Future Tech: Expert Systems

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Artist Tom Estes for Art Selectronic at The Internet Yami-Ichi (Blackmarket) at Tate Modern. Estes’ work, like Science Fiction, is a sort of thought experiment and serves as a useful vehicle for “safely” discussing controversial topical issues, providing thoughtful social commentary on potential unforeseen future issues. 

In the neo-noir sci-fi classic, The Matrix, protagonist Neo is able to learn Kung Fu in seconds after the martial art is ‘uploaded’ straight to his brain. Feeding knowledge directly into your brain, just like in this sci-fi classic, could soon take as much effort as falling asleep.  In a study, published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience,  researchers from HRL Laboratories, based in California, say they have found a way to amplify learning, only on a much smaller scale than seen in the Hollywood film. They  claim to have developed a simulator which can feed information directly into a person’s brain and teach them new skills in a shorter amount of time, comparing it to “life imitating art”. They believe it could be the first steps in developing advanced software that will make Matrix-style instant learning a reality. Dr Matthews believes that brain stimulation could eventually be implemented for tasks like learning to drive, exam preparation and language learning

What our system does is it actually targets those changes to specific regions of the brain as you learn,” he added.

The method itself is actually quite old. In fact, the ancient Egyptians 4000 years ago used electric fish to stimulate and reduce pain.

GlassBrain In recent years science and technology have begun to catch up with science fiction. Many of the fantasies and illusions of the past are no longer a contradiction of reality, but instead an integral part of our everyday lives.

Some of the most controversial issues to face us in the future will come from cognitive breakthroughs. The more we understand about the our own brain, the more we know about ourselves, which of course can be unnerving. But future breakthroughs in neuroscience could have a far greater effect on society. What will the world be like when technology can tell us without a doubt if you are guilty of a crime, you have cheated on your spouse, or are an employee would likely steal? How about uploading your memories for posterity or downloading the skills you need for that new job? Record your dreams for later viewing or control your computer (or any device), just by thinking about it?

We already have all sorts of ways to observe activity in the brain. Magnetic resonance imaging can show blood flow, positron emission tomography can map neurotransmitter activity, and electroencephalograms can record electrical activity. Scientists can tell what parts of the brain are active, and how active they are. That’s enough to tell what parts of the body are stimulated, sexually and otherwise. 

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Preparations at the Turbine Hall, Tate Modern

Substantial mainstream research in related areas is being conducted in brain mapping and simulation, development of faster super computers, virtual reality, brain-computer interfaces, connectomics and information extraction from dynamically functioning brains. According to supporters, many of the tools and ideas needed to achieve mind uploading already exist or are currently under active development; however, they will admit that others are, as yet, very speculative, but still in the realm of engineering possibility.

However, many futuristic technologies are already in development. Hopfield networks provide a model for understanding human memory. A Hopfield network is a form of recurrent artificial neural network popularized by John Hopfield in 1982, but described earlier by Little in 1974. Training a Hopfield net involves lowering the energy of states that the net should “remember”. This allows the net to serve as a content addressable memory system, that is to say, the network will converge to a “remembered” state if it is given only part of the state. The net can be used to recover from a distorted input to the trained state that is most similar to that input. This is called associative memory because it recovers memories on the basis of similarity. For example, if we train a Hopfield net with five units so that the state (1, 0, 1, 0, 1) is an energy minimum, and we give the network the state (1, 0, 0, 0, 1) it will converge to (1, 0, 1, 0, 1). Thus, the network is properly trained when the energy of states which the network should remember are local minima. Max Tegmark, a theoretical physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge (MIT), shows how these problems can be formulated in terms of quantum mechanics and information theory. And he explains how thinking about consciousness in this way leads to precise questions about the nature of reality might help to tease apart. Any information is stored in a  Hopfield neural net would automatically have this error-correcting facility. However, he calculates that a Hopfield net about the size of the human brain with 10^11 neurons, can store 37 bits of integrated information.

 

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20 – 22 May 2016, Art Selectronic joined the arebyte Gallery for London’s first ever Internet Yami-Ichi (Black Market) event at Tate Modern as part of Offprint London

Could human memories be uploaded and stored — just like data — in a computer? Mind swaps have been a standard science-fictional prop for decades. Just wire up the brain in a tired old body to something new, turn on the magical mind-transfer machine, and your mind gets downloaded into a new body, a computer, or a spaceship. Today, we can do computer mind swaps routinely. So why not download our memories from our aging bodies into a shiny new computer?

What if we use  data to recreate a person by simulating them on a computer?  As well as referencing SF in his work, Artist Tom Estes uses new or existing technologies. In his tiny robot figure displayed by at The Internet Yami Ichi  (Blackmarket) for Tate Modern contains human memories in the form of brainwaves. Estes uses an electroencephalograph (EEG) to record human brain waves. Small sensors are attached to the scalp to pick up the electrical signals produced when brain cells send messages to each other. Before the test starts, the scalp is cleaned and about 20 small sensors called electrodes are attached using a special glue or paste. These are connected by wires to an EEG recording machine. Routine EEG recordings usually take 20 to 40 minutes, while other types of EEG recording may take longer. 

Transferring knowledge is one thing, but transfering a whole brain is a different matter. Whole brain emulation (WBE) or mind uploading (sometimes called “mind copying” or “mind transfer”) is the hypothetical process of scanning mental state (including long-term memory and “self”) of a particular brain substrate and copying it to a computational device, such as a digital, analog, quantum-based or software-based artificial neural network. The computational device could then run a simulation model of the brain information processing, such that it responds in essentially the same way as the original brain (i.e., indistinguishable from the brain for all relevant purposes) and experiences having a conscious mind.

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The Internet Yami Ichi at Tate Modern

The trick would be to program a computer to sift through the accumulated life data to look for patterns of speech or behavior. The computer would not have to be programmed to look for anything in particular. Instead, it would look for speech or behavior that distinguishes that person from others. However engineers have already developed software, called expert systems. They codify specific knowledge accumulated by experts in a given field, and assemble it into an organized form that non-experts can use. For example, the expert system could collect techniques that retiring machinists used to fabricate hard-to-make components. When new workers face similar problems, they can query the system to learn details such as what lubricant to use while cutting a certain alloy.

Similarly, someday veteran space pilots could tell the tricks of their trade to a future expert system, which could codify their knowledge for the next generation of pilots. Of course, such an expert system would not preserve either your personality or your sense of being, so it couldn’t transfer your “self” from a worn-out body into a spaceship where it could survive indefinitely. We have less idea of how to do that than we do of how to record your thoughts or how to translate them into words. But that might not be a bad thing. Would you want to spend eternity as an expert flying a slow freighter to Neptune? That’s the sort of boring place where Gordon Bell would turn his life recorder off.

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As well as referencing SF in his work, Estes uses new or existing technologies. This tiny robot figure displayed by Tom Estes at The Internet Yami Ichi for Tate Modern contains human memories in the form of brainwaves. The work is reminiscent of a medieval reliquary, or an object containing purported or actual physical remains, such as bones, pieces of clothing, or some object associated with saints or other religious figures.

For Artist Tom Estes this is similar to the question of The History of Art itself. Artistic-processes attach themselves to the great sedentary assemblage of art institutions to establish settled lineages and well-ordered sequences. Yet artistic activity is characterized by its antagonism towards stable temporality involving coincidences, glitches and unforeseen consequences -breaks, twists and bends in time.

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 Tate Modern played host to The Internet Yami Ichi

In 2008, Giulio Tononi at the University of Wisconsin in Madison proposed that a system demonstrating consciousness must have two specific traits. First, the system must be able to store and process large amounts of information. In other words consciousness is essentially a phenomenon of information. The whole question is of objective reality versus subjective illusion. We all change the apparent reality through willful, distortion, but also reduction. So the answer to the question “Which space do we live in?” is clearly: we live in a subjective world. This is the age-old story of the phenomenology and of human intentionality. And second, this information must be integrated in a unified whole so that it is impossible to divide into independent parts. Each instance of consciousness is a unified whole that cannot be decomposed into separate components. Given that it is a phenomenon of information, a conscious system must be able to store in a memory and retrieve it efficiently. So each memory has to be integrated into an overall consciousness or identity. This consciousness must also be able to to process this data, like a computer but one that is much more flexible and powerful than the silicon-based devices we are familiar with. So for example the individual memories-to-download are part of a wider interdisciplinary project that incorporates innovative web conversations and social networks 

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Within our new world of digital inter-connectivity, more and more representation and therefore our understanding of the world takes place on-line.

A discussion of ‘downloading memories’ is not complete without an extrapolation of the theories of Sigmund Freud and their wider application by Edward Bernays. Freud developed techniques to explore the subconscious,  while  Edward Bernays unleashed  the methods that could be applied to mine the hidden recesses of the mind of the masses in order to control and influence opinion. The entire field of Freud’s important work, today, via Edward Bernays, has created the basis for of mass influencing, some say manipulation, positioned to create endless versions of market controlled happiness, and how people value themselves and others.

Edward Bernays’ public relations efforts helped to popularize Freud’s theories in the United States..Bernays also pioneered the public relations industry’s use of psychology and other social sciences to design its public persuasion campaigns. He called this scientific technique of opinion-molding ‘The Engineering Of Consent:

“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits.”

So while their are serious ethical questions about the potential uses of downloading memories into a human brain, it is still a Future Tech. However, you can already download your memories to a computer. The next time you want to remember a piece of information, save it as a file on your phone or computer. Lead author, assistant professor Benjamin Storm of the University of California, said:

“Our findings show that people are significantly better at learning and remembering new information when they save previous information.”

The act of digitally storing files containing useful or important data boosts memory and the brain’s ability to remember future events. This is because the brain knows the original information is safely stored, which ultimately frees up cognitive resources that can focus on learning and remembering new facts and figures. 

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Q & A at Yami Ichi. Science Fiction in its purest form takes a scientific principle, poses a quest or hypothesis about that principle and then explores the effects of that principle on society and culture. In a similar manner Artist Tom Estes has always leaned toward making Live Art performance work that is participatory or immersive in some way.

20 – 22 May 2016, Art Selectronic joined the arebyte Gallery for London’s first ever Internet Yami-Ichi (Black Market) event at Tate Modern as part of Offprint London 2016. The fair showcased up to 20 local and international artists working mainly in digital and net-based practices exploring the potential of online art IRL (In Real Life). The Internet Yami-Ichi (Black Market) deals with “Internet-ish” things, face-to-face, in actual space. Both flea markets and the Internet are fantastical and chaotic mixes of the amazing and the useless. The Internet Yami-Ichi is a celebration, where together we experience the afterglow, off line, as the “buzz” of the Internet wears off. After visiting Berlin, Brussels and Amsterdam, Linz, New York and more, Tate Modern in London is the pinnacle of all Yami-Ichi’s.

Participants:

Emiddio , KAAP, Irini Pigaditi, GlitcHaus, Nukeme, FZS + UMZ, Christophe Cachelin, Chloe Spicer, Mr.Nowhere, Banrei, Nye Thompson, One Life Remains, Libby Heaney, Minutiae, Cloud8Art, Rob Walker, Anna Ridler, Yinan Song, Shinji Toya, Tadeo  Sendon, Erik Zepka, Martin Lau, Julien Bader, Marta Velasco Velasco, Jordi Canals, Sigergallery, Art Selectronic, Fabio Lattanzi Antinori, 2 Loops Print, Jennifer Crouch, Brian van Lijf, Marie Namur & Pascale Loyens.

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Electric Winds

Windmill

 

Can it be long before the film rights to this triumph-over-adversity story are snapped up, and William Kamkwamba, the boy who dared to dream, finds himself on the big screen? He had a dream of bringing electricity and running water to his village. The extraordinary true story of the Malawian teenager who transformed his village by building electric windmills out of junk is  now the subject of a new book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. This remarkable example shows how much of a contribution one could make by taking an initiative with a sound vision.

I love what this boy has done because he used his own innovative and ideas to power a village. His against-all-odds achievements are all the more remarkable considering he was forced to quit school aged 14 because his family could no longer afford the $80-a-year (£50) fees. When he returned to his parents’ small plot of farmland in the central Malawian village of Masitala, his future seemed limited.But this was not another tale of African potential thwarted by poverty.The need for action was even greater in 2002 following one of Malawi’s worst droughts, which killed thousands of people and left his family on the brink of starvation.

Unable to attend school, he kept up his education by using a local library. Fascinated by science, his life changed one day when he picked up a tattered textbook and saw a picture of a windmill. Mr Kamkwamba told the BBC News website:

“I was very interested when I saw the windmill could make electricity and pump water.I thought: ‘That could be a defence against hunger. Maybe I should build one for myself’.”

When not helping his family farm maize, he plugged away at his prototype, working by the light of a paraffin lamp in the evenings.But his ingenious project met blank looks in his community of about 200 people.

“Many, including my mother, thought I was going crazy,” he recalls. “They had never seen a windmill before.”

Neighbours were further perplexed at the youngster spending so much time scouring rubbish tips.

“People thought I was smoking marijuana,” he said. “So I told them I was only making something for juju [magic].’ Then they said: ‘Ah, I see.'”

Kudos to this lad for his perseverance. Mr Kamkwamba, who is now 22 years old, knocked together a turbine from spare bicycle parts, a tractor fan blade and an old shock absorber, and fashioned blades from plastic pipes, flattened by being held over a fire.

“I got a few electric shocks climbing that [windmill],” says Mr Kamkwamba, ruefully recalling his months of painstaking work.

The finished product – a 5-m (16-ft) tall blue-gum-tree wood tower, swaying in the breeze over Masitala – seemed little more than a quixotic tinkerer’s folly. But his neighbours’ mirth turned to amazement when Mr Kamkwamba scrambled up the windmill and hooked a car light bulb to the turbine. As the blades began to spin in the breeze, the bulb flickered to life and a crowd of astonished onlookers went wild. Soon the whiz kid’s 12-watt wonder was pumping power into his family’s mud brick compound. Out went the paraffin lanterns and in came light bulbs and a circuit breaker, made from nails and magnets off an old stereo speaker, and a light switch cobbled together from bicycle spokes and flip-flop rubber. Before long, locals were queuing up to charge their mobile phones.

2002: Drought strikes; he leaves school; builds 5m windmill
2006: Daily Times writes article on him; he builds a 12m windmill
2007: Brings solar power to his village and installs solar pump
Mid-2008: Builds Green Machine windmill, pumping well water
Sep 2008: Attends inaugural African Leadership Academy class
Mid-2009: Builds replica of original 5m windmill

Mr Kamkwamba’s story was sent hurtling through the blogosphere when a reporter from the Daily Times newspaper in Blantyre wrote an article about him in November 2006. Meanwhile, he installed a solar-powered mechanical pump, donated by well-wishers, above a borehole, adding water storage tanks and bringing the first potable water source to the entire region around his village.He upgraded his original windmill to 48-volts and anchored it in concrete after its wooden base was chewed away by termites.Then he built a new windmill, dubbed the Green Machine, which turned a water pump to irrigate his family’s field. Before long, visitors were traipsing from miles around to gawp at the boy prodigy’s magetsi a mphepo – “electric wind”.

As the fame of his renewable energy projects grew, he was invited in mid-2007 to the prestigious Technology Entertainment Design conference in Arusha, Tanzania. He recalls his excitement using a computer for the first time at the event.

“I had never seen the internet, it was amazing,” he says. “I Googled about windmills and found so much information.”

Onstage, the native Chichewa speaker recounted his story in halting English, moving hard-bitten venture capitalists and receiving a standing ovation.  A glowing front-page portrait of him followed in the Wall Street Journal. He is now on a scholarship at the elite African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mr Kamkwamba – who has been flown to conferences around the globe to recount his life-story – has the world at his feet, but is determined to return home after his studies.The home-grown hero aims to finish bringing power, not just to the rest of his village, but to all Malawians, only 2% of whom have electricity.

“I want to help my country and apply the knowledge I’ve learned,” he says. “I feel there’s lots of work to be done.”

Former Associated Press news agency reporter Bryan Mealer had been reporting on conflict across Africa for five years when he heard Mr Kamkwamba’s story. The incredible tale was the kind of positive story Mealer, from New York, had long hoped to cover.

The author spent a year with Mr Kamkwamba writing The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, which has just been published in the US. Mealer says Mr Kamkwamba represents Africa’s new “cheetah generation”, young people, energetic and technology-hungry, who are taking control of their own destiny.

“Spending a year with William writing this book reminded me why I fell in love with Africa in the first place,” says Mr Mealer, 34.”It’s the kind of tale that resonates with every human being and reminds us of our own potential.”

Due to his zeal and vision to help his fellow countrymen that he dared to make his dream come true. We should have more such people and the world will be a better place. Accomplishing something out of obscurity and carving a place for yourself in history like this Malawian shows that the human potential can never be limited, thus Africa could change if this mindset is nurtured and developed. Self-taught William Kamkwamba has been feted by climate change campaigners like Al Gore and business leaders the world over. An amazing triumph of the human spirit over adversity, one cannot help but be inspired and humbled by this remarkable and staggeringly honourable young man. One would think that it was an obvious solution for NGOs and charities working in poverty and drought stricken countries. William’s achievements portray that anyone can do anything as long as they hope to do it and don’t stop at only hoping but aim at making it happen. It shows not only that there are intelligent kids in Africa but what they lack is perhaps the resources  to make great things happen.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8257153.stm

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Navigating Accelerationism

Blitz

Conceptual prankster Tom Estes presents his work “Blitz” (2009) as a large screen digital projection for ONE MINUTE ONLY. The work was  shown as part of an exhibition and conference, Speeding & Braking: Navigating Acceleration for The Screen and Audiovisual Research Unit, LG01, at Goldsmiths, University of London.


Everything is getting faster. Computers, news, food — and even walking. Pedestrians today move quicker than they did in the 1990’s, and the more developed the country, the speedier their gait.  
When they reach their destination and sit in front of a computer, a third will abandon websites that take more than two seconds to load; 20 years ago, they were prepared to wait four times as long. What is more, our patience is only diminishing.

Modern life is too fast. Everyone is always in a hurry; people skim-read and don’t take the time to eat properly; the art of conversation is dying; technology places too much stress on the human brain. This litany of familiar complaints comes, of course, not from out own time but from the late 19th century, as collected by the American writer and XKCD comic artist Randall Monroe in his arch cartoon ‘The Pace of Modern Life’. And here we are in the 21st, in another culture that both worships and deplores its ostensibly unprecedented speed.

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Speeding and Braking: Navigating Acceleration, the exhibition on May 15 at The Screen and Audiovisual Research Unit

Whether everything is getting faster and faster or not, though, it remains the case that fast things are happening. A recent investigation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Jeffrey K. Smith and Lisa F. Smith found that the mean time spent viewing a work of art was found to be 27.2 seconds, with a median time of 17.0 seconds. This modern phenomenon, is of course, directly oppositional to the ‘meditative’ quality that museums are meant to suggest. So one could say that to ‘Blitz’ a gallery, is to ‘vigorously attack’, or try to see all the works in the gallery in one go.

Tom Estes’ work ‘Blitz’ for Speeding & Braking: Navigating Acceleration introduces a new kind of artwork that functions more as art proposal for a partially realized exhibition; a document of visual and spatial modes of presentation that theorizes a different approach. The title of Tom Estes’ work is ‘Blitz’ a term which is a shortened version of the German word “blitzkrieg” (blĭts’krēg’). Blitzkrieg means “A swift, sudden military offensive, usually by combined air and mobile land forces”. In the work an individual being thrown through the air by a lightning bolt is depicted superimposed on to a Victorian Bible open to the story of Noah and the flood. 

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Speeding and Braking: Navigating Acceleration, the exhibition on May 15 at The Screen and Audiovisual Research Unit

Though a work of art with very contemporary concerns, the tone of imagery in Blitz seems to have more in common with the tradition of late nineteenth century photography or film. In 1892 the Lumier brothers had already began to create moving pictures. The work, therefore, seems to suggest that a movement away from the slow and contemplative in the visual arts is not just a modern phenomenon. By the 1910’s, films like those of the Keystone Cops were an established part of popular culture and so the representation of ‘speeded action’ was already on its way.

In Estes’ ‘Blitz’ even the medium itself, a projected digital photograph, suggests speed, as a recording of ‘live’ split second action’. For Estes’ the slapstick comedy of the image is a deliberate mitigation of surrealist shock. So the work could suggest rushing about with the mad attention urges of a Play Station gamer, while catastrophic destruction on a global scale looms ever closer. 

Estes’ work is part of the exhibition- Speeding & Braking: Navigating Acceleration. In political and social theory, accelerationism is the idea that either the prevailing system of capitalism, or certain techno-social processes that have historically characterized it, should be expanded, pre-purposed or accelerated in order to generate radical social change. Some contemporary accelerationist philosophy takes as its starting point the Deleuzo-Guattarian theory of deterritorialisation, aiming to identify, deepen, and radicalise the forces of deterritorialisation with a view to overcoming the countervailing tendencies that suppress the possibility of far-reaching social transformation. Accelerationism may also refer more broadly, and usually pejoratively, to support for the deepening of capitalism in the belief that this will hasten its self-destructive tendencies and ultimately eventuate its collapse.

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Speeding and Braking: Navigating Acceleration, the exhibition on May 15 included work by Esther Polak/Ivar van Bekkum, Magnus Ayers, Tom Estes, Ryan Kuo, Stefan Riebel, Emma Charles, Gary Zhexi Zhang, Lawrence Lek + Harun Farocki

Acceleration has been characterized as both reason and remedy for the challenges presented by an increasingly fraught global economy – by financial crises, ecological ruination, neo-colonial oppression and forced displacements of an unprecedented scale. The contemporary political and cultural imagination is caught between conflicting velocities: the accelerationist affirmation of technological transformation on the one hand, and decelerative or restorative movements on the other. The conference Speeding and Braking: Navigating Acceleration gathers critical responses to this conceptual deadlock that reach across and beyond such entrenched (op)positions.

Prominent theorists include right-accelerationist Nick Land. The Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (Ccru), an unofficial research unit at the University of Warwick from 1995–2003, of which Land was a member, is considered a key progenitor in both left- and right-accelerationist thought.  Prominent contemporary left-accelerationists include Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, authors of the “Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics”, and the Laboria Cuboniks collective, who authored the manifesto “Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation”.

Along accelerationist lines, Paul Mason, in works such as PostCapitalism: A Guide to our Future, has tried to speculate about futures after capitalism. He declares that “[a]s with the end of feudalism 500 years ago, capitalism’s replacement by post-capitalism will be accelerated by external shocks and shaped by the emergence of a new kind of human being. And it has started.” He considers that the rise of collaborative production will eventually help capitalism to kill itself.

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Emma Charles, Additivist Manifesto at Speeding and Braking: Navigating Acceleration, May 15, 2016

A number of earlier philosopher have expressed apparently accelerationist attitudes, including Karl Marx in his 1848 speech “On the Question of Free Trade said:

But, in general, the protective system of our day is conservative, while the free trade system is destructive. It breaks up old nationalities and pushes the antagonism of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the extreme point. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social revolution. It is in this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, that I vote in favor of free trade.”

In a similar vein, Friedrich Nietzsche argued that “the leveling process of European man is the great process which should not be checked: one should even accelerate it…”, a statement often simplified, following Deleuze and Guattari, to a command to “accelerate the process”

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Ryan Kuo, Death Driver 2016

So despite the apocalyptic imagery, Estes created the digital image ‘Blitz’ as documentation of the works physical formation- intentionally leaving the material project unrealized. This has a flattening effect which merely implies the existence of an installation in real-time, three-dimensional space. This closed circuit of illusion mimics and merges with the mass media desire for immediate novelty; anticipating the online reduction of an ‘installation’ to a single image.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the work is actually liberated from worldly concerns.  The dematerialization of Estes’ work expresses a concern with the material and phenomenological consequences of both accelerations and decelerations, as well as the aesthetic strategies afforded or precluded by them. It is concerned with the material inscription, practical harnessing and social experience of varying speeds, from the perspective of contrasting temporalities. Particular emphasis is placed on a transversal approach, reading across, and drawing into dialogue, seemingly impossible positions within the fields of visual arts, cultural and critical theory, and media and communications.

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Lawrence Lek, Unreal Estate (The Royal Academy Is Yours) a virtual tour that imagines the sale of a public art gallery to a wealthy family

For Estes the process of real subsumption is the key to our globalized network society. In 1848 the world of Karl Marx was not facing global ecological catastrophe. Nor are we still in the process of emerging from a rural, agricultural based feudal system. Everything without exception is subordinated to an economic logic, an economic rationality. Everything must be measured, and made commensurable, through the mediation of some sort of “universal equivalent”: money or information.

Real subsumption is facilitated by—but also provides the impetus for—the revolution in computing and communication technologies over the course of the past several decades. Today we live in a digital world, a world of financial derivatives and big data. Virtual reality supplements and enhances physical, “face-to-face” reality—rather than being, as we used to naively think, opposed to it. Neo-liberalism is not just the ideology or belief system of this form of capitalism. It is also, more importantly, the concrete way in which the system works. It is an actual set of practices and institutions. It provides both a calculus for judging human actions, and a mechanism for inciting and directing those actions.

Capitalism is unrelenting in it’s pursuit of profit. What cannot be assimilated is marginalized or destroyed. But Estes’ emphasis is the conflict between the physical world – a world governed by laws beyond the reasoning of human culture- and our unrelenting desires.  Or as Shakespeare put it “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy“. The title of the work Estes’ work ‘Blitz’ suggests a military offensive- and indeed we humans are at war with our own environment. Faced with the choice of either completely altering of our philosophical system or facing annihilation, humans will continue to risk annihilation. Why? Because whether it is the right choice or not, the process of acceleration is so deeply ingrained we no longer have a choice.

 

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 Reproductive Time: Technologies and Tactics discussion at the conference Speeding & Braking: Navigating Acceleration with Anne Koppenburger, Peer Illner and Scott Wark chaired by Pasi Valiaho

Speeding & Braking: Navigating Acceleration was organised by The Screen & Audiovisual Research Unit and run by Media and Communications Ph.D students at Goldsmiths College. The research unit acts as a point of reference between different practitioners and research initiatives in order to establish a common and cooperative space of dialogue devoted to screen and audiovisual media. The core objective of this group is to create meeting points between disciplines and practices so as to broaden and deepen discussions revolving around film, sonic and visual arts and screen-based media. The research unit hosts seminars, lectures, screenings, conferences and conversations.

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Cyberfeminist, Annie Goh at the conference Speeding & Braking: Navigating Acceleration. Goh’s work ranges from academic reflections on cybernetics and the female voice, to the lived experience of women and transgender people in live sound engineering and electronic music.

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/VQRssVvWjCv

https://culturetechnologypolitics.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/speeding-and-braking.pdf

contact: screenandaudiovisual@gmail.com

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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.

museum-tomorrow-in-rio-by-santiago-calatrava-architect

 

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

 Emoticon

 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?

AbstractExpressionistRobotPainting2

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.

AbstractExpressionistRobotPainting

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.

BarbaraRosenthal

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”

AnnabelleStapletonCrittenden

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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