Immersion into Noise
works by Joseph Nechvatal
Opening: 24 April 2015, 8PM
Artist Talk & Noise Music Concert: 25 April, 2PM
Exhibition runs: 25 April 21 June 2015
Opening hours: Fri-Sun, 2-6PM and by appointment
J. Nechvatal, frOnt windOw retinal autOmata,
Computer-Robot produced 'panting', 2x2m
Nechvatal (born in 1951 in Chicago) is a post-conceptual artist
working in digital art. He is one of the most important pioneers
of 'new media art,' but at the same time makes use of 'old media'
(such as painting and drawing). What is phenomenal, and in our opinion
relevant to the 21st century, is that his paintings are created
through a use of custom artificial life software and computer robotics.
The exhibition, with the subtitle Immersion into Noise, presents
Nechvatal's recent work to a Berlin audience alongside his eponymous
book from 2011: Immersion into Noise. In that text, Nechvatal
provides visual analogies to audio noise within the powerful effects
of the act of immersion.
He does so by discussing visual and conceptual noise within the
history of art and architecture; from Lascaux cave through Baroque
art and Rococo architecture to modern and contemporary art. This
publication was also the basis for the exhibition Noise at the 55th
Venice Biennale (2013) which explored visual noise in contemporary
art through an aesthetic of excess and immersion.
In the bOdy pandemOnium exhibition, and in Nechvatal's work
in general, the term viractualism, meaning the interface
between the biological and the technological, plays an essential
role: "The basis of the viractual conception is that virtual
producing computer technology has become a noteworthy means for
making and understanding contemporary art. This brings art to a
place where one finds the merging of the computed (the virtual)
with the uncomputed corporeal (the actual)."
Parallel to his theoretical research, Nechvatal has created a series
of paintings and projections that show a C++ custom virus program
(created with the programmer Stephane Sikora) invading, destroying
and transforming his painterly art images based on intimate parts
of the human body. In the exhibition at Art Laboratory Berlin, two
large computer-robotic assisted paintings will be on display: frOnt
windOw retinal autOmata (2012) and rear windOw curiOsites
(2012), representing respectively the eye and rectum, the highest
and lowest orifices on the human body.
The initial images were taken from online medical images, and work
metaphorically on multiple levels: retinal vs cthonic, mind vs body,
public vs private (here with particular reference to the politics
of information). As the artist says of his work:"My digital
paintings conjure up an enigmatic world that signals the dynamic
critical intricacy of a contemporary practice engaged in the fragile
wedding of image production and image resistance. Through my use
of intimate human body parts under pressure from software, I hope
to bring a subversive reading to computational media by presenting
an artistic consciousness of the body that articulates concerns
regarding surveillance, encryption, safety, privacy, identity and
The images are adapted by the artist, and then given over to random
reworking by the C++ virus program. The result, also in the exhibition,
is one of Nechvatal's famous viral computer software 'de-generative'
works: Viral Venture (2009), which is accompanied by a musical
score for two hundred electric guitars by the composer Rhys Chatham.
The paintings are created from stills taken from a screen capture
of the 'de-generative' work.
Saturday 25 April, at 2PM an artist talk along with a noise music
concert of the artist's piece 3 pOstmOrtems takes place within
Since 1986 Joseph Nechvatal has worked with ubiquitous electronic
visual information, computers and computer-robotics. His computer-robotic
assisted paintings and computer software animations are shown regularly
in galleries and museums throughout the world. From 1991-1993 he
worked as artist-in-resident at the Louis Pasteur Atelier and the
Saline Royale / Ledoux Foundation's computer lab in Arbois, France
on The Computer Virus Project: an experiment with computer
viruses as a creative stratagem. In 2002 he extended that artistic
research into the field of viral artificial life through his collaboration
with the programmer Stephane Sikora.
Dr. Nechvatal earned his Ph.D. in the philosophy of art and new
technology at The Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive
Arts (CAiiA) University of Wales College, Newport, UK. From 1999
to 2013, Nechvatal taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York
City (SVA). His archive is housed at The Fales Library (Downtown
Special Collection) at N.Y.U. in New York City.
book of essays Towards an Immersive Intelligence: Essays on the
Work of Art in the Age of Computer Technology and Virtual Reality
(1993-2006) was published by Edgewise Press in 2009. In 2011 his
book Immersion Into Noise was published by the University of Michigan
Library's Scholarly Publishing Office in conjunction with the Open
Humanities Press. His Punctum Press book/cd project (ed.) Minóy
was published in 2014.
Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz
This exhibition is made possible in part by a generous gift from
the creators project (vice.com),. June, 2015 by DJ Pangburn
Artist "Paints" with Artificial Life and Computer Viruses
28 April, 2015 by Dr. Barbara Borek
Körper-Räume - Joseph Nechvatal bei Art Laboratory Berlin
Nechvatal (l) J.
Nechvatal, frOnt windOw retinal autOmata, 2012, Computer-Robot
produced 'painting', 2x2m
rear windOw curiOsite´s,
Projection, screen capture
Projection, screen capture
talk, 24 April, 2015
of 3 pOstmOrtems,
24 April, 2015