From Spark to Pixel

Art + New Media

28 October 2007 to 14 January 2008

Poster of the exhibition “From Spark to Pixel”

Poster of the exhibition “From Spark to Pixel”

Design: Steenbrink Vormgeving, Berlin

The “From Spark to Pixel” exhibition will present developments in contemporary art involving the large-scale use of digital and interactive media. The technical possibilities in this field have given this area of art a more international dimension than that of almost any other. Thus the exhibition will feature works both by renowned and as yet unknown artists and groups of artists from all over the world. Works by pioneers and works that are being shown in Europe or Germany for the first time or have been specially developed for the Martin-Gropius-Bau, will enable visitors to discover spectacular forms of artistic expression and radical changes in perception in the relation between the observer and the moving image. Immersive and interactive approaches feature frequently in the artists’ strategies.

Installations by:
Romy Achituv (Israel): BeNowHere Interactive, 1997 (German premiere)
Gregory Barsamian (USA): The Scream, 1998. No, Never Alone, 1998 (German premieres)
Jean Michel Bruyère (France): Si Poteris Narrare, Licet, 2002. CaMg(CO3)2 (Dolomit), 2007 (world premiere)
Du Zhenjun (China): Presumption, 2000 (German premiere)
Dumb Type (Japan): Voyages, 2002 (European premiere)
Brad Hwang (Korea/Germany): Time May Change Me / I Can’t Change Time, 2007 (world premiere)
KAI (Germany): Feuerkasten, 1991/2007
Ulf Langheinrich (Germany/Austria): Hemisphere, 2006–2007 (German premiere)
Dirk Lüsebrink / Joachim Sauter (Art+Com) (Germany): Invisible Shape of Things Past, 1996/2007 (premiere at the Martin-Gropius-Bau)
Marie Maquaire (France), Tentative d’épuisement d’un lieu, Berlin, 2003 (German premiere)
Thomas McIntosh (Canada): Ondulation, 2002 (German premiere)
David Moises (Austria): Hanoscope, 2002 (German premiere)
Nam June Paik (Korea/USA): Candle TV, 1975
Christian Partos (Sweden): Visp, 2000. Striptease, 1998. (German premiere) M.O.M, 2003
Erwin Redl (Austria/USA): FLOW Berlin, 2007 (world premiere)
Jeffrey Shaw (Australia) / Sarah Kenderdine (New Zealand): PLACE Hampi, 2006 (German premiere)
Pierrick Sorin (France): Quelques inventions remarquables, 2003
Shiro Takatani (Japan): Chrono, 2007
Shiro Takatani (Japan): Camera Lucida, 2005 (European premiere)
Saburo Teshigawara (Japan): Light Behind Light, 2004 (German premiere)

Nearly all the works will be on view in Berlin for the first time.

The exhibition has been designed by Richard Castelli (Paris) for the Martin-Gropius-Bau and shows the interactions and connections between art and electronic media. The four central concepts of the exhibition – fire and electricity, light and pixel – act as paradigms for this development and for “immaterial states”. Starting with fire, the first form of energy to be mastered by man, the exhibition passes, in parallel to human evolution, through the stages of electricity, light and the pixel, which, as the spark is in the case of fire, is the “nucleus” of the electronic image. The electronic image is the source of another form of energy that is free of all fossil properties: information of which we cannot be quite sure if it really has been mastered by man.

The magnificent Lichthof of the Martin-Gropius-Bau will be dominated by particularly impressive installations, including one by Erwin Redl, who redesigned the façade of the Whitney Museums in New York. He is creating a work expressly commissioned for the Lichthof of the Martin-Gropius-Bau and called FLOW Berlin 2007. It consists of a large light wave made of 30.000 light-emitting diodes, which seeks to “de-realize” the horizon of human perception.

Other examples of premieres or spectacular installations include:

A new electrostatic creation Time May Change Me / I Can’t Change Time by Brad Hwang. On the subject of light the choreographer and performance artist Saburo Teshigawara will be showing a fascinating work involving mirrors and entitled Light Behind Light.

Thomas McIntosh’s Ondulation, an environment of flowing waves of light, is a game with reflected light, which shows how one can play with music and tones.

Jean Michel Bruyère is represented with two interactive artworks: the “ifilm” (for Jeffrey Shaw’s EVE Interactive Cinema) Si Poteris Narrare, Licet, an interactive film journey in which the time of the finished film, registered and fixed in advance, harmonizes with the real-time sequence of its geography. In the world premiere of CaMg(CO3)2 visitors will find themselves in the lounge of a shaman, as in an extreme mixture of the most primitive technology and the highest of high-tech.

The entry of Jeffrey Shaw, a pioneer of digital cinematography, and Sarah Kenderdine in the exhibition will be PLACE-Hampi, interactive stereoscopic panoramas of the ruins of Hampi, the “Angkor of India”.

Making its European premiere is the artists’ collective Dumb Types with Voyages, a monolith of horizontally arranged images as impressive as those in Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Joachim Sauter and Dirk Lüsebrink (Art + Com) present works of architecture such as the art museum Shanghai’ or Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz in the form of digital film sculptures which they call The Invisible Shapes of Things Past.

In Ulf Langheinrich’s aesthetic plasma Hemisphere, the viewer finds himself dominated, protected and at the same time attracted by a constantly changing granular virtual world, which seems just about to implode.

Although “From Spark to Pixel” will show aspects of the evolution of our notions of energy in its various phases, the exhibition will surprisingly enough be one of contemporary art and hence offer a poetic platform for contemplation and meditation.

Organizer: Berliner Festspiele
Made possible by the Federal Cultural Foundation
Curator: Richard Castelli, Paris