[spectre] Naming Things

grey) (area . siva) (zona info at sivazona.hr
Sat Aug 8 21:54:33 CEST 2015


** Naming Things
localStyle (Marlena Novak and Jay Alan Yim)

13 - 26 . 08 . 2015
curator: Darko Fritz

16 . 08 . 21 h . artist talk

The collaborative localStyle was founded in Amsterdam in 2000 by Marlena Novak and Jay Alan Yim. Using high and low tech means, their intermedia practice includes video, sound installation, interactive installations, live performance with electronics, and audience participation. Their projects explore how territories and boundaries—whether physical or intangible—are constructed, interpreted, and negotiated, via themes as varied as issues of trespass, the mating behavior of hermaphroditic marine flatworms, the sonification of electric fish from the Amazon, and experimental Eurasian blackbird grammar.  Their new work, Naming Things, premiering at siva)(zona, takes its inspiration from a Foucauldian discourse on a passage from Jorge Luis Borges’ text “The Analytical Language of John Wilkins”. Addressing semantics and general systems of thought, this audiovisual installation’s sometimes playful appearance aims to destabilize our misplaced assumption of underlying logic in how we
taxonomize the world around us.

In their artist talk, localStyle will present several works that address looking towards an/other…  Working with an/other creature’s perceptual system—as in their interactive project scale (with live Ghost Knife fish)—or engaging an/other point of view (as in their Chicago Cultural Center installation, Cite Unscene)—localStyle will show and discuss excerpts of these and other projects as well as the new work on exhibition, Naming Things, which explores how juxtapositions of ‘an/other’ within a common framework begin to establish meaning and credibility.

Borges cites “…a certain Chinese dictionary entitled The Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge” where “… animals can be divided into (a) those belonging to the Emperor, (b) those that are embalmed, (c) those that are tame, (d) pigs, (e) sirens, (f) imaginary animals, (g) wild dogs, (h) those included in this classification, (i) those that are crazy-acting (j), those that are uncountable, (k) those painted with the finest brush made of camel hair, (l) miscellaneous, (m) those which have just broken a vase, and (n) those which, from a distance, look like flies
This 'dictionary' is referenced in Foucault's 1966 book, The Order of Things, where Foucault addresses the formation of knowledge within the sciences.

Foucault writes “This book first arose out of a passage in Borges, out of the laughter that shattered, …all the familiar landmarks of my thought …the thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography—breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinction between the Same and the Other.”
“In the wonderment of this taxonomy, the thing we apprehend in one great leap, … demonstrated as the exotic charm of another system of thought, is the limitation of our own, the stark impossibility of thinking that.”

As one of the Borgesian tactics that our project, Naming Things, will emulate, existing fauna will be combined with imaginary organisms into a fictitious taxonomy whose credibility will invite speculation and ultimately reflection on how our systems of knowledge are promulgated and reinforced. Camera tracking software was used to duplicate video camera movement in a 3d modeling program; imaginary digital creatures are recombined into the existing video media, which are comprised of multiple ‘classes’ of animals, or live in their own virtual environment. Two other categories of footage are deployed: that of living animals in natural environments, and interaction with animals in the form of toys or material objects.Audio is developed via voice and field recordings and composed electronic music. This audio-visual project is a continuation of our ongoing exploration of perception and behavior: gathering and processing of information, and the construction, interpretation and
negotiation of thresholds and boundaries via themes as varied as the mating behavior of hermaphroditic marine flatworms, the song of the European blackbird, and the sonification of electric fish from the Amazon.

localStyle projects have been presented in festivals, museums, galleries, and alternative venues in more than three dozen cities worldwide (a.o. Amsterdam, Amersfoort, Barcelona, Beijing, Belgrade, Berlin, Boston, Brussels, Budapest, Camden, Chicago, Cologne, Duluth, Eindhoven, Den Haag, Huddersfield, Jerusalem, Linz, London, Mexico City, New York, the Orkney Islands, Richmond, Santa Barbara, Santa Fe, São Paolo, Sarasota, Shanghai, Sittard, Sydney, Szczecin, Tel Aviv, Torino, Toronto, Valencia, and Warsaw). Festival presentations have included the National Art Museum of China’s (NAMOC) TransLife Triennial, STRP Festival, Visioni dal Futuro, Taipei Digital Art Festival.

Marlena Novak is a member of the faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in the Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation. Prior to that, she served as Associate Director of Northwestern’s Animate Arts Program, and has been a faculty member at the University of Illinois Chicago and visiting professor at the University of New Mexico. She has received grants from the Arts Council of Great Britain, Illinois Arts Council, Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts, and the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Her work is included in public (a.o. the Corcoran in Washington, DC and the Mondriaanhuis in Amersfoort, NL) and private collections in Europe and the USA, and has been presented in solo and group exhibitions in more than three dozen cities worldwide.

Jay Alan Yim studied computer music at Stanford and MIT and music composition at the University of California Santa Barbara, the Royal College of Music, and Harvard. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Arts Council (three times), Tanglewood, Aspen, and many other awards. His music has been featured at international contemporary music festivals and has been performed by artists such as the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon, Nederlands Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Residentie Orkest Den Haag, Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble SurPlus, Arditti, JACK, and Spektral Quartets, Nieuw Ensemble, ICE, dal niente, Gareth Davis, and Frances-Marie Uitti.
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