Lumen Prize Digital Arts Seminar 2015 and resulting discussion..thoughts…

This was held on Thursday May14th 2015 at The Crypt Gallery in London.

I’m familiar with the gallery as colleagues have shown work there in the past.

I had planned to help with the install on the Tuesday but, unfortunately, due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ I had to take my son to a hospital appointment and missed the opportunity.

I was pretty dismayed really as I had been looking forwards to seeing how to connect and place everything so that only the work is visible and show to its best effect in this challenging and unusual space…. a stone crypt beneath an active church on the Euston Road.

I was also delighted at being able to be involved with the full-time students and feel part of a ‘gang’ working in a team.

I miss that so much. The organisation and physical movement of people in a space, passing things around, working out what to do next and what is needed.

The flux between solitary concentration and communicating with colleagues, moment by moment.

Almost sounds Romantic, the way I’m describing it!

The reality, I know, is often fraught with difficulty and frustration but still I was very disappointed not to be involved.

I can’t even be there for Take-Down either as my son has another appointment at the JR Trauma Unit on Friday.


I did manage to get to the Seminar and PV.

The speakers were all really interesting, without exception,and extremely varied.

Jonathan, Clara and Jack did theirs as a Q&A which was a pleasant change from lone speakers and asked some  valid questions ( I’ll put a link in to their blogs in a bit so  you can see)

Clara about memory and nostalgia, objects and images..Jonathan asked about the associated melancholy of Clara’s ideas.

 Jack was challenging the Glitch Art community on Facebook as ‘ not as creative as they think they are” or at least that’s my summary.

That the creativity is limited and repetitive but addictive…

I found Kevin Lucic- Shepard’s talk fascinating from the POV of challenging perspective but it was a shame that we couldn’t see the prints at the size he intended in the venue.

They need to be huge and are in some venues, I believe.

My ‘favourite’ was Christine Hooper’s animation  On Loop  which was amusing, sensitive and very clever without showing off!

Seemed really simple until she described the hours of set building apart from the animation, filming etc…

Laura Dekker talk was very useful as she described the development of her practice  and I think (but I may be getting confused as I have seen so much stuff over the last few weeks…) there had been an element of performativtity in her work… Ill look back at my notes again…

I wasn’t so keen on the Garden of Earthy Delights, personally  although it was an amazing piece technically and conceptually.

I found Donna Halford- Lovell’s talk useful from my point of view as she is a Director/co-ordinator/ trustee for a Digital, and other work, arts festival in Dundee- NEoN. This year there is lots of Korean and Japanese involvement

She showed how digital, installation, sound and performance could work well together in a city… especially good was the swimming pool with underwater sound pieces!

I must remember this for the future…I saw Claire Reika-Wright’s  They Live Below Ground Now again, which looked especially good in the complementary setting of The Crypt!

I’d seen it locally in Banbury as part of Oxfordshire ArtWeeks in a different setting with other of her digital works and paintings.

I’ve seen her work develop from her early days of investigating painting through digital and the changes have been immense.

She has been working digitally for many years as she has a professional background as a programmer and an artist.

We just had a Skype Chat about the exhibition and I liked at the website…I saw two works that really impressed me that I hadn’t noticed at the PV…always the way with PV’s….

I also realised as we were chatting once again about the nature of digital art that I had some strong feelings about how the location of the exhibition and so the curation affected the viewing of the work.

It was so different form usual.

Here are some other points I made …there are comments by other members on the Skype chat but I have mainly  included mine here, for now!

What it did do was highlight the similarly in temporality of on-line ‘ art’ and performance in realtime/ space…rather than the differences!!

 I’d like to think about that some more…

[19/05/2015 14:38:33] Rhiannon Evans: I find it really interetsting that Yvonne was able to view the work from Canada and send a statement for an exhibition in a space she hadn’t been to.
It shows how the work is usually seen in a ‘neutral’ white cube where the work is what we see and the relationships between the works and the space are often minimalised. Here the space was so exceptional I found it had a profound effect on the work.
[19/05/2015 14:41:05] Jonathan Kearney: Rhiannon, interesting point, the white cube almost removes the life from the work, the juxtapositions, the challenges to each other??
[19/05/2015 14:41:16] Rhiannon Evans: It highltlighted the difference between material and ‘immaterial’ work

The works ‘performed’ in the Crypt.
Their differences were much more palpable to me than if I had seen them in a usual envirnment. Each more or less had their own individual space and these created a very personal relationship between viewer and work that I feel doesn’t usually happen with digital work.
] Peter Mansell: by digital is no different in art to any other medium. All art (and the way it communicates) ebbs too and fro over time. Olay so digital and the net has speaded this up now but its still fundementally doing the same thing as galleries and places where art was and still is located.
Peter Mansell: I think a key thing about digital is that if the lights went out much of it would vanish in an instant
Peter that is true but so does most of what we do.
[19/05/2015 14:50:22] Peter Mansell: indeed
[19/05/2015 14:50:36] Rhiannon Evans: Art has often been about some aspect of memorialisation but maybe ‘digital’ art is not… like performance art…
[19/05/2015 14:50:42] Yvonne Opalinski: We could still see a painting or sculpture or other tangible artform in candle light
[19/05/2015 14:51:26] Jonathan Kearney: Yvonne or even feel the surface of oil on canvas!
[19/05/2015 14:51:34] Yvonne Opalinski: Exactly
[19/05/2015 14:51:49] Peter Mansell: ah to feel the work on my monitor….
[19/05/2015 14:52:13] Yvonne Opalinski: Maybe that is the next step Peter… tangible digital art?
[19/05/2015 14:52:21] Peter Mansell: 🙂
[19/05/2015 14:52:24] Rhiannon Evans: These are big questions about the necessary tangibility and persistence of the art..
[19/05/2015 14:52:44] Yvonne Opalinski: And presents the worry about losing digital art
[19/05/2015 14:52:50] Jonathan Kearney: there is lots of work going on around digital haptic feedback but it is challenging and for some questionable

[19/05/2015 14:53:13] Rhiannon Evans: In the end it is about our personal experience of any work and that includes where and how we view it.Maybe work displayed online is at the moment the essence of unmonumental…. But it becomes monumental in audience size through sharing and memes?

There wer other works when I looked on the Lumen website that I had missed at the PV. and really found very interesting.Of Course…

These were Evolution Johannes Heldén, Håkan Jonson

Evolution aims to emulate the texts and music of poet and artist Johannes Heldén, with the ultimate goal of passing “The Imitation Game Test” as proposed by Alan Turing in 1951.

The aim is to examine and dissect the role of the author;

They do this by asking the question…

When new poetry that resembles the work of the original author is created or presented through an algorithm, is it possible to make the distinction between “author” and “programmer”? And is it even relevant? When the work of the algorithm is extrapolated to the point where the original author becomes redundant, how does this affect copyright, legacy, future writings, etc? The purpose of the work is not to deromanticize or deconstruct the role of the author, but is rather the ongoing exploration itself. Where will it take us, and perhaps more importantly, what will happen along the way?

The release of Evolution will mark the end of Johannes Heldén writing poetry books. He has, in a sense, been replaced. The application analyzes a database of all the published text­ and soundworks by the artist and generates a continuously evolving poem that simulates Heldén’s style: in vocabulary, the spacing in­between words, syntax. The audio track is generated by an algorithm that layers the source material of the artist’s compositions in differing randomized lengths, fades and pitch; creating an evolving ambient drone. The source material for the work consists of all published poetry and music by Heldén: ten print poetry books (2002­2013) and four digital works (2006­2013), and three full­length music albums (2002­2013).

Also, there was Dream Homes Property Consultants Alexandra Handal

Expropriated Palestinian houses are ironically repackaged on the Israeli real estate market as ‘Arab­style’.

Their factual history is concealed behind this architectural euphemism.

Taking the form of an on­line estate agency, this interactive web documentary art revisits the individual history of these homes, uncovering Palestinian stories of displacement, dispossession and cultural cleansing from West Jerusalem.

Built over the course of six years, DHPC delves into the memories of 28 Palestinian refugees and exiles, creating a labyrinthine space where personal tales of abrupt goodbyes, impossible reunions and suspended dreams are conveyed with a tragicomic edge.

The 18 homes featured under ‘Hot Properties’ are each referred to by a tongue­in­cheek listing such as: ‘One­of­a­Kind Arab­style House, Dead End Street’ and ‘Magnificent Arab­style House, A Great Catch’.

Directions on how to reach a particular property are not given by current official street names, but through the description of landmarks and other familiar points that allude to a torn social fabric.

The eradication of this universe finds expression in animated advertisements of barbershops and shoemakers that no longer exist or through Internet response status codes, such as ‘not found’.

Using diverse storytelling genres with different modes of narration, DHPC patiently and meticulously pieces together a world that was shattered in 1948.

This is particularly interesting to me because of the link to this project:  The Reading Room Uncanny …..


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