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News from #12

[September 21st 2005]

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005
Number of subscribers: 470

In the broader field of art which utilizes software as an artistic medium, generative art is a point of reference for a growing number of artists and dedicated followers. For those of our readers who would like a quick brush-up, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia proposes the following definition: 'Generative art is art or design generated, composed, or constructed through computer software algorithms, or similar mathematical or mechanical autonomous processes…' It is typically associated with digital technology and can be traced directly back to the earliest experiments with the computer as an artistic medium. It can, however, also be understood as a more inclusive grouping of certain types of process-based artworks regardless of media, as Philip Galanter has proposed. We have previously featured a number of articles on the topic, and we would like to continue down this road for a very special reason:

This week an ambitious conference and exhibition, Generator.x, is being launched in Oslo. This event is dedicated to 'examining the role of software and generative strategies in current digital art and design' and features a very impressive line-up of artists and speakers. Not to be missed! We are proud to present an interview with the organizer of Generator.x, Marius Watz, who talks generously about the elusive term generative art, about the events in Oslo and about the motivations for his own artistic practice. Thank you Marius.

We have also returned from this year's Ars Electronica festival with an article on artistic interfaces in the border zone between instruments for artistic production and artworks. We will be back with more material from the festival, so stay tuned…


Marius Watz is an artist and curator who is organizing the conference and exhibition Generator.x in Oslo, Norway (Sept. 23-). The event deals with the current role of software and generative strategies in art and design. Thomas Petersen asked about generative art, Marius' own art and Generator.x.

Here is the third chapter in Artificial's interview survey of the Nordic scene for digital arts. Nils Claesson handed the questions to co-swede Robert Brecevic.

At Ars Electronica 2005 in Linz, Thomas Petersen found 3 examples of hybrids between artworks and artistic instruments, which explore the relations between sound and vision in physical and virtual space. In this article he offers a few perspectives on what we can learn from these artistic interfaces.


The website Net Art Review is closing down, but a new site will be 'expanding on the philosophy that led to the creation of NAR'. It's called New Media Fix:

Eduardo Kac (known for his fluorescent bunny), among others, will give a seminar at U of Aarhus on Oct 6. The headline is 'Telepresence and Bio Art: Transgressing the Interface'. More here:

Vuk Cosic is on show at ICA in London. XL LM exhibits old works as well as his new File Extinguisher. On Sep 6 - Oct 6. More here:

Sonar just released the dates for Sonar 2006: June 15-17.

The Leonardo Abstract Service calls for thesis abstracts (PhDs, Masters and MFAs) in the intersection of art/science/technology. Deadline is Sep 30. Read more here:

This is our catalogue of computer based art we can recommend. You'll find net art, software art, classics, and a continuously updated list of new pieces. This week we have one recommendation:

PoemeDada creates poetry out of RSS feeds from news sources. The inspiration is taken from the 20's avantgarde and its automatic poetry, but instead of trying to make people write from their own free association, this piece uses feeds. You can either choose random and have the work generate poetry for you, or you can participate yourself by organizing the words chosen from the feeds. PoemeDada is created by Robin Stein. /KP


This interactive Flash animation features a scantily clad female falling through a universe of bubbles. The user can freely drag the character like a rag-doll. If you are thinking dirty thoughts then think again, because this one lands somewhere between funny, freaky and disquieting. Check it out.


Open Call for Proposals
Get your Software Art Piece Done for Free

Have you ever dreamt of having a piece of software art (1) you could call truly yours? Or had the feeling that most media art is dull, and that you could do it better? Or had a marvelous idea you could not realize for lack of time, commitment or expertise? Well, your chance has come.

No need to mess around with abstruse programs or bother with dreary code. The world is full of people willing to do the hard work for you. That's what outsourcing is about. Those are the rules of the global electronic market.

It doesn't cost much. Actually, just for this time it will cost you nothing.

Leonardo Solaas, an Argentinean programmer and net artist, suggests reversing the rules: only once it is not the programmer who is chosen by the employer but it is the employer who is chosen by the programmer. He is looking for someone to tell him what to do, thus himself outsourcing the task of getting an idea. Submit yours! Become his boss! Submit your ideas at till October 3rd, and you could be the lucky winner of a possibility to implement YOUR piece of software art. If Leonardo chooses your concept, he will become your outsourced Contractor for this work, and you will be his Employer.

You could learn about Leonardo's skills and interests (at to figure out whether your proposal would fit his experience.

All this is made possible by Readme 100 Temporary Software Art Factory (2) (a.k.a. the MetaEmployer). The resulting piece will be presented at a festival taking place on November 4-5, 2005, in the State and City Library of Dortmund, Germany.

1. For those who are not sure what software art is, please, learn more at



Arranged by The Aesthetics of Interface Culture.

KaserneScenen, Store Sal. Institute for Aesthetic Studies, University of Aarhus, Langelandsgade 139. 6 October 2005. Workshop 7 October, 2005 (See end of document for workshop requirements).


9.30-9.35: Welcome and introduction
9.35-11.00: Eduardo Kac, Chicago: "Telepresence and Bio Art: Networking Humans, Rabbits and Robots"

After an introduction contextualizing his pioneering telepresence work, in progress since the mid-1980s, Kac will give examples and further discuss his current transgenic work. Eduardo Kac's art deals with issues that range from the mythopoetics of online experience (Uirapuru) to the cultural impact of biotechnology (Genesis); from the changing condition of memory in the digital age (Time Capsule) to distributed collective agency (Teleporting an Unknown State); from the problematic notion of the "exotic" (Rara Avis) to the creation of life and evolution (GFP Bunny). Kac will conclude with a brief explanation of his most recent transgenic works -- "GFP Bunny", "The Eighth Day", and "Move 36". "GFP Bunny" is comprised of three elements: the birth of a rabbit that has a gene from a jellyfish (a gene that produces green fluorescent protein), the public dialogue that the project has generated, and the social integration of the rabbit in the context of the artist's family. "The Eighth Day" is a transgenic ecology that includes a biological robot, all linked interactively to the Internet. "Move 36" sheds light on the limits of the human mind and the increasing capabilities developed by computers and robots, and includes a new plant created by the artist. Following the lecture, the artist will autograph copies of his just released book, Telepresence and Bio Art -- Networking Humans, Rabbits and Robots, published by The University of Michigan Press.

11.00-11.30: Coffee break
11.30-12.30: Jacob Wamberg, University of Aarhus: "Guided Evolution: Between aesthetic and teleological judgement"

Moving into telepresence and the manipulation of biological material, art seems to fulfill its oldest desire: engulfing that reality which before it could only dream about. With telepresence the viewer is transformed to an actor breaking through the representational screen, and with bio art sculptures are becoming more alive than Pygmalion's mistress. What does this transgression of the medium mean for the concept of art? Especially the creation of organisms could reactuate Kant's dictum of disinterestedness, as nothing seems less apt for being instrumentalized than life itself. On the other hand, legitimizing the evolution of new organisms purely on aesthetic terms seems just as irresponsible. This paper will opt for a 'weak teleology'.

12.30-13.30: Lunch
13.30-14.30: Claus Emmeche, Niels Bohr Institute: "Attractive mysteries of the organism?"

What are the relations between true monsters and biological organisms? The question comes to mind when facing not only creatures created by biotech industries for the purpose of utility, but also seeing recent artistic uses of "real" organisms. Here, utility, aesthetics, and technoscience meet in a new form of monsters, raising questions of the ontology of other forms of hybrids than known from classical natural history. I will comment upon some of the open problems in the creation of artificial life and hybrids from the perspective of philosophy of biology and biosemiotics, the study of life processes as sign processes.

14.30-14.45: Coffee break
14.45-15.30: Discussion and concluding remarks

Kac' work sparks discussions on the relations between semiotics, art, technology and life, which will be the subject of the open seminar described above. In addition to the public seminar interested researchers, Ph.D. students and art professionals will have the possibility to participate in a more intimate closed workshop 7 October with a limited number of participants. To participate a short (1-2 pages) position paper in English is required, where you present yourself, your research and how it relates to (elements of) Kac' work – see Send paper to with the subject "Kac workshop" in MS Word format. Deadline: 19 september. Only a limited number of participants will be admitted, notification of acceptance necessary to enter.

The workshop will take place 7 October from 10-14 at Turing 130 in the IT-Park, Aabogade 34.


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