Aaron Higgins: The landscape has it all

Pau Waelder

Artist and researcher Aaron M. Higgins holds BFA and MFA degrees from The Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Art at Indiana University. Higgins delves into time-based media as an artistic medium, employing lens-oriented capture methods, digital layering processes, and interactivity. His artwork has been showcased both within the U.S., including cities like Chicago, Cincinnati, and New York, and abroad, with features in Korea, Sweden, and the Netherlands among others.

Higgins recently presented the solo artcast Memory Palaces on Niio, featuring a series of artworks in which the artist draws inspiration from microscopic images of the human brain, as well as those taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, to create alluring, surreal landscapes. In the following conversation, he reflects on the relationship between his digital media work and his background in painting, as well as his connection to landscape and nature.

Bring Aaron Higgins’ mnemonic landscapes to your screen

Aaron Higgins. Memoria, 2017

You have a background in painting prior to your digital media practice. How did you move from one medium to the other, and how does your knowledge about painting inform your digital work, which is at times deliberately painterly?

My undergraduate studies were in Painting, and my graduate studies focused on Digital Media. I found working with Digital Media somewhat intuitive and picked things up relatively quickly. I think my strengths lie in how I compose and composite imagery in my work. A lot of this is similar to how I think about composing a 2D rectangle, but with time-based media I am also considering how the composition moves and changes over its timeline. As with a drawing or painting, I consider how the eye might move around the image, or how space is constructed within the composition of the image. I also want something for the eye to sense, or feel, as it relates to the surface, so I think a lot about visual texture, and compositing methods that yield a ‘painterly’ quality. I guess in some ways I am trying to work against the sanitization of the screen-based image. In the same vein, I am also subverting the ‘digital’, or ‘machine’, and attempting to reimplement ‘the hand’.

“In some ways I am trying to work against the sanitization of the screen-based image and attempting to reimplement ‘the hand’.”

There is an interest in landscape in your work, from the documentary-style images of Tallgrass to the surreal environments of Mnemonic Passages. What do you find in landscapes that is interesting for your work?

The landscape has it all. I try to maintain a connection to the landscape, in my life and in my work, although it’s not necessarily front of mind. Most of my earlier work, painting, focused on painting in the landscape, as well as still-life, which I also think of as landscape. I’ve always been fascinated by nature, after all, we emerged from mother nature. To me, there is something spiritual in connecting with and observing nature, of being immersed in the landscape. The landscape can be so many things, a prairie, a memory, a body, a mind, etc. In my early interactive works, the Splitting Time series, I suppose that I am thinking of time, and the image itself (what the camera sees), as a landscape and reorganizing its pieces into abstract compositions. In a sense, everything is a landscape of sorts. 

Aaron Higgins. tmsplttr. Interactive video animation. Video still.

Since the landscape is a cultural construct, as Alain Roger has suggested, which roles do fiction and narrative play in your landscapes?

That’s an interesting question. As I mentioned in my previous answer, the landscape holds endless metaphoric possibilities. The landscape often serves as a placeholder for something else. In many ways we project our own values, ideals, and biases on the landscape before us. Artists do the same in their work, and the viewer does the same in experiencing the work. I try to leave room for this to occur. In the Tallgrass series, for example, the work is representative of my experience in the tallgrass prairie landscape. I want to share that dynamic, interactive experience with the viewer. In doing so, however, I am weaving a lot of fiction. The imagery is highly composited, creating something other than reality. Maybe a collage of reality… creating an ideal, but there is also a more universal narrative that is superimposed on the work transcending any information gathering, documentation, or individual experience.

“The landscape often serves as a placeholder for something else. In many ways we project our own values, ideals, and biases on the landscape before us.”

Tallgrass: An Osage Reverie: interactive HD video animation series (installation view)

In the Mnemonic Passages series, the imagery is completely invented, but I use actual video in my compositing process. In this series, particularly, I am using webcam footage of myself (working on things in front of my computer) as textures that wrap the 3D forms (memoryforms). This adds the hint of subjective imagery inside, or across the surface of these forms. It also helps to create a sense that these forms are flickering with information. In this way, as with other works of mine, there is an element of self-portraiture to my work as well as landscape.

Regardless, the process usually involves taking photo imagery and creating something ‘new’ with it. 

Aaron Higgins. MemoryForm (1), 2017

In the Mnemonic Passages series, you depict memory palaces as organic, and somewhat otherworldly spaces instead of the rational, neo classical buildings we are used to imagine. What drove you to choose this type of image? 

With the Mnemonic Passages series, I suppose I am really thinking of the memory palace as the mind. I was thinking of the biology of the brain, the intricate architecture of neurons and synapses, etc. But, also as a place, a landscape, where memories are stored. These memories take form and shape within our minds, building the landscape of our experience. Of course, as I say in my statement, I am inspired by imagery from the scientific research and study of the brain, but also imagery from the research and study of our cosmos. The cosmos might be a ‘superlandscape’, if you will, that I see as a metaphor for our mind, or accumulated experience and knowledge. As our experience and knowledge grows, so does our picture and understanding of our cosmos. 

“The cosmos might be a ‘superlandscape’ that I see as a metaphor for our mind, or accumulated experience and knowledge.”

 Aaron M. Higgins. Moonrise with Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, HD 1080p interactive video animation (video still)

Where does your interest in memory stem from?

I guess my interest in memory stems from ideas related to your previous question. Our memory and experience, our culture (a form of generational memory) forms our identity. Like culture, a memory is a living thing that can change, bits are added, bits are taken out, we fill in missing bits to keep the landscape (trying to be consistent with my metaphors, here) cohesive and making sense. Neuroscience is also very relevant these days with new groundbreaking discoveries in how our minds work seemingly happening all the time. The same could be said about the cosmos and what we are learning from the James Webb Space Telescope. We are literally looking back in time at the earliest galaxies that formed in our universe, amazing stuff. 

Aaron Higgins. MemoryForm (2), 2017

You speak of creating meditative experiences through works that you patiently build layer by layer. How important is that meditative aspect in the making of the artwork, as your own experience, and then in the final result, as the experience of the viewer?

I really believe the work and craft that goes into something adds to what is communicated to the viewer and their experience. Craftsmanship is an important part of the process, always. One of things I love about painting is how meditative the act of painting is. There’s a lot that I find similar in my creative process with Digital Media. For one thing, the work evolves over time, and you have to be open to those changes. An idea I start out with is not always the same as what I end up with. I, too, evolve and change throughout the process and find that my interests lead me in new directions. The work sometimes has a will of its own, too, it seems, whether it be the nature of the tools, or limitations of the software or hardware (or myself), it always seems to be a negotiated process. Beyond that, choices are made as things progress that depend on what has happened up until that point, until the work is resolved. I try not to labor too much on these choices and let the work tell me what to do, if that makes any sense, and being in an open, meditative state tends to help with this process. It can be a challenge, though, when your computer crashes, or render times get unbearably slow. 

Aaron M. Higgins. astrocyte, HD 1080p (32:9) video animation, 2:00 loop (installation view).

As far as the viewer experience, I guess I am sort of imposing my preferences and communicating what I want my work to be in how I present it. However, I do want the work to be disarming, calming, and perhaps to create a sense of wonder and awe. When I think of my time-based work, I often think of paintings, as we discussed. I think of viewing a painting as something that happens over time. The painting is always on, always there to be received. As it is experienced and one is immersed, the more that is discovered, it changes. The context within which a work is experienced also has an effect on the experience. Is it on a screen, a phone or a television, is it projected? In what space is it, a private or public space? I try to apply these ideas to the presentation and structure of my time-based work. All of my work seamlessly loops and is always on, there is no beginning or end. It is there to be experienced at viewer discretion, for 30 seconds, 10 minutes, or an hour, or more. It’s there when you want it, for as long as you want it. In that sense, I do not want the work to be annoying or overbearing. I want it to be tolerable, I guess, not seizure inducing. 

“I want to give viewers the space to experience the work on their own terms, as well as allow space for the viewer to discover new connections with the work the more they experience or interact with it.”

Yet, I also don’t want the viewer to ignore the work, I want them to be engaged. I don’t want to impose too many parameters on the viewer or make it a chore to experience the work. In this sense, I think a lot about control, and the relationship between artist and viewer, viewer and art, etc. 

Control then becomes a subject I explore as it relates to life, my experience, the creative process, etc. I try not to exert too much control, especially on things that are out of my control. I know I’m getting in the weeds here… But, I guess, this goes back to the landscape, haha… and the process having its own sort of evolution that involves the artist and the media and letting that process occur without too much interference. I want to afford the viewer the same opportunity in how they experience the work. 

To quote Caroline Lavoie, from an article titled, ‘Sketching the Landscape: Exploring a Sense of Place’, “An object or person does not exist in isolation, but through relationships with its context. These relationships support a necessary state of being…”. 

Tough question.

Aaron Higgins. Mnemonic Passage, 2017

You have expressed your interest in incorporating the viewer into your work, through interactive installations. How would you compare your interactive work with your films and animations in terms of their concept, production process, expectations, and outcome?

So, I think, picking up where we left off in the last question… I am interested in introducing more randomness and perhaps an element of surprise to my work and how others experience it. Something that is always on, and loops endlessly, runs the risk of becoming monotonous. Adding some randomness and unpredictability can thwart the monotony, and keep viewers engaged. This also speaks to the landscape, self-portrait concepts, as well as the viewer/art/artist relationship, and how things change over time. 

In the ‘Tallgrass’ series, for example, the viewer would trigger events in the landscape: lightning striking, the sun setting, moon rising, bird calls, different poses and movements, etc. For each scene, a clip from a library of audio clips with variations of bird calls could randomly be paired with a video sequence of a bird singing. Motion sensing cameras trigger events as viewers move through the space. This adds slight variation and randomness in experiencing the work, so that experiencing the work again would almost certainly be different in variation and sequence of events. To me, this more closely resembles my experience in the tallgrass prairie, where things are the same, but different each time I visit. 

“Adding some randomness and unpredictability can thwart the monotony, and keep viewers engaged.”

My life experience, my interrupted or failed plans, my unexpected successes and victories, all the predictable and unpredictable events… This sort of ‘passive interaction’, allowed in ideas of control vs chaos which made the work feel more alive and real to me. Back to the prairie, when I would hike in the prairie and see an animal, they didn’t act as though I wasn’t there, they responded to my presence. 

In turn, this extends to the viewer, who in some cases was literally incorporated into the work, i.e. Karmic_Lapse, and altered the work by viewing it. As it relates to the artist/viewer relationship, the work is completed upon experiencing. That is to say, work is meant to be shared with and received by a viewer, an audience. That is when a work comes alive, not in my mind, but the mind of the viewer. We can relate this back to the Lavoie quote, “an object (or person) does not exist in isolation, but through relationships with its context.”

Aaron Higgins, Karmic Lapse. Interactive video animation. Installation view.

In relation to your code-based work, you speak of a “collaboration” with the software. How do you balance control and randomness in these projects, and what would you say that you have learned from the machine?

I enjoy how these questions are threaded together, these are really good questions. First, I am not much of a coder, but I use After Effects java-based expressions, visual coding languages- connecting inputs to outputs, I used to use actionscript, that sort of thing. To answer your question, though, the machine, its operating system runs on code, the software runs on code, I implement code, etc. It’s all doing things for me, in a sense. I mean, I tell it what to do, but I don’t completely understand how it’s doing it. So, in that way it is a collaboration, I guess. But, as far as balancing control and randomness, there are serendipitous things that occur throughout the creative process. I try to let these things occur, even push the process, the machine, to catalyze their occurrence. These are moments where something unexpected, something random occurs that adds to the piece. There’s a lot of experimentation involved, trial and error, but it’s a sort of dance seeing where things go and knowing when you’ve gone too far. This applies to painting, as well, there are some tools, like the palette knife, that can offer great control, but also, if used in a certain way, can create randomness in the application of paint to the surface. It further removes ‘the hand’, so to speak. 

“I guess my background in more traditional media is keeping me grounded, and I am not quite ready to let the machine take over.”

Aaron M. Higgins. astrocyte, HD 1080p (32:9) video animation, 2:00 loop (video still)

I’m not sure what I’ve learned from the machine. It’s constantly changing. It’s a great tool and allows for infinite possibilities. But it can get old, too… Sometimes I feel that things have been homogenized to a degree, and things all start looking the same. I see a lot of that in AI art, especially. I guess my background in more traditional media is keeping me grounded, somewhat, and I am not quite ready to let the machine take over.

Kinetismus: art that moves at Kunsthalle Praha

Pau Waelder

Kinetismus. View of the exhibition space. Photo: Vojtěch Veškrna, Kunsthalle Praha

Kunsthalle Praha is a new contemporary art space that opened its doors in February at the former Zenger Electrical Substation in the heart of Prague. Founded by the Pudil Family Foundation, it aims to connect the Czech and international art scenes through a varied program of exhibitions and events that take place both in their physical location and on their website, in the form of a “Digital Kunsthalle” that collects video documentation, articles, and digital guides to the exhibitions. The use of the term Kunsthalle identifies this institution with the focus on temporary exhibitions as opposed to hosting a permanent collection, which is nevertheless built through a program of acquisitions and will be presented to the public regularly in thematic exhibitions and in a digital catalogue.

Given Kunsthalle Praha’s foundational aims and the history of its building, it is only fitting that the inaugural exhibition is dedicated to the role that electricity has played in the development of art over the last century and up to the present. Kinetismus: 100 Years of Electricity in Art is an ambitious group show spanning a century of artistic creation through a selection of nearly a hundred artworks that connects the avant-gardes of the 1920s with the pioneers of kinetic and cybernetic art, and today’s digital art. Curated by Peter Weibel, revered theoretician, artist and director of the ZKM in Karlsruhe, alongside Christelle Havranek, chief curator at Kunsthalle Praha, and scientific associate Lívia Nolasco-Rózsás, the exhibition’s curatorial concept is centered around establishing the legacy and relevance of electronic and digital art in contemporary society (an approach for which both Weibel and the ZKM are widely known) as well as cementing its position in the history of modern and contemporary art. In the text he wrote for the exhibition’s catalog, Peter Weibel denounces the lack of attention that digital art has received from the contemporary art world and its institutions:

“Most museums still refuse to include light art, sound art, interactive art, and cinematographic, cybernetic, or computer art as part of their collections or permanent exhibitions. It could be called a betrayal of the masses since such museums are not truly exhibiting the art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries but rather only paintings and sculptures from these centuries.”

Weibel, 2022, p.36

These strong words express the frustration of more than one generation of artists, scholars, curators, gallerists, collectors, and also art lovers who have seen over and over again how artistic practices linked to scientific disciplines and technological innovations have been sidetracked or utterly ignored in the mainstream contemporary art world, in which even photography and video have struggled to gain recognition as art. While this situation is clearly changing in recent years, there is still work to be done, not only to integrate digital art in the contemporary art scene, but also to understand its nature and history.

Kinetismus both adheres to the sober presentation of historical artifacts that is required of a museum, and the playful experience of visitors in front of a series of artworks based on ongoing processes. 

The NFT boom brought a renewed attention to digital art and consequently its history, although the crazed search for “OGs” has finally lead to the artworks of pioneers being used to attract newcomer collectors and boost sales at auction. It is therefore more necessary than ever to present the history of digital art to the public in all its manifestations and its complex ramifications, not only to bring attention to the names of those trailblazing artists who had been partly or almost totally forgotten, but also to better understand how the artistic practices linked to electronic and digital media came to be. Kinetismus aptly carries out this task in a way that both adheres to the sober presentation of historical artifacts and the information around them that is required of a museum, and the playful experience of visitors in front of a series of artworks based on ongoing processes rather than static objects. 

Woody Vasulka, Light Revisited, 1974-2001. Photo: Lukáš Masner, Kunsthalle Praha

The Four C’s: putting digital back into art

Peter Weibel points out that a singular trait of the exhibition is its aim to highlight the existence, for the past one hundred years, of an art based on electricity (“plugged-in art”) that he describes as “the predominant singular achievement of the twentieth century” (Weibel, 2022, p.36). Interestingly, this all-encompassing denomination overrides the myriad terms used to describe artistic practices based on emerging technologies since the work of the pioneering creators of algorithmic plotter drawings was described as computer art. It also connects these practices with the history of modern art, going back to avant-garde experiments with light, movement, and cinema. In this sense, the curatorial approach finds yet another form of integrating digital art into a long tradition of artistic practices that are already part of the established canon of modern and contemporary art history. 

Since the earliest experiments integrating emerging technologies into artistic projects, artists, theoreticians, and curators have sought to highlight the distinctive features of these art forms while making it clear that they belong to the fine arts, namely by establishing links and comparisons to painting and sculpture. From the seminal texts of artists such as Lászlo Moholy-Nagy in the 1920s, to the essays by theoreticians and curators such as Jack Burnham, Jasia Reichardt, Frank Popper and Herbert W. Franke in the 1960s and 1970s, to name a few, connections have been constantly drawn between art, science, and technology, seeking to expand the notion of what art is and how it relates to a society that is increasingly dependent on the technology it has created and shaped. 

Weibel stresses that the structure of the exhibition according to the “Four Cs” (cinematography, cinétisme, cybernetics, computer art) is what makes this exhibition different than other historical reviews of electronic and digital art

The field of what has been variously termed computer art, cyberart, electronic art, new media art, or digital art has evolved over the last sixty years into an art world of its own, but it has always been conceived by its proponents as part of the wider field of contemporary art. During the last decade, an increasing number of books and art exhibitions in museums and art spaces have underscored the connections between digital art and the history of art in the twentieth century. These approaches have been based on a concept or feature that can be traced in both digital and analogue artworks, such as the use of light, movement, instructions, or the participation of the audience.

For instance, in 2009, art historian Edward Shanken proposed in his book Art and Electronic Media (Shanken, 2009) a history of digital art based on a series of “thematic streams” such as “Motion, Duration, Illumination” or “Charged Environments,” that allowed him to connect the work of avant-garde pioneers such as Moholy-Nagy with that of established artists in the digital and contemporary art worlds such as Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Olafur Eliasson. Similarly, in 2018, curator Christiane Paul presented alongside Carol Mancusi-Ungaro and Clémence White the group exhibition Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art, 1965-2018 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, which drew on the concepts enumerated in the title to bring together works of video art, generative art, and conceptual art spanning more than fifty years. 

teamLab, United, Fragmented, Repeated, and Impermanent World, 2013. Photo: Lukáš Masner, Kunsthalle Praha

Kinetismus similarly establishes thematic connections between kinetic art, cybernetic art, experimental cinema, and digital art (here presented under the term “computer art”), as well as dialogues among the artworks exhibited at the Kunsthalle Praha. Weibel stresses that the structure of the exhibition according to the “Four Cs” (cinematography, cinétisme, cybernetics, computer art) is what makes this exhibition different than other historical reviews of electronic and digital art, as it allows for a rich spectrum of associations, correspondences and interplays between artistic practices that have often been considered as separate approaches to artistic creation.

Certainly, the dependence on electricity to power light sources and motorized elements in kinetic artworks, cameras and projectors in experimental films, and computers in all sorts of digital art is a common factor to all of these art forms. This leads to two main elements that depend on electricity and ultimately connect all of the artworks in the exhibition: artificial light and movement, the latter more widely understood as a permanently ongoing process, as opposed to the static object that is a painting or a (classical) sculpture. To properly map all these connections and describe the artworks in this article would be a futile effort, as the texts written by Weibel, Havranek, and Nolasco-Rózsás for the catalogue already address the “Four Cs” in detail, and additionally a wealth of information about the artworks can be found at the exhibition’s digital guide, freely available online. Instead, I will focus on two differentiating aspects of the exhibition which are particularly relevant to the presentation of “plugged-in art” to the public: the attention to local and national art scenes, and the experience of the visitor.

Refik Anadol, Infinity Room, 2015. Photo: Lukáš Masner, Kunsthalle Praha

The legacy of Zdeněk Pešánek

While the digital art community has often criticized the contemporary art world for sidetracking or ignoring them, the history of digital art has been built mainly around artists and exhibitions from Western Europe, the United Kingdom, and particularly the United States of America. The blind spots in this history, which is still being written, are being addressed by artists, scholars, and curators from different nationalities who are enriching the knowledge about pioneering artists from Latin America, Asia, and other regions of the globe. In this sense, it is important that historical reviews such as the one proposed by Kinetismus pays attention to the contributions of their own pioneers.

The Prague show is structured around the work of Czech artist Zdeněk Pešánek (1896-1965), a painter, sculptor, and architect who was among the first to create light-kinetic works in the 1920s and the first to use neon light tubes in an artistic installation. He built the Spectrophone (1924-30), an instrument composed of a piano that projected moving lights onto a relief, combining music and visual kinetics. This machine would be the basis for his light-kinetic sculpture Edisonka (1926-30) at the Edison Transformer Station at Jeruzalémská street in Prague, which became a fundamental artwork of this period, alongside László Moholy-Nagy’s Light-Space Modulator (1922–30). Later on, he created the series of sculptures One Hundred Years of Electricity (1937) for the façade of the Zenger Transformer Station, which were exhibited that same year at the International Exposition of Arts and Technology in Paris. Most of the sculptures were lost on their return trip, the series never being installed at its intended location. 

The 3D illustration created by Studio Najbrt reinterpreting one of the artist’s sculptures makes Pešánek’s work vibrantly alive and up-to-date, more post-Internet than 1930s avant-garde.

As stressed by Christelle Havranek, Pešánek’s groundbreaking work did not receive the attention it deserved at a time when the rivalry between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany prefigured a global conflict that had already started its dead toll in Spain, as denounced by Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica (1937). Pešánek nevertheless continued his investigations and coined the term “kineticism” in his book Kinetismus from 1941. The repurposing of the Zenger electrical substation as the Kunsthalle Praha naturally led to conceiving an inaugural exhibition around electricity in art in which Pešánek’s work and ideas take a central role. In this respect, Havranek points out that it was not their aim to review the artist’s work (a task already carried out in a retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Prague in 1996) but to place it in the larger context of the international art scene, spanning from the early decades of the twentieth century to the present.

Several pieces from One Hundred Years of Electricity (1932-36) and The Spa Fountain (1936-37) are exhibited in the first gallery of the Kunsthalle alongside artworks by his contemporaries Naum Gabo, László Moholy-Nagy, and Marcel Duchamp, as well as kinetic art luminaries such as Julio Le Parc, pioneers of digital art such as Lillian F. Schwartz and Jeffrey Shaw, established names in the contemporary and digital art scenes such as William Kentridge, Olafur Eliasson, and Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau, and young talents such as Anna Ridler. This juxtaposition of artworks from such a wide temporal range reinforces the relevance of Pešánek’s work, considered in its historical framework, but probably more importantly it is the 3D illustration created by Studio Najbrt for the exhibition poster and the catalogue cover reinterpreting one of the artist’s sculptures what makes Pešánek’s work vibrantly alive and up-to-date, more post-Internet than 1930s avant-garde.

In accordance with the general conception of the exhibition, the combination of a serious, properly documented approach to Pešánek’s artworks and their history, and a playful reinterpretation that takes over street billboards and is able to communicate with a wider and younger audience constitutes a sensible decision that should be common to all presentations of the history and the present of digital art.

Kinetismus. View of the exhibtion. Photo: Lukáš Masner, Kunsthalle Praha

Enjoying kinetic and digital art

Not everyone wants to read a long theoretical text before approaching the artworks at an exhibition. Some prefer to simply experience the artworks, and while it is true that one cannot expect to fully understand an artwork without some context or explanation, there is a strong value in this direct, unmediated exposure to the art. In Kinetismus, the exhibition space, particularly in the first gallery, involves an interesting contradiction: the room feels crowded, there are artworks everywhere (almost fifty in a space the size of an average art gallery), emitting noises and projecting light and reflections on each other. The initial impression is somewhat chaotic, but at the same time it reminds of early exhibitions of kinetic and electronic art from the 1960s and 1970s (which, I must say, I have only seen through documentation). The studio that designed the exhibition space, Schroeder Rauch, consciously aimed to create a “multi-perspective and dense exhibition,” in which “the artworks but also the visitors find themselves in an open landscape environment of objects, movements and light. Everything is in communication with everything.” 

Enjoyment is not a bad word when it comes to an art exhibition. With solid theoretical and historical foundations, Kinetismus offers a space for both learning and having fun.

This points to an aspect that is not so often a central consideration in an exhibition: the experience of the visitor. Through its selection of artworks and their placement in the different rooms of the Kunsthalle Praha, the exhibition becomes a cabinet of curiosities and a space of wonder and enjoyment. For some, this might be seen as a shortcoming (“the exhibition is not serious enough”, “the artworks do not have «space to breathe»”), but it is quite the contrary. By combining artworks from very different chronological moments and letting them “contaminate” each other with light and sound, the space that is created becomes less and cathedral and more a bazaar (in the sense of Eric S. Raymond’s influential essay from 2000), in which the visitor can choose what draws their attention and experience each artwork with a sense of surprise, letting the piece develop its process and reacting to it.

Enjoyment is not a bad word when it comes to an art exhibition. With solid theoretical and historical foundations, Kinetismus offers a space for both learning and having fun with a type of art that does not stare down from a high plinth but involves the viewer in its ever-changing process. Enjoyment brings with it a positive experience with the art, sparks interest, and leads to learning and appreciating the artworks in their context.

Art that moves, that stimulates thought and emotions, is remembered and valued. “Plugged-in art,” from kinetic to generative and AI-generated, has the ability to move, in every meaning of the word. It should always be presented in a way that allows it to do so.

Christina Kubisch, Cloud, 2019. Photo: Lukáš Masner, Kunsthalle Praha


Havranek, Christelle (2022). Introduction. In: Weibel, P. and Havranek, C. (eds.) Kinetismus. 100 Years of Electricity in Art. Prague and Berlin: Kunsthalle Praha, Hatje Cantz, 2022.

Shanken, Edward (2009). Art and Electronic Media. London: Phaidon Press.

Weibel, Peter (2022). 100 Years of Electricity in Art. In: Weibel, P. and Havranek, C. (eds.) Kinetismus. 100 Years of Electricity in Art. Prague and Berlin: Kunsthalle Praha, Hatje Cantz, 2022.

ISEA2022: the possible spaces of new media art

Pau Waelder

Drone show on the closing night of ISEA2022 Barcelona

The 27th International Symposium on Electronic Art took place in Barcelona from 9 to 16th June, bringing to the city a community of more than 750 experts in art, science and technology and hosting 140 presentations made by experts in the field, 45 institutional presentations, 40 talks given by artists, 23 screenings, 18 posters and demos, 16 round tables, 13 workshops, and 13 performances. The main organizer of the event was the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), in partnership with ISEA International, the Government of Catalonia and the main cultural and political institutions in the region.

Directed by Professors Pau Alsina and Irma Vilà from the UOC, the symposium included a densely curated art program with several exhibitions in the city that can be visited during the summer. While organizing the symposium, Alsina and Vilà established collaborations with the major cultural institutions in Barcelona, resulting in a particular presentation of new media art that has permeated the local contemporary art scene, establishing a dialogue with the curatorial approaches of the different venues. This interplay can be seen in the three major exhibitions spread over the city: What is Possible and What is Not at La Capella, Possibles at Recinte Modernista Sant Pau, and The irruption at Santa Mònica. While the most established art institutions in Barcelona, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) and the Center for Contemporary Culture (CCCB), hosted the talks, lectures, and a series of performances, the three spaces have had the task of collectively presenting an overview of artistic creation in the field of art, science, and technology (AST). The result is particularly interesting, as it has brought about a rather unprecedented variety of formats, themes, and approaches to creating and presenting art made with and about digital technologies and scientific research.

The exhibitions in Barcelona feature three different forms of presenting new media art: a setup similar to contemporary art biennials, a process-oriented, artist-in-residence environment, and a new media art festival exhibition.

In my role as Chair of Artworks of the symposium, I oversaw the whole selection process of the more than 600 artistic projects presented in an open call that exceeded all our expectations. The peer-review process involved more than 200 scholars, artists, curators, and art professionals to whom ISEA and the Barcelona team are deeply indebted. The selected artworks were presented to the curators of Santa Mònica and La Capella, with the third exhibition putting together a selection curated by Irma Vilà, a presentation curated by myself through Niio, and part of the BEEP Collection. The curators in the respective venues integrated the artworks they selected into the narrative they had developed for their spaces, which organically led to three different forms of presenting new media art: a setup similar to those of contemporary art biennials, a process-oriented, artist-in-residence environment, and finally the kind of exhibition one typically encounters at a new media art festival. While these approaches could have found a more dialogical setup in a shared space, the fact that they constitute three separate proposals makes it an enriching experience for a visitor who attends all three exhibitions knowing that all the artworks are related to the field of art, science and technology.

Antoine Schmitt. Generative Quantum Ballet 21 Video Recording, 2022. Artwork included in the selection by Niio at the exhibition Possibles.

Santa Mònica: new media art as contemporary art

The curators of Santa Mònica, Marta Gracia, Jara Rocha and Enric Puig Punyet, selected more than twenty artworks from the open call which they grouped under an overarching theme addressing the conditions of life on our planet after the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Climate change is a prevalent subject in this exhibition, as exemplified by It will happen here, in Barcelona, an algorithmic cinema installation by Roderick Coover, Nick Montfort, and Adam Vidiksis that elaborates a never-ending narrative about the impact of rising waters, which will entail migration and extinction. The piece is presented as a large-scale projection that takes half of the second floor of the former convent. Other artworks address our relationship with the planet from the wider perspective of the anthropocene, such as Quadra Minerale-Rare Earths by Rosell Meseguer, which connects mineral colonization with our dependence on digital technologies, and Tools for a Warming Planet by Sara Dean, Beth Ferguson, and Marina Monsonís, which consists of a crowdsourced collection of current and speculative tools for adapting to life in our changing world, contributed by designers, artists, activists, and scientists. These artworks are presented in the form of archives and displays that remind of the classical cabinet of curiosities.

Climate change, the Anthropocene and our social and spatial relationships during the pandemic are prevalent subjects in the exhibition at Santa Mònica

Our social and spatial relationships during the pandemic are also a recurring subject in the exhibition, with artworks such as Muted by Lauren Lee McCarthy, which collects several performative pieces she carried out during lockdown and afterwards, establishing different kinds of mediated communication with friends and strangers. McCarthy’s work takes the form of an installation with a double bed and several digital devices displaying the documentation of these performances. Also related to the pandemic, #See You at Home – The Domestic Space as Public Encounter by Bettina Katja Lange, Uwe Brunner, and Joan Soler-Adillon creates an immersive and interactive installation based on a series of 3D scans of people’s domestic spaces collected during lockdown, which has evolved into a reflection on the boundaries between the private and the public. While the exhibition, as can be expected, features numerous screen-based artworks and some VR environments, the overall experience is closer to what one might expect from a contemporary art biennial, with a predominance of objects, prints, and video installations.

Chemical Ecosystem by Yolanda Uriz

La Capella: work-in-progress

The artistic director La Capella, David Armengol, chose to combine the presentation of a selection of artworks from the ISEA open call with those of the artists participating in Barcelona Producció, a yearly program dedicated to promote local talent through grants for research and production. The result is a well-balanced combination of artistic projects, all of which are characterized by their processual nature, be it as reactive sculptures, algorithmic animations or data-driven visualisations. Here it is telling that in most cases the artworks selected by ISEA reviewers cannot be told apart from those of local artists experimenting with technology. For instance, Anna Pascó’s ZENZ(A)I, a neural network that creates sayings by collecting meteorological data from different locations, could well have been part of the open call, as would also Estampa’s computer visions of an urban landscape or Mario Santamaria’s geolocative installation. The five selected artworks from the ISEA call turn towards nature and artificial intelligence in their reflections of the world around us, from Anna Carreras’ generative drawing Arrels, Yolanda Uriz’s stimulatingly olfactory Chemical Ecosystem, and the intimately analog Water Drop Viewer by Roc Parés, to the AI-inspired construction of language in d’Eco a Siringa by Josep Manuel Berenguer and the speculative robotics developed by Mónica Rikić in Especies I, II y III. While the artworks in this exhibition are no less complete and fully functional than those in Santa Mònica, the setup and narrative of the show lead more clearly to considering them as works-in-progress, not unfinished but always evolving, and it that sense provide visitors with a different experience, in which the experimental, the potential, and in fact the possible take a more prominent role.

View of the exhibition Possibles at Espai Modernista Sant Pau

Sant Pau: the realms of the digital

The Art Nouveau historical building of Sant Pau hosts a temporary exhibition in a dark underground room that is actually an illustrative example of the kind of spaces where digital art has been shown in the context of new media art festivals over the last decades. Dominated by a large selection of artworks from the BEEP Collection, the largest collection of digital art in Spain, the exhibition mainly consists of screen-based works and installations, many of which are interactive, and creates an atmosphere densely populated by the lights and sounds emanating from the artworks. The BEEP Collection, started in 2006 by entrepreneur Andreu Rodríguez and directed by Vicente Matallana, features a wide spectrum of new media artworks by pioneers such as Peter Weibel or Analivia Cordeiro alongside established names in the field such as Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau, and Daniel Canogar, as well as younger local artists, such as Santi Vilanova, Mónica Rikić, and Alex Posada. Built year after year with individual acquisitions, it presents a sample of the main developments in new media art over the last three to four decades, with examples of video art, interactive art, bio art, generative art, artificial intelligence art, light installations and so forth. The presence of the collection’s pieces greatly contributes to give the exhibition this aura of a new media art festival both in the aesthetic qualities and the variety of the artistic projects.

A selection of artworks from the ISEA open call curated by Irma Vilà explores the varied forms of perception of reality mediated by digital technologies. Liquid Views by Monika Fleischmann and Wolfgang Strauss, a pioneering interactive work created in 1992 and updated for this exhibition, confronts viewers with their own image in a mesmerizing “mirror of Narcissus” that anticipated, 30 years ago, our current selfie culture and the appeal of tactile interfaces. Last Breaths by Linda Dement, Paul Brown, and Carmine Gentile develops a different form of register of the existence of a person. The last breaths of the artist George Schwarz, who died of a cardiac failure, were recorded. The audio values were turned into a 3D printed sculpture of living cardiac cells. Evoking loss and memory, the piece confronts the power of science with the inevitability of death and suggests a new way of perceiving an ephemeral, yet crucial moment in a person’s life. The living, interconnected system of a forest is consciously presented as an empty vessel in a series of 3D scans of a natural environment in Queensland (Australia) made by Keith Armstrong. Common Thread connects the deceivingly realistic rendering of the forest with the shallow perception of nature by Australia’s colonizers, as opposed to the profound understanding and rich mythologies of its original dwellers. This view can be compared to the ironic take on Artificial Intelligence created by Thierry Fournier in Sightseeing, a fiction about an all-too-intelligent AI whose task is to observe a beach through a CCTV camera, leading it to ultimately question what it perceives as well as its own purpose and existence. Finally, Paul Brown addresses a further stage in the perception of reality by elaborating in Quantum Chaos Set a visualization about the quantum world of uncertainty, through a photograph of felt fibres that undergoes continuous transformations generated by random sorting algorithm that repositions each pixel of the image. 

A selection of artworks from the ISEA open call curated by Irma Vilà explores the varied forms of perception of reality mediated by digital technologies

The exhibition is completed with a presentation of artworks curated by myself on Niio. Following the themes of the symposium, I addressed the subjects of humans and non-humans, natures and worlds, and futures and heritages through a selection of video works displayed on a single screen. In Generative Quantum Ballet 21, Antoine Schmitt takes his interest in choreography and performance arts and his signature minimalistic visual element, the white pixel, to the realm of quantum systems in a generative artwork of which a video excerpt was shown. Jeppe Lange creates a beautiful and poetic narrative around perception in Le monde en lui-même, a video work that uses hundreds of post-impressionist paintings in a mesmerizing collage. Diane Drubay challenges our complacent perception of the world in times of climate change in Ignis II, an animation showing the transformation of a placid summer sky into a menacing storm in the span of 14 seconds, which correspond to the 14 years left until we reach a point of no return in our warming planet. Oblivion finds a visual representation in Frederik de Wilde’s Oh Deer!, an AI experiment showing a short clip of a deer being continuously processed by a Generative Adversarial Network that the artist modifies to progressively remove information, until nothing is left but a grey square. Sabrina Ratté addresses both nature and memory in FLORALIA, a speculative fiction about a virtual archive room preserving extinct plant species. The selection concludes with Snow Yunxue Fu’s Karst, a virtual reality artwork that takes us to spaces that are beyond human reach, questioning whether the ability to experience them in a simulated environment may expand our notion of the reality around us.

3D printed sculptures by Varvara and Mar at Galería Alalimón

Digital art in the art galleries

Beyond these three main exhibitions, the presence of artists working with digital technologies in commercial galleries exemplifies the increasingly normalized presence of new media art in the contemporary art market. Anna Carreras presented her generative artworks in a solo show at Ana Mas Projects during the days of the symposium, while the artist duo Varvara and Mar brought their newly developed 3D sculptures and prints to Alalimón Gallery and Mario Santamaria presented his explorations of networks in a solo exhibition at Àngels Barcelona. All three solo shows combined screen-based artworks with prints and, in some cases, sculptures, which points to a telling flexibility of formats that seamlessly move between the physical and the virtual.

These last examples provide an explanation to the rich variety of approaches to new media art that can be seen in the three exhibitions currently on view in Barcelona. Not only due to the curator’s visions and decisions, the plurality of forms of artistic projects related to science and technology is caused by the artists’ own interest in moving away from a strictly “new media” aesthetic that has been so common in festivals and specialized events and exploring a culture that is already immersed in the digital and does not always require complex technological devices. Our daily life incorporates the experience of virtual environments, artificial intelligence, and interactivity, and is routinely affected by algorithms. This means that the possible spaces for new media art are expanding to the point where distinctions are no longer necessary: everything is, and has always been, art.

Exploring The Impact Of Digital Art In The “Travel Is Back” Era

By Natalie Stone

Artwork: Flower by Guilhem Moreau.
Location: The Mondrian Seoul Itaewon

As we celebrate the return of travel, the hospitality sector is working hard to create amazing guest experiences to entice guests back and accommodate their changing needs.

The evolving digital landscape is offering up original, exciting, and engaging opportunities, including new types of art installations from augmented reality to immersive art and AI, all contributing to the explosion of digital art, being adopted in workspaces, public places, homes, and hotels across the world. 

In a special webinar by commercial interior design publication Hospitality Design, executives from Accor, Marriott, Samsung, ICRAVE and Niio joined to discuss the new trends, changing guests’ needs, and emerging technologies that pose a reality of continuous evolution for hospitality experience. Together they explored the transformational power of digital art, how accessible it has become, and its effectiveness in realizing the ambitious visions of hotel owners and designers globally.

Artwork: Flower by Guilhem Moreau.
Location: The Mondrian Seoul Itaewon

What Are the Types of Installation Art in Hospitality?

Digital art is a major player in a changing landscape. With a flood of new, cutting-edge tools on the market, public and private hospitality spaces are an exciting platform for the world’s leading talent to display their work. The rising and intensified conversation around NFTs is cementing that digital art is here to stay and showcased in locations it has never been before.

“Video art is about the storytelling, the community that you can build, and the opportunity for people to have a platform, whether they’re professional artists or not, to tell their stories individually,” said Lionel Ohayon, Founder and CEO of ICRAVE, on how digital art is a new and exciting platform for artists.

The powerful impact of art in hospitality spaces has been felt in recent years and now, post-pandemic, these experiences are embodying the storytelling from public spaces into private rooms, ensuring continuity throughout the hotel and creating a meaningful connection with guests and brand affinity.

“We’re reimagining the way that art is experienced in a digital age,” said Rob Anders, co-founder and CEO of Niio. “Usually, screen means noise and information and advertising. We’re looking at how these black screens that are all around us become canvases of inspiration. And this can be any type of screen.”

Elevating Black Screen Void with Art

Niio partnered with The Mondrian Hotel in Seoul to transform its lobby with a collection of digital works which subtly switch the ambiance seasonally, creating a strong connection between the local culture and international visitors.

“When you have this massive (art) element, you can see guests talking to each other about this,” explained Damien Perrot, Global Senior Vice President, Design & Innovation, Accor. “And it creates connectivity, a connection between people. And it is also a very good way to interact between employees and guests.”

For Mondrian, integrating digital art is not just for the enticing guest experience, but also to solve a design pain point. “Most of the time we try to hide TV today, but when you put digital arts, you don’t need to hide it because they’re on the TV, it’s not a screen anymore. It’s not a TV anymore. It’s a live art. It’s really a big change.”

An Instagram-Worthy Destination in a Click: A Digital Art Installation Example

Marriott’s Aloft offers a fresh kind of hotel experience across 225 global Aloft hotels, which brings people together through immersive design and technology. With Niio’s curatorial team, they have created a bespoke curated art program using Niio’s tools for displaying and managing carefully selected artworks with the central management tool to rotate artworks in their hotels anywhere in the world at any time. 

Marriott’s Brian Jaymont, Senior Director & Global Brand Leader at Aloft Hotels & Moxy Hotels, shared why guest engagement was the driving force behind this project.

“Feedback from guests has been great,” he said. “I see it on our social media more than I’ve ever seen a framed piece of art. Somebody standing in front of it, really excited to see it. It’s really cool that we’re able to just click and give them something new in the blink of an eye.”

Creating the buzz-worthy experience isn’t necessarily tied with high costs, and is more aligned with the growing need of innovation-on-a-dime.

“From an approachability standpoint, the cost is extremely satisfactory. I think one of the biggest feedback pieces that we get is that it’s literally plug-and-play. And now that we’ve really scaled this, we’re getting further ahead in development. So we’re getting these in actually earlier in project designs and getting them installed before our openings of hotels.” said Jaymont.

Anders added another advantage: “One of the key things for the hospitality industry is the commercial rights. No one needs to worry anymore about the rights. It’s all one integrated environment and ecosystem (inside Niio), which deals with all of licensing.”

With seamless, low maintenance technology and endless creative potential, utilizing existing screens and infrastructure and adopting digital art is an achievable strategy for hotels looking to stay at the hub of travel trends.

Where Creativity Meets Tech

Samsung is seizing on the digital art potential through a strategic global partnership with Niio to display high-quality moving image art and to transform displays with inspiring and unique experiences.

This partnership celebrates the combination of Samsung’s best-in-class displays, Niio’s innovation and the surge of interest in digital art. With the right technology in place, it’s easier to access leading or emerging artists from around the world, who relish the opportunity to display their work, from video to interactive art.

Shawn O’Connell, Head of Hospitality at Samsung Electronics, described his point of view when building the tech solution for hotels. “(hotel) owners and brands are trying to digitally transform their guest experience from day to night. And I don’t want to say they’re turning their lobby into a nightclub, but they want something a little bit different on the walls at night versus day.”

The flexibility of digital art has the advantage of easily catering to diverse needs. “The consistency of what the guest experience is, from starting point to the endpoint, is also relevant. Whether you’re a large casino or cruise line that has a massive outdoor LED wall, or you’ve got something, a smaller display behind the front desk, or something in the elevator, or all the way to the guest room, you want to harmonize what that guest experience looks like and what it is, so that the brand is maintained and it’s on message,” said O’Connell.

As a vision for the future of digital art in hospitality spaces, Anders painted his own view: “We have to remember the technology’s the enabler. Ultimately, the technology has now got to a place that makes it very seamless. (..) Digital canvas can be as creative as you want. It can be a monitor, it can be a projection, it can be a triangle. It doesn’t really matter. We can turn anything into a canvas, especially when we’re seamlessly working with people like Samsung.”

Curious about how to incorporate digital art into your interior design projects?

Aliya Khan – The Northern Star of Hospitality Design

By Eyal de Leeuw

Aliya Khan is a prolific designer, with more than 20 years of experience in the field and an endless passion for design & hospitality. Leading Marriott International’s design strategy as VP Design and Lifestyle Brands. Khan is in charge of the next generation development of both Aloft and Element – in addition to continually refining the position of AC Hotels and Moxy.

Prior to joining Marriott International, Aliya worked in numerous roles with Starwood Hotels & Resorts.  She was the driving force behind several award-winning projects, including the opening of the W Montreal, renovations of the W Mexico City and the Le Meridien properties in French Polynesia, in addition to leading the design partnership effort between St. Regis Hotels and Bentley Motors and the renovation of the iconic St. Regis New York.

We sat down with Aliya to speak about her views and insights into design and technology in the hospitality industry.

You have vast experience in designing for the hospitality section. What do you see as the main challenges for the industry in the coming decade? 

The challenge will be continuing to prioritize around building novel, experiential escapes– and what that will take from a time and money perspective. How do you continue to engage a very well-exposed cadre of global travelers with differentiated experiences at a time when resources are going to be tight? 

The art of picking hero moments and implementing them with responsibility is part art, part science – but mostly a result of experience and quality partnerships.  

You are leading design processes for various brands for Marriott International. What is the key element for planning a design concept and deciding on a brand language?

Everything begins with understanding the target audience psychographics and being able to anticipate their needs through the filter of a brand’s core values and passion points.

For example, when we talk about Westin and our target guest, the healthy active. This is as much about designing our hotels to speak to what current trends and expertise exist in the wellness market, but also identifying what the future might look like. Finding novel, ownable ways for Westin to integrate this into our hotels in ways that are instinctively natural for the brand.

This approach drives every component of the guest journey, from the moment they think to travel, to weeks after they check out – and everything that happens in between.  

Aloft Buffalo Downtown, by Jeff Goldman Photography.
Artwork: Wind of Linz – Troemploeil by Refik Anadol

One of your great projects is Aloft – how would you describe the uniqueness of the Aloft brand?  

When it is all said and done Aloft will always have a distinct place in my heart. I was lucky enough to be a part of the tiny group that launched this brand so many years ago. Years later, I am back to continue to evolve the design, keep it fresh and compelling, in what is now a much more saturated market of designed products.  

My north star was always about delivering a low-cost build with a high-impact philosophy.  Simultaneously – not either or. It was a game-changer in that market segment and continues to hold its own even today. 

Now with a volume of over 200 hotels globally, we have been able to lean-in and really amplify our passions around technology, music, and design in a number of ways. Take our partnership with Niio – quality curated electronic art with huge names like Refik Anadol and Jonathan Monaghan accessible to every guest all over the world. Not bad for a select-service product.  

Let’s talk about technology – Aloft is built in a very tech-forward environment. How do you leverage technology to complement the design and amplify people’s engagement?  

As a designer, my approach to technology is a simple one. Always finding partners and expertise to make our guest experience more seamless in memorable ways.  

At its inception – long before wi-fi was really even an accessible thing, let alone Apple TV – we were the first hotel brand to have jack packs – so people could work comfortably in their rooms, show presentations on their televisions, or even play music on a higher quality speaker than a clock radio on your nightstand. Later – Aloft was the first brand to play with keyless check-in.  

This approach or desire to facilitate guest experience through an exploration of technology has remained a core value of the brand and remains present even today.  

Aloft Buffalo Downtown, by Jeff Goldman Photography.
Artwork: Sky Ruby by Sara Ludy

Public spaces and hotels were always a platform to exhibit art. How do you think it affects guests today? 

Art in its most basic form has existed since before 70,000 BC. Regardless of where it might be placed. I believe it continues to be an additive layer to any built environment. Art should stimulate, provoke and inspire all the senses; and always to know that every individual, at any age or with any life experience, will process and react in their own way.  

How does digital art help this tradition?  

The beauty of a digital art program is two-fold. First, it is the ability to cycle through various types of work, and therefore offer greater exposure to multiple voices of creation. The second is the ability to enjoy how the visual can come together with sound and light to create larger experiential moments that envelope in a way that will never be comparable to staring at a static object that is hung on a wall. 

After a very challenging year, what do you think is the role of design and art in relation to people’s wellbeing? 

Now more than ever, art and design will play such a critical role in how people experience life. The responsibility of reassuring people that they are safe and cared for, the challenge of stimulating thoughts and conversation, and the lure of tempting people to see and experience more. The list is endless.  

All I know is that after almost a year of being homebound, I am ready to get out there and see and experience it all again!

Digital Art Powers Workspaces in 2019

Inspiring creativity at work through New Media Art

  • Written by Natalie Stone

The seismic shift in the way we work has made the last decade feel as though many businesses are finally focussed on their most important asset – their people. Allowing the workforce to play a role in dictating how, where and when we work demonstrates the true value that leaders are placing on their staff. Endless research has shown that a happy workforce breeds increased productivity and companies worldwide are taking note. Businesses are constantly striving to enhance working environments with unique experiences – a telling and effective tribute to this trend. Many companies have turned to art and design to connect their people and customers to their story or brand and to inspire creativity.

Artwork: Alex McLeod, Walking Seasons // Photo: Or Kaplan

A study conducted by The Harvard Journal of Workplace Learning shows that employees believe art promotes social interactions, elicits emotional responses, facilitates personal connection-making, generally enhances the workplace environment and fosters learning. It also tells us that art which directly relates to the organization’s mission, and diverse art collections generate deeper engagement for employees and customers.

Digital art is a key component in this shift and Niio is at its cusp. As art advances beyond the white walls of galleries and museums into commercial, private and public spaces, Niio is harnessing this trend through collaborations with cutting-edge designers, venues and artists.

Galvanized by the idea that moving images can change in real-time and are often influenced by current events or incoming data, Niio has collaborated with artist Refik Anadol to power his groundbreaking work. Anadol’s coded piece of art changes based on real-time wind patterns in Linz, turning a screen into an ever-changing living artwork, lauded by critics and art-lovers.

Refik Anadol, Wind of Linz

Anadol and Niio’s partnership demonstrates the potential of digital art to incorporate interactive works and kinetic and rotating exhibitions, creating engaging spaces throughout time. The possibilities are endless.

Meet in Place, another of Niio’s partners, is a meeting room focused start-up, bringing curated rotating collections of fine digital art to high-end meeting space locations in New York, London and Tel Aviv, powered by Niio.

Artwork: Zeitguised, Void Season // Photo: Tom Mannion

The digital age is well and truly here. Screens are everywhere – on office walls, building facades and in open public spaces. With all this digital noise comes a unique opportunity for artists to take their work beyond its traditional realms by turning screens into a memorable and magical experience – at home, in places of leisure and at work. Niio is helping artists make the magic happen.

Committed to enabling seamless access to the world’s finest gallery quality video and interactive media art, screened on digital canvases across the world, Niio transforms and enhances workplaces to create engaging and inspiring environments.

The team at Niio collaborates with designers, bringing them together with the best fine digital art in the world and helping them deliver and display their work. With a network of over 1,500 artists, curators and galleries and a portfolio of over 9,000 premium artworks on our platform, Niio is a game-changer in an evolving realm.