At one minute after midnight on January 1, 2001, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), in collaboration with Intel Corporation, will launch 010101: Art in Technological Times. This ambitious and thought-provoking exhibition will comprise five Web-based commissions accessible online beginning January 1; from March 3 through July 8, 2001, over two dozen installations, video works, sound pieces and digital projects, as well as examples of more traditional media, will be on view in the SFMOMA galleries. 010101 charts recent and commissioned work by some 35 contemporary artists, architects and designers—from North America, Europe and Asia—who are responding to a world altered by the increasing presence of digital media and technology.
As part of the Intel collaboration, the online component of the exhibition will be accessible at www.sfmoma.org/010101 and at www.artmuseum.net, an online museum gallery presented by Intel. Throughout the exhibition, the 010101 Web site will continue to expand with areas for live arts, special events, dialogue, interpretive materials and archiving of on-site programs.
“This ground-breaking project is not just a show of ‘art about technology’ or ‘high-tech art and design,'” notes SFMOMA Director David A. Ross. “Rather, it will present artists, architects and designers whose work is carried out self-consciously in the shadow of the digital age, which is bringing new ideas and working processes to the studio, introducing new exhibition practices to the gallery and offering radically new ways to connect creators and their potential audiences. The play-on-numbers of the exhibition title underlines the changing nature of museums and artists as they and the rest of society reflect upon life in technological times.”
010101: Art in Technological Times has been organized collaboratively by five SFMOMA curators: Aaron Betsky, curator of architecture, design and digital projects; Janet Bishop, curator of painting and sculpture; Kathleen Forde, curatorial associate for media arts; John S. Weber, the Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Programs; and Benjamin Weil, curator of media arts. Both the online and on site components of the exhibition are being designed by Perimetre–Flux, San Francisco.
Art and Technology
With advanced technologies increasingly prevalent in everyday life, artists, architects and designers now freely adopt their use in the studio, deploy them in the gallery, inhabit them on the Internet and make work that reflects and comments on their presence in society. However, as Weber writes in his catalogue essay, “the infusion of technology-based works into the art arena and the background effect of technology on traditional art practice haven’t produced a new ‘style’ or ‘movement.’ Rather, they open a field of possibilities and the exhibition includes deliberate and dramatic contrasts in the use of technology and attitudes towards it.” The work featured online and in the SFMOMA galleries will thus encompass pieces that reveal technology, are produced with cutting-edge techniques and materials, construct artificial identities, examine the sprawl of networks and information overload and reveal (or revel in) the blurring of reality.
The integrated exhibition presentation—online and on site—will reflect this diversity through a host of interactive public programs, special performances both online and at the Museum and an innovative publication that will act as a “personal analog guide” to the 010101 galleries and content. Embedded throughout all of these elements—on the walls of the galleries, on the 010101 Web site and in the publication—”Think Texts” will establish a stream of provocative commentary on issues raised by the art and its connections to larger questions of technology’s role in the world today. Providing both context and multiple perspectives, these pithy texts have been excerpted from critical and philosophical literature; fragments of popular culture and fiction; interviews with artists, architects, and other cultural producers; governmental and institutional texts on technology (and their anarchic, antitechnology counterparts); and relevant Web sites.
Since the Internet may be the ultimate expression of a culture addicted to data and heady with the ability to access, borrow, manipulate and distribute images, SFMOMA has commissioned several international pioneers in the young field of online art to create new works for 010101. Mark Napier‘s Feed will use a Web search spider to read pages and images entered by the user, then will run the pages’ color values through various algorithms to produce luminous color displays. Eden.Garden 1.0 from the Belgium-based team of Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn (known as Entropy8Zuper!)—recent winners of the inaugural SFMOMA Prize for Excellence in Online Art—will continue in the immersive, highly personal vein of the pair’s earlier works. A visit to e-poltergeist, by the British team Thomson & Craighead, will prompt the delivery of code that generates random sound bites and launches unlimited windows from preselected URLs—leaving the impression of a mischievous “ghost in the machine.” Erik Adigard‘s Timel/ocator will offer an interface where visual information is directly and graphically affected by the passing of time. And Matthew Ritchie will produce a new piece called The New Place that continues his investigation into the nature and topography of information.
SFMOMA has also commissioned a number of works as part of the gallery component of 010101. Canadian Janet Cardiff will use binaural recording techniques and camcorders to create an intimate commentary on and narrative based in the SFMOMA building and galleries. Droog Design, a cooperative of furniture and industrial designers in the Netherlands, will construct a domestic environment focusing on the revelatory reuse of forms and materials. New York-based designer Karim Rashid, by contrast, will create an “epigenetic landscape” of computer-generated forms made of foam—a futuristic dream of a domestic landscape. Other commissions include a sound installation by British artist Brian Eno and a site-specific piece by Sarah Sze, who fashions her characteristic assemblages from the mass-produced miscellany of a throwaway society.
Two German artists will be expanding existing projects for 010101. Karin Sander‘s conceptual 1:10 series consists of tiny, intriguingly lifelike figures made by combining full-body three-dimensional digital scans of individuals with fused deposition modeling of ABS plastic. Jochem Hendricks uses a retinal scanner that tracks his eye movements to create “eye drawings” that document his journey through, in this case, the “Eye” arts and entertainment section of the San Jose Mercury News.
Exploring Old and New Materials
Los Angeles-based artist Kevin Appel uses a computer to design beautiful, essentially fictitious architectural spaces and then “reclaims” them through the personal process of painting. Bay Area painter Chris Finley also creates his imagery on a computer, producing bright, colorful paintings that freely combine the experience of cyberspace with video-game sensibilities. By contrast, fellow Californian Adam Ross‘ series of hyper-real painted landscapes, The Permeability of Time within an Emerging Pattern of Change, only look digitally created, borrowing visual effects and geometric forms usually associated with computer-generated imagery to explore the concepts of time travel, futuristic architecture and alternative realities that have captivated Ross since childhood.
In an exploration of the intersection of biotechnology and architecture, the Swiss team of Décosterd & Rahm, associés creates an “intelligent” immersive environment that engages all the senses. Chinese artist Yuan Goang-ming combines the photo-sensitive properties of phosphor with video and sound to create a ghostly, haunting installation. Other artists take the protean capabilities of modern plastics as the starting point for their sculptures and installations. Korean artist Lee Bul forged her immense hanging sculpture Supernova from white polyurethane; writhing tendrils extend outward from smooth plates that recall the armor of science-fiction cyborgs. Shirley Tse carves salvaged foam packing materials, excavating geometric patterns and lyrical curves and swells. Roxy Paine has rigged his laptop computer to drive a custom-built sculpture-making machine, which drips molten plastic onto a conveyor belt to create an unlimited number of unique abstract, colorful blob sculptures.
The Digital/Video Toolkit
As video has become a sophisticated and established medium over the past few decades, now digital technologies have arrived as part of the basic artistic toolkit—as can be seen in three recent SFMOMA acquisitions that will be included in 010101. MIT computer engineer and graphic designer John Maeda orchestrates computer code, acrobatic letters and the nostalgic clatter of a typewriter in Tap, Type, Write, a wonderfully useless exercise in typographic fun. Iscapes 1.0 by Asymptote Architecture (architects Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture) presents a series of continually morphing objects that blend consumer appliances and fashion accessories with architectural monuments. In Corridor, Craig Kalpakjian explores the psychology of space and perception in his representation of an endless, eerily empty hallway simulated entirely on a computer. And Tatsuo Miyajima employs the LED digital counter technology of his native Japan in Floating Time.
Many artists have responded to the new superabundance of information and cacophony of images that are inextricably linked to high-tech culture. For his maze-like installation The Fiction between 1999 and 2000, Hu Jie Ming scavenged 5,000 “screen grabs” from the Internet and television in the 24 hours between midnight on December 31, 1999, and January 1, 2000. Rebeca Bollinger, a San Francisco–based conceptual artist, investigates the curiously literal yet open-ended structure of the digital world in a lyrical and humorous series of drawings that she created by conducting images searches on the Web for generic words or terms (i.e. clouds, people communicating) and delineating the results in colored pencil on vellum. The actual sounds of the Internet are brought into the gallery by Chris Chafe and Greg Niemeyer of Stanford University in Ping, a networked sound installation.
In contrast, Char Davies‘ fully immersive, live virtual-reality environments are lush and phantasmagoric landscapes that no two participants ever experience in the same way. Annette Begerow‘s constantly shifting, computer-generated image sometimes appears as an abstract grid of pixellated shades of gray and at other times zooms in and resolves itself as a digital photograph of a 19th-century interior. The painterly digital animations of Jeremy Blake seduce the viewer with translucent fields of color that evolve and merge with images of ultramodern architecture and sound. Heike Baranowsky, Rodney Graham and Euan MacDonald each bring a new twist to classic video art. As in all the works in 010101, these installations tap into the enthralling, disquieting, omnipresent, yet elusive nature of life in today’s technological times.
* * *
010101: Art in Technological Times is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It is being presented by Intel Corporation. The exhibition is made possible by Collectors Forum, an auxiliary of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Airline transportation is generously provided by American Airlines. Additional support is provided by The Consulate General of Switzerland and The Consul General of Switzerland Roland Quillet, with the participation of Présence Suisse à l’Etranger, and the Institut Für Auslandsbeziehungen. Media Sponsors: The Mercury News, SiliconValley.com and BayArea.com.
Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communication products. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com/pressroom.