One of the most significant issues of new media art is its constant challenging of our perceptions of reality, and of our relationship with the real. Once people stop relying on their own sensory perception and common sense, a hole opens that brings up both fantastic new possible worlds and incredible vulnerability. Pioneer artists Luc Courchesne, Masaki Fujihata and Jeffrey Shaw have been exploring these new territories for years, working at the boundary of art and science. This panel aims at confronting their visions of art in an in-depth conversation, questioning their inner motivations to continuously extend the real and the challenges involved. Their artworks point out a post-modern human condition where individuals are no longer at the centre of the universe. Yet their practices keep replacing the human being at the core of the process, using artifacts and objects as instruments to maintain Man’s feeling of powerfulness. Beyond technology and beyond the production of knowledge, what is at stake here is the great subjectivity of the new realities created. The fictions produced by the artists do not pretend to be real, however they impact on how we perceive the real, and might thus becomes real. Is there firm ground on which we can stand between the total freedom of art and the rationality – often inhuman – of science?
- Luc Courchesne (Canada) is a pioneer in media art and design. From interactive portraiture to immersive experience systems, he has developed innovative approaches which have earned him prestigious awards such as the Grand Prix of the ICC Biennale 1997 in Tokyo, an Award of Distinction and several Honorary Mentions at Prix Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and participations in Wired’s Next Fest. His work is part of major public and private collections in North America, Europe and Asia including the ZKM (Karlsruhe), the ICC (Tokyo), the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa). A graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1974) and of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1984), Courchesne was a student of Toni Mann, Michael Snow and Otto Piene. Luc Courchesne [courchel.net] is a founding member and current co-director of research at the Society for Art and Technology [sat.qc.ca].
- Masaki Fujihata (Japan) is a trailblazing media artist, renowned in Japan as well as abroad. His CG work was much celebrated in the 1980s, before his interests shifted to creating 3D sculptures from data using 3D printing, as in his CNC-routed Geometric Love (1987), the stereolithographic Forbidden Fruits (1989), and his series of nano-sculptures using Micro-Machine technology. In the mid-90s, Fujihata produced canonical pieces of what would later be called “media art,” including the multimedia Beyond Pages (1995-1997) and the exploration of networking technologies Global Interior Project (1995-). His work problematizes everything from how we interact with interfaces to the ways we might communicate in virtual space. In particular, his experiments with GPS technology beginning in 1992 takes a rather uncommon technical tack in gathering data, making for a meticulously composed and unexampled series of cyber-spacial creations that can only be called “the cinema of the future,” or “the shape of media to come.” His 2003 Field-work@Alsace compiled interviews about international borders. The 2009 musical piece Simultaneous Echoes was created in Northern Ireland. Fujihata’s latest signature piece is the 2012 Voices of Aliveness created in Nante, France and assembling the shouts of bicyclists in virtual space. Global Interior Project #2 won the 1996 Golden NIKA Award, Voices of Aliveness won an Ars Electronica Award of Distinction in 2013, and Simultaneous Echoes received the 2010 Ministry of Education Award for Fine Arts. Recently his monograph Anarchive volume 6 Masaki Fujihata released from éditions Anarchive in France, accompanied with AR technology to view movies and 3D. [translated by Mathew Fargo] anarchive.net/6_mf
- Jeffrey Shaw (Melbourne, AU, 1944) has been a leading figure in new media art since its emergence from the performance, expanded cinema and installation paradigms of the 1960s to its present day technology-informed and virtualized forms. In a prolific oeuvre of widely exhibited and critically acclaimed works he has pioneered and set benchmarks for the creative use of digital media in the fields of virtual and augmented reality, immersive visualization environments, navigable cinematic systems and interactive narrative. His signature works include Corpocinema (1969), Viewpoint (1975), Heavens Gate (1986), Legible City (1989), The Virtual Museum (1991), EVE (1993), Golden Calf (1995), configuring the CAVE (1997), The Web of Life (2000), PLACE-Hampi (2006), T_Visionarium (2008), Pure Land: Inside the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang (2012), and Fall Again, Fall Better (2014). Shaw was co-founder of the Eventstructure Research Group in Amsterdam (1969-1979), the founding director of the ZKM Institute for Visual Media Karlsruhe (1991-2002), and was appointed Professor of Media Art at the Staatlichen Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe in 1993. In 2003 he was awarded an Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship to found and direct the UNSW iCinema Centre for Interactive Cinema Research Since 2009 Shaw has been Chair Professor of Media Art and Dean of the School of Creative Media at City University in Hong Kong where he is also Director of the Applied Laboratory for Interactive Visualisation and Embodiment. In 2014 he was appointed Visiting Professor at both the Central Academy of Art Beijing (CAFA) and the Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College, London. In 2015 Shaw was awarded the Ars Electronica Golden Nica for Visionary Pioneer of Media Art, and published his Compendium 1966-2015 .
- Caroline Ha Thuc is a French curator and art writer, contributing to different magazines in France and Hong Kong. Her book Contemporary Art in Hong Kong provides essential keys to apprehend the city’s vibrant contemporary landscape and exposes the countless links between history, culture and identity. Ha Thuc published a book about Japanese contemporary art and just published a book on Mainland Chinese art and about its new trends in art practices (After 2000: Contemporary Art In China). As a curator, she focuses on promoting dialogue between artists from different cultures. Her recent exhibitions include ‘Hong Kong Bestiary’ (Platform China, Hong Kong, 2014), ‘Shelters of Resistance’ an in-situ installation by Kacey Wong in the courtyard of the City Hall (Paris, 2015), ‘The Human Body: Measure and Norms’ (Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong, 2015) and ‘Human Vibration’ in the public space of Hong Kong (May-June 2016). She is on the International Curatorial Advisory Board of the Open Sky Gallery in Hong Kong.