Tag Archive for ‘ars-electronica’

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Façade-Play and Body-Sound

“Signs and Signals” @ Ars Electronica Festival 09Last weekend, at the FM4 co-hosted multimedia performance “Signs and Signals”, artist duo freyluft visualized sounds on the surface of the Ars Electronica Center (AEC).

“Any heavy-handed block can be transformed to a magical zone with an illuminated façade”, wrote Gerlinde Lang on the FM4 Website. Now, for sure, the new Ars Electronica Center (AEC) at its location on the banks of the Danube in Linz, does not qualify as a “heavy-handed block”, a magical zone it became nonetheless. This happened courtesy of artist duo freyluft, who, last weekend in cooperation with FM4, made 40.000 LEDs dance on the façade of the AEC, in their performance “Signs and Signals”.

The sounds involved were provided by DJs and live-musicians, but, notably, also by media artist Ulla Rauter, who utilized her own body as an instrument. With an electric violin bow she stroked her right forearm, while her hand was fitted with electric contacts. “The skin serves as a conductor. When the violin bow touches the skin, the circuit is closed”, says Rauter: “It is a sort of biofeedback.”
Text: Patrick Dax, ORF Futurezone Translation: Oliver Stummer

opening ars electronica center 2009

ARS Electronica 2008

This years theme of the ARS Electronica Festival “a new cultural economy” has been a big challenge for Gerfried Stocker, Christine Schöpf and their team. Maybe my expectations are far to high in concerns of this topic because if i look back to the festival i can´t find a dispute with or a deep investigation into this theme. We are allready familiar with the advantages of web 2.0 and open source at least for us users, but what about the dark side of the holy participation movement ? I think this comes down to a very basic question about ARS Electronica and their positioning. Their idea is a common consideration of art, technology and society far from technical and industrial interests as they write in their pressmap. At least it´s their idea. My reception was kind of different, but i didn´t attend all conferences and lectures to be honest. To present the “University of Tokyo” as a kind of figurehead is at least straightforward in our new cultural economy which heads towards creative industries. Alright, enough complaints. Like every year you find some interesting works out of this huge range of works, and some i even managed to document. funny that two of this works are out of tokyo university. even though the most of the works there were kind of unsubstantial i found some funny ideas and charming realisation like in the installation “ephemeral melody”. but check out the videos…

check out also the official ARS project we guide you where visitors where invited to participate and document the festival.

Image Fulgurator by Julius von Bismarck (DE)

The winning Project of this years Prix Ars is the Image Fulgurator by Julius von Bismarck (DE) – with good reason. The project is based on technology that’s been out there for the last 40 years. All it does ist to invert the concept of an analog SLR camera and turns it into a projector.

image fulgurator

A flash is mounted on the back of a SLR camera and connected to a flash sensor. As soon as a flash from another camera is recognized, the flash goes of, shines through the the dia thats inserted in the camera and projects the image for a few milliseconds – just long enough to be recognized by other camera that triggered the flash initially.

A detailed description can be found on his homepage.

se mi sei vicino

The interactive installation by sonia cillari “se mi sei vicino” is a masterpiece of implementing human-body-interface. “se mi sei vicino” means “If you are close to me”. A human body is standing on a platform which functions also as a big electromagnetic-field-sensor. Projections on the walls are like digital shadows with the viewpoint of a classical architectual principle (front- and side-view). These shadows consists of a physical modelling structure as an equivalent of the human body. so the image and the sound are reacting on the emf of the body, who reacts like an antenna… if somebody is getting closer the sensors recognizes the interference in the emf and affect image and sound of the installation. it´s a combination of performance and interaction.. dive into the performance as the actor not only passive spectator…


ok, you are walking through marienstrasse and suddenly somebody wants to hug u ? this somebody even try to kiss u out of nothing ? what are u doing ? start screaming and running away ? ok, either you met a person with mental disorder or you are in the middle of a performance ? alright, it´s ARS Electronica, so it has to be a performance ! so, where is the camera ? ah, no camera, just a guy with a mobile laughing about your reaction. and the person just kissed you turns around and keep on walking like a robot…. it´s Intriguee, a project by silver & hanne rivrud, it questions the role of simulation in our everyday lives, and tries to reverse the simulation back into reality…. who is the avatar actually ?

marienstrasse 7 – hot spot

this garage represents some great projects on a few square meters:

GRL – L.A.S.E.R. Tag

after being famous for their LED throwies actions in NY in 2006, this years big hit of the graffiti research lab was presented at the ars, the GRL L.A.S.E.R tag system. a beamer, a tracking unit and a small sound system are packed on this tricycle in order to make use of all the urban projection screens available. easy to install, funny to use. i had the chance to join them on a tour through linz industrial area – unfortunately i’m not able to cut the video right now, it will be available in 2 weeks.
see their video in the meanwhile..


Dash Macdonald – In Your Hands

i couldn’t join the performance and actually see how it works but the craftsmanship of this peace is really impressive. referring to the milgram experiments of the 70ties dash gives his the control over his movement in the hands of the audience by letting them control the movement of his roller skates via a remote control.
apparently dash macdonald is a student in the 2nd year of his studies at the RCA in london – keep an eye on that guy..


Andreas Steinhauser – md4-200 Drone

you can’t hear it but it can see you. i’ve seen some attempts to build something similar, but compared to this machine they all fail. it’s not the concept thats impressing about this project, it’s the fact that it works and it’s there that is alarming. the drone costs around 10000€, but andreas steinhauser presented at the 23c3 aleady a self-made drone they managed to build for 1000€. this is the video from the presentation at the 23C3, i show this one because he is explaining while presenting the drone. an german tv bulletin is ready for download here.


Cloaca – by Wim Delvoye (BE)

so finally there is a piece of art thats isn’t shit, but produces some.
it basically produces human excrement without a human body. the machine is fed with everyday food, and the excrement that it produces can not be differentiated from human shit – even not in laboratory tests.

the windows are open for a good reason, because when they weren’t this piece of art/shit took over the whole 1st level of the o.k.center, so try to imagine the olfactory part of the piece.

Augmented Sculpture v. 1.2 – by Pablo Valbuena *****

here we are: my personal favourite of this festival: since i had the chance to interview the artist i don’t need to bore anyone with my thoughts about the peace – just check out this 2 videos:

Sirenen – by Ray Lee

This performance was one of the reasons why i was really happy to be at the ars.

it started quite slow – including my nervous soul getting bored – but as soon as a few of the pieces were turned on and rotating, a really great sound collage emerged which i fear is impossible to document: you just have to stand between this swarm of speakers in order to experience this installation. here is a short movie anyway to give you an impression:

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