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November 01, 2005

VIDA 8.0


Art & Artificial Life International Competition

FIRST PRIZE (10.000 euros): AP0201, Martin Howse, Jonathan Kemp; U.K.: The desert of Southern California is a surreal wasteland of military bombing ranges and toxic waste, beautiful vistas and endangered species, and now three peculiar artificial life entities. UK Artists Martin Howse and Jonathan Kemp built these stark, semi-official looking devices at a research station run by the Center for Land Use Interpretation. In this arid landscape, Howse and Kemp hacked out what might be confused for remote meteorological stations, but are actually far more ambiguous devices. They harvest and store solar power, communicate with each other through wireless, listen to military jets, birds, and the wind, and constantly modify their own code. Their small computer displays tells us nothing -- we have no way of entering their processing or conversation. They are functionally inscrutable, while nonetheless communicating a sort of technical authority. While their location is available as GPS coordinates it's hard to imagine what one would gain by visiting them, and knowing the American Southwest they would probably be peppered with bullet holes anyway. Quixotic as they appear, they nonetheless present a challenge to our self-importance, as oblivious to our curiosity as are the desert tortoises or cacti that share their space.

SECOND PRIZE (7.000 euros): LIVEFORM:TELEKINETICS (LF:TK)--Michelle Teran & Jeff Mann, Germany/Canada: Corkscrews whirl and spin, toasters with arms made from knives and forks wave rhythmically in the air, tea-strainers open and close their mouths in harmonic accompaniment. A joyful gathering of everyday kitchen equipment, appear to dance together to the beat of the music. But on the surface what looks like just 'too much' happiness and fun becomes sobering. It is disturbing to realise how easily a whole value system which promotes functionality, seamless productivity and efficiency, from the world of business communications machinery has been absorbed and accepted as the 'normal' tools, behaviours and etiquette for network communications within our personal and social lives. LiveForm:Telekinetics clearly shows us how our communications with the people we care for and love are being limited by the tools we have uncritically accepted. The enchanted objects celebrate through the social mediums of music and play, new communication languages, new networked social experiences, and the creative social processes in the production of the objects themselves, reminding us what it is we have been missing all this time.

More about the awards >>

Posted by jo at November 1, 2005 09:02 AM