Information and Art

Join us for screenings, discussion, new books and art to close the exhibition ‘All watched over by machines of loving grace’ co-curated by Sarah Cook and Clare Brennan. 

The exhibition considers how machines see and understand the world around us, as visual image or as data, and how that is then translated back to our own experience. Since the 1960s artists have been concerned with new information technologies that structure our experience of the  world. This event sheds some light on that recent history and current practice.

The evening will be in three acts and will be washed down with drinks and delectables.

Act 1: 

This open discussion brings together: 

Dr. Sarah Cook (DJCAD, University of Dundee, and editor of INFORMATION - Documents of Contemporary Art)

Dr. Ashley Woodward (Philosophy, University of Dundee and author of Lyotard and the Inhuman Condition: Reflections on Nihilism, Information, and Art)

Dr. Dominic Smith (Philosophy, University of Dundee, researching how internet technologies shape us) 

Artist Tom Sherman (joining us online from University of Syracuse in New York) 

The discussion will address information overload, human versus machine information processing and systems - what is often described as cybernetics – and the role of art in helping us understand the information society. The discussion and book launch will also pay tribute to the late Dr. Armin Medosch and discuss his work, New Tendencies: Art at the Threshold of the Information Revolution, 1961 - 1978). 

Act 2: 

Screening alongside the discussion is work by Canadian visual artist Willy Le Maitre questioning how we might understand our world if we looked at it the way a machine might. Outlook Expressed (2011) is a short stereo 3D video about looking as a primal form of transformation. 

Act 3: 

Grab your drink and head into the cinema for a screening of Adam Curtis’ documentary ‘All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace (Part 2: The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts), that partly inspired the exhibition and shares its title. This fascinating documentary investigates how machines and machine ideas have ‘distorted and simplified our view of the world around us.’

This event offers a chance to see works of art by Tom Sherman, Ruth Kerr, Miyu Hayashi, Steina Vasulka and Willy Le Maitre, and to purchase copies of two new books about the history of information-based art both published by MIT Press:

INFORMATION - Documents of Contemporary Art, edited by Sarah Cook  https://shop.whitechapelgallery.org/collections/documents-of-contemporary-art/products/information

New Tendencies: Art at the Threshold of the Information Revolution, 1961-1978, by Armin Medosch https://mitpress.mit.edu/new-tendencies 

 


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