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Art and Technology at Miami Art Basel 2017

Written by: Bruno Fernandes

Art and Technology at Miami Art Basel 2017 – Discover why Miami Art Basel is the perfect place to meet art and technology by The Verge.

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“Members Only” by Brian Bress, a high-definition single-channel video (color), high-definition monitor and player, wall mount, framed.

A few hundred people joined Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta, the Dutch founders of Studio Drift to wait in anticipation. If the winds kicked up, the hours of work invested in their installation would be for naught, but the sea looked calm. At 10PM, an illuminated pack of 300 drones rose above the Miami beach shoreline, over high-rise hotels, and traveled across the Atlantic Ocean horizon.

The work was called “Franchise Freedom” and what was most impressive about it was the impact. The drones hovered in the night sky and moved in formation. In synchronicity, they became objects of delicate beauty, like the migratory birds they mimicked. It wasn’t the technical feat to make drones fly that was interesting, but what was most striking was how the algorithm was conceptually rich.

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Unlike so many art-as-tech experiences, people stuck around to marvel. For five minutes, all eyes were turned up toward the sky, as if beholding silent fireworks as classical music played from loudspeakers. There were little whoops of delight as the drones seemed to dance across the night sky. It was an effective live performance art experience.

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Studio Drift defines itself as a collective that pushes boundaries on technology and nature. Shortly before the drones launched, the blue chip gallerist Marc Glimcher of Pace declared this work part of a larger effort to support nontraditional works that engage technology in what he calls Future/Pace. BMW’s marquis sponsorship and support from Intel indicate that patronage is part of making these ambitious efforts possible.

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Tony Oursler at Miami Art Basel. Photo by Tamara Warren / The Verge

It’s an enjoyable exercise to wander the fairs and museums to seek out those who are engaged in the weird way our world is changing by using code, VR, short, trippy films, or by mining science fiction themes. One standout work was a fantastic older painting The Space-Time of the Dandelion by Matta, that was made in 1967. A more contemporary example is Tony Oursler’s video work that focuses on facial recognition employed through big data and surveillance programs.

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Cory Arcangel – Super Mario Clouds – 2002

Outside of the avant-garde, art and technology have often been at odds. The global director of Art Basel, Marc Spiegler, wrote in a September CNN editorial, “For the core of the art world, most digital art seemed overly enamored with its own technology, and often felt conceptually lightweight.” He pointed to Bell Lab’s early work in this space in the ‘60s, Cory Archangel’s 2002 Nintendo hack, and the Austrian festival Ars Electronica as more sophisticated efforts to fuse technology as a medium and an idea.

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“Inverted Looking (for Josef Albers),” high-definition dual-channel video by artist Brian Bress. Courtesy of the artist and Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles

Miami Art Basel wrapped up on Sunday, but it’s only a sliver of what’s happening in the actual art world, and in the studios of artists reckoning with technology in their practices. The Verge will explore some of these efforts in a new monthly series Technographica.

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Snapchat Shows Augmented Reality Artworks at Art Basel Miami

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Source: the verge