On the occasion of Clinamen, Antoine Schmitt‘s first solo show at DAM Projects, I wrote the following text that can be found in the gallery’s press release and is now available on Niio Editorial courtesy of DAM. The exhibition runs until January, 2024 at the Berlin gallery.
According to Epicurus (341-270 BC), the universe consists of atoms constantly falling down, carried by their own weight into the void, like drops of rain. This endless cascade of billions and billions of atoms, ordered in neat columns, might be beautiful and dull but no one would see it, because nothing would exist. Epicurus explains that thanks to a slight swerve in their trajectory, the atoms collide with each other and, through chain reactions, create all matter. This subtle deviation from a perfectly straight path is what he calls the clinamen, a term that ignited the imaginations of Dadaists and Pataphysicians alike, and that now finds itself as the title of Antoine Schmitt’s first solo exhibition at DAM Projects.
Antoine Schmitt. Cascade Grand Oblique Video Recording, 2018. Code based art.
A programming engineer specializing in Human-Computer Interaction and Artificial Intelligence, Antoine Schmitt is a unique visual artist who distills inspiration from kinetic, cybernetic, and abstract art into a body of work that often appears unapologetically minimalistic: the square dominates his abstract generative artworks, sometimes with the authoritative presence of Malevich’s Black Square, sometimes integrated into a vibrating multiplicity of shapes as in Vera Molnar’s (Des)Ordres series, but more often as a humble pixel transiting a black void. However, representing purely abstract entities is not Schmitt’s goal, as his interactive installations attest: he is interested in people, societies, the ego, the Superego, and the laws of the universe. Rather than a mathematician, he sees himself as a physicist who, as Epicurus, uses his imagination to seek an explanation of reality and provide a representation of it.
In this room, we are looking at black squares made visible by their absence, pixels gracefully dancing in strange choreographies, messing around, hurriedly crossing to the other side of the screen, or falling in cascades, carried by their own weight. Their movements are mesmerizing precisely because the artist has programmed a clinamen that gently deviates their trajectory and leads them into a seemingly chaotic, but also beautifully synchronized, behavior. Order and chaos are key to the work of an artist who does not “animate” the pixels, but creates situations and rules using code, and then lets the program run on its own. A series of performative events carried out by machines, the artworks build realities that exist in front of us in real time, mirroring the physical, social, and informational systems we are a part of.
A single pixel, hanging on the wall, pulsates at irregular intervals. It is trying to communicate its own source code, to replicate itself, if not as a physical entity or picture element on a screen, then at least as an idea. A Duchampian bachelor machine, it fails in its task. But ultimately it acts as a mirror of the person who observes it, reminding us that we are the pixels in these endless flows. And that we are, in turn, made of atoms that once, fortunately, strayed from their path and collided with each other.
Paris-based artist Antoine Schmittdescribes himself as a “heir of kinetic art and cybernetic art,” aptly indicating the two main aspects of his work: the interest in all processes of movement, and the use of computers to create generative and interactive artworks. With a background as a programming engineer in human computer relations and artificial intelligence, his career spans almost three decades and is characterized by a combination of interactive installations, process-based abstract pieces, and performances. He has collaborated with a wide range of professionals from the fields of music, dance, architecture, literature, and cinema. He also performs in live concerts and writes about programmed art.
Schmitt’s award-winning artworks have been exhibited internationally, in prestigious venues such as the Centre Georges Pompidou and Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and world-renown festivals Sonar (Barcelona), and Ars Electronica (Linz). A selection of video recordings from his generative works have been featured in our curated art program, including the artcasts Unvirtual Art Fair (Paris) and Possibles, which was exhibited at the ISEA2022 Barcelona Symposium. The artist kindly answered a series of questions about the concepts and processes behind his work.
From your early works to the latest installations, there is a constant interest in the relationship between the artwork and the viewer, and more generally between a human and a machine, that often become intimate, connected to emotions and to physical proximity. What do you find interesting about this strange relationship between an individual and a machine, or an apparently sentient entity?
Programming has always been for me a means to approach reality, by recreating it. I consider programming as a radically new material, in art and in general, because of its active nature: programs are processes embedded in reality and can react to it and act upon it. This specificity allows me to recreate programmatically aspects of nature that interest me. One of the most complex entities in reality (known so far) is the human being. Many of my artworks stage a programmed artificial entity that embodies a deep aspect of human nature. These artworks act for me as mirrors for the viewer, a way to question deep human mechanisms or ways of being, like desire, curiosity, language, conflict, gravity, etc… not forgetting that humans are also animals, and are also bodies in space.
This approach also allows me to reflect on the way we humans are programmed, by laws, evolution, society, etc… My artworks are, like deep science fiction, very much fueled by philosophy, physics, metaphysics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, etc… Using programming to create artificial entities, more or less intelligent, more or less sentient, but all embodying dynamic aspects of human life, allows me to focus each artwork on a specific concept or aspect of human nature. They are forms of living caricatures that are all the more effective.
Your work is characterized both by its interactivity and the generative processes that bring it to life. What do you find most interesting about these two types of processes, the one carried out by an autopoietic generative artwork and the one carried out by an interactive installation?
All my artworks are active and exist in real time, i.e. the same time as the spectator. Some artworks are not sensitive to the real world, they are not interactive, they live their life in their own universe, and we watch them like we would watch a strange animal in an aquarium. With these artworks, the main link between the audience and the artwork is through empathy. By projecting oneself in the existential universe of the artwork, the spectator recognizes and feels the situation. It is the same process as with movies and books, with the additional dimension of the real time: with realtime artworks the spectator knows, or feels, that what happens happens here and now. It is not a recording. This gives a different dimension to the empathy, like when watching a live performance which also happens here and now.
With interactive artworks, I usually want to question the behaviors and inner mechanisms of the audience themselves. It is the actions of the viewer which are the artwork, I create the dynamic situation in which the viewer is immersed and I orient it so as to highlight and question certain deep ways of being. For example, theSystemic (2010),Lignes-mobiles (1999) and La chance (2017) installations draw dynamic arrows on the floor in front of passers-by to question their intention. In Psychic (2007), a text on the wall describes the movements and intentions of the spectators in the exhibition space (“Somebody is coming”).
I tend to adopt a minimalist approach: I don’t use an artistic dimension (color, figure, interactivity) unless it is mandatory for the artwork. So I don’t use interactivity unless the artwork’s subject is the spectator themselves.
Since the beginning of your career, you have collaborated with performing artists, among which composers such as Vincent Epplay, Franck Vigroux, and Jean-Jacques Birgé, performers such as Hortense Gauthier, and choreographers such as Jean-Marc Matos and Anne Holst. How did these collaborations take place? What have they brought to your own work and your creative process?
I have two different approaches to performance, whether I’m on stage or not. When I work with professional performers who use their body and actions as their main material, we craft situations where the human entity is confronted to an artificial one. This allows us to precisely stage the encounter and focus precisely on certain aspects, which become the subject of the performance. The situation usually centers on the concept of an encounter with an “other” and on the modalities of dialog. In Myselves with Jean-Marc Matos, it is about exploring various modes of dialog like imitation, fight or fusion. In CliMax with Hortense Gauthier, it is about finding mutual pleasure. In these setups, the mirror effect happens between the performer and the artificial entity rather than with the audience. The audience is watching the encounter. The artificial creature becomes an actor of the performance, in the spirit of performance: taking risks in a staged delicate situation.
Antoine Schmitt and Hortense Gauthier. CliMax (Préliminaires), 2018
When I am on stage, I usually play live images, using a videogame-like visual instrument that I program myself and that recreates a specific abstract though consistent live universe, while the other performer plays live music. We are in a situation of semi-improvisation and we create an audio-visual temporal exploratory journey around a specific theme (the birth of shapes in Tempest, the cohabitations of multiple timelines in Chronostasis, totalities in ATOTAL, flows in Cascades, etc…). As a performer, I appreciate sharing the energy of the present moment with the audience, especially while being delved into an artificial universe and struggling with it, which the audience can feel.
Antoine Schmitt. Generative Quantum Ballet 21 Video Recording, 2022
Besides the performing arts, another strong reference in your work is scientific research: you often mention theories from mathematics or physics as the conceptual ground for your pieces. What does science bring to your work? How do you build a bridge between the scientific method and your creative process?
I am very sensitive to the deep and strong laws of the universe that math and physic theories can give us, as they allow me to both approach our reality and imagine other possible realities. What is interesting with these laws is that they are programmable so I can recreate them using programs, thus focusing on deep mechanisms, to stage them or alter them. For example, in the Tempest show, I created a universe containing many of the forces of our universe but also invented forces, thus opening the doors to parallel universes.
I often say that science and art are interested in the same subject : the crack that exists between reality and our abstraction of it. This crack is our curse as human beings. Animals do not feel this pain but as soon as one has the gift of abstraction, the distance between what we abstract and what is, is the source of all mental suffering. Science tries to close that crack by explaining as much as possible through theories and language, more and more precisely, even though it is an impossible task (as was demonstrated in the 20th century by the scientists Heisenberg and Gödel). On the contrary, Art delves in the depths of the crack, exploring all its modalities, playing with all the emotions that stem from it. And the narrower the crack, the deeper it is.
The aspects of your work that we have previously addressed all point to a main subject which are the processes of movement, as clearly highlighted in your artist’s statement. These processes are explored in a wide range of contexts, from the quantum realm to urban societies, and among different actors, be it people, bodies, or particles. Why are these processes so important to your work, and which of these contexts is more rich, engaging or interesting to you?
I think that I’ve always had this abstract approach to reality which can be synthesized in the question “why does it move like this?”. I started with a rather scientific approach through my studies as an engineer, and when I decided to become an artist, I continued to explore this question in a different way. It is an analytical approach, a way of looking at the world, and a way to question it. I frankly appreciate all the dimensions of it and will continue to explore them, but I think that the strongest and the ones that give me the biggest satisfaction are the most abstract approaches, the ones that are the most remote from reality and still apply to many aspects of reality, existing or perceived. Black Square (2016), where a flock of white pixels try to enter an invisible square and bounce on it thus revealing it, can lead to multiple interpretations. It is a fundamental delicate situation.
Antoine Schmitt. Black Square Video Recording, 2016
The signature element in your work, the pixel, is introduced in Le Pixel Blanc (1996). There, you describe it as “a minimal artificial presence… something that almost did not appear, but that still would be «there».” Over time, the pixel has gained more presence and become as much an object, a presence, and an absence, as part of a flow or the representation of an individual. How would you describe the evolution of your conception of this basic element and its influence on your work?
The pixel and the square are omnipresent in my work. I like my artworks to be minimal, like mathematical theorems. This naturally led to the pixel, the minimal visual element in the universe of the computer. A pixel is a small square, and by enlarging it, you get a large square. And like Malevich, I consider the square like the symptom of the human being’s power and curse: the ability of abstraction These two elements are the basis of most of my artworks. What I work on is their movement, relatively to the space around them, or relatively to the other elements. They are minimal but open to all the possibles, through their movements and the infinitely rich possibilities of programming.
Your career spans almost three decades, in which you have explored many different formats of creation and distribution, from multimedia projects on CD-ROM, to Internet-based artworks, interactive installations, video mapping, screen-based pieces, software art, live performances, generative cinema, NFTs, and much more. What is your opinion on the way technology has evolved over these decades and how it has influenced art making? How have you experienced this period of constant innovation and obsolescence?
These have been very exciting years, for one because computers are more and more pervasive (we all now have a powerful computer in our pocket) and also because art made with computers is now widely accepted. It is therefore easier to create programmed artworks and to show them. The technology is more easily available, the distribution channels — in the wide sense — are numerous and the audience is listening.
On the other hand, technology is nowadays mainly used for advertising, surveillance, entertainment and manipulation of opinions, which is a social problem and has an effect on art made with technology. Many approaches build upon or react to these social dimensions, which are all needed and interesting but leave little room for the more conceptual and radical approaches. This may be true for all forms of art, but it is stronger with technological art as technology so much shapes our society these days.
What is interesting also is that I think that no new concept was really born in the field since Alan Turing invented the computer, the “universal machine”. All computer-based technologies are avatars of this unique concept. This can probably account for the fact that my artworks have not radically changed since I started. My work does not reflect on the social impacts of technology on society, nor are impacted by the various technological “innovations” and obsolescence. It is minimal so does not make use of the innovations toward more “power”, and it is rather rooted deeply in the concepts of the universal machine which have not changed : with a universal machine, all thinkable processes are programmable.
You were already working with generative text twenty years ago, in The Automatic Critic (1999). What is your opinion about the current trend among artists to use machine learning models such as ChatGPT?
Although I am quite impressed by the quality of the interactions of users with ChatGPT (I thought that this level of quality would take more years to happen), the generative approach on these systems are in the normal continuation of the original concept of the computer. We are at the stage of imitation: these algorithms generate media that look like media created by humans, as the central mechanism of neural networks is pattern recognition and pattern generation, whether it is text, images, music, reasoning, etc… This is quite fascinating for users and it is similar to the caricatural mirror effect that I was referring to at the beginning. The art, or more generally the forms of expression, created by these algorithms in imitation of ours are a mirror to our forms of expression and thus question them.
But art is intention and responsibility. These two notions are still unique to humans. But maybe one day, we will be able to create an algorithm able to feel pain, express it with intention towards its fellow humans and take responsibility for it. There is no theoretical impossibility for this in the theory of the universal machine and I look forward to it.
In the meantime, as an artist, the most interesting aspect of AI systems remains for me the creation of biased algorithms which focus on some dimension of human nature, like Deep Love (2017) which answers all questions with “I don’t know, but I love you.”
You entered the NFT scene in 2021 with Buy Me! a particularly conceptual, and generative piece. What has the NFT market brought to your practice? Has it influenced your production? Have you found new forms of creation or sources of inspiration, beyond its commercial dimension?
It took me some time to understand that the main new concept behind the NFT market boom was the perspective of financial profit, for collectors and for artists. This is the reason I created the satirical piece Buy Me! (2021), which embodies an algorithm desperately trying to convince its viewers to buy it, using language techniques inspired by advertising and psychological manipulation. It is a piece on the processes of marketing.
Apart from greed, the NFT market has opened the field of computer art to a new audience, which was really interesting, but I am eager to see the fusion of the traditional art market with NFT seen as a new way to buy and collect artworks.
You recently quoted the mathematical theory of catastrophes to describe the year that has begun and may bring sudden change, positive or negative. How does this year look for you? Which upcoming projects can you share with us?
I am very excited to start a collaboration with the DAM Projects gallery in Berlin. Its owner, Wolf Lieser, has been involved in computer art for a few decades and I look forward to working with him and his team. We will start with a solo show next autumn, with a selection of historical works and new artworks.
I am also very excited by two new live audiovisual performances, Videoscope and Nacht, with Franck Vigroux, which are in the making, and that will tour the world along with the existing performances (Melbourne, Gijón, San Francisco, etc..).
Rune Brink Hansen (Denmark, 1979) is a digital designer and artist who has developed a career in web design, 3D modeling and VJing since the early 2000s, creating stage design for operas, concerts, and festivals, as well as spatial design for museum exhibitions. Since 2010, he has created a wide range of immersive and interactive light installation pieces in Danish galleries and museums and has also worked as curator in several contemporary art projects. In May 2021, he created Spøgelsesmaskinen (“the ghost machine,” in Danish), an alter ego and a specific project for the NFT scene that focuses on creating short 3D animations in a distinctive pixelated style that depict surreal and eerie scenes involving computers and other machines. After successfully selling his NFTs on Tezos, Ethereum, and Solana, he is now preparing screen-based pieces to exhibit in art galleries.
On the occasion of his solo artcast Abnor Mall, we spoke about his career, his aesthetic and conceptual choices, and the influence that the NFT scene has had on this production and creative process.
You are known for your interactive and kinetic light installations, which often create a novel experience of the surrounding space. What interests you about working with light and the architectural space?
I have always been interested in telling a story in a different way than you would normally find in a movie or a book, a way in which you can become the main protagonist of an experience that the story creates. I have done a lot of installations for cultural heritage museums, and in them I’ve tried to develop a visual language that would keep a certain level of abstraction, in a way to focus on telling the story. And then by doing spatial projections, or light installations, I have created a landscape around the visitors that would trigger their imagination to feel that they are the main character of the story, instead of watching something at a distance. For instance, if I had to depict a war zone, I’d rather create an atmosphere of anxiety and work with the feelings it generates rather than show images.
So I would say that this is the reason why, when I started to work in art installations, coming from a design background and then doing visuals for music, I decided to create these spaces for the audiences where they really feel immersed and not just watching someone else. I have always been hesitant to create a narrative that is too defined and detached from the viewer, even when I did live visuals for music. I didn’t want to create a perception of the music that was too concrete, too pre-defined.
Spøgelsesmaskinen. Abnormall: Parking, 2022
The animations you create as Spøgelsesmaskinen usually depict scenes in carefully set up spaces, how do they relate to your artistic installations?
In 2009 I did a stage design for the opera Konsumia by Rasmus Zwicki. The story was about a group of people trapped inside a digital illusion. The opera singers would have to sing to make sure that the computer controlling the illusion couldn’t understand what they were talking about. All of this was situated in this dull, eerie, office landscape that represented the capitalistic world. I did the stage design in the exact style I’m now using with Spøgelsesmaskinen, with non-antialiased, very hard pixels and low resolution.
So I thought, okay, I would really like to go back to this world. It was really a very nice world for me to work in. So that led to what is Spøgelsesmaskinen, basically. And then things started to take off, I started to go into different directions, but I also went back into doing more abstract experimentations. But obviously, the style that is identified with Spøgelsesmaskinen comes from stage design and probably that is why they look like tableaus, in small spaces, although without any characters. But there may be a spirit somewhere in the room…
Spøgelsesmaskinen means “The Ghost Machine:” why did you choose this alias? Is that connected to the idea of “the ghost in the machine” and the use of glitches?
In my early childhood, maybe at the age of eight or nine, the first computer came into my home. To me, the computer was always surrounded by mystery, an uncanny feeling. The computer was in a corner of my bedroom. I was in my bed at night, and I was looking at it and just expecting it to wake up on its own. Because for me, this was magic. In Microsoft DOS, there was this application called Q Basic, where you could write small applications. And I wrote my first chatbot, which would just reply to different prompts. And I could sit for hours chatting with the bot, having a pre-programmed conversation, and feeling that there might be a spirit in this machine, somehow. This continues coming back to me: the complexity of the machine is still enough to fool me into believing it’s alive, in a way.
And how do the glitches come in?
The glitches are what the computer does that is unexpected to the human. I guess that’s why glitches are celebrated, especially right now, as the computer’s capability of being an artist on its own, in a way creating things that are unexpected. Design today is very inspired by how HTML is wrapping different boxes around and making mistakes. There is a huge trend of putting text on top of images halfway, all these different things are coming out of what the computer can do. And so the glitch is proof that the computer is superior or that the computer can surprise us.
In relation to this ability of the computer to create, now that artists are increasingly integrating AI tools into their creative processes, are you interested in this possibility?
Yes, certainly. I recently did an installation for YOKEwith AI Sweden for the Nobel Prize Museum’s new exhibition, Life Eternal, at Liljevalchs art gallery in Stockholm. The installation is based on GPT SW3, a Swedish version of the GPT-3 generative language model, and used the text of the novel Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. Visitors can have a conversation with an AI system modeled after the protagonist of the book on the theme of eternal life. So, I have worked with AI in the facet of my work related to installations and stage design, but not yet as a tool to create visual compositions. I’m very open to doing so, but I just haven’t found the right opportunity.
Spøgelsesmaskinen. Abnormall: Electro, 2022
The aesthetics of your work as Spøgelsesmaskine are clearly influenced by computer graphics from the early 1990s, which is about the time you started doing 3D animations before becoming a graphic designer and VJ. How do all these experiences collide in your present work?
I have this background as a graphic designer, and then I’ve worked with a lot of installations, festivals, and live events, building big physical installations that are very costly, so I’m used to dealing with all the pressures and limitations, making sure that things are not coming down from the walls or that I don’t go over the budget. In this work with 3D animations I feel that I have the complete freedom to do anything I want, to experiment in any crazy way I like to. And sometimes it seems to me that I am also sketching physical works to come. So in a way, they are a sort of doodle, or a sketch. Even though they are self contained pieces on their own.
Your low pixel resolution work becomes instantly recognizable. Do you feel that in an environment saturated with images, and particularly in the NFT community, with many similar artworks, it is important to stand out with a distinctive visual style?
Yes, I’m trying to stick to it. Because I feel that it’s becoming my signature. And I never really had a style before, I never drew, or painted. So it feels like I’m finally coming to a place where I can connect with what I create very easily. Working with 3D has always been limited by the looks of the final render, because the final render never looks like reality, it’s very hard to make it look realistic. And so I’ve always been struggling with 3D, but now I found a render style that is actually taking me into a more humble space. I think it was p1xelfool who said that the lower the resolution, the more connected to the machine he felt. I agree and I think that working in low resolution is a way for us to feel this craftsmanship and also to feel that the computer is not overdoing it, that you can still be in control. It’s not this hyper technological thing that you need the robots to do it for you. It is also a way to say: I don’t need 204k screens, I don’t need to buy new things all the time. I can work with what I have, what has been here for a long time.
In that sense, you have mentioned that you find a lot of 3D models in libraries of objects that no one uses anymore, and that you include in your scenes.
Yes, there are so many 3D models on different platforms that represent different times in history, for instance old mobile phones that are not being used anymore for the commercial purpose they were built for. So it’s a fun way of diving into the history of 3D models, and it’s interesting to see how much time and thought went into modeling all these objects that are now lying in digital junkyards.
Spøgelsesmaskinen. Abnormall: Flash, 2022
So, to better understand the process, you create the whole model in 3D, and then you apply the rendering in a very low resolution, is that correct?
Yes. For some of the scenes I’ve used all these different 3D models I’ve found and put them together, and for others I model from scratch because I need to build a specific scene. Then an interesting thing happens with the loss of information when rendering at a low resolution: sometimes it doesn’t look good the first time, and I have to change the objects, the positions, maybe zoom in more, get more or less details, and so on. I render them in 320 x 240 pixels and scale them up frame by frame, to double the size, and then turn them into GIFs. I think Photoshop is getting rid of GIFs, so maybe soon I will probably have to start working on older machines to actually be able to run the software
Right now I’m working with a company that builds LED screens and I’m doing tests to have an animation run in the screen at the exact size, each pixel an LED, with no scaling, a sharp image. For that I need to avoid any form of antialiasing, which luckily can still be the disabled in some software.
You have decades of experience with 3D imaging and digital creation tools. What do you think about the development of digital technologies for creatives? Do you consider that open source software has had a major impact on creativity?
I wouldn’t be able to use abandoned software and hardware in the future if there wasn’t an open source community. I did a small project called Memory Leaks in which I worked on the Classic Mac OS. And that was only possible because of the community that is still putting up the software online, hosting it, and making it available for free. The same goes for the 3D models. I’m working on a series of assets for people to create their own scenes. So I’m planning to do a series in which every model is made by me from scratch and everything is released for people to use in different ways.
What has the NFT market brought to your practice and its sustainability?
It changed my life completely. I went from working freelance for museums, and very rarely doing my own installations, maybe once a year, to only being on my own now. So it has completely changed everything. In Denmark, there is a lot of interest in blockchain because it is still so new and few people work on it. So basically every week, I have five phone calls with organizations asking me how they can implement blockchain and what they can do with it. I started a small think tank with two friends of mine, calledKorridor.digital, which is a shared workspace for blockchain projects in the field of art. We try to help other artists, we do workshops. And we just recently moved into an art foundation where we are now helping to consult in this field.
My network has really changed, I have made so many friends all over the globe in the last few years, and such a huge network, having places to crash in all the major cities of the world, that it is completely mind blowing, and amazing. Even if NFTs are a capitalistic project, they have become a huge social movement. I also worked for some time on the Afghan NFT project where we try to raise money for African artists and Africans in general in need. About 50 artists donated works, and we raised around $18,000. Unfortunately crypto is currently banned there.
Spøgelsesmaskinen. Abnormall: Escalation, 2022
You work under two different names, one of them specifically directed to the NFT market. How does that affect your practice? Can you balance both aspects of your work?
I don’t know. What should I do? Help me! The Spøgelsesmaskinen project is growing, now I’m going to do exhibitions in Copenhagen, so I guess I will start to work with some specialists who can help me out a little bit. Because I recently did a permanent light installation in a park which is like a playground where you can play with light, and that has really nothing to do with the concept of Spøgelsesmaskinen. So for me it is good to have these two names and separate the kind of work that I do. Being online as a different person that is not related to my real identity or my personal life is very interesting. And starting from scratch Twitter and Instagram accounts that are now outnumbering my other accounts, this gives so much energy. So in that sense, I am enjoying the freedom it gives me to try out something new.
Niio is proud to announce to be among the nominees for the Digital Innovation in Art Award 2019, at the Investor Allstars in London. Investor Allstars is crowned as the “Oscars” for the entrepreneurship and investor communities.
The Digital Innovation In Art Award recognises a company or individual in the art industry that has used digital technology or the internet to disrupt and innovate within their field.
We congratulate our fellow shortlisted nominees. Stay tuned via our Instagram account to find out who wins on October 3rd!
Steve Miller – ARTERNAL
Steve Miller is one of .ART’s first adopters, showcasing his artwork in versatile mediums at www.stevemiller.art. He is also a co-founder of ARTERNAL, a CRM software which assists art galleries in efficiently consolidating multiple platforms.
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In partnership with Sino Group, Niio transformed two of Hong Kong’s largest screens into digital, public art installations. The facades of prominent Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui Centre (76m x 39m) and Empire Centre (35m x 39m) are showcasing the winning submissions of the Sino x Niio Illumination Art Prizes, a competition opened to emerging digital artists who were invited to submit artworks in the themes of Artistic Blessing and New Life. The competition was held in collaboration with Sino Group, the Hong Kong-based property developer.
Artwork: Daniel Belton and Good Company Art, OneOne
“We live in a fast-paced, commercially noisy world with countless screens across our urban environments, and no more so than in major cities like Hong Kong”, says Rob Anders, Co-Founder & CEO of Niio. “In trying to reach and inspire people everywhere through memorable and meaningful ‘Digital Art experiences’, we are thrilled to partner with Sino Group for the Illumination Art Prize. It is these types of public art interventions that are driving an entirely new visual culture.”
The winning artwork was created by Daniel Belton and Good Company Arts for the theme Artistic Blessing. Their work, OneOne invokes a sense of ancient culture, an archetype being unearthed through real-world experience that is timeless and contemporary. For the theme New Life, Krehel Race won first place for his work The Spring Shrine representing a world where technology has allowed us to return to our natural surroundings and to find a true Zen space, away from the chaos.
“Sino Group is delighted to have collaborated with Niio on this ground-breaking international digital art project. We were thoroughly impressed with the exceptional content of work we received, with artists from 39 countries participating. We hope visitors enjoy the outstanding illuminations on the façade of these Hong Kong landmarks during the festive season,” said Nikki Ng, Group General Manager of Sino Group.
The Illumination Art Prize competition is part of Niio’s drive to inspire people around the world, making it easy to experience curated digital art across living, working and public spaces. In doing so, they are connecting large developers and businesses with their communities, supporting artists everywhere and providing them with a platform to present their art creations across urban environments. Niio is creating a positive alternative to the digital advertising noise of modern cities.
The Sino x Niio Illumination Art Prozes was recognised by the judging panel of British travel magazine LUXlife as the “Best Creative Festive Lighting Program in Asia” in the 2019 Travel & Tourism Awards; and in the prestigious Astrid Awards, the campaign received the Gold Awards in the “Holiday Event” category and was further selected as one of the Grand Award winners.
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.
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.
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.
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.