The Inspiring Merger of Code and Art


A Recap of Resonate '16

At Resonate 2016 it’s is hard not to be inspired by the creative work that is presented. It is a merger of code and art and a place where the focus is on the experiences and not the technology. The showcased works focus on the social experience where technology provokes thoughts, discussion, and amazement at the world around us. Much of the experiences at Resonate require a physical space, a shared collective experience within the space, and the technologies that enable that experience.

The hottest tech of the day aren't even represented.

VR and AR wasn't there. Resonate is not about what potential exists within technology and often the technologies used are well established. Even the breakout technology of machine learning at Resonate has roots in the 1950s. The technologies used within these works such as coding frameworks, projectors, LEDs, lasers, servos, Arduinos, cameras, and sensors are used to blend the physical and digital or to blur the boundaries of each. Code and technology enable artists to harness the fundamental power of light and sound. The process to create the works is often the highlights of the talks and the technology is only a means.

Within the selected works discussed at Resonate, Mecaniques Discursives by Yannick Jacquet and Frédéric Penelle collaborated to seamlessly blend projection mapping, wood block prints, mechanical movement, and shadows. The resulting hybrid brings a new perspective to both the physical and digital medium by transcending both.

Nemo / Biennale Internationale Des Arts Numériques Centquatre Paris / F / December 2015 - January 2016 (Source: Mecaniques Discursives)

Nemo / Biennale Internationale Des Arts Numériques Centquatre Paris / F / December 2015 - January 2016 (Source: Mecaniques Discursives)

Resonate is a merger of code and art and a place where the focus is on the experiences and not the technology.

Other artists such as Kimchi and Chips are moving beyond projection mapping and are directly manipulating projector beams using arrays of mirrors as light field lenses to dimensionally focus light in haze or smoke. Their future ambitions include taking this to a city scale and focusing lasers in the night sky to blend and question reality.

Artists such as Refik Anadol, are also harnessing scale by working architecturally to create a public space for digital art by using LEDs at scale and blending it with the architecture. The data driven narration of the media helps foster a public awareness and discussion of data visualization. Scale and space are critical to much of Refik Anadol’s work.

The rise of machine learning is going to have a big impact on art and technology.

Though technology is often a medium it is also a subject at Resonate. Memo Akten is both a proponent and a critic of one of the hottest topics of 2016, machine learning and the AI that it can foster. Machine learning can be a fantastic tool for creating new works as highlighted in workshops and discussions. However, Memo highlights our faith in Google and the new digital gods.

In machine learning a computer is asked to find relationships within a set of inputs that maps it to specific outputs. The relationships it finds are described within models which is a mathematical relationship of the input and output. We often place great meaning onto these models by attaching them to concepts that even humans find difficult to agree on. How do we know that a model is free of racism, can predict terrorists, or detect beauty? At Resonate the works often transcend the technology that was used to create them. 

Header image source: Memo Akten

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