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December 31, 2004



Soft Cinema

MISSION TO EARTH (Soft Cinema Edition), A Media Installation by Lev Manovich: What kind of cinema is appropriate for the age of Palm Pilot and Google? Automatic surveillance and self-guided missiles? Consumer profiling and CNN? To investigate answers to this question, Lev Manovich - one of today’s most influential thinkers in the fields of media arts and digital culture – has paired with award-winning new media artist and designer Andreas Kratky to create the Soft Cinema project. They have also invited contributions from such other leading cultural figures as DJ Spooky, Scanner, George Lewis and Jóhann Jóhannsson (music), servo (architecture), Schoenerwissen/ Office for Computational Design (data visualization), and Ross Cooper Studios (media design).

Lev Manovich will present Mission to Earth in The Project Room @ Chelsea Art Museum, New York, NY – from January 8 through January 26. The exhibition includes a public reception, the release presentation of Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database DVD, and a panel all taking place on Saturday, January 8, 2.00 – 4.30pm, 2004.

MISSION TO EARTH (Soft Cinema edition) is a science fiction allegory of the immigrant experience that adopts the variable choices and multi-frame layout of the Soft Cinema system to represent ‘variable identity’. In this gallery installation the film is being assembled in real-time by the Soft Cinema software from a large database of media elements. While the narrative stays the same and repeats every 23 minutes, all other elements can potentially change. As a result, there is no single ‘unique’ version of the film – every run produces a new

SOFT CINEMA: Navigating the Database is the Soft Cinema project’s first DVD publication published and distributed by The MIT Press (2005). It presents three ‘films’, including Mission to Earth, that were created within the framework of the project. Although the ‘films’ on the DVD reference the familiar genres of cinema, the process by which they were created and the resulting aesthetics fully belong to the software age. They demonstrate the possibilities of software) cinema - a 'cinema' in which human subjectivity and the variable choices made by custom software combine to create films that can run infinitely without ever exactly repeating the same image sequences, screen layouts and narratives.

Lev Manovich, the leader of the Soft Cinema project and the videographer, editor, and author of Mission to Earth, is an internationally recognized leader in the field of new media culture. He is the author of The Language of New Media (The MIT Press, 2001) and Little Movies (1994), the first film project created specifically for the World Wide Web. His computer-driven installations and films have been exhibited in numerous museums, galleries, media and film festivals in the US, Europe and Asia, including ZKM, Karlsruhe; the ICA, London; SENEF, Seoul; and the ICC, Tokyo. In addition, Soft Cinema received an honorary mention at Transmediale 2003 festival, Berlin and is the subject of a short documentary by ARTE-TV.

Andreas Kratky, the author of the Soft Cinema software, has been responsible for media design and co-direction of a number of groundbreaking new media projects, including the award-winning DVDs That’s Kyogen and Bleeding Through – Layers of Los Angeles 1920-1986 (both published by ZKM).

Soft Cinema Project
Complete text used in Mission to Earth

OPENING AND PANEL DISCUSSION at Chelsea Art Museum SATURDAY January 8, 2:00 - 4:30 PM with:

Lev Manovich, associate professor of new media, University of California, San Diego
Christiane Paul, adjunct new media curator, Whitney Museum of American Art
Barbara London, curator, video and digital media, Museum of Modern Art
Sue Hubbard, art critic, Independent Newspaper, London
Ken Feinstein, artist/professor of experimental video

WHERE: Chelsea Art Museum is at 556 West 22nd Street, at the corner of 11th Avenue. Take the E or 1, 9 to 23rd Street.

HOURS: Chelsea Art Museum is open Tuesday - Saturday, Noon – 6 PM; Thursday to 8.

TICKETS: Events are FREE with museum admission: $6 for adults, $3 for students and seniors. Thursdays $3 for everyone. Free admission for members and visitors 18 and under.

Posted by jo at December 31, 2004 07:01 PM