ARCO ’05, Madrid, 09-14 Feb
MEIAC stand: Metamorfosis/Esquema
MEIAC – Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo (ES)
Program: “Museo Inmaterial (v2)”
– in ARCO 05: “Metamorphosis” preview: “Scheme”
– at MEIAC, Septembre 2005: “Metamorfosis”
Curator: Antonio Cerveira-Pinto
In ARCO will be presented the conceptual outline of the metamorphosis in the 21st century art museum, and in particular the theoretical programme of the evolution of the MEIAC in its near future.
On one hand, they will show the complete ideological and formal plan of the architectonic change of the premises, some 25 thousand square metres where the museum is nowadays located. At the same time, a dozen workshops of architecture will be connected on-line during the ARCO fair, showing drawings and theories about the desirable metamorphosis of the museum of post-contemporary art, and in particular, about the “Dialogue Fountains” : buildings and small architectonic fantasies designed to strengthen the museum’s global expansion, as well as its gentle integration in the city’s cultural life. The basic idea is to transform this relevant civic infrastructure into a system of aesthetic and cultural attractors.
On the other hand, they will show some of the works of code art (and technological art in general) acquired by the MEIAC in its second purchase transaction of immaterial works of art based on new cognitive languages, on the intentional use of the most recent scientific discoveries (as for instance in the field of biology), and on the elastic use of the new digital technologies, both interactive and communicative.
Finally, during ARCO 05, the MEIAC will start up a project of free broadcast of works of art specially conceived for mobile phones. It is a pioneer programme which collects and distributes immaterial works of art, under the concepts and conventions of the free software movement. From the web page designed for the Immaterial Museum (as an extension web site of the MEIAC), visitors to ARCO 05, or whoever it may concern, will be able to download original wallpapers from a collection of the MEIAC- Immaterial Museum to their mobiles.
This Immaterial Museum is at the same time a theoretical experiment and a real initiatory process of the cultural metamorphosis, whose effects on the museum world of the 21st century are not yet foreseeable. But something is true: the 21st century museums are going to change deeply. This initiative by the MEIAC is a pioneer step on this direction.
COGNITIVE, GENERATIVE & DINAMIC ART
The code art in a database museum.
There is a straitght line between conceptual art and code art. The critical discussion on post-pictorialism, post-realism and post-formalism, that took place in the seventies, and degenerated into some horrible “conceptual academia” during the nineties, found its proper way now. New media, or better said, complex media may very well be the missing link between late modern art and post-contemporary cognitive art.
The Centre for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS), founded in the MIT by Gyorgy Kepes in 1968, the pioneering work by the IRCAM ( Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique ), founded by Pierre Boulez in 1969-70, and the impact that MIT’s Media Lab (instituted by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner in 1980-85) has made later on technological art, or the relevance of publications like “Leonardo” (first launched in Paris by Frank Malina, in 1968, and then continued by his son, Roger F. Malina, in California, since 1982) are just a few examples in the recent history of the cyber-technological and computing metamorphosis of the most important creative processes in the transition from 20th century art (i.e. modern and contemporary art ) to 21st century art (post-contemporary art).
The progressive growth, in the last ten years, in the number of artists, works of art, publications, festivals and institutions (both public and private), which specially focus on the systematic use of computers, on computer design tools and computer-assisted programming and languages, will inevitably generate a radical change in the already empty art system – still dominated by the ideology of “contemporary art”.
It would still be unfair to disregard the importance of modern and contemporary art in the metamorphosis which present-day art is going through. In fact, very soon we will need to study some of its most seminal contributors : Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat, the analytical Cubism, Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, Kasimir Malévitch, Joseph Albers, Hans Hofmann or Matisse…, to name just a few.
From a conceptual point of view, what we call today “new media” or “software art” has its more precise origins in the progressive fusion of the formalist, plastic and musical avant-garde movements of the 20th century (i.e. the pictorial abstract movement in general, the atonal movement of Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern, and the proposals by Pierre Boulez, Karlhein Stockhausen, Luciano Berio or Krzysztof Penderecki) with the technological and social experimental tendencies by artists of the image like Moholy-Nagy, Nam June Paik (specially encouraged by John Cage and Georges Maciunas) and Andy Warhol.
The very first years of the English group “Art & Language”, the structures by Sol Lewitt and most of the components of the North-American minimalism (Judd, Andre, Bochner, Flavin, Michael Heizer, James Turell ), James Coleman’s expanded fotography, Douglas Gordon’s video de-constructions, or even Blinky Palermo’s solid-state paintings, are but many more references to consider when trying to define the genealogical tree of this brand-new technological and generative front in the artistic culture.
Before 1976-77, when Steven Wozniak and Steve Jobs introduced Apple I and Apple II, being these the first personal computers conceived for a domestic market and which meant the decisive step in the current computational revolution, the evolution of the contemporary arts (broadly speaking) was based on the expansion and increase of technologies for the production, spreading, promotion and selling of musical, audiovisual, informative and pro-performance machinery demanded by the mass. At the same time, from a selective avant-garde perspective, we experienced a sort of philosophical stand-by of the artistic praxis. Actually, in what we call “visual arts”, what happened after the experiments with Pop Art and Conceptualism has been a continuous artistic absorption, of a narcissistic nature, half political, half rhetorical. I think we can speak about a crisis of the technological aspect of art. Lacking a sense of creative and individual belief in the new technological tools – which also obeyed the radical and massive change of the artistic scenery – , the 20th century theoretical artist seemed bound to modify their creative will by a purely rhetoric-speculative exclusion, or even worse, to become a mere fool of “The Society of the Spectacle”. Due to the inclusion and the complete corporate control by all the aesthetic, industrial, urban and media production/distribution system, achieved by the seductive and post-modern capitalism in the second half of the 20th century, the theoretical artist lacked once again that quantum of social autonomy without which it is impossible to transform the artistic activity into something more than just a well-done job but for an aimless cause. If, on one hand, the freelance and theoretical artist born out of the 18th century democratic revolutions, some kind of last Hegelian artist, can neither simply renounce to their wide vision of reality, nor on the other hand, can avoid the frenzy of the continuous structural innovation of its machines, it is more than appropriate then, to this respect, to agree with Franz Boas about his thoughts on the primitive art (1927), when he declared that as far back as our knowledge about our predecessors’ works of art allows us to analyse, the formal aspect has invariably been attached to the technical experience.
It is precisely this “technical experience”, or better some kind of combination of experience and skill, not necessarily manual, what the late-contemporary plastic artist has failed to have. When we speak of technical experience, in the context of hyper-technological societies, it is necessary to point out that we clearly refer to a predominantly cognitive one. In the present situation of aesthetic production, filtering in a sublime (and pro-performance) manner depends more on our cognitive instinct than on our manual one. Moreover, the chance to train this cognitive instinct depends mainly on the mastering of new and complex production tools, which implies a skill less manual than mental, plus a familiarization with a collection of operative systems packed with cybernetic interfaces and formal languages, all of which defines the new post-human techno-sphere. Even the practical verification of those purely theoretical experiments of the artistic praxis will be impossible without the continuous recourse of those new intelligent tools. Thus, it is the mastering of these tools what will, in the 21st century, give way to the production of a new sense of the form which Boas made reference to. This is, definitely, the rise of a new “techne”.
Sometimes, when I am looking for a metaphor to express this deep change in the formalization levels of the processes which generate the present-day art, I always think of music. A score by Mozart is a determinist programme, whose performance gives light to a reality that, up to the moment of its precise outcome, was no more than a possibility (a potential reality). The written music is not, actually, music, but meta-music, in the sense that its algorithmic character makes it the generative vortex of the work itself, that is to say, its own and little God. The musical instruments, the players, the acoustic conditions of the concert hall, and the audience are, then, the interfaces of both creation and reality of such a music composition.
The most wonderful aspect about all these fields of art is some kind of conceptual immortality which characterizes meta-art. A music score, as opposed to a painting, is not so much an abstract representation of images and feelings, but rather its genetic code. When we analyse a Mondrian from the Boogie-Woogie series (1942-43), we do not try to measure the degree of figurative abstraction of that painting in relation with the streets of Manhattan. What we do is, however, capture the formal quality, that is, the immediate quality, of the picture in front of us. All over the years, our appreciation of Mondrian’s painting might vary, especially due to the change in our cultural priorities and preferences, but we should not expect to see any change in the aspect and texture of the paint which would not be the result of the spectral effect of light and humidity on the canvas. Just metaphorically we can say that exhibiting a painting is the same as executing, or even interpreting it. In fact, the best thing we can do with a good painting is preserving it. Nevertheless, in order to give life to a Mozart’s piece there is the need to execute the score, the need to interpret what the composer has written down, the need to tune the piano, the need to require silence… As a consequence, Mozart’s compositions sound very differently if played on an 18th century piano, on a late-19th century pianola, or on a 20th century electro-acoustic keyboard. Its timbre chromatism and the chosen cadenza, no matter how well the pianist may play it, can slightly modify our auditory and musical perception of the piece.
The aesthetic musical reception depends as well, on the other hand, on such factors as whether the pianist is a human being or a robot, whether we listen to it in an open-air festival, in a concert hall, in our car driving at 100 miles per hour or through our stereo headphones. In other words, Mozart’s pieces are programmes written in a specific formal language or code. Their artistic performance is only possible with the use of an interpreter (human, mechanic, or computational) that is able to execute the encoded instructions within the musical language. The reception, finally, requires modulation from a series of control systems ( potentiometers and the like ). In this sense, we can classify written music as an analytical art whose existence is merely potential.
Something very similar takes place nowadays with what we could call “aesthetic attractors”, conceived for a visual (or audio-visual) perception, owing to the intensive use of computational tools and languages.
The dynamic character of the 21st century art implies yet one more radical feature: its generative elasticity. With this I refer to its own operative complexity, born and distilled from its new genetic code, which transforms the post-contemporary work of art in a true cybernetic system of sensations, in a game of metaphors, in an omnipresent communication system and in an interactive navigation panel. From the point of view of a museum of contemporary art, this new reality might resemble a Pandora’s box, from which an uncontrollable pandemonium threatens to come out. It is not really like this. Yet it is also true that something will have to change in the institutional perception of post-contemporary art, so that the necessary metamorphosis of museums and art galleries, devoted to these cultural manifestations of that former-future in which we are living, can take place.
Authors in the Immaterial Museum department of MEIAC’s collection; new
01 – 0100101110101101, “Perpetual Self Dis/Infecting Machine” y “Biennale.py”
02 – Alexei Shulgin, “ABC”
03 – Amerika-Reddell-Silva, “SOS”
04 – Andre Sier, “Struct_4”
05 – António Carvalho, 10 fondos para moviles
06 – Arcangel Constantini, “Atari-noise”
07 – Brian Mackern, “Maquina Podrida (La Desdentada)”
08 – Christian Montenegro, 10 fondos para moviles
09 – France Cadet, “Flying Pig”
10 – Electronic Disturbance Theatre – EDT, “DDK – Disturbance Developer Kit”
11 – Gustavo Romano, “Nocturno”
12 – Han Hoogerbrugge, “Nails #2”
13 – John Klima, “Train”
14 – Joan Leandre, “NostalG”
15 – John F. Simon Jr., “Every Icon”
16 – Konic thtr – Rosa Sanchez y Alan Baumann, “Soliloquio”
17 – Lisa Jevbratt, “Out of the Ordinary”
18 – Maite Cajaraville, 10 fondos para moviles
19 – Marta de Menezes, “Nature?”
20 – Nuno Valério, 10 fondos para moviles
21 – Olia Lialina, “My Boyfriend Came Back From War”
22 – Pedro Zamith, 10 fondos para moviles
23 – Peter Luining, “SoundToys”
24 – Santiago Ortiz, “La esfera de las relaciones”
25 – Vuk Cosic, “Metablink”
26 – Young-hae Cheng Heavy Industries, “Artist’s Statement No. 45,730,944”
Dialogue Fountains: five basic conditions for an architectural operation
The first basic condition is that Metamorphosis collaborative workshop should take into consideration that every building, interactive sculpture or installation should be feed by solar energy.
The second basic condition is that this project will take place in a 25K sqM terrain, where a contemporary art museum (MEIAC) and green park already exist. The MEIAC is settled in the Spanish town of Badajoz, very close to the Spanish/Portuguese border. The climate is either very cold or very hot. There is very high Solar exposure most of the year (more than 300 bright days/year.
The third basic condition is that the entire territory will be a free wireless Net port.
The fourth basic condition is that architecture and art should go glocal and interactive. This means using high-low technologies.
The fifth basic condition is that we are running out of gas. So one has to look for both creative, sustainable and ship solutions.
Authors – architects, Dialogue Fountains
FpD_a – Aula do Risco, S’A Arquitectos, Gap Arquitectos: Daniel Jiménez/
Jaime Olivera/ J. Manuel Honrado – “Fuentes para el Diálogo” (master plan)
FpD_b – Mr. Fung – “Babilonia” (garden and landscape design)
FpD_01 – Matias Pintó/ Mateo Pintó – “Tierra” (Earth)
FpD_02 – n ARCHITECTS – “Sombra” (Shadow)
FpD_03 – S’A Arquitectos/ Pedra Silva Arquitecto – “Terraza” (Esplanade)
FpD_04 – a.S* Pedro Costa/ Célia Gomes – “San Valentín”
FpD_05a – Colectivo Cuartoymitad – “Muro” (Climbing Wall)
FpD_05b – David Campos Delgado – “Pista” (Skateboard)
FpD_06 – Gabinete de Arquitectura, Solano Benítez/ Alberto Maritoni – “E-vernadero” (Greenhouse)
FpD_07 – Cero9, Éfren Garcia Grinda/ Cristina Diaz Moreno – “Museo Inmaterial” (Immaterial Museum)
FpD_08 – LCM Fernando Romero – “Mimésis”
FpD_09 – AIRRIGHTS architectural studio: Elsa Caetano / Ottevaere Olivier – “Sonrisa” (Smile)
FpD_10 – 011 estudio – “Palavra” (Word)