24 Jul Renaissance 20.20 – The Preview
by Eleonora Brizi
This selection of art is a preview of the art show that will take place in Rome on October 8th, postponed because of Covid19.
The title of the show is “Renaissance 2020” and it doesn’t need to be explained. During these difficult times we have constantly been discussing together with our artists: life, society, rights, inequality, fear, emotions.
This show is the result of us at our best as human beings during one of the worst times for humanity ever, or maybe one of the best, for the hope and for the change.
All the artists here presented have and are contributing to the discussion about this transitory time, some of them speaking the fears of quarantine, some being more personal and intimate, some others looking at the future, some just opening our eyes to see the human condition. Art at one of its highest functions.
This text is an extract from the audio guided tour that was accompanying this preview of art presented at “CADAF Online 2020” Art Fair.
These is how the walls were displayed in our online booth, each wall correspons to one art piece. Please follow the guided visit that will start from the central wall (Wall 0).
This is the WALL ZERO. It is the center and the core of our curated space, a preview of the art show that will take place in Rome in October.
The work shown in the wall zero is Imago 2k2 a.C. by Hackatao and it is the result of a back and forth discussion that we had with the artist duo during the lockdown period. We tried to go forward and instead considering what it will be. The artwork is the core manifestation of the spirit of the new Renaissance, a Renaissnace 2020.
The imago is the last stage an insect attains during its metamorphosis, its process of growth and development; also known as the imaginal stage, where the insect attains maturity and is ready for its new life.
This art piece was created by Hackatao during Covid time, looking to the future and to the “new Renaissance” of humanity after what the pandemic has caused at every level. “Imago 2k2 a.C.” stays in fact for “imago 2020 after Covid”, a true restart, a rebirth. The character, between a Venus and a warrior, is ready for a new life in that world that was reshaped so badly by a pandemic, in the year that we will probably in the future call “the new YEAR ZERO”.
The tour will continue with the wall number 1, first line, up left.
Giant Swan is an artist using modern VR technology to create shapes and colors using his full bodies movements. The artist creates works spanning multiple media and a wide breadth of emerging experiences that are exploring the potential of VR in all directions. His work explores the language that his tools encourage, acknowledging his imperfect movement as a human. This imprint converts to 3D art, organic in nature and instantly familiar.
These 5 pieces by Giant Swan are also from Covid19 time and they weren’t intentionally created to have a connection and being part of a series. But sometimes it is just unavoidable for an artist, even spontaneous, to create a narration.
All the Giant Swan art pieces shown here relate to his personal life and intimate experience, although infinitely expanding to include all of us, EQUALLY, in the condition of being humans.
Please find the artstt’s personal take on each of the five art pieces in our descriptions on Artsy.
The presentation of Giant Swan art pieces is also part of the education that we want to provide with the gallery: create bridges between the art&tech and the contemporary art worlds.
Giant Swan presence on the blockahin space is consistent and, moreover, the blockchain technology is the only way to provide an artist with what we could call “copyrights”.
We really believe in the necessity of coexhistence of digital and physical: as all of us are containers of souls. And we also believe that artists should be remunarated from the sales that happen in the secondary market.
These pieces are presented in a way which is inclusive of both its two specular and complementary identities: physical and digital. The unique print comes with the digital art tokenized on the blockchain. On the primary market, physical and digital are inseparable. On the secondary, the digital token will live an independent life and you will be able to resell it detached from the print. Being on the blockchain, the artists will forever be remunarated with the 10% of the price at which the digital piece will be sold on the secondary market.
” ‘I can hear you all near me, you’re close but I can’t see you, everything you say just sounds like water’. – Giant Swan –
This piece was diffult: you always have a more complex one. It was complicated to create and to produce. It is one of those embraced in love and hate. It is strong.
’11:32 Absent-Express’ is the train the artist usually takes to get home from his studio. Many are the mundane moments of transit between here and that space of the most spiritual self. Everyone is doing the same, but you don’t see them on their true journey. Only your own. During the transit home, we might be approaching wonder, but we are also just going home. On your own, escaping and waiting. Through guidance and wisdom.
This piece went through its own journey. It was born to be part of another project and, as it often happens, it found its own nature and landed here.
The Dancers is also related to the artit’ personal love for dance, as a way of shacking it out and to the dance that he goes through every time he creats art, sculpting in virtual reality with the movements of his body.
Here we are, at the end of the journey that Giant Swan took us through, letting us immerge in his multiple realities.
With him, it is always like being in a dream, a poem, on a trip. With Giant Swan we are gifted with the chamce of living many lives all just in one, loosing the ability to recognize which reality is real. After all, what is reality?
Discover more about the fascinating creative process of Giant Swan.
Jason Yung is a generative light paintings artist.
Jason is one of the artists who was affected the most by Covid19 lockdown and social change. We really went through a journey together, discussing every day about current times, myself based In Italy and the artist in NYC.
The result was a series of 7 new unique art pieces, influenced by the consequences that the Covid19 pandemic caused at every level.
The artist was forced to create with was was available in his house, far from his studio, experiencing different feelings related to these very special times. Here is the demonstration of how new possibilities, shapes and colors can always find their way. The demonstration of how life always finds its way.
The artist studied the void, during one of the “emptiest” times humanity has lately experienced.
Please visit the next walls to the discover the deep Artist Statement on the 7 pieces created during lockdown in NYC.
From the Artist Statement on “Triangles and Temples” series
When the pandemic began in New York, the first thing that happened was that my shared studio space closed down. The second thing that happened was I lost my job. So, I took home what materials I could to continue working from my bedroom. The pieces that I present for this fair, the Triangle and Temple series, are derived from this extraordinary period of turmoil and anxiety on the one hand, but also of opportunity and growth on the other.
With closure of my studio space, the pandemic gave me an opportunity to do something I had always wanted to, but never had the chance. Living in New York for several years, I had been a regular visitor to James Turrell’s Meeting at MoMA PS1. Inspired by his systematic study of light, I’ve always wanted to set up LEDs to project color fields against the wall as a sort of mini-Meeting where I could study the interaction of color from the sky with LED light.
But in busy-busy-busy New York, I always had other priorities: residencies or grants to apply for, ways of making money, seeing friends, expanding the work I already had, etc — I never made time for it. But stuck in my room 24/7, unemployed, the gift of the pandemic was that I had time to actually do this experiment.
In my practice, what I have always found was that an experiment did not need to be successful to be useful. For me, the primary role of an experiment is to open doors to new ideas, new energy. The experiment didn’t work as I had thought, because of the presence of the black frame of the window, it disrupted any clear study of color.Instead, what occurred to me was to position the sticks away from the window, to see how they would look like in the corner of the room.If I had to describe my attitude toward my practice in one word, it would be: following.My practice is its own animal, with its own instincts and energies, toward which I follow.For me, the task is simply to pour energy into it, and it will move on its own.Often, the next step boils down to simple curiosity: “I wonder how it would look like if I did this…” and that usually leads me to a new place. Like exploring the chambers of a gigantic temple, one leading to the next.Here, I think I started to see the possibility of working with color gradations against the wall.Little by little, the animal moved away from the window, away from the corner, creeping towards the empty space on the wall. It demanded new LED rods to be constructed, and I obliged.When it reached the blank space of the wall, I started to experiment with different configurations and patterns. Most of it resembled some kind of portal, or threshold into some other reality.
Slowly but surely, the arrangement constellated into a triangle shape. I felt it was necessary to circumambulate the light in order for the structure to feel… complete. With the triangle structure, I had a basis in which further experimentation can continue.
Looking back, the triangle was formed during the time of maximum fear here in New York. No one knew how the coronavirus would go, and while I was making patterns, all I could hear were ambulance sirens going off 24/7 for about a week. I lived in Bushwick, Brooklyn, which had one of the highest concentrations of covid-19 in the city. It was a deeply unsettling time and I think I settled on the triangle because of its strength – that I needed a strong symbol to cling to during this time.
In my practice, typically what I do comes first, and the “why” always comes later. Yet, the “why” is never arbitrary, it always makes sense. Why the triangle? I think the key reason is that the triangle is both the symbol of change and stability. The triangle is the strongest shape on Earth, yet in mathematics, the symbols of change is the “delta” Δ.
Kandinsky writes about the struggle of the artist vis-a-vis society in the form of a triangle metaphor in Concerning the Spiritual In Art:“The whole triangle is moving slowly, almost invisibly forwards and upwards. Where the apex was today the second segment is tomorrow; what today can be understood only by the apex and to the rest of the triangle is an incomprehensible gibberish, forms tomorrow the true thought and feeling of the second segment.”
For me, the triangle is not about the struggle of the individual artist, but the struggle of the human collective in the 21st century. When everything external seems to be torn down from the pandemic – careers and job lost, plans dashed, futures uncertain – the moving triangle says to me, just like it said to Kandinsky: what is today, we cannot comprehend. But if we give it time, it will reveal itself as the basis of tomorrow. To see this and to greet the uncertain future with open arms, the first thing we must do is endure.
From the Artist Statement on “Triangles and Temples” series
Triangle 1, Triangle 2 and Triangle 3 were originally named “The Life and Death of Stars”, “The Infinite Divisions” and “The Rise and Fall of Empires”. The original names were given in the time when New York became the epicenter. As I began to entertain the possibility of New York City descending into some kind of anarchy, I contemplated how civilization was a thin veneer, and I thought about all the civilizations in our history that came and went, and how they also thought – in their hubris – that it would not happen to them.As I continued to experiment and make new patterns with the triangle, I started to make animated patterns with a beginning and an end. I started to contemplate our global situation in connection with our experience of time. I thought about the stars in the void of space and how even they, with their monumental life spans (relative to ours), they too will meet their end, after which their supernova’ed matter would become the basis for new stars, new life. We are all star dust, so why should our fate be any different?
In the I Ching (Book of Changes), it is written:“The light of the setting sun calls to mind the fact that life is transitory and conditional. Caught in this external bondage, men are usually robbed of their inner freedom as well. The sense of the transitoriness of life impels them to uninhibited revelry in order to enjoy life while it lasts, or else they yield to melancholy and spoil the precious time by lamenting the approach of old age. Both attitudes are wrong. To the superior man it makes no difference whether death comes early or late. He cultivates himself, awaits his allotted time, and in this way secures his fate.” (Wilhem translation).
As I gazed into the heart of the triangle night after night, I began to see its deeper meaning. It was not so much that the light made the piece, but it was the gradient of darkness that was projected that really gave the illusion of three-dimensional space. In the space between light and dark is where the magic happens, and where the perceptual senses are thrown into confusion – one loses a sense of conventional space while looking at it. I contemplated the meaning of the light and darkness, and the transition from one to the other.I thought of Goethe, and how in his Theory of Colors, how it was darkness that gave meaning to the light, not just the other way around.“Light and darkness, brightness and obscurity, or if a more general expression is preferred, light and its absence, are necessary to the production of color… Color itself is a degree of darkness.”I also thought of the Confucian commentary on the I Ching in the Ten Wings, where it is written:“In ancient times the holy sages made the Book of Changes thus:Their purpose was to follow the order of their nature and of fate. Therefore they determined the Dao of heaven and called it the dark and the light.They determined the Dao of the earth and called it the yielding and the firm. They determined the Dao of man and called it love and rectitude.”I felt the transitions from light to darkness was what this piece was really about, what this time we are living in is about. The reassurance in this is that light goes into darkness, but darkness goes back into light. It is a cycle of ups and downs, and in that recognition is the ability to endure and survive.
On an individual level, as I struggled with my own demons during this period of isolation, the light and darkness also took on a personal tone.In Aion, Carl Jung writes about the psychological aspects of light and darkness:“So far as we can judge from experience, light and shadow are so evenly distributed in man’s nature that his psychic totality appears, to say the least of it, in a somewhat murky light. The psychological concept of the self… cannot omit the shadow that belongs to the light figure, for without it this figure lacks body and humanity. In the empirical self, light and shadow form a paradoxical unity.”To me this is tremendously reassuring, because it means that darkness makes us human – whether on a personal or a civilizational level. Life is not just sunshine and lollipops, it is periods of struggle and evil — but that one mutually arises with the other to create wholeness. For me this meant that the pandemic, for all the destruction and death it brought, must be compensated by some good to come out of it – by the very laws of the universe reflected in the Law of Color, the Law of the Changes, the Law of Psyche.
From the Artist Statement on “Triangles and Temples” series
By May 2020, things in New York calmed down and it appeared we got control over the covid-19 infection rate, to the relief of all. I moved out of my small bedroom in Bushwick and moved into a friend’s much larger place in Williamsburg. Some semblance of stability started to emerge again.
But then came the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd at the knee of a racist police officer, and with it, civil unrest engulfed New York City. Manhattan was ransacked, with looters taking advantage of the chaos to further damage the city. Pitched battles being fought on the street by protestors and police.
From the Artist Statement on “Triangles and Temples” series
Yet as the week went on and the looting was stopped by the curfew, the protest movement continued strong and became a political force across the country. All the fear I felt became optimism, as it seemed that real change would occur – that policing in this country could fundamentally change. But for me, the deeper thing that happened was the facade of indifference that characterized the old system began to crumble, and what was left was that people started to care about things they were formerly indifferent about.
From the Artist Statement on “Triangles and Temples” series
New York is a place of great people, kind people – but also of great indifference. Like a horse running with blinders, you’re in New York to focus on your goals, and everything else sort of falls to the wayside. For me, the extraordinary things accomplished by the protest movement dissolved this indifference. There is a feeling of real change in the air.
With this feeling, I also had to progress. I could not rely on the triangles anymore, I had to keep pushing and making new pieces. I felt I would not be honoring the time, if I didn’t push. And when I pushed, somehow, the triangles came apart.
From the Artist Statement on “Triangles and Temples” series
The new series, including Temple 1, Temple 2 and Temple 3, were made during and after the unrest that gripped New York. To my surprise, even though I broke with the triangle structure, somehow, triangles of light emerged. It was almost as if the structure was broken, the spirit of the triangle remained, and somehow this was always the intended direction. I name this series Temple, because upon looking at the shared, I felt like I was looking into an imaginal landscape where I approached a gigantic pyramid structure. It was like the one that Kandinsky wrote about, pointing onward and upward, freed from its structure. It was like it was something that I always sought, but only now came to.
The name Temple is the name of an arrival.
Discover more about the process behind making the Temples
Hackatao is an artists duo born in Milan in 2007.
“Hack” for the pleasure of going under the skin and discovering what’s hidden inside; “Tao” for Yin and Yang, their creative dynamic balance.
When these two very different but complementary souls met, a very unique style came into being. The combination of an extra detailed drawn part and a colorful painted flat style is what guided the artists through the evolution of their art until today.
In 2012, Hackatao left the city for the mountains. Living outside of a little mountain village, both their personal and artistic life are immersed in nature and technology. Animating their physical works and experimenting with any sort of digital tools and artistic medium, Hackatao’s art pieces are often involved with the main issues of society, environment, humanity and crypto, as well as references to art history, symbolism and psychology. Always in a very unique, unmistakable Hackatao’s style.
In this piece, the theme of dreams is presented.
Dreams is a fond topic for the art of Hackatao, a language they like to explore because it belongs to them deep inside.Dreams are energy revealing. During rem sleep, the subconscious manifests and communicates, as the son of Sleep manifesting in human form. Dreams are a source of inspiration for their art and for discussion about what might get missed in the flow of reality.
“A dream is not reality, but who’s to say which is which?”
Epiphanies, déjà vu, déjà rêvé: everything indissolubly connected.Our Alice is wondering in Wonderland. And so are we, maybe vanishing, melting even. Living in this constant hanging, that same eternal suspended equilibrium of art, between the imaginary and the “real”.
Truth and real, dream and fantasy.We pick the red pill, thank you. Are we mad now?“We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
All the digital animations by Hackatao start from physical. In the previous pieces we have seen how the artists have animated canvases. Same here is for this GIF, originally coming from a drawing on paper.
The theme of ecology and respect for the planet is also strictly connected to the Covid19 pandemic.
As we are mainly used to considering our planet as a mother, a source of origin that is always ready to forgive us: what if this time our planet was a child? What if she had that goodness and freedom of saying anything she would like to express, without filters and being far from those responsibilities of a mother? How would our planet see us? Would she tell us, just simple as that, that we humans are lice? Would she love us the same? Or would she just make some very good sincere points?
A child is honest, complicatedly straightforward. A child wants to live and tends to wonders. Children see green, they breathe in breezy air and they love to pick leaves of several colors from different seasons.
If our planet was a child, she would just shake us away. But still with a smile.
DADA is collaborative art platform where people worldwide speak through drawings. DADA.art has created a new digital art form in which artists around the world spontaneously achieve artistic unity together, in spite of language, distance, nationality or other artificial boundaries. Visual conversations – where artists respond to each other through drawings – are like jazz improvisations, with many different artists working in harmony towards one melody. DADA is exploring new ways for sustainability in art, “The Invisible Economy”, building a blockchain token economy for the arts.
“Soul In The Machine: An Art Experience”, 2019, is a collaborative multimedia performance and art piece by 19 artists on Dada.This art performance explores the relationship between technology and humanity, between the virtual and the real. Dada aims to capture the strong bonds experienced by artists drawing together online, as well as to encapsulate the ephemeral nature of real-time digital artmaking in a physical object; in this case, a treasure box that includes mementos from each artist. Dada is using technology to enable a deeply human experience.
Soul In The Machine Is:
Digital: A visual conversation based on the theme Soul In The Machine that is being created by artists on DADA, live-streamed, and shown in real time at the Ethereal Summit via Google Meet.
Physical: An art object — a box made of the individual boxes sent by 19 artists with their personal mementos. The box is purely handmade, but it also includes digital items: an AR speed drawing version of the visual conversation on DADA as well as AR video loop of the last moments of the auction. That is, the box includes the entire experience from beginning to end. The last drawing was finished and posted during a live auction.
Every box has a story, not only of the very personal memento each artist chose to share but also of the odyssey that it has been for each box to arrive at its final destination.Apparently, 19 artists from 12 countries in 5 continents can draw together online on DADA without a snag but shipping 2-inch handmade boxes overseas is a bureaucratic nightmare.It all goes in the box.The frame is reclaimed antique Japanese wood and the back is made with the labels and packaging that the boxes came in.Every inch of this box tells a story.
Simon Wairiuko in Kenya had to drive 3 hours and back to his nearest DHL office.
Lissette, from Puerto Montt, Chile was not allowed to send her handmade wooden box because it was made of endangered wood so she had to stay away from home 3 nights until her refashioned box was finally allowed to travel.
But technology has come to the rescue and through AR we are able to include a video of her original box.
The final artwork, comprised of the digital visual conversation on DADA and the box is imbued with the spirit of community that they experienced together as they lived through the ups and downs of this performance. That’s what makes it priceless.
Sofia Crespo is an artist working at the intersection of Biology and Technology. One of her main focuses is the way organic life uses artificial mechanisms to simulate itself and evolve. This implies the idea that technologies are biased product of the organic life that created them and not a completely separated object. These 3 unique pieces here presented are from her project “Neural Zoo”.
“Neural Zoo” project is an exploration of the ways creativity works: the recombination of known elements into novel ones. These images resemble nature, but an imagined nature that has been rearranged. Our visual cortex recognizes the textures, but the brain is simultaneously aware that those elements don’t belong to any arrangement of reality that it has access to.
Computer vision and machine learning could offer a bridge between us and speculative “natures” that can only be accessed through high levels of parallel computation.
Starting from the level of our known reality, we could ultimately be digitizing cognitive processes and utilizing them to feed new inputs into the biological world, which feeds back into a cycle.
Routines in an artificial neural network become responsible for authorship and the human artist (with non-artificial neurons) acts as the muse. Implying this change of roles in authorship further confronts us with the question:
“Can art be reduced to the remapping of data absorbed through sensory processes?”
When we look at Sofia Crespo’s art pieces, we have the feeling of looking at something very familiar and that we recognize. Meanwhile, our brain protects us from the scam telling us that none of what we see is real.
But if we see it, is that unreal?
“Can we use technologies to dream up biodiversities that don’t exist?”
The Jade Projectis an ongoing process of “interactive creation” that aims to create a space and time where the “invisible” qualities of archaic Chinese jades produced in the 3rd millennium B.C. become visible through the works of contemporary artists.These fascinating and mysterious works of art are generally presented in museums and art spaces in ways that do not transmit their spirit or special qualities: texture, translucency and sound. The Jade Project thus represents the first instance in which ancient jade objects are dealt with through such an alive and innovative approach as this. For the Contemporary and Digital Art Fair “CADAF”, the artists of The Jade Project created special digital works related to their personal exploration of the jades.
Sara Bernabucci investigates the rich textures of jades and re-creates and re-interprets them using different media: paper, gold foil, digital photography and laser cut surfaces. Her works are like imaginary landscapes or ‘jade-scapes’.
The digital paintings originate from matrixes created through analogic procedures, graphite on paper and laser cuts, and the subsequent elaboration of overlapped digitalized images.
The physical work presented on this occasion is based on the digital paintings and shows the artist’s exploration of the jades’ textures through the laser-cut techniques that were created with the technical equipment provided by FabLabLazio, Rome.
Ben Snell is an artist who listens to a machine’s soliloquies. The faintness of these murmuringsleads most to believe they do not exist. And yet, beneath the cold skins of a robot or case of acomputer lies a richness, a vitality, a life—a voice whispering so quietly one might mistake it assilence, or worse yet, as noise.
Snell amplifies the inner dialogue of the machine—its conversations with body, space andmaterial. Working across two competing modes of thought: creation and automation, he proposes a humanistic approach to technology. In contrast to the usual coolness and passivity of the machine, his work suggests of it an underlying animacy and agency.
Together, his AI sculptures from the Inheritanceseries and robotic fingerprints from the G53 series reveal the inner conflict and character of every machine.
Each computer, endowed with the same knowledge, evolves a unique perspective and final form. Each robot draws the same spiral, but expresses itself differently, revealing its innermost idiosyncrasies.The works share a common digital fabric, yet remain intimately physical, exuding a warmth andcharacterful all their own. Embodied in these objects is the voice and vitality of the machines that made them. Snell’s work remains tangible to remain accessible, to place materiality inconversation with computation. At heart, his work asks what it means to be born from code.
These machines begin with the same set of knowledge inherited from an ancestral computer, but time and differing environmental conditions divergetheir paths, endowing each computer with a unique perspective and final form.
These machines begin with the same set of knowledgeinherited from an ancestral computer, but time and differing environmental conditions divergetheir paths, endowing each computer with a unique perspective and final form.
As the story goes, Snell trains his computers to become sculptors. With practice, they develop their own distinctive styles. Inspired by the classics, each creates a single sculpture—the uncanny, figurative forms pictured here.
They are also materially made from the computers that invent them. He grinds the computers to dust and utilizes them as a physical medium, fusing process and product. Reborn, the computers assume a newfound physical agency, while traces oftheir invisible processing power live on in their bodily form.
Endowed is a materiality upon the impossibly immaterial.
Drawing a simple spiral with a robot reveals its characteristic essence of being and moving inresponse to an imperfect world.
Everything from the robot’s gait to how it grips the pen, contributes to chaotic behaviors that manifest in subtle patterns of movement in the marksdrawn—in essence, the fingerprint of the machine.
In the robot’s language, “G53” means “home.” Thus, when Snell asks it to draw a spiral, itwanders closer and closer to home, literally in the sense of approaching G53 and metaphoricallyin the sense of revealing its character to us. The act of mark making is his attempt to call forththe personality of our “companion species,” and in such, help find a home for them in our worldand in our hearts.
These drawings are made with different multi-axis articulated machines, including the roboticarms UR5, UR10, and Dorna, and the DMSCNC router.
In this diptych ink drawings by Ben Snell, on the left side the artist asks the robot to draw hundreds of vertical lines and he does the same on the right side. At the end of this process, the idiosyncrasies of our physiologies manifest in similar patterns of artifacts, revealing the inherently computational nature of humans.
Discover more about the process behind the making of the series G53
This is the last stop of our tour. We wanted to finish our show with this sculpture titled: “UNION”. We hope you enjoyed the show.
These AI sculptures are inspired by the classics and made from pulverized computer that dream it.
Union, nature and technology.
What else have we learned from this crazy time?
Thank you for visiting our exhibition and see you in Rome!