Digital Care presents collaborative care for digital artworks through an open process. From March until October 2023, iconic works, including the_living, 1997-1998, by Debra Solomon, Ideofoon I, 1970-2013, by Dick Raaijmakers and Institute of Artificial Art Amsterdam, 1990-present, by Remko Scha, will be researched and shown in public programmes across the country. Talks with artists, scholars, producers, technicians and the public will explore what it means to present these works today - and preserve them for a future generation.
©Debra Solomon, the_living, 1997-1998. Video still from Project the-living's Wardrobe of Live Moments (1997-2000).
The programme poses questions about how to present digital works of art now and in the future, what role documentation and the archive play in this, whether and when new hardware and software can be used or whether the old, original equipment is needed to fully realise the work, does it do the work justice, or whether in some cases, does emulation provide the most suitable presentation of the work?
Collaboration with cultural institutions where the works were once made or which have a relationship with one of the works is key to this project. They will each 'adopt' key works that connect with their program and reflect on them: this increases visibility and support and makes the work part of a broader discussion in the run-up to the exhibition.
The Digital Care project includes the following works and activities. Please note that the programme is not fully announced yet. We will reveal more details of the programme soon.
Moiré by Jeep & Livinus van de Bundt & Violin Power by Steina 10 - 14 May, 2023
Moiré by Livinus and Jeep van de Bundt is an early example of generative video art from the 1970s. Electronic music composed by Livinus's son Jeep serves as a backdrop to his generated colourful, abstract video paintings. In rhythm with the beat of the music, waves of multiplying, altering, and casually related graphic elements appear. On a background of green, there are blue blocks with red borders.
Livinus created an image synthesiser and an image generator early in his career. However, the method through which Livinus created Moiré and some of his other works is still a little obscure. The ‘Lumodinamiese Masjiene’ (lumodynamic machine), a device that Livinus and Jeep jointly created, was made up of lenses, lighting, and electronics operated by a keyboard. The precise design of the device, as well as any additional devices Livinus created, either with or without his son Jeep, were kept a secret.
Livinus van de Bundt, also known as Livinus, is a prominent figure in the history of media art in the Netherlands, best known for his experiments and videoworks. He started and worked with abstract photography and slide projections, and researched techniques that allowed him to shape light in different ways before creating his so-called ‘video peintures’ and ‘fotografiek’. Livinus began working with video in the 1970s, inspired by Nam June Paik. His son Jeep, a musician, enriched his experiments by adding sound to the visual works. The artistic collaboration between father and son was broadened.
Cooperative experimentation developed the first generation of Dutch video artists. Livinus introduced a new dimension to the aesthetics of the static image in the visual arts, determined by electronics, which was followed by other video artists who interacted with the tool. In addition to his artistic work, Livinus established the Free Academy of Visual Art in The Hague, where he served as artistic director until 1964. The work of Livinus directly inspired René Coelho, founder/professor of the Media Art department at AKI Art Academy, to start MonteVideo in 1978 in Amsterdam, which then evolved into LI-MA 10 years ago.
The evolution of generative art leads to pioneers in this field, such as Livinus and Jeep van de Bundt. Moiré analysis goes beyond its aesthetic and considers the presentation of a classic video abstraction that was shown in a variety of formats, including TV and projections. This raises the questions about contextualising early video pieces as well as the various modes of their exposition. Digital Care Programme involves a debate on Moiré presentation and an examination of the tools and techniques used by Livinus, which still remain enigmatic.
From 10 to 14 May, the Digital Care program will present two artistic experiences and approaches to electronic innovation at TETEM: Moiré by Livinus van de Bundt and Jeep van de Bundt (1975) and Violin Power by Steina (1969 - 1978). These media artists have invented alternate branches in the evolution of technology by making and using their own tools, exploring, imagining, and creating their artworks.
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Livinus van de Bundt, Moiré, 1975
Ideophone I by Dick Raaijmakers
Ideophone I was first presented by Dick Raaijmakers in 1967 at the opening of the Steim Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music in Amsterdam. Raaijmakers' primary concept is that of a loudspeaker that functions as an active ‘speaker’, and produces its own sound. The artist realised the idea by connecting the output to the input of the loudspeaker in the rotating sculpture. As a result, the loudspeaker can now produce sound using its own signal without requiring an external input.
Ideophone I is the first of a series of three sound installations. It consisted of 36 loudspeakers in total, and each one had a steel ball and a glass tube. The pattern-organised loudspeakers were housed in a chrome casing that swayed back and forth. Ideophone I serves as a visual and instructive representation of both the mechanics of work behaviour and the information with input-output sound that is visible with the steel ball. By saying ‘You see what you hear’, Raaijmakers was emphasising in this artwork’s importance of both acoustic and visual form of Ideophone.
Raaijmakers' compositions, and performances have served as a source of inspiration for numerous artists since the late 1950s. Dick Raaijmakers, commonly known as Kid Baltan, was a Dutch thinker, composer, and theatre creator. Although he is regarded as a pioneer in the fields of electronic music and tape music, he has also produced a significant amount of sound installations, experimental musical theatre productions, radio pieces, and theoretical writings like 'Machine Reading' that have influenced other writers.
Ideophone I was one of Raaijaker’s early works; the first version was made in 1969-70 and was updated several times afterwards. The modified version of Ideophone was shown in 2011 at the Wittteveen+Bos Art+Technology Prize. The jury agreed that the winning artwork has more than just artistic values of experiment with sound and space. In the late 1960s, Ideophone addressed problems about how people act in a technologically advanced environment, and the question of what happens when technology takes over the room is still relevant today.
The sustaining of the people's engagement with technology as represented in the sound installation Ideophone is significant. To sustain the artwork, the restoration is presently ongoing research and treatment as part of the Digital Care Program. Ideophone I was reconstructed in 2011 to commemorate the Witteveen+Bos Art+Technology Award with the The Netherlands Media Art Institute (NIMk) co-commission. In order to guarantee the successful operation of the work (for REBOOT exhibition and later presentations), Bram Vreven will sustain the alignment of the working parts and their operation to minimise the sparks and damage to the glass tubes and loudspeakers.
On Thursday, 1 June, Digital Care: Dick Raaijmakers is dedicated to Ideophone I by Dick Raaijmakers.
Its reconstruction as well as accompanying artistic approaches will be highlighted at DCR in The Hague.
Doors 19.30 // Start of event 20.00
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Dick Raaijmakers, Ideophone I. Photo by Bram Vreven, Ideophone renovation project
IAAA, Remko Scha
The Institute of Artificial Art Amsterdam (IAAA) established in the 1990s by Remko Scha is a project of a fictional organisation where machines, computers, algorithms, and humans work together toward the complete automation of art production. IAAA is led by the imaginary figure of Huge Harry, a speech robot also created by Remko Scha. The Institute was engaged in various areas such as visual art, design, architecture, music, performance, and art history.
Remko Scha argued in favour of computer-generated chance art in his text ‘Artificial Art’ from 1991. He claimed that human-made art was predictable, conventional, and that its level of creativity was overestimated. Scha looked into the potential for algorithmic, computer-generated art through the Institute of Artificial Art, which he believed would produce much more unexpected results. He published a number of texts on artificial art and the case for automating the creative process, which sparked the formation of the Institute of Artificial Art Amsterdam.
Remko Scha studied physics at the Technical University of Eindhoven, and was appointed a professor of computer linguistics at the University of Amsterdam. Along with his scientific work, he developed a number of artistic projects with an interest in automating creative processes. In Eindhoven, he established Het Apollohuis in 1980 as a venue for experimental music, visual art, and their fusion, sound art.
Remko Scha's vision of the Institute of Artificial Art is to realise complete automation of art production, which is an ongoing concern, because of readily available generative tools. The artworks produced by the IAAA have the potential to be analysed and situated within a larger context, thus serving as a foundation for generating new works. Through the Digital Care Programme, one of the IAAA’ works 'Artificial' is chosen and subjected to a process of re-coding and reflection. This live output graphic generator provides a platform for experimenting with aesthetic frameworks from a contemporary viewpoint.
On Monday, 17 June, LI-MA presents Digital Care: Remko Scha in collaboration with Creative Coding Utrecht and VOGELFREI to present the the re-coded works of Remko Scha’s Artificial .
Doors 19.30 // Start of event 20.00
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Remko Scha, Artificial
Nieuwe Instituut and LI-MA present the exhibition REBOOT: Pioneering Digital Art. Featuring key works from the Netherlands from 1960 to 2000, plus new work by contemporary makers, REBOOT reveals the influence of digital technology on art and society. The Digital Care trajectory functions as a strong basis for the run-up of this public exhibition which runs from 7 October 2023 to 1 April 2024 at Nieuwe Instituut.
Digital Care and REBOOT are supported by Creative Industries Fund NL, Mondriaan Fund, and Network Archives Design and Digital Culture.