Echo Chamber

16 June - 15 August 2017

Jeanne Briand, Adam Gibney, Fabien Leaustic, Helen McMahon, Rasa Smite and Paula Vitola. Curated by Matthew Nevin.

9 June – 31 August, Luznava Manor, Latvia
24 June – 22 July, Espace multimedia gantner, France

The EUCIDA Curator in Residence for 2017, Matthew Nevin, is exploring the idea of an ‘Echo Chamber’ and taking this as the starting point for this project. An example of an echo chamber effect can be seen in social media where users engage only with people and media sources that share their particular beliefs and viewpoints. In this way the digital arts may sometimes seem like a medium which caters only to a specific tech savvy audience. Our aim is to create an accessible dialogue between the digital arts and its interpretation of politics, culture and society through technology to a European-wide public.

The parallel exhibitions, which mirror each other, will take place simultaneously across the three art centres in Ireland, Latvia and France. Six contemporary visual artists have been selected, two from each of the host countries, whose practice is rooted in various aspects of digital technology.

As a curatorial platform for the creation of new work, echo chamber has encouraged a dialogue between art and technology as a means of sharing experience and creative practice.

By encouraging participating artists to explore and reinvent material and technologies, the curator has worked alongside artists Jeanne Briand, Adam Gibney, Fabien Leaustic, Helen McMahon, Rasa Smite and Paula Vitola, to produce work that can provoke the limitations of the Echo Chamber of the normal gallery environment. The artists have produced powerful, informative and experimental new work that engages with wider audiences.

These artists will create new dialogues that challenge conventional views on politics and culture; pushing for an examination of our preconceived expectations of what contemporary art is and its relevance to the society we live in. The curator has encouraged the artists to be reactionary and politically engaged in their approach to their practice and to tease out new radical ways of viewing and reading their art works through technology.

Matthew Nevin is an Irish curator and artist based In Dublin. He is co-director of the visual arts organisation MART who create opportunities through its Gallery & Studio platforms to support artists at all stages of their careers. As a curatorial partnership with Ciara Scanlan he has curated over 40 exhibitions across Ireland, UK, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Greece, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Japan, New York, Chicago & Los Angeles.

www.mart.ie
www.matthewnevin.com

Artists

Adam Gibney
Adam Gibney is an Irish artist based in Dublin who graduated from the Institute of Art Design and Technology (IADT), Dublin, in 2010. His practice is rooted in digital technology, he mainly creates work in sculpture, installation, sound and video.

Adam engages with sound, sculpture and electronics as a means to dissect and manipulate language. His work often references knowledge generated by science and philosophy and their points of intersection. His recent artworks have played upon the existential undertones that are present when one questions our inexplicable existence. By manipulating everyday objects and phrases, he is attempting to highlight the relationship between scientific uncertainties and the anxious state we sometimes occupy.

“Conundrum 8: I am somewhere between we and they" is a sound art piece which questions the political and personal use of pronouns. Playing a key role in the construction of the ‘self’ and the ‘other’, pronouns help toward the creation and division of societies. Sonic-twitter feeds that include the words ‘we’ and ‘they’ are presented as a live calibration test for the self’.”

Helen MacMahon
Helen MacMahon is an Irish artist based in Dublin. She has exhibited in Ireland, Europe, the US and Asia. McMahon’s work takes the form of installations, sculpture and photography that explore light and perception. Her practice is concerned primarily with the phenomena of light, movement, perception and space.

McMahon’s investigation into these elements is experimental in nature, and this exploratory process is as important as the finished piece, the unpredictability of the techniques often being key to discovery.

“I use commonplace materials, such as light, glass, and lenses that have the potential to act in surprising ways, distorting and obscuring the very things it is their function to reveal. Each component acts as a catalyst, bringing to light unseen potential in the simplest of materials. Maintaining the integrity of the materials is also important, so the viewer is allowed to experience the everyday objects in new and often unexpected ways.”

Mirror Affect’ is an interactive piece that plays with mirrored imagery using a combination of everyday objects and live digital technology. The work is in essence a visual echo chamber acting as a reflector and ultimately a distorter of visual data. The viewer’s image is filmed and projected onto a reflective screen appearing almost trapped in the woven material. This visual information, fragmented and distorted by the mirrored material creates a large abyss-like projection. This projection is also reflected and distorted creating an endless loop of visual noise.

The work introduces the viewer to a disorienting sensory experience, the mirrored projector screen serving as a form of social interface, embedding the activity of the spectators in the action of the installation.

Rasa Smite
Rasa Smite is a Latvian artist and media art researcher based in Riga, Latvia. She is co-founder of RIXC Center for New Media Culture in Riga, curator of RIXC annual festival, and chief editor of Acoustic Space – a peer-reviewed journal & book series. Rasa holds a PhD in sociology of culture and media, and works as Associate Professor in New Media Art programme at Liepaja University.

She has worked in partnership with Raitis Smits since the 1990’s to create artwork which is a combination of art, science and new media. Many of their projects come about through experimental collaborations with other artists, and require an element of process.

‘Talk to Me’, developed in collaboration with artist Raitis Smits, is a plant communication project that encourages people to talk to plants. There are scientific hypotheses which state that communicating with plants can result in enhanced growth. In attempting to verify if this is a fact various scientific experiments have been carried out.

This installation is a human-plant communication interface, through which people are asked to send encouraging messages via text & social media to the growing plants. Equipped with web-cam, wi-fi and loudspeakers, this interactive installation introduces the idea of global connectivity between humans and other species. An online interface, in combination with a text to speech engine, allows exhibition visitors and online users to ‘talk’ to the plants remotely, uniting both species into one network. The artists invite you to send encouraging messages to the plants to enable them to grow tall and strong.

http://talktome.rixc.lv/

Jeanne Briand
Jeanne Briand is a French artist based in Paris. She aims to forge links with new technology and craftsmanship in order to create sculptural artwork which reference fantasy and trans-aesthetics. The artist was born into a generation that witnessed the long-term introduction of modern technologies into our daily lives. Her work reveals all the complexity and ambiguity of human relationships with technology.

Gamete Glass’ is a sculptural installation of blown glass shapes which emit a soundtrack created from a recording of the artist’s breathing. The glass gametes are a type of ‘cyborg gamete’ (A gamete is the male or female reproductive cell that contains half the genetic material of the organism) These forms look almost functional yet are completely fictional. The origin of the sounds they emit raise questions in the viewer's mind about their own real purpose or existence.

Paula Vitola
Paula Vitola is a Latvian artist based in Riga. She works through media, art & archeology, researching relationships between humans and technology. Her work experiments with technology and nature, programming and gadget-hacking. Vitola is currently working on her Doctoral thesis in Liepaja University New Media art programme, where she is exploring the history of electricity and communication technology in media art. She is also curator and organiser of Sound Days festival in Liepaja and Riga, and co-producer of iWeek, a new media international week in Liepaja.

LIGHT-NET; every communication device has three basic elements – the transmitter, the medium, through which data can be transmitted, and the receiver. The input required to make the communication happen is the language or protocol. “LIGHT-NET” is a primitive, small scale model which mirrors an actual internet signal. It transmits information through air using just a blinking LED light using a very simple protocol that could be easily decoded with a pencil and a timer. ‘LIGHT-NET’ is part of a series of artworks called "Demystifying the Network" that explores different aspects of communication technology and tries to understand how they work.

Fabien Léaustic
Fabien Léaustic is a French artist based in Paris, France. He creates sculptural work which, while physical, has an ephemeral aesthetic. The two main elements of his work are water and light which he uses to create an interaction with digital technology. Fabien has a background in engineering and is a graduate of the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris. “My creations are made to fascinate, I find the ingenuity of a machine capable of transporting us elsewhere, to unseen landscapes, the ploy is to seize, to trap the forces of nature, and produce unsuspected effects.”

‘Hello World’ is a sculptural artwork which juggles between a naive optimism and a dark poetic stance. Activated by the presence of the visitor, the work points the drifts of the digital universe. It leaves us to wonder about whether the evolution of digital technologies are actually beneficial or destructive to our lives. When the piece activates it spells out a positive message until the ‘O’ disappears leaving behind a more dystopian message.

About EUCIDA
European Connections in Digital Arts / EUCIDA is a 3 year project funded by Creative Europe led by Rua Red in partnership Gantner Multimedia Space France and Lūznava Manor Rēzeknes Latvia. The project aspires to work collaboratively and demonstrate innovation and high standards contributing to making the digital arts sector highly visible internationally.

EUCIDA is a growing, interactive and innovative community of digital, media and technology artists, curators, researchers and cultural workers, connecting to imagine new ways of artistic mobility. Sharing experience, creative practice and opportunities transnationally both for artists and new audiences.