Organized by: Central House of Journalists, MediaArtLab Centre for Art and Culture
Location: Central House of Journalists, Moscow
The club director (MAL): Olga Shishko
The club director (CHJ): Irina Yurna

Media Table May 12 2011, 19:00

StolThe next Media Table will take place on the 12th of May at 19:00 at the Central House of Journalist as part of MediaArtClub programme. There we will continue screening and discussion of young artists' works connected one way or another to the subject of new media.

As usual our experts - practicing media art curators and critics will take part in the meeting. It doesn't mean, though, that they have monopolized discourse or evaluation of the works. As always, we count on your active participation in the discussion.

The authors of best works will be presented at the screening programme at the Expanded Cinema exhibition this summer at the XII Media Forum of the Moscow International Film Festival.
The competition's terms are:
Video works should be not more than five minutes long, not more than 2 Gb in size and produced no earlier than 2009. They should correspond to the Media Forum MIFF 2011 theme – Expanded Cinema. Video works must not be made for commercial purposes. Each author has to submit a written application stating the educational institution, at which he/she is a student (or an extern), the year of production of the work, technologies used. One author can only subnmit one work for the competition. The age of the applying young artist must be under 35.
The competition's schedule
May 20th – applications' deadline
May 20-25th – the Jury members review the works
June 13th – exhibition is opened at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art
June 25th – award-giving ceremony
The Audience Award will be decided by vote at CinemaMMoMa youtube-channel.

All details and discussions at our Facebook group.

Movie night 28th of April

David St-Onge

Working since 7 years at NXI Gestatio Design Lab, affiliated to the HexagramCIAM Institute, David St-Onge describe himself as an engineer in arts. He studied mechanical engineering, with a specialization in structural analysis. While working in a stage set workshop (Prisme 3 Inc.), among his projects, he made the technical conception of two museums'

permanent exhibitions and he worked on the show LOVE of the Cirque du Soleil. Mr. St-Onge also made a master degree in project management (UQAM) to help artists gather multidisciplinary team devoted to their projects. Focusing in artworks involving robots (as the Geometric Butterflies, presented in the last edition of the ScienceArt Festival in Winzavod), he also recently did a master in robotics (mechanical engineering).

In Montreal, Canada, the HexagramCIAM Institute1 is working on creating an academic research-creation platform for media artworks. It brings together researchers specialized in the creation and study of artworks involving new technologies, specifically those having a potential for performance, artistic installation and exhibition. Its mission is to stimulate and coordinate the research activities in this field and to support experiments. Thanks to this institute a lot of New Medias projects have emerged for performances, theater shows, installations and visual artworks.

In this MediaArtClub evening 10 videos of HexagramCIAM researchers will be presented. The selection was made to well represent the range of works being done in the Institute. David St-Onge, whose work in NXI Gestatio collaborative will also be presented, organized the evening and will attend to it to answer the audience questions. All the works and artists will be introduced in Russian and the videos with narration will be translated.

Videos list and description – (for translator, to be read before each projection):

1-Blanc Noir Rien (10:00) [White Black Nothing]

This projet is co-realized by Jeanne Renaud, an influential and versatile artist; a pioneering figure in the history of Quebec dance and Mario Côté from HexagramCIAM. The subject is a look back at an event held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in 1991, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of Le Groupe de la Place Royale, which Renaud co-founded and directed in the 1960s. It was while looking at the photographs of this project seventeen years later that she decided to propose a new challenge to her favourite dancers, Louise Bédard and Sylvain Émard, a project starting from "nothing," from ground zero, from the totally blank page. It gradually evolved into an open forum for ideas and exchanges between the collaborators, full of possibilities and new avenues to explore. Literally before our eyes, Jeanne Renaud creates a new choreography for cameras and dancers. To the music of Morton Feldman, the dancers perform in a bare, unadorned space, save for an enigmatic suspended sculpture by John Heward. A poetic world emerges, in which the tenderness and untamed energy of the two bodies converge and coalesce.

Artist: Mario Côté

Mario Côté is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Montreal. He teaches at UQAM's École des arts médiatiques et visuels. His work deals with questions related to the representation and multiple materialisations of technological applications and with the disjunctive relationship between image and sound. His video and audio works draw from both painting and photography.

2-Alternate Vision (20:00)

In an environment where various musical styles, virtual and real universes, robotics and intelligent fabrics are the norm… what happens to physical human relationships?

Description by John Oliver (composer):

The internet is a place where anyone can tell their story, broadcast their idea, display themselves, reinvent themselves. It is a place where journalism, fact and fiction coexist and the concept of absolute truth is impossible. It is a place where the love of music is front and centre. The history of recorded music seems imbedded in our collective memory. How many times do we hear a tune many years after the original release and still remember every change, every word? But if we are to hear it again, perhaps we can make it new by a remix! There is a joy to this constant rediscovery, recontextualisation and rebirth. Popular music is "ear glue." It just sticks.
Tonight you are in a high-tech bar filled with images and sound. Our story begins with a blues tune, apparently sung in karaoke, but quickly sounds become multilayered, cut up, and our sonic identity dissolves into waves of different musics, each one offering a potential identity or style by which one could live. Does our culture then reject the monad of the single story and embrace the complexity? Or are there still some fundamental issues to deal with in this new, complex, and demanding playground?

Alternate Vision is an Electro-Opera making extensive use of live camera feed and video processing, so-called Augmented Opera. It was created by the Opera compagny Chant Libres, following the direction of Pauline Vaillancourt and the music of John Oliver.

Artist for the interactives videos projections: Jean Décarie

Jean Décarie works in media arts, first and foremost as an electroacoustics composer, since 1977, and as a videomaker and multidisciplinary artist since 1982. His works have been seen nationally and internationally, in exhibitions and festivals. Some of his videographic works are part of the permanent collection at the National Gallery of Canada, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the Canadian Embassy in Japan.

Artist for the robotized lighting conception: Jean Gervais
Jean Gervais is a professor at the Superior Theater School of UQAM and researcher with the Larstech lab as well as HexagramCIAM. He has a strong knowledge of theater and performance including lighting, new technologies, history of theatre and staging-design. Gervais was the director of HexagramCIAM, acting director for the masters program in theatre, president of the Superior Council of theater academic formation and member of the board of directors of Quebec theater council. He has worked with many known choreographers and directors in Canada. He developed a stage lighting software, Microlux, and now works on a stage designing software.

3-By means of a sight (2:04)

By Means of a Sigh is an interactive video installation that invites the viewer to engage with large format video images in a public space.

We see two faces in profile, each blowing a bubble of gum and letting it collapse; the two bubbles appear to connect the two characters. The viewer is prompted to call a number on the screen, blow into his mobile phone, and thereby control the breath of these characters. The interaction continues until the tension breaks : the thin membrane of gum tears, and the characters recede to their sides of the screen. Shortly after, the faces slowly reappear and the cycle continues, awaiting a call from another spectator. This simple system generates complicity between the two characters and between the work and the spectator--who now holds the ambiguous responsibility of at once controlling the image and putting it at risk.

In English we use the expression "to be on air", while in French the same expression is "être en ondes"--the invisibility common to both atmosphere and electromagnetic waves evokes a similar imaginary space. The video installation By Means of a Sigh makes it evident by underscoring the precarious state of the connections we make with our breath and our telecommunications. The symbol of the bubble suggests this fragility. As soon as one begins to form, we fixate on its existence, knowing it will be short-lived. As beautiful as the bubble seems, we take a sinister delight in the anticipation of its collapse.

Artist: Jean Dubois

Jean Dubois is a multidisciplinary artist who worked in the fields of installations and urban intervention before becoming involved in new media. He has a diploma in the aesthetics, science and technology of art from Paris VIII University, and currently teaches at the École des arts visuels et médiatiques, UQAM. Since June 2001, he has co-directed the Interstices' research-creation group with Lynn Hughes.

4- The Fall (1:34)

The audio/video installation The Fall is about the body's memory when confronted with the experience of falling. The work explores the bodily fall in unforeseen situations of vulnerability or loss of control that frequently occur in daily life. Its approach is both documentary and fictional as it questions the narrative potential of sound and image within the space of the video installation.

The content of the installation The Fall is taken from stories of people who have experienced a fall. The choreographer, Paul-André Fortier, has created the choreography and directed the dancers who perform falls based on stories told by those who have experienced them and on the position they were in at the end of their fall. The body's memory is the catalyst for piecing the fall together.

As Françoise Parfait explained :

"The risk of moving is to fall, which from the jump to the crash, express in an infinite range of figure, the diverse states of mental and physical bodies."

Artist: Chantale Dupont

Chantal duPont is a multidisciplinary artist in Media art who has participated for the past 30 years in numerous international video art festivals, as well as in individual and collective exhibitions in Canada and abroad. The artist's work is principally concerned with issues involving the body's identity and memory. The content of her videos focuses on family and cultural identity, self-representation, the vulnerability of the body, memory, and writing as the subject and process of creation.

5-Five ways to tell a story about Fashion (3:46)

A playful exploration of the aesthetic potential at the interface of fashion, art and technology. The current solo show at 'plug.in' in Basel presents five projects that exemplary stand for Ying Gao's approach: Indice de l'indifférence, (uni)forms, Walking City, Living Pod, Swiss quality 1.

Artist: Ying Gao

Ying Gao is especially interested in the transformation of fashion-stereotyped iconography in our society. She is studying the functionality and structure of contemporary clothing, which is expressed through her latest themed clothing lines and interactive works. She began in fashion forecasting and interactive multimedia and afterwards proceeded to fashion design and teaching. She is now a professor at UQAM graduate school of fashion, Montreal.

6- Grace State Machines (5:03)

Grace State Machines is a Robotic Art performance project. The name of the project is inspired by a virtual "state of grace" that could be expressed by automatons and other finite state machines.
This project explore the close relationship between the real physical human body and machine body. We want to express the inner perceptions of both entities and how they intertwine, blend, mingle and become blurred as they interact and exchange in an intimate dialog between the organic and the artefact.
The show is a twenty-seven minute stage performance involving solely a human performer and a machine. Both are linked via a high-end motion capture system and a set of biofeedback sensors and interfaces. By monitoring the human body movements and internal states and transposing this information to the robot body, we aim to establish a dynamic and symbiotic relationship between the actors. Both eventually blend into a single organism, where flesh, bones, wires and tubes become a whole individual body.
By this project, we want to question the notions of physical perception, body expression and personal identity, and address kinaesthesis not only as an internal proprioceptive mechanism but as a potential exterior phenomenon actualized through the robotic extension of the body. This encounter between the living and the non-living evokes the dichotomic correlation between the mind and the body, between the self and the other, between the real and the imaginary.

Artist: Bill Vorn

Bill Vorn is a media artist who has been working since 1992 in robotic art under the aegis of Real Noise from Artificial Life. He has worked on performance, interactive installations, experimental soundtracks, soundtrack scores, and sound editing, creating components for film, video, and various other artistic projects. He is teaching new media in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University, Montreal.

7- Hysterical Machines (2:06)

This project is part of a larger research program on the Aesthetics of Artificial Behaviors and is very much inspired of a previous work based on the Misery of the Machines (1997). It is conceived on the principle of deconstruction, suggesting dysfunctional, absurd and deviant behaviors through a functional machine. It operates on a dual-level process expressing the paradoxal nature of Artificial Life.

Each Hysterical Machine has a spherical body and eight arms made of aluminum tubing. It has a sensing system, a motor system and a control system that functions as an autonomous nervous system (entirely reactive). Some machines are suspended from the ceiling and their arms are actuated by pneumatic valves and cylinders. Pyroelectric sensors allow the robots to detect the presence of viewers in the nearby environment. They react to the viewers according to the amount of stimuli they receive. The perceived emergent behaviors of these machines engender a multiplicity of interpretations based on single dynamic pattern of events.
The aim of this project is to induce empathy of the viewer towards characters which are nothing more than articulated metal structures. The strength of the simulacra is emphasized by perverting the perception of the creatures, which are neither animals nor humans, carried through the inevitable instinct of anthropomorphism and projection of our internal sensations, a reflex triggered by any phenomenon that challenges our senses.

Artist: Bill Vorn (as described earlier)

8- [VOILES|SAILS] (12:18)

[ VOILES | SAILS ] is an art/science/technology research-creation platform initiated by Nicolas Reeves. It was born from professor Reeves' will to evoke the age-old myth of an architecture freed from the law of gravity by the mean of a contemporary sculpture. Many challenges had to be solved in order to achieve this result, and many skills and expertises were required. Standing at the crossroad between art, architecture and science, the [ VOILES | SAILS ] project aims to bring together researchers from the artistic and scientific domains to collaborate.

Until now more than 7 prototypes have been build (the Mascarillons, Nestor and the Tryphons) always based on a cubic shape. A blimp filled with helium is stretch by an exosqueleton to maintain a cubic shape. This exosqueleton then holds different sensors connected to a main brain and to 8 to 12 fans. Thanks to these fans the autonomous flying robots can move in their space by pushing the air.

The video, made for Ars Electronica nomination this year, will itself explain the potential of the project and the ongoing developments.

Artist collaborative: NXI Gestatio

The NXI GESTATIO design lab for computer, arts, design and architecture is a research-creation collective based on the collaborative work of Nicolas Reeves and David St-Onge.

Nicolas Reeves is an architect, artist, and researcher. He studied in France, Canada and USA, physics and architecture. He was scientific director, then director of the Hexagram Institute. Full professor at the School of Design in UQAM. His artistic researches explore the basis of the concepts of order, organization, and information.

David St-Onge is an engineer and project manager. He is working since 7 years

in the field of media arts. He was production director at the Prisme 3 stage set workshop and now is a project

engineer at the NXI Gestatio.

10 - Virutorium (3:25)

Virutorium is the second joint project by The Kit Collaboration + Robert Saucier. Their first project named Infrasense was a large-scale sound installation that toured 11 galleries in Canada, UK, USA and Belgium between 2004 to 2006 and dealt with the cultural economy of paranoia surrounding the word 'virus' in its biological (sexual), computational (coding) and capital (marketing) forms. Virutorium is an interactive robotic sound installation, a kinetic and aural work that advances themes originated in the Infrasense project. This new project explores the extensive and pervasive cultural dynamics of the 'virus' and seeks to highlight how far viral systems and models are influencing bodily and computer based communication systems, modes of capitalism and socio-sexual relations, ultimately contemplating how we construct cultural memories about transient entities that we consider detrimental to our livelihoods.

Artist: Robert Saucier

Originally from the province of New Brunswick, Robert Saucier lives and works in Montreal, Canada, where he is presently a professor of sculpture and media art at the Université du Québec à Montréal. His sculptures demonstrate his interest in the particular relationship that we as a society have with technology, especially with communication media (radio, television, Internet etc.) and its constant presence in our lives. In his installations, the visitors trigger a series of mechanical and sound events.

Video documentation of young artists' presentations at the first MediaStol on March 31

Dear friends,
Thank you for your applications for the MediaTable which took place on March 31st 2011.

On account of the large number of participants we decided not to limit the screenings to one night – we plan to make them regular. Our next MediaArtClub meeting will be on April 14th, 19-00 at the Central House of Journalists.

We will continue the presentation and discussion of your works.

Please confirm your attendance of this meeting in advance to help us plan a preliminary program.

The speakers at the previous meeting were:
Yegor Zubarchuk (a.k.a. Egr Nagaen)
Alexei Korsi (Free Workshops 2009-2010, Rodchenko School 2010-)
Victoria Marchenkova (Rodchenko School, class of 2011)
Mikhail Maksimov (Rodchenko School, class of 2011)
Anton Nikolaev, Victoria Lomasko (nominees for the Kandinsky award 2011, Media project of the year)
Victoria Ushkanova (Free Workshops 2010-2011)
Pyotr Zhukov (Rodchenko School, class of 2009)
Daniil Zintchenko (Rodchenko School, class of 2011)
The experts were:
Natalia Abalakova, Karina Karaeva, Sergey Pakhomov, Asya Silaeva, Olga Shishko.

MediaArtClub # 4

The STOL (Table) Discussion Club together with MediaArtLab invites young artists to present their video and new media works at the MediaTable, which will take place at the fourth meeting of the MediaArtClub on March 31st 2011 at 7 p.m. in the Central House of Journalists.

The new technologies of the visual medium present certain challenges for the artist – to integrate new instruments into the process of artistic expression, to define their content and work out a visual language that will become their basic means of expression.

The next MediaTable meeting will be a presentation and discussion of projects by young artists who explore various trends in new media.

The deadline for applications is March 28th – please email them to Olga Shishko (oshishko@yandex.ru). Illustrations and video files larger than 5MB should be uploaded using such services as Vimeo or Youtube.

We hope to see ironic, media-active, original projects realized in video art, tactical media, interactive art and sound art.

At the meeting we plan to discuss the projects and subjects dealing with art actively working with various media.

In what ways are languages, plots and forms rethought and reinterpreted in media art? What are the characteristics of media environments and how do their creators use the aesthetic potential of the digital technologies? How does media as a special informational structure influence art projects?

Practicing curators and media art critics will take part in the discussion (the list of participants will be announced later).

Together with you we will consider including media art projects into the «Pro&Contra» – the special project of the fourth Moscow Biennale (ArtPlay , October 5-11, 2011). We also plan to discuss nominations for the Pro&Contra Award 2011 contest established to promote contemporary Russian art of new technologies.

The meeting’s moderators: Olga Shishko (MediaArtLab Director), Vlad Khromenko (artist and curator).

17 March 2011
The Media Construct Reality

Center for art and culture MediaArtLab and Central Hous of Journalists is honoured to invite you to the third edition of MediaArtClub 17 March 2011 at 19.00.

The meeting is organized with the support of Goethe Institute in Moscow

The information technologies change the public space, the space of politics, economics and with these we ourselves also change.The technologies are a continuation of our nervous system. We mutate by degrees. The sharp eye of the technologies is bent to us. We became a part of a whole. Under a close scrutiny of the endless CCTV cameras, bound by the information web, we lose our freedom. But getting the technological innovations every day we also expand our rights. The art is no more an outsider, but a trendsetter in the field of generating new ideas and their implementation in various areas not connected to it directly.

Are we losing or expanding our freedoms? THE FUTURE IS NOT DEFINITE. Only art with its intuition and the power of imagination, unlimited by neither discourse nor status nor a norm can perceive the general outline of the future and meditating on the changes of the digitalized world it can give us a warning...

Surveillance Art is the use of technology intended to record human behavior in a way that offers commentary on the process of surveillance or the technology used to surveil. Surveillance Art manifests itself in many different forms, from short films to architecture, but all have been shown to provide some type of critical response to the rise of surveillance by various authorities and the technology used to achieve it, especially when dealing with issues of security and enforcing laws.

Speakers: Michaela Melián (Germany), Marina Fomenko (Russia), Olga Shishko (Russia).

Michaela Melián
German artist Michaela Melián has explored the politics of memory for many years now. Her works become blueprints for an approach to history in which the alacrity of deconstructive criticism is intimately tied to an appreciation of people whose life and work made a difference. Michaela Melián’s artistic appropriation of history is reminiscent of Benjamin’s historico-philosophical concept concerning the dialectic image, in which past and present come together in one constellation, immediately shedding light on their relationship.

In 2008 Michaela Melián was the winner of the competition ‘Opfer des Nationalsozialismus – Neue Formen des Erinnerns und Gedenkens’ (‘Victims of National Socialism – New Forms of Remembering and Remembrance’), initiated by the City of Munich, with her concept Memory Loops.

On the MediaArtClub meeting the artist will talk about the theme of privacy and freedom. One of her works dedicated to this theme was presented at the «CTRL [SPACE]» exhibition at ZKM Êàðëñðóý. Her project «Mobile» consists of 59 oval panes of plexiglass printed with sections of faces or items relating to them - beards, eyes, eye-brows, noses, hair-pieces, but also accessories such as spectacles. The plexiglass panes are suspended from the ceiling at eye height so that the viewer can interact with the transparent panes and complete the incomplete faces with his own or superimpose the existing fragments over his own face. Depending on the position of the observer, constantly new portraits arise. The physiognomic details of Mobile are taken from the Identikit program run by the State Criminal Bureau [SCB] in Munich, where, in line with witnesses' descriptions, faces of criminals or assassins are drawn for "wanted" posters. «Wanted» photos try to elaborate the key features of a face, the stereotype. These systems rely on the principle of identifying patterns on the basis of as broad a database a possible. Today, we are already subjected to new agencies of control which we accept voluntarily in order to remain part of a privileged consumer society. For example, the number code on a bankcard will soon be replaced by an iris scanner, whereby the eye's retina serves to identify the person. Genetic fingerprints render the body legible and enable it to be reproduced. Our subjectivity is questioned and indeed massively under threat from genetic engineering, whereby all our biological data are made available for use. The «heads» in Melián's installation invite us to interact with them. Changes of identity are no longer so frequently a necessity out of a position as political outsider and are more part of the everyday game of adjusting to the norms of modern society. Normative physiognomies define our lives. We are confronted by stereotypes every day of the week by the media, showing us what we should look like, how we should dress, how we should keep fit.

About the artist: Michaela Melián, an artist and musician, lives in Munich and Hamburg. She is a professor for time-based media at the Hochschule f?r bildende K?nste (HfbK), Hamburg. She is a member of the band F.S.K. (Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle). Selected exhibitions: Home Less Home, See this Sound, Lentos Museum Linz (2010); The Dwelling, ACCA Melbourne, Australia (2009); Speicher, Cubitt Gallery, London (2008); Recollecting, MAK Vienna (2008); Vertrautes Terrain, ZKM Karlsruhe (2007); F?hrenwald, KW Kunstwerke Berlin (2006).

Marina Fomenko
Marina Fomenko will talk about her resent installation which was nominated to the Kandinsky Prize - «Observation Station». It is a total installation that explores new life conditions of contemporary individuals who find or might find themselves under observation. The atmosphere of surveillance thickens at the «Observation Station», creating a closed concentrated space of observation.

The «Observation Station» produces different types of observations: observation of the objects observed by the Station, observations to visitors of the Station, self-observation of this very Observation Station, observation of the Supervisor of the Station, surveillance of ourselves, observation of collections of observations and so on. This installation creates an environment of observation in which visitors find themselves involved in participating and sharing of the Station’s activity by cooperating with interactive installations, recording of the observation’s results etc. The project unites various genres, including video installations and sound, flash animation, installations with photo and text.

About the author: takes part in exhibitions of contemporary art since 2004. Selected projects: History of Russian Video Art. Volume 3, Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2010); Nominees’ exhibition for Kandinsky Prize 2010, CHA, Moscow; “Observation Station”, State Museum of Contemporary Art of Russian Academy of Arts (2010); 3 Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, special project (2009); 13th Media Art Biennale WRO, Wroclaw, Poland (2009); IX Media Forum of Moscow International Film Festival (2008); “Link”, Sounjong - Beijing, China (2007); «Dante: arte che genere arte», Florence, Italy (2006).

We would be very glad to see you among the guests of the Club and hope for your participation in our future meetings.

The number of seats is limited. Please register by e-mail – oshishko@yandex.ru.

3 March 2011
Gary Hill - discussion and screening program

Dear friends,
The Centre for Art and Culture MediaArtLab and The Central House of Journalists are inviting you to the second meeting of MediaArtClub on March, 3 2011 at 7 p.m.

The video works of the great American artist, Gary Hill will be shown to the guests. His place in the pantheon of contemporary video art is attested by many awards and exhibitions. He was awarded by the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1995, he participated at the Documenta IX in Kassel. His numerous solo exhibitions are taking place all over the world. Gary Hill is one of the pillars who shaped the video-art of today as we know it.

The solo-show and the lecture of Gary Hill were held in the frame of Media Forum of the Moscow International Film Festival in 2010 (GMG Gallery and Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture).

This time we will show the unique selection of his video works. The key element of the program will be given to ‘Incidence of Catastrophe’ (1987–88) inspired by the novel ‘Thomas the Obscure’ by Maurice Blanchot wherein the protagonist of the novel is the reader of the novel (who could be Blanchot himself).

The program will be presented by Irina Kulik (an art critic, journalist, author of ‘ArtChronica’ magazine and ‘Culture’ newspaper) and Olga Shishko (MediaArtLab and MIFF Media Forum Director).

Please find enclosed detailed information in the attached file.

Looking forward to seeing you at MedialArtClub soon,

MediaArtLab and CHJ :-)

Among all the American video art classics, whose original works are now more and more frequently shown in Russia, Gary Hill is probably the most lyrical. This artist does not appreciate media fads and technical innovations; however, he makes his technological works not for the technology itself, but plays with it. Video art for him is a way of thinking aloud. But we can see in his works a development of linguistic theories, modern poetry accents and associations to Gnostic apocrypha. His perception of the world comes through the literary text and images, which makes him close to the Moscow Con- ceptualism, and this is another reason we wish to present works of this remarkable artist to the Russian audience as completely as possible.

Gary Hill’s place in the pantheon of contemporary video art is attested to by his many awards and exhibitions — a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1995; participation at the Documenta IX in Kassel; solo exhibitions at MOMA in New York; frequent participation at biennales at the Whitney Museum; exhibitions at the Pompidou Centre in Paris; and many other prestigious awards and grants. Gary Hill is one of the pillars who shaped the video-art of today as we know it.


Around & About, 1980
Video (color, sound) U-matic; 4’45’’
“In 1979-80, I was teaching in the Media Studies Department at the State University of New York at Buffalo, filling in for Woody and Steina Vasulka, who had left for Santa Fe. Midway in the year I abruptly had to leave my apartment and move into my office — a relatively small space with a desk, a couple of chalkboards, a couch, plus everything I owned, which was mostly media equipment. About all I could do was work, if only to keep from feeling claustrophobic (moving things around seemed to make the space bigger). Around & About came out of a ‘what if’ scenario. What if I were to cut images to every syllable of a spoken text? (A way to keep me busy?) A daunting task in the time of U-matic machines and sloppy controllers. I did it all manually, hitting the edit button for every syllable. With each rewind I would listen and anticipate the coming syllable, learning as I went along to adjust for delayed reaction. I learned quickly—every ‘mistake’ was a step forward and one or more back. Rather quickly I wrote—I could almost say scribbled—a text, driven by a personal relationship breakup, yet, more to the point, directed to an abstract other; that is, someone a viewer could identify with. Rather than separately recording and collecting images, I set the cameras up ‘live’ for each edit/syllable of the entire text, constructing it linearly from beginning to end. I limited myself to images of the room, mostly unmemorable moments of walls, furniture, and whatever else was lying around. It didn’t really matter; it was more about change and keeping the viewer occupied while I spoke. The speech was ‘automating’ the event, making whatever happened happen, at times drawing the view off the screen to the hypothetical space outside the box.”

Full Circle, 1978
(former title: Ring Modulation) Video (color, sound) U-matic; 3’25’’
(former title: Ring Modulation) Video (color, sound) U-matic; 3’25’’ In this work, the audio-visual dialogue that was a central concern of Hill’s videos in the late 1970’s is articulated with particular succinctness. Here the artist explores linguistic and electronic phenomena by linking them to the materiality of things. The image plane is divided into three sections. In the lower half, we see a close-up of two hands that are forming a circle out of a metal rod. The upper half of the screen is vertically divided into two parts. On the right, the outlines of the person bending the rod can be made out from an electronically altered black-and-white video image. On the left, a green beam appears in a black field (screen of an oscilloscope). The work begins with the artist making a droning sound with his voice that changes the green beam into a wavering circle. The steadier the sound made by Hill, the steadier the circle becomes. As he expends energy to bend the rod to mimic the circle emitted by the green beam, his droning voice becomes full of tension, rising and falling in pitch as he bends the rod. Consequently the electronic circle vibrates, pulsates, rotates, and collapses with the straining voice. Once the rod has been bent into a circle on the black surface, Hill steadies himself before the object and emits several sustained droning sounds, which causes an increasingly stable circle to be emitted. The copper- coated metal rod could be viewed as having an alchemical relationship to the green phosphor signal emitted by the oscilloscope, thus making the work into a kind of ritual performance. Further, the rod used is the same material Hill used in his early sculpture constructions; therefore the title Full Circle might also refer to a momentary return to the physical object. Gary Hill: Selected Works and catalogue raisonn?. (Wolfsburg: Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, 2002), GHCR 29, pp. 75 — 76.

Incidence of Catastrophe, 1987–88
Video (color, stereo sound) U-matic; 43’51’’
Inspired by the novel Thomas the Obscure by Maurice Blanchot wherein the protagonist of the novel is the reader of the novel he is in (who may well be Blanchot himself). — In the video, Thomas the protagonist is played by Hill which confounds the self-reflexive nature of the book’s relation- ships all the more, making the video something of a “transcreation.” — The “reader” begins in the liquidity of the text almost as if he were waking from drowning. — Images of the sea ravishing the shore — small cliffs of sand eroding and collapsing — are inter-cut with extreme close-ups of text and the texture of the page and book itself being flooded with ocean waves. — In scene after scene the reader attempts to re-enter the book only to find himself a part of intense dreams and hallucinations. — Thomas/Hill reads the book, when, suddenly, he feels he is being watched by the words. — The character then experiences the book as a forest of words he is fighting through. — Another “chapter” finds him alone in his room at night, overcome by a strange illness, in which the vision of the text has him vomiting violently. — The text infiltrates the reader’s entire experience. — Thinking he is still capable of functioning socially, the character finds himself at dinner with a group of hotel guests. — Their conversation turns into isolated words that, like the sand, erode and wash away with seemingly all possibilities of meaning. — The final scene shows the reader in the form of Hill physically and mentally destroyed. — Cowering naked in the fetal position, he lies in his own excrement on a white-tiled floor, babbling unintelligible sounds. — The pages of the book have grown into monumental walls with colossal letters that menacingly surround and imprison the naked body. — Gary Hill: — Selected Works and catalogue raisonn?. — (Wolfsburg: — Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, 2002), GHCR 59, pp. 130 — 132.

Mediations (towards a remake of Soundings), 1979/1986
Video (color, stereo sound) U-matic; 4’17’’
“The beginning of a remake of an earlier work [Soundings, 1979] in which I wanted to extend the reflexivity of each text in relation to the interaction between different physical substances—in this case, sand—and the speaker cone. A loudspeaker fills the screen and I begin to speak, referring to the speaker itself. This is followed by more declarations of what I am doing, ‘...a hand enters the picture....’ A hand filled with sand enters the picture and slowly releases it into the loudspeaker’s cone. Every nuance of speech vibrates the speaker’s cone (or membrane), bouncing the grains of sand into the air. The more I speak about what is happening, the more it changes—or feeds back into—the movement and patterns of the sand. At times the grain of the voice seemingly merges with what is experienced as ‘sand.’ The hand allows more and more sand to trickle onto the loud- speaker until the cone is no longer visible. The timbre of the voice crackles and is radically muffled. When the speaker is completely buried, the voice sounds distant but remarkably clear.”

Site Recite (a prologue), 1989
Video (color, stereo sound) U-matic SP; 4’00’’
Appearing as a hazy horizon laden with strange objects, the scene comprises bones, skulls of small mammals, butterflies, nuts, and other botanical “finds” spread out on a round table. These are ob- jects of the kind that one might collect on a nature trail in a forest — but also shells and crumpled notes. They are relics that suggest the cycle of life in a way familiar to us from vanitas still life painting and natural history collections. The camera moves around the table, picking out objects which, because of the shallow depth of focus, stand out one after another from the panorama of the jumbled collection. A bird’s skull, a piece of bark, or a crystal appear needle-sharp in the picture, whereupon the focus changes and the contours of a shell emerge from the nebulous background. In this way the camera discloses the transient beauty of the items one after the other, capturing the beauty of each for a fraction of a second before focusing on the next object. This precise focusing/ unfocusing continues for the duration of the work, while a narrator explores his momentary state of consciousness and relationship with the world, verbalizing his own thoughts as transient objects in an ontologically focused vanitas of mind. The rhythmic vocalized syllabics synchronize with the focusing and blurring of the image. And the final tableau places the viewer inside the mouth of the speaker looking out. Just as the narrator opens his mouth and speaks, light enters the speaking cavity, the tongue moves, and the teeth masticate the last words of the work: “imagining the brain closer than the eyes.”

The first meeting of MediaArtClub

February 17th, 2011


  1. What is media art, where are its boundaries, what are the differencies of Russian and Western discurs (Olga Shishko, art historian, professor);
  2. Presentation of the new MediaArtLab project - Pro&Contra FEST (Asya Silaeva, Elena Rumyantseva);
  3. Presentation of the Pro&Contra Award 2011 competition nominations, established for promotion of Russian contemporary art of new technologies (Yaroslav Bykhovsky, HSE, project coordinator);
  4. Screening of the best works of the international media festivals: Ars Electronica, (Austria), Transmediale (Germany), Japan Media Art Festival with glass of wine.

We live in the world of new images, elusive reality and unknown opportunities. Each day we are offered new phenomena – the hybrid art forms, web theatre, cyberspace in cinema, tactical media in contemporary society and interactive connections in politics. Media art is a new multifaceted and multilayered culture phenomenon. Being permanently settled in the sphere of art it can also go and visit with cinema, theatre, music, science and politics.

We invite you to our MediaArtClub which is intended for you and for us. The many processes of interaction between media, art and society will be our subject of discussion.

The Club will give you an opportunity

The project’s aim is to present you all that is most innovative in media art and discuss the most creative innovative projects with you.

Media expand the borders of our life and the limits of art. Cyborgs, robots, devices, gadgets, interfaces and cyberspace – these words have become now a part of the vocabulary - not only for science and fiction, but also for contemporary art. Mad inventors – the new edisons – are since the sixties constructing reality with their own hands. Artists have started to actively use new technology and the hi-tech developing companies began to entrust their new products to artists, rightly assuming that it is the artist who can think of something an engineer would never dream of. That’s what the Sony Corporation has done by giving the first portable video cameras to Nam June Paik and Andy Warhol.

Now the science lab often becomes an artist’s studio. The creativity exceeds the limitations of individualism – the artist’s full-fledged co-authors are code writers, engineers, musicians and biologists. Sometimes scientists themselves become artists. The enthusiasm of the first years has created the technopositivist philosophy and an unconditional faith in progress. Marshall McLuhan, the philosopher whose ideas had a great influence upon media art development, thought that with digital mass communication the reigns of government should be given over to artists. The McLuhan utopia has not yet become reality but still it’s possible that the future will depend on the artist.

We would be very glad to see you among the guests of the Club and hope for your participation in our future meetings. We plan to invite speakers from the wide range of organizations involved in the media art sphere. We hope that the Club will initiate our future fruitful cooperation. /p>

We invite you to our MediaArtClub which is intended for you and for us. The many processes of interaction between media, art and society will be our subject of discussion.

e-mail — mediaartlab@mediaartlab.ru

Moscow, Nikitsky blvd, 8, the Mediahall

Olga Shishko +7 910 423 20 42 (cell)
Irina Yurna +7 495 690 30 07 (cell)

Our next meetings:

3 17 31

14 28