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Extra Fantômes

Curated by Mouna Andraos & Melissa Mongiat / Daily tous les jours, for the Gaîté Lyrique

Curated by Mouna Andraos & Melissa Mongiat / Daily tous les jours, for the Gaîté Lyrique Embrace the irrational. Believe in magic. Fear the unknown. Extra Ghosts: The Real, The Fake, The Uncertain is an exhibition exploring visions of the haunted house enabled by our digital culture. The works featured start by investigating how the means of our times can connect us to the ethereal and the occult. The experience moves on to the very real, ghostly world of our technological existence, exploring invisible spectrums and robotic surveillance and culminating with our own attempts at becoming phantoms for the machine age. The exhibition is presented by La Gaîté lyrique, a digital arts center located in the heart of Paris.

Immaterials: light painting WiFi, 2011

Timo Arnall, Jørn Knutsen and Einar Sneve Martinussen. Runtime 4:44 This project explores the invisible terrain of WiFi networks in urban spaces by light painting signal strength in long-exposure photographs. A four-metre tall measuring rod with 80 points of light reveals cross-sections through WiFi networks using a photographic technique called light-painting. This builds on a technique that was invented for the 2009 film ‘Immaterials: the Ghost in the Field’ which probed the edges of the invisible fields that surround RFID readers and tags in the world. It also began a series of investigations into what Matt Jones richly summarised as ‘Immaterials’. While we were mapping out tiny RFID fields, we wondered what it would be like to apply the light painting process to larger-scale fields of Bluetooth, WiFi, GSM and 3G. What if we built huge light painting apparatus that could map out architectural and city-scale networks in the places and spaces they inhabited? We’re still very interested in understanding radio and wireless networks as one of the substrates essential to contemporary design practice. We built the WiFi measuring rod, a 4-metre tall probe containing 80 lights that respond to the Received Signal Strength (RSSI) of a particular WiFi network. When we walk through architectural, urban spaces with this probe, while taking long-exposure photographs, we visualise the cross-sections, or strata, of WiFi signal strength, situated within photographic urban scenes. The cross-sections are an abstraction of WiFi signal strength, a line graph of RSSI across physical space. Although it can be used to determine actual signal strength at a given point, it is much more interesting as a way of seeing the overall pattern, the relative peaks and the troughs situated in the surrounding physical space. After a week of walking through urban spaces holding and photographing this instrument, we have a much better sense of the qualities of WiFi in urban spaces, its random crackles, bright and dim spots, its reaction to the massing of buildings, and its broad reach through open areas. The resulting images show some of these qualities, and light painting is a brilliant medium for situating visualisations and data into physical world locations and situations. Timo Arnall is co-founder of Ottica, working with design, product invention, filmmaking, photography and strategy, most recently working with Google ATAP. His design, photography and filmmaking work is about developing and explaining emerging technologies through visual experiments, films, visualisations, speculative products and interfaces. He led the international research project ‘Touch’ investigating physical interaction with everyday objects. He has a Phd in interaction design. Over 15 years he has directed commercials, animated films, designed exhibitions and urban screens and architected web and mobile applications. Recent exhibitions include MoMA’s ‘Talk to Me‘, the V&A’s ‘Power of Making‘, Designs of the year at the Design Museum, London Transport’s ‘Sense and the City‘, ‘Invisible Fields‘ and ‘Habitar‘ at Laboral in Spain.

Invisible, 2014

Runtime 1:48 Invisible is a fully-functional genetic privacy product offered for sale by the imaginary biotechnology company “Biogenfutures.” Designed as an artistic provocation, Invisible points beyond surveillance to interrogate the alleged infallibility of the DNA “gold standard.” To this end Invisible is an exploit – in the hacker sense of the term. It points out a security vulnerability. If DNA evidence can be hacked, forged, and planted like any other evidence does it deserve its elevated status? Invisible is a suite of two complementary products. The Erase spray deletes 99.5% of the DNA you leave in public. The Replace spray cloaks biological material with DNA noise. Derived from over 50 different DNA sources and utilizing a special preservative, Replace brings the electronic privacy method of obfuscation to the biological.  Heather Dewey-Hagborg is a transdisciplinary artist and educator who is interested in art as research and critical inquiry. Heather has shown work internationally at events and venues including the Shenzhen Urbanism and Architecture Bienniale, Poland Mediations Bienniale, Norway Article Bienniale, Ars Electronica, Transmediale, CCCB, ZKM, the Science Gallery Dublin, PS1 MOMA, the New Museum, and Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in New York City. Her work has been widely discussed in the media, from the New York Times and the BBC to TED and Wired. She is an Assistant Professor of Art and Technology Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Horizon, 2015

The Web was introduced during the last century as something immaterial, "in the clouds". But the network is made of a heavy material infrastructure, cables from one continent to another and data centers that concentrate Internet data. "Horizon" is an endless traveling in photographs found on the web representing the corridors of these data centers. These images show a classical albertinian perspective. The eye moves it while remaining paradoxically immobile. Grégory Chatonsky (b 1971) is a French artist based in Montreal and Paris. In 1994 he founded the net-art platform, Incident.net. He has received awards and grants including Dicream (2014), CAC (2013), CALQ (2012), CRSH (2011), Cap Digital (2010), Arcadi (2010), & CNAP (2008). In 2013, he launched TELOFOSSILS at MOCA (Taipei), and a second version was shown in Beijing (2015). In 2014, he presented a solo exhibition, CAPTURE, at CDA (France), an accelerationist rock band; and he followed this with EXTINCT MEMORIES in 2015, about the data centers of Google (IMAL, Brussels). He has also participated in group exhibitions such as Erreur d'impression, Jeu de Paume (Paris), The Beginning of The End (Timisoara), Mois de la Photo (Montréal), Extimitat CCA (Palma), Der Untergang Doomsday (Berlin), Connect the doct (Roma), Interlife Crisis (Seatte), The Radius (Chicago), Il Pardosso Della Rupetizone (Roma), Augmented Senses (Shanghai), and the Biennale d'art contemporain (Montréal), amongst others. In addition, he has participated in a number of residencies including IMAL (2015), Unicorn (2015), Villa Kujoyama (2014), UQAM (2007), Abbaye de Fontevraud (2006), Villa Médicis hors les murs (2005), and Le Fresnoy (2004) … His work is on the relationship between existence and technology, and explores the underlying structures of everyday technology to create variable and endless fictions.

Street Ghosts, 2012

Runtime 5:01 In this project, I exposed the specters of Google’s eternal realm of private, misappropriated data: the bodies of people captured by Google’s Street View cameras, whose ghostly, virtual presence I marked in Street Art fashion at the precise spot in the real world where they were photographed. Street Ghosts hit some of the most important international Street Art “halls of fame” with lowresolution, human scale posters of people taken from Google Street View. These images do not offer details, but the blurred colors and lines on the posters give a gauzy, spectral aspect to the human figures, unveiling their presence like a digital shadow haunting the real world. This ready-made artwork simply takes the information amassed by Google as material to be used for art, despite its copyrighted status and private source. As the publicly accessible pictures are of individuals taken without their permission, I reversed theact: I took the pictures of individuals without Google’s permission and posted them on public walls. In doing so, I highlight the viability of this sort of medium as an artistic material ready to comment and shake our society. The collections of data that Google and similar corporations have become the material of everyday life, yet their source is the personal information of private individuals. By remixing and reusing this material, I artistically explore the boundaries of ownership and exposure of this publicly displayed, privately-held information about our personal lives. In this case, the artwork becomes a performance, re-contextualizing not only data, but also a conflict. It’s a performance on the battlefield, playing out a war between public and private interests for winning control on our intimacy and habits, which can change permanently depending on the victor. Who has more strength in this war? The artist, the firm, the legislators, the public concern or the technology? This reconfiguration of informational power provokes engagement between those social agents, who are recruited through simple visual exposure. Ghostly human bodies appear as casualties of the info-war in the city, a transitory record of collateral damage from the battle between corporations, governments, civilians and algorithms. Some of this battle has played out in the courts: for instance, the Swiss and German governments have placed legal restrictions [1] on Google, claiming that capturing people on the street in this way violates their privacy. Google rejoins with the accuracy of its facial blurring algorithm, though it doesn’t always work [2]. But even if it does, this is hypocrisy: the rest of their bodies, their hair or clothes are more than enough to identify them, especially for someone really interested in their private lives. On the street, the public encounters the random victims of this war as unclear, impermanent colors and shapes, inclined to fade away but always there, like ghosts haunting the streets and sometimes reappearing from the ethereal hells of digital archives. The obscure figures fixed to the walls are the murky intersection of two overlain worlds: the real world of things and people, from which these images were originally captured, and the virtual afterlife of data and copyrights, from which the images were retaken. The virtual world, as a transposition of the real world into an enclosure owned by multinational corporations, is no less real for its seeming withdrawal; it has material effects. Media is the interface that bridges the two worlds, and maintains a constant mutual influence between them. By going back to the spot where information has been extracted from the physical world and de-virtualizing it, critical points emerge. Google didn’t ask permission to appropriate images of all the world’s towns and cities [3], nor did it pay anything to do so. It sells ads against this public and private content, and then resells the information collected to the same advertisers, making billions that aren’t even taxed [4]. It’s a sort of exploitation by a giant social parasite that resells us what was collectively created by people’s activity and money. The public display of this biopolitical surplus from Google’s value-harvesting campaigns - the people aren’t supposed to appear in the pictures, but they do - appropriates their aesthetic and political value, as opposed to the commercial. Google appropriates the social labor we perform by constituting the public; simply by investing the city with social meaning, we unintentionally provide value for Google to capture. This Street Art intervenes by confronting the public with the aesthetic qualities of the data they didn’t even know they were alienating, and forces them to reckon with the possibility of their own image appearing as ghostly slaves trapped in a digital world forever. Paolo Cirio. NYC, Septemebr 15th 2012. Notes: [1] The Register: Google calls halt on German Street View [2] NYTs: Swiss Court Orders Modifications to Google Street View [3] NYT: Coming Soon, Google Street View of a Canadian Village You'll Never Drive To. [4] Daily Mail: How Google avoided paying £218m in tax: Internet giant's cash-saving deal on £2.6bn UK earnings - ABC Paolo Cirio’s art practice considers how society is impacted by the distribution, organization, and control of information. It seeks to embody both the conflicts and potentials inherent to the social complexity of information society. His techniques of exposure, appropriation, and recontextualization of sensitive information and social processes are built to provoke a new way of seeing and understanding modern complex social systems and dynamics. Popular language, irony, and seductive visuals are used to engage a wide public in critical issues and sophisticated works of art. Cirio's works are often meant to make contradictions apparent, expose mechanisms, and dispute their processes. The functions and perceptions of normative systems are debunked and conceptually integrated into Cirio’s works of art, which ultimately propose creative alternatives beyond the socioeconomic critiques they offer. Cirio’s artworks have been presented and exhibited in major art institutions, including Kunstverein Luxemburg, 2016; Gaîté lyrique, Paris, 2016; China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, 2015; Somerset House, London, 2015; Artium Museum, Vitoria-Gasteiz, 2015; Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, 2015; Utah MoCA, 2015; Vancouver Art Gallery, 2015; Cenart, Mexico, 2015; Kasseler Kunstverein, Kassel, 2015; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014; Open Society Foundation, NYC, 2014; TENT, Rotterdam, 2014; DOX Prague, 2014; MoCA Sydney, 2013; ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2013; CCCB, Barcelona, 2013; CCC Strozzina, Florence, 2013; MoCA Denver, 2013; MAK, Vienna, 2013; Architectural Association, London, 2013; Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, 2012; National Fine Arts Museum, Taichung, 2012; Wywyższeni National Museum, Warsaw, 2012, SMAK, Ghent, 2010; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, 2009; Courtauld Institute, London, 2009; PAN, Naples, 2008; MoCA Taipei, 2007; Sydney Biennal, 2007; and NTT ICC, Tokyo, 2006. He was born in Turin, Italy in 1979 and currently lives in NYC.

Google Faces, 2013

Runtime 1:51 Google Faces is an algorithmic robot hovering over the world to spot portraits hidden in the topography on planet earth. The custom application works autonomously to process vast amounts of satellite images through Google Maps by using a face detection algorithm. This endless cycle produces interesting results for reflection on the natural world. Objective investigations and subjective imagination collide into one inseparable process in the human desire to detect patterns. The tendency to detect meaning in vague visual stimuli is a psychological phenomenon called pareidolia . Google Faces explores how the cognitive experience of pareidolia can be generated by a machine. By developing an algorithm to simulate this occurrence, a face tracker continuously searches for figurelike shapes while hovering above landscapes of the earth. Primary inspiration for the project was found in the “Face on Mars” image taken by the Viking 1 spacecraft on July 25th, 1976. One of the key aspects of Google Faces is the autonomy of the face searching agent and the impressive amount of data it can investigate. The agent flips through satellite images, provided by Google Maps, to feed landscape samples to the face detection algorithm. A corresponding calculation moves sequentially along the latitude and longitude of the earth and once the face tracker has circumnavigated the globe, it switches to a zoom level and starts all over again. As the stepsize for each iteration continuously decreases, the amount of images scanned and travel time of the device increases exponentially. The face tracker provides versatile and astonishing results as it endlessly travels the world. Some of the detected images are not ideal as it is not possible for the human eye to recognize any visible facelike patterns. Other satellite figures inspire the imagination in a tremendous and often comical way. The search continues as our diligent robot perseveres its investigation. onformative is a studio pursuing to challenge the boundaries of art and technology. They are guided by an emotional approach to search for experimental forms of creative expression. The studio explores the possibilities that lie between fields of knowledge and practice to question the relationship between humans and technology. This approach strives to create new ways of thinking through a diversity of methods and processes by creating meaningful works and incite explorations for themselves and the public across disciplines. These processdriven curiosities examine conceptual narratives and mediate the intersection of digital and analog fields. The studio explores ideas through unique interpretations, insights and perspectives. By staying true to an experiential process, their pieces take on varying forms across media including interactive media installations, dynamic visuals and datadriven narratives. Through an interdisciplinary and collaborative practice, the visual language of onformative is variable and open to the perception of the individual. Works by onformative have been exhibited across Germany and Europe as well as the United States, Canada, Australia and China. Among others, they have taken part in exhibitions internationally at galleries such as the Museée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Museum of Digital Arts in Beijing and festivals across Europe including Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. onformative has received numerous awards and recognitions and has written articles for periodicals and as well as their own publications. They are invited regularly to exhibit works, and present their artistic practice at conferences and universities.

Magnetic Movie, 2007

Runtime 4:23 Magnetic Movie is a single channel moving image work that explores the material nature of planetary magnetic fields, as perceived by man. Photographed and recorded at the NASA Space Sciences Laboratory at U.C. Berkeley California, we bear witness to visualisations of magnetic field lines appearing in and around the laboratory, apparently as part of some experiment, while scientists describe their form, matter and motion through the use of clunky metaphors and visual descriptions. In 2005 we spent six months at a NASA space sciences laboratory for a research fellowship. During our time we interviewed the scientists as a way to start enquiring into their science. Through these interviews we became interested in the magnetic fields they were talking about, how they studied them and the data they collected and plotted. We were intrigued as to how they interpreted this invisible matter to create visual and verbal languages to describe them, and how this has led to an almost mis-interpretation of this matter as lines of force rather than fields. We wanted to make a piece of work which explored this process of creating a framework to study matter and then manifesting it as something which man can describe or communicate. In the back of our minds we were remembering what a solar physicist had told us "it's nature that's real, science is just a human invention". The work is made from photographs we shot in the laboratory, which have been brought back to life through the introduction of composited computer generated (CG) animation and camera motion. The CG imagery is based on actual scientist’s visualisations of magnetic fields. where they plot actual data collected on satellites from around planets, to produce manifestations of millions of lines of varying geometries. We have mimicked the basic form and motion of these visualisations to create our own elaborations of this visual language and introduced them into the laboratory. By doing this we wanted to bring these enormous fields down to the human scale so we can relate to them on our own terms and also to emphasise them as a fantastical object in our everyday environment, something which is unfamiliar to us that supposedly exists. We introduced the hand held camera motion to suggest someone witnessing these events occurring, so that it wasn’t interpreted as a science documentary but more someone coming across these events by accident. The supposedly scientific dialogue leads the work, describing this matter. Throughout interviewing the scientists they would use metaphors for our benefit in order to find a common language whereby we could start to comprehend the complex science they were describing: we learnt of hairy balls on the sun and dancing dots. When there was no likeness they would describe abstract form and motion. We wanted the viewer to feel like they were perhaps learning something from the scientists, when in reality it is quite removed from the actual science due to the language barrier and through how we have edited the material. It makes you feel like you are getting a sense of what this matter is and maybe almost understanding it. It is this sense of the intangible we are toying with, what is reality? We have used Very Low Frequency [VLF] recordings of the Earth's Magnetosphere to animate the CG field lines. These sounds are inaudible within the human hearing range and by using a simple antenna make audible lightning burst and high energy particles travelling the Earth's magnetic fields. By attaching the sound to the very fabric of the field lines they flinch and squirm to the resonance, creating matter born from the sound. Some viewers thought this work was a real documentary and many arguments ensued where people would discuss in length why it was or wasn't. Even one of the scientists featured received contact from other scientists saying they didn't know they had been doing these experiments. It was never our intention to try and fool people to this extent but in a way it is a testament to its success as an artwork. Magnetic Movie is an Animate Projects commission for Channel 4 in association with Arts Council England. Semiconductor is UK artist duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt. Through moving image works they explore the material nature of our world and how we experience it through the lens of science and technology, questioning how they mediate our experiences. Their unique approach has won them many awards and prestigious fellowships including; Samsung Art + Prize 2012 for new media, Smithsonian Artists Research Fellowship, Collide@CERN Artists Residency Award and a NASA Space Sciences Fellowship. Exhibitions and screenings include Let There Be Light, House of Electronic Arts, Basel (solo show); Worlds in the Making, FACT, Liverpool (solo show); Da Vinci: Shaping the Future, ArtScience Museum, Singapore; Field Conditions, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Earth; Art of a Changing World, Royal Academy of Arts, London; International Film Festival Rotterdam; New York Film Festival; Sundance Film Festival and European Media Art Festival. www.semiconductorfilms.com