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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Artist Profile: Alex Myers

DANIEL ROURKE | Wed Apr 3rd, 2013 11:28 a.m.

Your work spans several distinct, but overlapping areas of discourse. We could start by talking through design, animation, glitch art, code, game play or the interface. I want to start right from the bottom though, and ask you about inputs and outputs. A recent work you collaborated on with Jeff ThompsonYou Have Been Blinded - “a non-visual adventure game”  takes me back to my childhood when playing a videogame often meant referring to badly sketched dungeon maps, before typing N S E or W on a clunky keyboard. Nostalgia certainly plays a part in You Have Been Blinded, but what else drives you to strip things back to their elements?
I’ve always been interested in how things are built. From computers to houses to rocks to software. What makes these things stand up? What makes them work? Naturally I’ve shifted to exploring how we construct experiences. How do we know? Each one of us has a wholly unique experience of… experience, of life.. When I was a kid I was always wondering what it was like to be any of the other kids at school. Or a kid in another country. What was it like to be my cat or any of the non-people things I came across each day? These sorts of questions have driven me to peel back experience and ask it some pointed questions. I don’t know that I’m really interested in the answers. I don’t think we could really know those answers, but I think it’s enough to ask the questions.
Stripping these things down to their elements shows you that no matter how hard you try, nothing you make will ever be perfect. There are always flaws and the evidence of failure to be found, no matter how small. I relish these failures.
Your ongoing artgame project, Writing Things We Can No Longer Read, revels in the state of apophenia, “the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data”.[1] The title invokes Walter Benjamin for me, who argued that before we read writing we “read what was never written” [2] in star constellations, communal dances, or the entrails of sacrificed animals. From a player’s point of view the surrealistic landscapes and disfigured interactions within your (not)(art)games certainly ask, even beg, to be interpreted. But, what role does apophenia have to play in the makingof your work?
When I make stuff, I surround myself with lots of disparate media. Music, movies, TV shows, comics, books, games. All sorts of stuff gets thrown into the pot of my head and stews until it comes out. It might not actually come out in a recognizable form, but the associations are there.
A specific example can be found in a lot of the models I use. I get most of them, or at least the seed of them, from open source models I find on 3D Warehouse. Because of the way that website works, it’s constantly showing you models it thinks are similar for whatever reason. Often I’ll follow those links and it will take me down symbolic paths that I never would have consciously decided to pursue. This allows a completely associative and emergent composition to take form.
I’d like to paraphrase and link up your last two answers, if I may. How do “relishing failures” and “allowing things to take form” overlap for you? I know you have connections with the GLI.TC/H community, for instance. But your notgames Me&YouDown&Up, and your recent work/proposition Make Me Something seem to invoke experiments, slips and disasters from a more oblique angle.
All are a means of encouraging surprise. In each piece it’s not about the skill involved, but about the thrill of the unknown. In all of my projects I try to construct a situation where I have very little control over the outcome. Glitch does this. But within the glitch community there’s a definite aesthetic involved. You can look at something and know that it’s glitch art. That’s not true for everything, but there is a baseline. For my notgames work I embrace the practice, not necessarily the look. I want irregularity. I want things to break. I want to be surprised.
Your work in progress, the Remeshed series, appears to be toying with another irregular logic,  one you hinted at in your comments about “associative and emergent composition”; a logic that begins with theobjects and works out. I hear an Object Oriented echo again in your work Make Me Something, where you align yourself more with the 3D objects produced than with the people who requested them. What can we learn from things, from objects? Has Remeshed pushed/allowed you to think beyond tools?
That’s a tricky question and I’m not sure I have a satisfactory answer. Both projects owe their existence to a human curatorial eye. But in both I relinquish a lot of control over the final object or experience. I do this in the spirit of ready-to-hand things. By making experiences and objects that break expectations our attention is focused upon them. They slam into the foreground and demand our attention. Remeshed, and to an extent, Make Me Something, allows me to focus less on the craft of modeling and animation and more on pushing what those two terms mean.
As Assistant Professor and Program Director of the Game Studies BScatBellevue University you inevitably inhabit a position of authority for your students. Are there contradictions inherent in this status, especially when aiming to break design conventions, to glitch for creative and practical ends, and promote those same acts in your students? Yourecently modified Roland Barthes’ 1967 text ‘The Death of the Author’ to fit into a game criticism context. It makes me wonder whether “The Player-God” is something you are always looking to kill in yourself?
Absolutely. When teaching I try break down the relationship of authority as much as possible. I prefer to think of myself as a mentor, or guide, to the students. Helping them find the right path for themselves. Doing this from within a traditional pedagogical structure is difficult, but worthwhile. Or so I tell myself.
In terms of the Player-God, I think yes, I’m always trying to kill it. But at the same time, I’m trying to kill the Maker-God. There is no one place or source for a work. There’s no Truth. I reject the Platonic Ideal. Both maker and player are complicit in the act of the experience. Without either, the other wouldn’t exist.
Age: Somewhere in my third decade.
Location: The Land of Wind and Grass / The Void Between Chicago and Denver
How long have you been working creatively with technology? How did you start?
Oof, for as long as I can remember. When I was 13 I killed my first computer about 4 days after getting it. I was trying to change the textures in DOOM. I had no idea what I was doing.
Later, in college I was in a fairly traditional arts program learning to blow glass. At some point someone gave me a cheap Sony 8mm digital camcorder and I started filming weird things and incorporating the (terrible) video art into my glass sculptures.
After that I started making overly ambitious text adventures and playing around with generative text and speech synthesizers.
Describe your experience with the tools you use. How did you start using them? Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I use Unity and Blender primarily right now. They’re the natural evolution of what I was trying to do way back when I was using Hammer and Maya.
I did my MFA in Interactive Media and Environments at The Frank Mohr Institute in Groningen, NL. I started working in Hammer around this time making Gun-Game maps for Counter-Strike: Source. During the start of my second semester of grad school I suffered a horrible hard drive failure and lost all of my work. In a fit of depression I did pretty much nothing but play CS:S and drink beer for three months. At the end of that I made WINNING.
What traditional media do you use, if any? Do you think your work with traditional media relates to your work with technology?
I’m not sure how to answer this. About the most traditional thing I do anymore is make prints from the results of my digital tinkering. Object art doesn’t interest me much these days, but it definitely influenced how I first approached Non-Object art.
Are you involved in other creative or social activities (i.e. music, writing, activism, community organizing)?
I’m involved with a lot of local game developer and non-profit digital arts organizations.
What do you do for a living or what occupations have you held previously? Do you think this work relates to your art practice in a significant way?
I’m an Assistant Professor of Game Studies at Bellevue University. The job and my work are inexorably bound together. I enjoy teaching in a non-arts environment because I feel it affords me freedom and resources I wouldn’t otherwise have. I actually hate the idea of walled-disciplines in education. Everyone should learn from and collaborate with everyone else.
Who are your key artistic influences?
Mostly people I know: Jeff Thompson, Darius Kazemi, Rosa Menkman, THERON JACOBS
and some people I don’t know: Joseph Cornell, Theodor Seuss Geisel, Bosch, Brueghel the Elder, most of Vimeo.
Have you collaborated with anyone in the art community on a project? With whom, and on what?
Yes. Definitely.
Most recently I’ve been working with Jeff Thompson. We made You Have Been Blinded and Thrown into a Dungeon, a non-visual, haptic dungeon adventure. We’ve also been curating Games++ for the last two years.
Do you actively study art history?
Yep. I’m constantly looking at and referencing new and old art. I don’t limit it to art, though. I’m sick of art that references other art in a never ending strange loop. I try to cast my net further afield.
Do you read art criticism, philosophy, or critical theory? If so, which authors inspire you?
Definitely. In no particular order: Dr. Seuss, Alastair Reynolds, Alan Sondheim, Dan Abnett, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, Italo Calvino, Mother Goose, Jacques Lacan, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Carl Jung, H.P. Lovecraft, Jonathan Hickman, Brandon Graham, John Dewey, Umberto Eco... the list goes on and on.
Are there any issues around the production of, or the display/exhibition of new media art that you are concerned about?
I think we’ve partially reached an era of the ascendant non-object. That is, an art form, distinct from performance and theatre, that places an emphasis wholly on the experience and not on the uniqueness of the object. Because of this move away from a distinct singular form, there’s no place for it in the art market. Most artists that work this way live by other means. I teach. Others move freely between the worlds of art and design. Still others do other things.
The couple of times I’ve had solo exhibitions in Europe, I’ve almost always been offered a livable exhibition fee. Here in the States that’s never been the case. When I have shows stateside, I always take a loss. The organizer may cover my material costs, but there’s no way I could ever live off of it. Nor would I want to. I think the pressures of survival would limit my artistic output. I’m happier with a separation between survival and art.

[1] “Apophenia,” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopaedia, March 21, 2013,
[2] Walter Benjamin, “On the Mimetic Faculty,” in Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings (New York: Schoclen Books, 1933), 333–336.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Het algoritmische beeld

22 januari 2013 - Adri Schokker

Spreker: Adri Schokker
Titel: Het algoritmische beeld
Datum: dinsdag 22 januari 2013

Tijd: 19.30 uur

Taal: Engels

Locatie: Academie Minerva, Praediussingel 59, Groningen - Groene Zaal

Door de digitalisering van de communicatie in onze samenleving is een eindeloze aaneenschakeling van beelden op gang gekomen. Beelden die in toenemende mate automatisch of via onze mobiele telefoons worden vastgelegd, over het net zwerven en door algoritmes worden geselecteerd en in een context worden geplaatst, om vervolgens aan ons te verschijnen. Beelden die ten alle tijde overal direct oproepbaar zijn. Hoe bepalen deze beelden onze beelden en welke werkelijkheid representeren zij?

Adri Schokker laat aan de hand van voorbeelden uit zijn eigen praktijk en het werk van andere kunstenaars zien hoe binnen de kunst gereflecteerd wordt op de digitalisering van het beeld en wat de gevolgen zijn voor de wijze waarop wij de werkelijkheid om ons heen ervaren.
Beelden van ingrijpende gebeurtenissen die via het internet worden verspreid, vormen een belangrijke basis in de installaties van Adri Schokker. Zijn installaties zijn nooit af en de toeschouwer wordt, middels onschuldige spelvormen, verleid een bijdrage te leveren aan het werk. Hiermee zet hij een proces in gang dat vraagt om een nieuwe dialoog met het digitale beeld.

Deze  Studium Minerva-lezing introduceert de vakklas Het algoritmische beeld, die in blok 3 van studiejaar 2012-2013 door Academie Minerva in samenwerking met het Kenniscentrum Kunst & Samenleving wordt aangeboden aan studenten van Academie Minerva. De vakklas onderzoekt de veranderende functie en betekenis van het fotografisch beeld in onze digitale samenleving. Studenten doen samen met de docent, individueel en/of gezamenlijk, artistiek onderzoek dat leidt tot een nieuw werk waarmee zij in brede zin reflecteren op het algoritmische beeld. De methode is een wisselwerking tussen deskresearch, actionresearch en reflectie op de resultaten. De module wordt afgesloten met een presentatie van het ontwikkelde werk en een bundeling van de bevindingen in de vorm van een publicatie.

22 January 2013 - Adri Schokker

Speaker: Adri Schokker
Title: The Algorithmic Image
Date: Tuesday 22 January 2013
Time: 19.30
Language: English
Location: Academie Minerva, Praediniussingel 59, Groningen – Green Room

As a result of the digitization of communication in our society, an apparently infinite succession of images is currently being generated. To an increasing extent, these images are nestling automatically on our mobile phones, are floating freely on the internet and other networks, are being selected by means of algorithms and placed in a specific context, and are subsequently presented to us. These images are constantly and ubiquitously available. How do these images determine our own images, and which reality do they represent?

Adri Schokker is a young artist whose work is often on show in the city of Groningen. On the basis of examples from his own practice and the work of other artists, he demonstrates ways in which image digitization is currently being regarded within the world of art, and what the consequences may be for the way in which we experience reality all around us. Images of drastic events that are distributed via internet form an important basis in Adri Schokker’s installations. These installations are never completely finished, and the spectator is tempted, by means of innocent forms of play, to make a contribution to the work. In doing so, he or she initiates a process that demands a new dialogue with the digital image.

This Studium Minerva lecture introduces the subject of The Algorithmic Image, which Academie Minerva, in conjunction with the Knowledge Centre for Art and Society, will offer to students of Academie Minerva in block 3 of academic year 2012-2013. The class will investigate the changing function and significance of the photographic image in our digital society. Together with the teacher, individually or in teams, students perform artistic research that leads to new work within which they reflect, in the broadest sense of the term, on the algorithmic image. The method involves interaction between desk research, action research and reflection on the results. The module is concluded with a presentation of the developed work and a compilation of the findings in the form of a publication.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Opening Defka

Openingswoord door Petri Leijdekkers.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

George Verberg Stipendium 2013

Beeldend kunstenaar Marcel de Vries reist naar Baltische Staten met George Verberg Stipendium
Marcel de Vries krijgt het George Verbergstipendium 2012 toegekend. Dit maakte cultuurwethouder Dig Istha zojuist bekend tijdens de uitreiking bij Academie Minerva. Aansluitend startte de tentoonstelling ‘Curiouser and curiouser’ van Henrike Scholten, de winnares van vorig jaar. De uitreiking en tentoonstelling van het George Verberg Stipendium is één van de eerste activiteiten van het Nederland-Ruslandjaar. De stuurgroep Noord-Nederland Rusland 2013 organiseert hiervoor een gevarieerd festivalprogramma. Met het stipendium wil de gemeente jonge talentvolle kunstenaars stimuleren om zich te ontwikkelen.

Marcel de Vries vormt samen met Gerard Eikelboom Waanzin Producties. Zij maken bewegende sculpturen, onnozele machines en installaties met een stekker. Bijvoorbeeld de Vlieger die vloog door de Der Aa-kerk tijdens de Nacht van Kunst en Wetenschap of de ‘glimlachgenerator’ die een jaar bij Menzis heeft gestaan. Marcel is geïnteresseerd in oude elektronica, nu nog volop te vinden in het Oostblok. Hij wil een reis maken naar Moskou om daar het Theremin Center te bezoeken. Het centrum doet onderzoek naar de ‘gecensureerde’ geschiedenis en cultuur van Rusland in de periode 1910-1920. De reis dient ter inspiratie voor het project dat Marcel de Vries samen met studio Waanzin wil realiseren in Groningen. Een performance waarin een installatie die bestaat uit bewegende ruitenwissers een duet aangaat met dansers.

Tentoonstelling 'Curiouser and curiouser' Het winnen van het George Verberg Stipendium 2011 gaf Henrike Scholten de mogelijkheid om vorig jaar een maand door Estland, Letland en Litouwen te reizen en drie maanden in Sint Petersburg te wonen. Ze kreeg de kans te tekenen en te fotograferen in een aantal voor het publiek volledig onbekende collecties. Zo kwam ze anatomische universiteitscollecties, medische curiosa, vele prachtige unheimische beelden en vreemde verhalen tegen. Haar tentoonstelling startte na de uitreiking.

De foto's en schetsen van Henrike zijn verwerkt in een project waarin de beeldelementen overgaan in eigen abstracte vormen. In de tentoonstelling 'Curiouser and curiouser' laat ze een aantal tekeningen uit dit project zien. Naast het getoonde werk wil Henrike met hulp van studenten van Academie Minerva, onderdeel van de Hanzehogeschool Groningen, een muurtekening op monumentaal formaat maken. Haar tentoonstelling is van 17 januari t/m 1 februari te zien bij Academie Minerva. 

Een vijfledige selectiecommissie heeft de inzendingen beoordeeld. Deze commissie bestond dit jaar uit: George Verberg (voormalig directeur N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie), Dorothea van der Meulen (dean Academie voor Beeldende Kunst, Vormgeving en Popcultuur Minerva),  Robin Punt (hoofd Autonome Beeldende Kunst/Frank Mohr Instituut Masters), Rein Jelle Terpstra (docent theorie Autonome Beeldende Kunst), Margo Slomp (docent Frank Mohr Instituut Masters).

George Verbergstipendium
Het George Verbergstipendium is in 2004 door het stadsbestuur van Groningen in het leven geroepen ter gelegenheid van het afscheid van George Verberg als directeur van de NV Nederlandse Gasunie. Het stipendium is bedoeld voor studenten en pas afgestudeerden van de bachelor Autonome Beeldende Kunst en master MFA Painting van Academie Minerva, Hanzehogeschool Groningen. Het stipendium bedraagt €10.000,-. De gemeente Groningen wil hiermee de ontwikkelingsmogelijkheden voor jonge, talentvolle kunstenaars versterken.

Winnaar Marcel de Vries (r.) krijgt het stipendium uitgereikt van wethouder Dig Istha en
dean Academie Minerva Dorothea van der Meulen (l.).Foto: Jelle de Groot

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hendrik de Vries Stipend 2012

Sarah Janssen winner Hendrik de Vries Stipend 2012!
I am glad to announce that I won the Hendrik de Vries Stipend 2012! This enables me to work intensively on my project images from thin air and create a multi-media artwork which will be presented next year.

Image source: CBK Groningen, read the jury report (in dutch)

The exhibition of all six nominees with my project proposal is open until 06 january 2013 in CBK Groningen, Trompsingel 27, Groningen

Opening hours
wed - fri 9.00 - 17.00 uur
sat - sun 13.00 - 17.00 uur
closed on 26 december 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

FMI Masters at Kunstvlaai 2012!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

FMI Masters at Kunstvlaai 2012! 

At the festival Kunstvlaai, the Master of Fine Arts students of the Frank Mohr International Masters (FMI Masters) take us along their artistic research, displaying their visual and theoretical work from a diversity of perspectives.

The 2012 edition will be curated by Natasha Ginwala (IND) and Fleur van Muiswinkel (NL) and will take place from 23rd November to 2nd December 2012.

The foundation of the FMI Master student is the making of and reflecting on art. This implies a serious method of working whereby artistic research and forceful images are integrated. Making, thinking and sharing. This results in a deeper understanding of the visual through the theoretical and a deeper understanding of the theoretical through the visual.

If you have decided that autonomy and diversity are important, it is essential to give either aspect the latitude it deserves.The presentation of FMI Masters at the Kunstvlaai will host site specific work by students and artists from the different departments:
Pim Tieland, Sarah Janssen, Janine van Veen and Vinny Jones.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

OPEN DAY Frank Mohr International Masters

Please be invited for the OPEN DAY Frank Mohr International Masters
(FMI Masters)
Masters of Fine Arts

Saturday 10th November 2012
10:00 – 16:00

Praediniussingel 59, Groningen