Monday, January 22, 2007

Organic Growth

Next to my usual stop in Chelsea described in the previous post, I also visited Foxy Production last Friday to check out the Networked Nature exhibition that is co-organized by RHIZOME, and will be on display until February 18.

The video installation "Creep" by Gail Wight displays fascinating grow patters that look extremely organic and I could not quite figure out what kind of algorithm or software was used to create the beautiful flowing patterns. Which in hindsight makes sense, since imagery is not computer generated. According to the catalog it is time lapse photography of Physarum polycephalum, a slime mold. Nice!

One thing bothered me about the installation, something that is often distracting: the cables! Those wiggly cables coming down from the monitors, leading to transformers lying on the floor. Couldn't they come up with a way to hide it? I know some artists think displaying the technology used to show work is conceptually important, and it can be. But in this case, as is often the case, it just looks messy.

Whereas with the creature dominating the room, the plastic bags octopus or the rotating blowing spider, the fact that all technology is exposed is part of its appeal. The thing is only technology, and plastic bags. Air is blown into the bags, moving them, by big computer fans. The stuff is new, but I can imagine the artist roaming scrapyards in search for material to tinker with. The body is a messy bit of technology, but the arms move almost gracefully. It is called "Din-Don" or "EX-S-S-TW" and was created by Shih-Chieh Huang.

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