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Virtual Human Towers and Seismic Data Art Shake Up Barcelona

Alpha-ville's 'New Realities' exhibition showcases groundbreaking tech art.
December 18, 2014, 7:00pm
Seismik_Index by Herman Kolgen

Barcelona is currently hosting Music+Arts, an international showcase exploring current trends in the digital culture landscape. The event, organised by Mobile World Capital, features an exhibition called New Realities which includes work from 30 prominent artists, musicians, and designers working at the intersection between art and technology. Names including Universal Everything, FIELD, Evan Boehm, Odd Division, Memo Akten, Quayola, Snibbe Studio, AntiVJ, Sougwen Chung, and more have their work represented.

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The show was curated by London-based digital arts organization, Alpha-ville—Estela Oliva and Carmen Salas—and features work across the spectrum of digital mediums: installations, music, apps, physical objects, interactive, and screen-based pieces.

"The internet and technology are totally integrated in our lives and we hardly stop to reflect on it," explain Alpha-ville, of the show's inspiration. "With the exhibition, we wanted to contribute to this transformational change, disseminate pioneering ideas and portray the reality we live in through the eyes of some of most exciting artists, designers, and musicians working in digital today."

Seismik_Index by Herman Kolgen

One of those artists is Herman Kolgen, who presents Seismik_Index, an audiovisual experience that uses seismic readings taken from across the earth as input data for sounds and visuals.

It's a variation on a previous work entitled, Seismik, which, in Kolgen's words, "is inspired by the impact of natural territories on human life." Explains Kolgen, "It explores terrestrial frequencies and seismic readings—geodetic phenomenons, slidings, fossil earthquakes, and geological modelings—from different locations around the globe and converts them into dynamic audio and visual motifs."

As with much of his a/v work, the piece highlights the intimate relationship between sound and image, and is both a mesmerizing and bewildering experience.

Siroi Mura #1 by Alba G. Corral

Another new work on show is Siroi Mura,the code-based, sound responsive collaboration between artist Alba G. Corral and musician Odil Bright. The title itself is a Japanese term meaning “white village” and is a reference to the whites villages of the Alpujarras, on the southern mountains of Granada.

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"Siroi Mura is like stopping in time, as time stops in the Alpujarras. It’s the contrast of two worlds, in one hand the rural areas of southern Spain and in another hand the Japanese countryside." says the artist.

'Siroi Mura #2 ' by Alba G. Corral

Alpha-ville explain: "Using the screen as a canvas, and code as the brush, Alba composed two different variations of the artwork which responds to the theme 'Signs of Life' by Odil Bright. In Siroi Mura #1Alba’s visual creation responds to the music, complementing audio and video—dark and white colors, space and digital. In Siroi Mura #2, Alba creates a different version of the piece departing from the visuals and opening a dialog with the music."

Siroi Mura #1 by Alba G. Corral

'Siroi Mura #2 ' by Alba G. Corral

Another commissioned piece is a new artwork by duo Varvara Guljajeva & Mar Canet, who previously turned brainwaves into knitting patterns. Their latest work is called The Highest Human Tower and is a virtual version of the Catalan festival tradition of castell, wherein people build a ridiculously tall human tower. The installation's objective is to digitally create the largest human tower ever constructed.

"The aim of this project," say the artists, "is to show how technology can help us do things we could never do or achieve before, in this case to create the highest human tower ever made.” The site-specific installation is connected to a website which collects the measurements of participants—so far 2,000 people have participated, amounting to a virtual tower of about 7545.93'.

New Realities is at the Mobile World Centre, Barcelona, Spain on now until 17 February 2015

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