster than we could ever have anticipated. Technology has altered human physiology. It makes us think differently, feel differently, even dream differently. It affects our memory, attention spans and sleep cycles. This is attributed to a scientific phenomenon known as neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to alter its behavior based on new experiences. In this case, that’s the wealth of information offered by the Internet and interactive technologies.

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Biomorphic Robot Abstract Expressionist Action Painting by Tom Estes at the exhibition Ultraviolet Sun for Art Selectronic

The teleological Identity of Capitalism and artificial intelligence conceives of machines in terms of human use-value, thinking of them as temporarily troublesome tools with which humanity is ultimately destined to be reconciled. But how do you think of a form of capital that is already thinking of you? This new world is what Hans Ulrich Obrist calls “extreme present,” a time in which it feels impossible to maintain pace with the present, never mind to chart the future.

The internet is changing the structure of our brains and the structure of our planet in extraordinary ways, so quickly that we haven’t yet developed a proper vocabulary for it. Today Capitalism incarnates dynamics at an unprecedented and unsurpassable level of intensity, turning mundane economic ‘speculation’ into an effective world-historical force. The exhibition, Ultraviolet Sun, therefore plugs into the fears that have haunted Science Fiction since its inception: the idea of a human population becoming dependent upon machines over which it has no effective control. As technological integration increases, human control lessens, and the possibility of something crashing the entire system grows. Forget all your real-world certainties, everything solid melts into air.

History insists upon a linear causal progression – a neat passage from the past which is already decided, to the future which is merely the playing out of what has been laid down in the past. Tell me about your mother, then, and I’ll understand everything about you. Beyond this causality is another temporality, uncovered at the point where schizoid-analysis meets pulp horror. Here, cause does not follow effect.

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Barbara Rosenthal’s performance “Existential Ultra-Light Photo Run” for Ultraviolet Sun

The question of The History of Art is problematic, not least because artistic activity is characterized by its antagonism towards stable temporality. It’s the business of the great sedentary assemblage of art institutions to establish settled lineages and well-ordered sequences, whereas artistic-processes attach themselves to coincidences, glitches and unforeseen consequences -breaks, twists and bends in time.

Artist and curator of Ultraviolet Sun, Tom Estes states:

“Abstract Expressionism is the term applied to new forms of abstract art developed by American painters such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning in the 1940s and 1950s. It is often characterized by gestural brush-strokes or mark-making, and  with its emphasis on spontaneous, automatic, or subconscious creation. The movement’s name is derived from emotional intensity with an image of being rebellious, anarchic, highly idiosyncratic and, some feel, nihilistic. Action painting, sometimes called “gestural abstraction”, is a style of painting which often emphasizes the physical act of painting itself as an essential aspect of the finished work or concern of its artist. With the potential of an Artificial Intelligence to rivial our own consciousness and the proliferation of robots in the workforce I felt an Expressionism created with robotics rather than the human hand was an interesting metaphor for our times”

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Annabelle Stapleton-Crittenden’s performance with visuals by Jahan Nazeer for Ultraviolet Sun

The invention of the internet once promised to make knowledge open and accessible to anyone across the world, a perfect, radically open tool that encouraged the sharing of information and knowledge across societies and specialisms. Yet in opposition to the original nature of the web, the mechanisms behind the filter bubble are generating closed systems of knowledge. This is radically harmful to both individuals and societies.

Noted science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov predicted that one day, we’d “have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries where anyone can ask any question and be given answers, be given reference materials, be something you’re interested in knowing, from an early age, however silly it might seem to someone else,” and with this appliance, be able to truly enjoy learning instead of being forced to learn mundane facts and figures.

His insight has proven to be amazingly accurate, as we now live in a world with the Internet, where nearly the entire wealth of human knowledge can live at our fingertips or even in our pockets, from being able to summon email from our smart phones to earning entire degrees from accredited online colleges. We can also earn these degrees in a variety of options including associate degrees, bachelor degreesmaster’s degrees, and even PHDs- all online.

Such an amazing feat, of course, doesn’t happen without impacting our lives, and scientists have begun to note that the Internet has not only served to fulfill our brains’ curiosities, but also rewired them. So what exactly is the Internet doing to our brains?  In this Brave New World narratives are written and re-written, looping the past into the far future, like strange entities using a body to incubate the eggs from which they will emerge. The crucial question is one of becoming: what are you changing into, what is growing out of you?


About The Artists

Visionary, nerd and all-around nice guy, Artist Tom Estes has had his work hung, played and performed in a few of the world’s right places and a couple of deliciously wrong ones. Estes considers himself a carnival sideshow conceptualist, combining a bare-bones formal conceptualism with an eternally adolescent, DIY comic-prank approach. His performance work for Ultraviolet Sun, entitled ‘The Ideal Robot Home Show’ incorporates the use of biomorphic robotics. The work is a kind of thought experiment in which consumer technologies and Science Fiction merge and mingle in an ever-expanding field of social, political and economic trends.www.tomestesartist.com

RiffyPerformance at Ultraviolet Sun is where heightened fascination begins. Operating between reality and fiction, the performance work of Riffat Ahmed (aka Riffy Powerz) embodies the disconnection that occurs between two worlds. A curator, film-maker and artist, Ahmed’s perfomance work brings filmic devices into an immediate interactive reality.You can read more about her in this interview for her project at the Saatchi Gallery. nourfestivalblog.wordpress.com

Image- The performance work of Riffat Ahmed (aka Riffy Powerz) for Ultraviolet Sun embodies the disconnection that occurs between two worlds.  

If you haven’t heard of Vanya Balogh by now you probably should have. In recent years this boy has sent some serious shock waves through the London art scene. His curation, an integral part of his creative output, is defined by high intensity, large scale events and he was recently listed as one of the Artlyst Power 100. Balogh has exhibited widely and worked as a contributor with cult street style magazine I-D for over a decade. His commercially acclaimed photographic imaging will be at Ultraviolet Sun. www.artslant.com/vanya-balogh

The work of Sonic Artist, Sarah Gavin, is an exploration of how sound can be sculptural. Portraying abstractions of the real, the mesmerizing, experimental and innovative ‘Table Score’ for Ultraviolet Sun is influenced by the rules of cymatics and ontological theories of existence.
www.sarahgavin.co.uk

BBKP is a group of artists comprising Nicholas Brown, Nathan Birchenough, Craig Kao and Savvas Papasavva. From various backgrounds, they deliberately lose their individual identities in a many-pronged practice that incorporates wit and humor. www.beebeekaypee.com

Old Master of New Media, American avant-garde artist, writer and performer Barbara Rosenthal. As well as her own significant body of work, from 1976-1996, she was the principal female actor in Super-8 films by Bill Creston, seven of which were screened at The Museum of Modern Art. For Ultraviolet Sun she will present her performance “Existential Ultra-Light Photo Run”
wiki/Barbara_Rosenthal

utlravioletSun

London based Art Selectronic in association with eMediaLoft.org and The Museum of Modern Media (MoMM) in New York City present Ultraviolet Sun, an evening of performance, sonic and retinal art.

Tom Estes, Sarah Gavin, Vanya Balogh, Riffy Powerz, Annabelle Stapleton-Crittenden, Jahan Nazeer, (BBKP) Nicholas Brown, Nathan Birchenough, Craig Kao, Savvas Papasavva and special guest, New York based artist, Barbara Rosenthal.

Saturday, Febuary 27th
from 6:00- 9:00 PM
14 Baylis Rd, London SE1 7AA

FB event- www.facebook.com/events/

http://fadmagazine.com/2016/02/27/ultraviolet-radiation-sun-evening-performance-sonic-retinal-art/ 

FB event- www.facebook.com/events/

 

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Art Selectronic Presents: Ultraviolet Sun

 utlravioletSun

 

London based Art Selectronic in association with eMediaLoft.org and The Museum of Modern Media (MoMM) in New York City present Ultraviolet Sun, an evening of performance, sonic and retinal art.

Tom Estes, Sarah Gavin, Vanya Balogh, Riffy Powerz, Annabelle Stapleton-Crittenden, Jahan Nazeer, (BBKP) Nicholas Brown, Nathan Birchenough, Craig Kao, Savvas Papasavva and special guest, New York based artist, Barbara Rosenthal.

Saturday, Febuary 27th
from 6:00- 9:00 PM
14 Baylis Rd, London SE1 7AA

FB event- www.facebook.com/events/

http://fadmagazine.com/2016/02/27/ultraviolet-radiation-sun-evening-performance-sonic-retinal-art/ 

 
About The Artists

Visionary, nerd and all-around nice guy, Artist Tom Estes has had his work hung, played and performed in a few of the world’s right places and a couple of deliciously wrong ones. Estes considers himself a carnival sideshow conceptualist, combining a bare-bones formal conceptualism with an eternally adolescent, DIY comic-prank approach. His performance work for Ultraviolet Sun, entitled ‘The Ideal Robot Home Show’ incorporates the use of biomorphic robotics. The work is a kind of thought experiment in which consumer technologies and Science Fiction merge and mingle in an ever-expanding field of social, political and economic trends.www.tomestesartist.com

Performance at Ultraviolet Sun is where heightened fascination begins. Operating between reality and fiction, the performance work of Riffat Ahmed (aka Riffy Powerz) embodies the disconnection that occurs between two worlds. A curator, film-maker and artist, Ahmed’s perfomance work brings filmic devices into an immediate interactive reality.You can read more about her in this

 

interview for her project at the Saatchi Gallery. nourfestivalblog.wordpress.com

If you haven’t heard of Vanya Balogh by now you probably should have. In recent years this boy has sent some serious shock waves through the London art scene. His curation, an integral part of his creative output, is defined by high intensity, large scale events and he was recently listed as one of the Artlyst Power 100. Balogh has exhibited widely and worked as a contributor with cult street style magazine I-D for over a decade. His commercially acclaimed photographic imaging will be at Ultraviolet Sun. www.artslant.com/vanya-balogh

The work of Sonic Artist, Sarah Gavin, is an exploration of how sound can be sculptural. Portraying abstractions of the real, the mesmerizing, experimental and innovative ‘Table Score’ for Ultraviolet Sun is influenced by the rules of cymatics and ontological theories of existence.
www.sarahgavin.co.uk

BBKP is a group of artists comprising Nicholas Brown, Nathan Birchenough, Craig Kao and Savvas Papasavva. From various backgrounds, they deliberately lose their individual identities in a many-pronged practice that incorporates wit and humor. www.beebeekaypee.com

Old Master of New Media, American avant-garde artist, writer and performer Barbara Rosenthal. As well as her own significant body of work, from 1976-1996, she was the principal female actor in Super-8 films by Bill Creston, seven of which were screened at The Museum of Modern Art. For Ultraviolet Sun she will present her performance “Existential Ultra-Light Photo Run”
wiki/Barbara_Rosenthal

FB event- www.facebook.com/events/

 

 

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SCULPTRESS OF SOUND: DELIA DERBYSHIRE

tomorrowPeople

As part of our series SEVEN VISONARY WOMEN WHO PAVED THE WAY IN ELECTRONIC MUSIC we first we pay tribute to the ‘woman behind the wobbulator’ and ‘Sculptress of Sound’ Delia Derbyshire who helped to create the iconic themes to science fiction programmes Doctor Who, The Tomorrow People  and Timeslip.

Delia Ann Derbyshire (5 May 1937 – 3 July 2001) was an English musician and composer of electronic music and musique concrète. She is best known for her electronic realization of Ron Grainer’s theme music to the British science fiction television series Doctor Who and for her pioneering work with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Educated at Barr’s Hill Grammar School from 1948 to 1956, she was accepted at both Oxford and Cambridge, “quite something for a working class girl in the ‘fifties, where only one in 10 [students] were female”, winning a scholarship to study mathematics at Girton College, Cambridge but, apart from some success in the mathematical theory of electricity, she claims she did badly. After one year at Cambridge she switched to music, graduating in 1959 with a BA in mathematics and music, having specialised in medieval and modern music history. Her other principal qualification was LRAM in pianoforte. She approached the careers office at the university and told them she was interested in “sound, music and acoustics, to which they recommended a career in either deaf aids or depth sounding”.

The ‘woman behind the wobbulator’ once approached Decca Recording Studios in London, only for them to tell her unequivocally that they did not employ women in their recording studios. Instead, she took positions at the UN in Geneva, from June to September, teaching piano to the children of the British Consul-General and mathematics to the children of Canadian and South American diplomats, then from September to December as assistant to Gerald G. Gross, Head of Plenipotentiary and General Administrative Radio Conferences at the International Telecommunications Union. She returned to Coventry and from January to April 1960 taught general subjects in a primary school there, then to London where from May to October she was an assistant in the promotion department of music publishers Boosey & Hawkes.

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Despite various companies knocking her back, she continued to pursue her passion, and in November 1960 she landed an opportunity with the BBC as a trainee assistant studio manager and worked on Record Review, a magazine program where critics reviewed classical music recordings.  She said:

“Some people thought I had a kind of second sight. One of the music critics would say “I don’t know where it is, but it’s where the trombones come in” and I’d hold it up to the light and see the trombones and put the needle down exactly where it was. And they thought it was magic.”

She then heard about the Radiophonic Workshop and decided that was where she wanted to work. This was received with some puzzlement by the heads in Central Programme Operation because people were usually “assigned” to the Radiophonic Workshop, and in April 1962 she was indeed assigned there in Maida Vale, where for eleven years she would create music and sound for almost 200 radio and television programmes.

In August 1962 she assisted composer Luciano Berio at a two-week summer school at Dartington Hall, for which she borrowed several dozen items of equipment from the BBC. One of her first works, and the most widely known, was her 1963 electronic realization of a score by Ron Grainer for the theme tune of the Doctor Who series, one of the first television themes to be created and produced by entirely electronic means.

An excerpt from the theme music to Doctor Who

When Grainer first heard it, he was so amazed by her rendering of his theme that he asked “Did I really write this?” to which Derbyshire replied “Most of it”. Grainer attempted to get her a co-composer credit but the attempt was prevented by the BBC bureaucracy, which then preferred to keep the members of the workshop anonymous.  Derbyshire’s original arrangement served as Doctor Who’s main theme for its first seventeen seasons, from 1963-80. The theme was reworked over the years, to her horror, and the version that had her “stamp of approval” is her original one. Delia also composed some of the incidental music used in the show, including Blue Veils and Golden Sands and The Delian Mode.

A senior studio executive, Desmond Briscoe, soon realised the tall, quiet, auburn-haired Delia was not only enthusiastic, but enormously creative and talented. He invited her to join their experimental and innovative Radiophonic Workshop in 1962, where she was to stay for over ten years.

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In 1964–65 she collaborated with the British artist and playwright Barry Bermange for the BBC’s Third Programme to produce four Inventions for Radio, a collage of people describing their dreams, set to a background of electronic sound.

In 1966, while still working at the BBC, Derbyshire with fellow Radiophonic Workshop member Brian Hodgson and EMS founder Peter Zinovieff set up Unit Delta Plus, an organisation which they intended to use to create and promote electronic music. Based in a studio in Zinovieff’s townhouse at 49 Deodar Road in Putney, they exhibited their music at a few experimental and electronic music festivals, including the 1966 The Million Volt Light and Sound Rave at which The Beatles’ “Carnival of Light” had its only public playing.

In 1966, she recorded a demo with Anthony Newley entitled Moogies Bloogies, although as Newley moved to the United States, the song was never released. After a troubled performance at the Royal College of Art, in 1967, the unit disbanded.

 

Also in the late sixties, she again worked with Hodgson in setting up the Kaleidophon studio at 281–283 Camden High Street in Camden Town with fellow electronic musician David Vorhaus. The studio produced electronic music for various London theatres and in 1968 the three used it to produce their first album as the band White Noise. Although later albums were essentially solo Vorhaus albums, the début, An Electric Storm, featured collaborations with Derbyshire and Hodgson and is now considered an important and influential album in the development of electronic music.

One of the trio, using pseudonyms, Delia Ann Derbyshire  also contributed to the Standard Music Library. Many of these recordings, including compositions by Derbyshire using the name “Li De la Russe” (from an anagram-esque use of the letters in “Delia” and a reference to her auburn hair), were later used on the seventies ITV science fiction rivals to Doctor Who: The Tomorrow People  and Timeslip.

In 1967, she assisted Guy Woolfenden with his electronic score for Peter Hall’s production of Macbeth with the Royal Shakespeare Company. The two composers also contributed the music to Hall’s film Work Is a Four-Letter Word (1968). Her other work during this period included taking part in a performance of electronic music at The Roundhouse, which also featured work by Paul McCartney, the sound-track for the Yoko Ono film, the score for an ICI-sponsored student fashion show and the sounds for Anthony Roland’s award-winning film of Pamela Bone’s photography, entitled Circle of Light.[

One of her first assignments was to realise one of the first electronic signatures ever used on television: Ron Grainer’s score for the new science fiction series, Dr. Who. Delia, and her engineer, Dick Mills, had to create each sound from scratch; they were on the cutting edge, though Delia had no way of knowing how influential her work at the Radiophonic Workshop would become.

In 1973, she left the BBC and worked a brief stint at Hodgson’s Electrophon studio during which time she contributed to the soundtrack to the film The Legend of Hell House. The Electrophon and Kaleidophon were electrical musical instruments made by Jörg Mager in pre-war Germany. She then stopped producing music and worked as a radio operator for the laying of a British Gas pipeline, in an art gallery and in a bookshop.

You can watch the whole ‘Sculptress of Sound’ documentary here

Derbyshire returned to music in the late nineties after having her interest renewed by fellow electronic musician Peter Kember and was working on an album when she died of renal failure due to chronic alcoholism, aged 64. After Derbyshire’s death, 267 reel-to-reel tapes and a box of a thousand papers were found in her attic. These were entrusted to Mark Ayres of the BBC and in 2007 were given on permanent loan to the University of Manchester. Almost all the tapes were digitised in 2007 by Louis Niebur and David Butler but none of this music has been published due to copyright complications. In 2010, the University acquired Derbyshire’s childhood collection of papers and artefacts from Andi Wolf. This collection is accessible at the John Rylands Library in Manchester.

Source: http://championupnorth.com/music/features/7-visionary-women-who-paved-the-way-for-electronic-music

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Google Makes Human Drivers Obsolete

A prototype of Google's own self-driving vehicle is seen during a media preview of Google's current autonomous vehicles in Mountain View, California

A prototype of Google’s own self-driving vehicle is seen during a media preview of Google’s current autonomous vehicles in Mountain View, California September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage – RTS2BZL

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration––the U.S. vehicle safety regulator––has said the driverless computer Google created to pilot its self-driving cars can be considered, under federal law, “a driver.” The implications of this are huge, as Google and other tech companies develop vehicles that could make human drivers obsolete.

NHTSA originally sent its interpretations of the rules to Google’s Self-Driving Car Project on February 4, in response to a letter the tech giant sent late last year. But it was only this week that the federal regulator posted its response online.

“If no human occupant of the vehicle can actually drive the vehicle,” the letter reads, “it is more reasonable to identify the driver as whatever (as opposed to whoever) is doing the driving.”

NHTSA said the move to driverless cars began with antilock brakes, air bags, automatic-emergency braking, and, most recently, with crash- and lane-departure warnings. In this trend, the regulator acknowledges, it is perfectly logical that technology continue with driverless cars, “and potentially beyond.”

The issue is complex—and, at its core, addresses our relationships with our vehicles: the way we drive, brake, or even change lanes. Some vehicle-safety laws are so specific NHTSA says it would have to completely revisit or overturn them. Take rearview mirrors for example: Google seems to argue that a rearview mirror in a driverless car is unnecessary. It also argues that standard equipment like hand levers for turn signals and brake pedals could be hazardous because the human driver might interfere with the car’s self-piloted operation. The company has built at least one version of its driverless car without brake pedals or a steering wheel.  

While NHTSA acknowledged that many of Google’s concerns may have to be addressed through new laws, it did make an interpretation of the larger issue: Who drives a driverless car?

NHTSA’s answer seems to be quite clear:  “In this instance, an item of motor vehicle equipment, the SDS (Google’s Self-Driving System), is actually driving the vehicle.”

Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2016/02/google-driverless-car/462153/?utm_source=SFFB

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Robotic Sculptures Cross the U.S.-Mexico Border

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Chico MacMurtrie/Amorphic Robot Works, copyright of the artist

Chico MacMurtrie’s Border Crossers are sculptural statements that bridge borders, both physical and symbolic. MacMurtrie plans to install Border Crossers at a range of significant locations, including the U.S.-Mexico border in the artist’s home state of Arizona. Here, the artist would anchor sculptures on both sides of the border. Illuminated from within, the structures would then inflate simultaneously over the border to create six glowing archways, as shown above.

Like the Amorphic Robotic Works director’s previous works—which include his Biomorphic Wall  and The Robotic Churchthese six sculptures employ robotics to create lightweight, transportable installations. When compressed, Border Crossers can easily fit into a travel backpack. When inflated, however, MacMurtrie’s balloon-like creations can arch over fences and walls and are equipped with sensing and surveillance technology in order to stage the choreographed installation as a “mediatized event.” As the press release explains, “Border Crossers invites the public to rethink the notion of borders in a globalized world […] This project envisions technology as a positive tool to establish dialogues beyond borders, to question borders, and to create a symbolic suspension and transcendence of borders.”


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/154390419″>Border Crosser</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/chicomacmurtrie”>Chico MacMurtrie / ARW</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

MacMurtrie’s robotic sculptures debuted late last month in San José, California in collaboration with arts organizationZERO1, in the spirit of using art as a platform for social issues. The artist will further the discussion at CalArts’ symposium on Art and Immigration, Immigration: Art/Critique/Process, in March.

Source: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/robotic-sculptures-rise-over-the-us-mexico-border

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Mature Artists: The Newest Emerging Stars

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Last fall in New York, one of the most talked about works at the Independent Projects art fair was a fountain of foaming soap bubbles. As mountains of suds rose and fell, the sculpture, Cloud Canyonscontinually morphed into different shapes. It was fun to watch, and nervy enough to suggest the hand of a new artist with nothing to lose. Imagine the startled expressions on fairgoers’ faces when they learned that it was by the Filipino-born David Medalla, 72, who made the sculpture in 1963 and had been absent from the New York scene for decades. 

More and more often, dealers have been looking for new talent not in MFA programs but in the unlit corners of recent art history—very often helped along by artists as their guides. As a result, a new category of emerging artist has come into being: the artist, often over 60, who has worked outside of mainstream recognition for decades, honing a distinctive style that has been allowed to age and ripen out of the light of the art market (in the best traditions of affinage).

The art world’s obsession with youth may be fading. With prices for even facile works by emerging talents accelerating at warp speed, collectors hunting for greater substance are turning to artists who are pushing 80, and counting. Many of these game-changers- broke out in the 1960s and ’70s and were driven by feminist, racial, and gender-identity politics to alter every existing medium and invent a few new ones. By experimenting with nascent technology and unconventional materials that included their own bodies, they opened the door for much of the video, performance, and digital art we have today. 

But back then they didn’t fit into any mainstream categories or prevailing styles. What’s more, many had the bad luck to be women or minorities at a time when the market shunned almost everyone who wasn’t white and male. Or, like Barbara T. Smith, 83, who anticipated the kind of endurance art that has lately been in vogue, they lived in provinces like California, which the East Coast establishment had a hard time accepting as a place for serious art. Fortunately, these undervalued artists are finding champions in people half their age—curators and dealers who learned about their work in school and can now give them the kind of prominence they never enjoyed.  

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“Yesterday,” 1987 by Carmen Herrera, who turns 100 this month. Copyright the artist, courtesy Lisson Gallery, London

The most striking example may be the painter Carmen Herrera, who turns 100 this month. Born in Cuba, where she studied architecture, she has lived and worked in New York for more than 60 years. Her circle included Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning, yet she was relegated to outlets for Latin American art. She emerged on the contemporary art scene only in 2009, when she was given an attention-getting solo exhibition in Birmingham, England. Another solo show followed at London’s blue-chip Lisson Gallery, giving her commercial traction and a major presence at art fairs, where people are regularly stopped in their tracks by her radiant abstractions. One of these is presently hanging alongside paintings by Ellsworth Kelly and Frank Stella in the exhibition inaugurating the Whitney Museum of American Art’s new building in New York, and Herrera will have her own show there next year. “The more I saw of her work, the more groundbreaking it seemed,” says Dana Miller, the show’s 41-year-old curator. “Carmen was engaged with the same investigations as Stella, but she didn’t get the same critical attention. The stories I’ve heard—gallerists told her they couldn’t sell a woman’s work!” 

Art fairs have largely contributed to the resurgence ofolder artists by providing dealers a platform to present little-known works in an up-to-date context. “We used the opportunity of the fair to do some good for the artist and his legacy,” says Adam Lindemann, the dealer and collector who brought Medalla’s Cloud Canyons to the Independent Projects art fair. Leslie Tonkonow did the same last year at her booth at Art Basel Miami Beach, where densely rubbed graphite drawings on paper scrolls unspooled from the wall with a majesty that attracted gaggles of admirers. The works looked like the type of painting-and-sculpture hybrids popular now, but they were made in the 1970s by Michelle Stuart, an 82-year-old artist who signed with Tonkonow in 2010, after about a decade without representation. “Michelle was a huge influence on me when I was in school in the ’70s,” says Tonkonow, who has placed pieces by Stuart with museum curators. “They’re people in their 30s and 40s who came of age professionally when Michelle wasn’t that visible,” she says.

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Agnes Denes was born in Hungary in 1931 and works in a wide range of media including international environmental installations, such as Wheatfield — A Confrontation (1982), a two-acre wheatfield in downtown Manhattan

Tonkonow also represents Agnes Denes, who, at 83, is typical of the current zeitgeist. This spring, sponsored by the Nicola Trussardi and Riccardo Catella foundations, Denes has reprised her legendary public artwork Wheatfield—A Confrontation for Expo Milan 2015. She first made the piece in 1982, on two acres of landfill that would become New York’s Battery Park City. Massimi​liano Gioni, 41, artistic director of the New Museum, as well as the director of the Trussardi Foundation, calls it “one of the most powerful urban interventions in the history of land art.” At his invitation, Denes is installing the piece on a vacant lot in Milan. “I have always been a fan of looking back or sideways,” Gioni says. “Not because I get a narcissistic kick out of ‘rediscovering,’ but because it’s important to cultivate a sort of biodiversity in the art world by expanding its vocabulary and cast of characters.”

The New York gallerist Alexander Gray, 44, works almost exclusively with overlooked artists of advancing age. His roster includes the painters Jack Whitten, 75; and Joan Semmel, 82; the sculptor Melvin Edwards, 77; and the 80-year-old conceptual and performance artist Lorraine O’Grady. Each has made a powerful impact on younger artists, but until Gray came along, all were a distant memory. “It’s uncanny how today’s process-based abstraction parallels Jack Whitten’s increasing visibility,” Gray notes. “And when Lorraine shows up at a Lower East Side gallery opening, the kids flock around her. She loves it.” O’Grady was in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, and Edwards’s retrospective at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas is on view through May 10. Despite his towering presence on the African-American art scene in New York, he didn’t have much of a market until five years ago, when Gray got involved. 

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Dance Me, Dance You 2 by Sam Gilliam, the 81-year-old Color Field painter

It was the early work of another neglected black artist, the 81-year-old Color Field painter Sam Gilliam, that interested David Kordansky, a 37-year-old dealer in Los Angeles. Gilliam’s lyrical “Drape” paintings from the ’60s and ’70s—twisted and hugely scaled unframed canvases—are in the collections of major museums, but his life and career were in free fall until 2013, when Kordansky mounted a show of his abstractions, curated by a market darling, Rashid Johnson. Kordansky started his business 12 years ago with artists primarily of his own generation, but he confesses that the latest crop leaves him cold. “You have all these little burgomeisters making their process paintings without knowing that Sam Gilliam had done it all in 1968,” says Kordansky, who also represents the 88-year-old ceramic sculptor John Mason. “There’s not a lot of young art that I’m interested in now. It’s super-cynical. So I look to these older artists, who ask more existential questions.”

So do young art stars like Nate Lowman, who did ashow in January with the 73-year-old sculptor KeithSonnier at Eneas Capalbo’s tiny Manhattan gallery, the National Exemplar Gallery. “Nate’s my neighbor,” Sonnier says. “He suggested we do something together, and Eneas likes to couple younger artists with older ones.” Capalbo, 39, calls Sonnier one of his favorites. “When I started the gallery, I wanted to show things that weren’t so familiar. His art shaped what we have today.”

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Barbara Kasten,age 79, is a precursor to the recent generation of artists photographing staged environments

Similarly, the postconceptual photographers Liz Deschenes and Sara VanDerBeek have helped draw attention to Barbara Kasten, 79. For much of her career, Kasten was hard to categorize and virtually absent from public view. Her brilliant stroke was to marry the handmade and the mechanical in photographs of architecturally-inspired mirrored objects built in her studio. The results are beautiful abstractions, but because she identified herself as a photographer, sculptor, and painter, dealers didn’t know how to place her. Finally, four years ago, the New York gallerist Stefania Bortolami spotted a couple of Kasten’s staged photographs at Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, the annual art fair in Paris, and eventually signed her up. “I knew Barbara’s work from school and told Stefania to see it,” says her gallery partner, Christine Messineo. For her, Kasten is an analog precursor to the digital manipulations of today and a weather vane for artists like Deschenes, VanDerBeek, Walead Beshty, and Eileen Quinlan, who also use film. “Barbara Kasten: Stages,” the first major survey of her multidisciplinary work, is on view through August 16 at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “She’s become a role model for younger artists, her new peer group,” says Alex Klein, the show’s 36-year-old curator. “Younger artists see her work on the Internet and mistake it for digital media.” 

Likewise, Betty Woodman, 84, was misperceived as a ceramist even though her pots often serve as canvases for her paintings. Her work caught the eye of Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, whose Salon 94 gallery, in New York, embraces ceramic sculpture and design as well as fine art. “People used to think you couldn’t make art out of clay, but that attitude has broken down,” says Woodman. “She’s in a hurry in a different way than younger artists,” Greenberg Rohatyn speculates. “Because she doesn’t think she’ll be here much longer. She’s really determined. Her work is so good that it fills me with anxiety—I want to deliver for this woman!”

The Paris dealer Emmanuel Perrotin had similar feelings about Pierre Soulages, 95, and Claude Rutault, 73. Both are revered in France, but Rutault was relatively unknown in New York, and Soulages had only four small shows there since the ’60s. When Perrotin opened his Manhattan branch in 2013, he gave them both solo shows. Meanwhile, the Lebanese-born Etel Adnan had wide renown as a poet and an essayist, but when Photios Giovanis showed the 90-year-old’s abstract landscapes at his Callicoon Fine Arts in downtown New York, the gallerist broke new ground. “Small as her paintings are, they’re emblematic of a historical moment where different places in the world come together in a single figure,” he says. “I think that’s why she has risen to prominence.”

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Lynn Hershman Leeson born in 1941 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA is among the first and most influential of media artists.

Another artist who was ahead of the curve is Lynn Hershman Leeson. Though vaguely remembered for her identity-slipping performances of the ’70s, what connects with audiences today is her interactive art, which anticipated the digital revolution and the withering of privacy. At 73, Hershman Leeson recently had the satisfaction of seeing a 50-year survey of her work at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, 60 percent of which had never been exhibited anywhere. She was poised for rediscovery, therefore, when Bridget Donahue, 35, opened her gallery on the Lower East Side this year with “Origins of the Species,” a sweeping show of Hershman Leeson’s photographs, drawings, and wallpapers detailing the social and ethical issues surrounding genetic manipulation. The artist says that people in Donahue’s generation get her, “because many of my works, like my telerobotic surveillance doll or my breathing machines, were born when they were.”

Now that museums have whole departments devoted to performance and so-called new media art, we can look forward to discovering more of the pioneers of these disciplines. “People weren’t ready to address the themes in Lynn’s work back when she was making it,” says Donahue of Hershman Leeson—and, by extension, of many of her contemporaries. “I’m interested in seeing who has the courage to correct some history.” Stay tuned.

Source: http://www.wmagazine.com/culture/art-and-design/2015/05/senior-citizen-artists/

http://www.artspace.com/magazine/interviews_features/artist_to_watch/older-artists-prove-the-newest-nada-stars-53336

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