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Tag Archive: art and technology

  1. In Conversation with Creative Coder Kat Zhang

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    Featured work by  creative coder Kat Zhang: Full Video With Sound

    Tell us a bit about your work and what you do:

    I’m Kat, software engineer/artist. I make visual art with code, sometimes combined with hand drawings. Recently, I have been working on music visualization, which to me is like a form of machine-augmented synesthesia. In general, I want to make art that expands, or even redefines people’s sensory and perceptual realms.

    What first got you started as a creative coder? How did you learn to incorporate that with your work as a painter?

    After years of programming both at and after work, I had a burnout and just wanted to work with my bare hands again. That led me to pick up drawing. But very soon I couldn’t resist the urge to draw with code. A friend pointed me to Daniel Shiffman’s the Nature of Code, which opened a door for me to the world of creative coding. Combining hand-drawn images and animation to coded works seems very natural to me. I feel both the computer and the nature work like a blackbox in a way. Proof? Open a shader on shadertoy and see the ridiculously realistic simulations of oceans, fog, clouds, planets just from a few lines of code. It makes me think that we must have created something that has stolen the nature’s secrets to have fooled the human eye. Inviting the machine (which is a like micro god that is capable of performing miracles) to work with me is thus very empowering .

    What’s your process like when coming up with a piece? Are there certain things you prioritize? 

    I find my ideas evolving constantly, from the moment formed in my head, to being jotted down, to being implemented. They never stay the same. I guess that’s why I love the process so much, because it has this element of surprise, whether from myself or the machine, always feels like I am a little child perpetually playing on this massive, beautiful playground with infinite possibilities.The things I prioritize is probably my familiarity with my tools. I would spend a lot of time to improve my craft so I wouldn’t be too slowed down when I am actually “playing” in that process, although that always happens anyway.

    Any new software or program that you’re excited to try out? Or do you find that there’s a few main ones you usually stick to? 

    Yes! There are so many softwares/tools that I want to learn! A few at the top of my list: Quill, an illustration and animation tool for Oculus Rift; Blender, the open-sourced 3D modeling pipeline; Keras, a neural network API that I’m learning now and hopefully will work on some style transfer projects! Most of the time now, I work with Touchdesigner. It plays well with many types of input (shaders, Kinect, even VR!) while still allowing you to go as low-level as you want by just coding in Python.

    Is there a particular artist who inspires you, or whose work you’re excited about?

    I love Ian Cheng‘s works. I think he adds another dimension to the usual simulations (think Conway’s Game of Life, flocking/swarming behaviors, .etc) we see in creative coding, one that is critical to our experience of real life: storytelling. Agents in the simulations are concrete, even life-like. Thus it is hard not to blur the boundaries of our real-life experience with the simulations (or maybe there is none to start with?)

  2. Interview with Multidisciplinary Artist Rory Scott

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    We chatted with multidisciplinary artist Rory Scott and talked to Rory about her experience with animation, c4d and the concept of impermanence through technology.

    As a multidisciplinary artist, do you find it difficult to streamline your artistic process? Or have you found a routine that makes it easier? 

    I’ve streamlined my process by being ok with chaos—to never stop moving and to always be in the mode of making art. But the stipulation is that everything I do must relate back to advancing my ongoing 10 year project.

    As impermanence is a central theme in your work, do you find that sharing your work digitally is a way to reconcile with that? Or do you think digital mediums also have a level of impermanence to them? 

    Funny enough, I often use my Instagram stories as an informal way to address/observe impermanence. For example, I love taking time-lapse movies of life just going by and seeing the patterns that emerge with time being slightly sped up.

    Digital mediums have both a level of impermanence and permanence to them. Once you release something, you have to be prepared for it to be out there forever. On the flip-side I feel like the shelf life for digital work can be volatile—its longevity may depend on the survival of the technologies that made it possible to exist in the first place.

    You do an incredible job at creating different dimensions and realities. Do you have a favorite program that you use when creating animations? 

    Thanks so much! My favorite program is After Effects because of its versatility. I am able to animate, work in VR and pull in elements from Cinema 4D.  Which gives me a lot to work with.

    Is there a particular artist who inspires you, or whose work you’re excited about?

    Tara Donovan. Her work is beyond and embodies every element that I love and appreciate about art.

  3. 5 New Media Artists on Where They Find Inspiration

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    In the age of new media and digital art, it can be easy to get over-stimulated and lose inspiration. Creative blocks are difficult to get through, which is why we’ve collected some insight from a talented pool of New Media artists. Here are some of  their top tips for finding inspiration: 

    Trimex Collective (@TrimexCrew)

    “I keep a secret folder with all of my references that I can go back to for inspiration[…] Conceptually I use nature and abandoned architecture in society”  (Featured Article Image/Artwork courtesy of  Trimex Collective)

    Vitoria Cribb (@louquai), Multidisciplinary Artist: 

    “I  read a lot about subjects that I’m interested in at the moment. Now I’m studying and searching more about artists who work with different media and how they handle the questions about their work and how they go about sharing their ideas.” (Featured artwork by Vitória Cribb)

    ThisReo (@ThisReo)

    “I get my inspiration from so many places. Traveling, movies, music, nature, psychedelics, love, sex, great conversations, food, museums, architecture and of course, the internet.” (Featured artwork by REO)

    Blake Kathryn (@BlakeKathryn

    “Cinematography is a giant pull. Living in LA, I quickly adapted to the cinephile lifestyle. Mindless sketching, taking mental breaks through long walks, and recently browsing random library finds are all great conceptual fodder as well. In general, the more steps I take away from my practice, the more I’m able to dig within myself to pull out authentic ideas and feel confident in bringing it to fruition.” (Featured artwork by Blake Kathryn)

    Alida Sun (@alidasun)

    On mathematics and mythology as inspirations:

    “They came from sustained rootlessness mixed with relentless curiosity and concern. I reckon they’ve morphed into something stranger and more intense as the end of the Anthropocene draws closer and closer — nothing like an increasingly urgent need to imagine ways out of the imaginable to fire up one’s creative visions, at least as far as I’m concerned!” (Featured artwork by Alida Sun)

  4. Digital Art in 2018: Our Favorite Moments

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    Last year, we got to see some developments in the contemporary art world. From groundbreaking experiential art exhibitions to thought-provoking audio-visual showcases, there’s a lot to be excited about for the year ahead. Here are our 5 favorite art moments from 2018:

    1) IG + 3D: Zolloc

    (IG photo credits: @zolloc)

    From Austin TX, artist Hayden Zezula (known on instagram as “Zolloc”) showcases fascinating animations. Pairing a bright, pastel palette with soothing textures and movement, Zezula creates mesmerizing video animations shared through his social media. Look out for Zezula at Lightbox, who will be talking to us about his work at our Decode Experiential event on January 14th.

    2) TeamLab Borderless Exhibition

    (IG photo creds: @samsmith)

    With over 1 million visitors within the first 5 months of opening, the MORI Building Digital Art Museum’s collaborative museum in Tokyo displays stunning immersive projections. The different artworks combine to create “one borderless world”. From glittering strings of lights to flowing neon projections, TeamLab has continued to attract A-List visitors including Bella Hadid, The Weekend and Sam Smith.

    3) Atelier des Lumieres

    (IG photo credits: @psychology_of_art)

    Opened in June of 2018, Paris’s first digital museum featured Viennese art projected throughout their 3,300 metre surface area. Displaying works from artist such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Friedrich Stowasser, the museum pairs the projections with classical music from Wagner, Chopin and Beethoven to create the ultimate multisensory experience. 

    4) Turner Prize 2018

    (IG photo credits: @sohoeditors)

    In 2018, all of the artists featured in Britain’s Turner Prize Show worked with a digital art medium. Tackling societal issues such as human rights, decolonization, queer identity and social inequality through film, the Turner presented a thought-provoking digital showcase. Digital artists include Forensic Architecture, Naeem Mohaiemen, Luke Willis Thompson, and Charlotte Prodger (winner).

    5) Digital Art vs AI

    (Photo credits https://www.arebyte.com/lawrence-lek/)

    Kode9 and artist Lawrence Lek debuted their immersive art experience Nøtel that tackles the future of artificial intelligence. London visitors were placed in the multisensory dystopian environment that explored themes of humanity, capitalism and virtual reality.

  5. Events | CARE & Cargill 10 Year Anniversary

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    What happens when you country hop for 10 years straight to make the world a better place? CARE & Cargill stopped by our space to share their stories from around the world in celebration of their long term partnership where they exist globally and impact locally. Thanks to our HD projection mapping technology and other customizable digital features, guests were immersed in an audio and visual experience that had us traveling to far off places without having to pack a suitcase. Scroll through to see what you missed.


  6. Interview | In Conversation with CHiKA

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    Meet CHiKA, a Japanese-born, New York based artist and New Media Resident at Mana Contemporary known for her LED lights, live video projections, and interactive works. Exhibited at numerous international venues and festivals, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Art and Design and more, CHiKA’s take on the experiential art space stands out amongst the masses making her minimalist geometric pieces love at first light.

    We recently sat down with the artist to discuss her take on art and technology, invisible and visible lights, her newest residency with Future Lab at New York’s School of Visual Arts, and and her upcoming CultureHub LED Mappathon™ workshop. Read on to see why CHiKA is one to watch. 

    Galaxy, LED Light Installation, 2017 @ Elsewhere. Brooklyn (image c/o CHiKA)

    Lightbox: We like what you do. Tell us a little bit about your work and how you create it…

    CHiKA: I play with Japanese homophones as a concept. Words have the same pronunciation but different meanings. For example, “EN” at the Bronx Museum means Circle ( 円 ), Connection ( 縁 ), and Feast ( 宴 ). “SEI05” at The New York Hall of Science means Star ( 星 ), Silent ( 静 ), Live  ( 生 ).

    All these meanings are hidden in the title of my artwork and help create a structure that gives meaning for co-creation with the public using the latest technology.

    After coming up with a concept, I make a little goal and keep on creating and testing until just before the show starts. I love to find solutions and challenge.

    L: What inspires your artistry?

    C: I’m inspired by the invisible and visible, lights, shapes, sound in darkness, and co-creation with my public.

    L: Did you always know you wanted to be an artist? 

    C: Yes, I always want to be an artist.

    SEI03, LED light installation with Sound, 2015 (image c/o CHiKA)

    L: What comes first? Art or technology?

    C: I do not think of art and technology separately. I process my creation with art and tech together. No separation. Technology helps to reveal invisibility with the audience, which excites me very much.

    L: So what’s next?

    C: I am very excited to be in the Future Lab Residency program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City next January. I will be researching and making new ways to fabricate my artwork. I also want a challenge to create installations without a computer. Simple on-and-off analog light work with new fabrication structures, prints, and video work.

    I am also a founder of Mappathon™ and my LED Mappathon™ workshop at CultureHub is coming up on November 17th-18th. Students will learn basic knowledge of Projection Mapping technology to map Digital LED lights. Find out more information about the upcoming workshop here.

    EN04 INTERACTIVE LED Light Installation with Dound, 2017 (image c/o CHiKA)

    Like what you see? Follow the artist on instagram @_imagima.

    Featured image credit: SEI05 – 2018 Interactive LED Lights Installation (image c/o CHiKA from the New York Hall of Science Museum)