Within the contemporary art world a group of artists-including Erwin Redl, Leo Villareal, and Jennifer Steinkamp, among others-explore light, color, abstraction, and movement within a technological foundation. These artists might be regarded as the "black swans" of new media art. So what's the point of making art that resembles Christmas lights, Las Vegas, Disney, 1960s light shows, lava lamps, screensavers, and Star Trek in the 21st century? Doesn't the world we live in have more pressing concerns?
Or perhaps these artists are onto something important. JoAnne Northrup explores "objective art" in her talk "Luminous Currents: Tracing Modernism from Bauhaus to Beehive." She traces back to Laszlo Moholy-Nagy's and Oskar Fischinger's avant-garde films in the 1920s and 30s that probed the nature of perception. More recently, the ubiquity of personal computers has enabled the "black swans" of media art to explore light, color and motion in three dimensions and create immersive environments. This recent work references nature and biological networks, incorporates data, and evokes emergent behavior through practices that exist at the juncture of design, technology, science, and contemporary art. Can this work harness technology to enable us to see, hear, and feel the patterns of the natural world as a profoundly aesthetic experience? Or have we simply returned to the 1960s light shows and lava lamps?
JoAnne Northrup is dedicated to bringing artists who use pioneering techniques and inventive materials into the mainstream conversation about contemporary art and innovation. She was appointed director of contemporary art initiatives at the Nevada Museum of Art in January of this year. She was drawn to the Museum's unique interdisciplinary program and the opportunity to explore uncharted territory through her curatorial work.
Presented by Berkeley Center for New Media/Art Techonology & Culture Colloquium [ATC].
FREE and open to the public.