AMSTERDAM.- Nxt Museum
, the first museum in the Netherlands dedicated to New Media Art, today announced further details of its first exhibition, Shifting Proximities , as well as the first project taking over the Nxt Lab .
Shifting Proximities will explore human experience and interaction in the face of social and technological change. Global events and developments, whether socio-political, technological or environmental, have a significant impact on how we communicate, how we move and how we live in the world. They are continually shifting the proximities between us, both literally and metaphorically.
Our perception of space, and our place within it, will be called into question through eight immersive, multi-sensory installations, four of which have been commissioned by and will premiere at Nxt Museum. The works have been created in collaboration with artists, designers, technologists, scientists and musicians, fusing creative ideas with groundbreaking academic research and technological innovation. They identify juxtapositions; between the organic and the mechanical, the cosmic and the terrestrial, the act of scanning and being scanned.
Curated by Bogomir Doringer , artist, curator and Head of Education & Research at Nxt Museum, and Jesse Damiani , writer, producer and curator, the exhibition will bring together Doringers extensive knowledge into social phenomena and the human body with Damianis expertise in emerging technologies.
Doringer said: Proximity evokes distances literal and metaphoric. Every day, new events shift our understanding of the spaces we inhabitand therefore our bodies and minds. This was true before the pandemic when fissures in our fragile global network were widening in visibility. Today its truer still. The exhibition looks into how the tools of new technologies can both empower and threaten us, and how those contradictory forces act upon our bodies individually and collectively.
Damiani added: The accelerating evolution of media technologies offers novel challenges and opportunities; new modes of expression alongside new avenues of external manipulation. As weve seen in the past decade, these technologies shift how we relate to each other and to the very notion of realitywe absorb their languages. There has never been a more urgent time to put artists at the forefront of the complex new zones of experience embodied in interactive, immersive and intelligent media.
The first installation by audio-visual artist Roelof Knol with sound by Marc Mahfoud will join visitors in a ritual of connection. Each visitor is represented by an interactive visual projected on the floor. Together, they form new networks of connections between the visitors who will navigate through the exhibition. As personal space becomes shared space, Connected sets the tone of the exhibition by examining the type of space we inhabit, while inviting visitors to refamiliarise themselves with being around others, comfortably and safely.
Topologies #1 , a new site-specific installation, continues United Visual Artists s explorations of programmable light architecture. Part of UVAs upcoming Topology series, the work projects planes of light that stretch across the room and create shifting geometries that continuously divide and reconfigure the space. Visitors will traverse through a vast, transforming 25 metre long space, sometimes seemingly with others, sometimes alone, challenging their perception of the space they occupy.
Habitat is a data-driven installation by Heleen Blanken with software developer NAIVI and sound artist Stijn van Beek , presented for the first time at Nxt Museum. The work translates 3D scans of organic artefacts from Leidens Naturalis Biodiversity Center into a game-like, meditative environment. These ever-mutating digital worlds, each accompanied by their own bespoke composition, are responsive to the movement of visitors and appear reflected and distorted in a body of water on the museum floor.
Audiovisual pioneers Marshmallow Laser Feast invite visitors to experience the formation of a black hole with their immersive artwork, Distortions in Spacetime . In a giant star's final moments, atoms compress to a point where density becomes infinite, time stretches to a stop and the gravitational field is so strong that not even light can escape: a black hole. But the force that creates this dark shadow also spews out a supernova explosion of matter that can eventually coalesce to form planets, plants and people. In the work, visitors will see themselves reflected in this matter and will begin to understand the cosmic connection between black holes, dying stars and our very existence.
From outer space to underground Econtinuum invites us back into the ecosystem. This newly-commissioned work by ecological artist Thijs Biersteker in collaboration with Italian botanist and pioneer of plant neurobiology Stefano Mancuso presents the science of inter-plant communication in two tree root sculptures. Data captured by the sensors in the room is fed into an artificially intelligent system that mimics the intelligent symbiotic relationship taking place beneath our feet. It uncovers how trees work together, warn each other, learn from each other and share nutrients. As visitors are taken into the system, they realise that the roots respond to their presence and learn from their patterns, forming a futuristic knowledge-sharing ecosystem with one central message: together we are stronger.
The visitor becomes the protagonist in the installation, Biometric Mirror by sci-fi artist and body architect Lucy McRae and Dr Niels Wouters , an action researcher in human computer interaction and digital ethics, originally commissioned by Science Gallery Melbourne. Visitors enter a spongy, temple of tech; here to worship an algorithm that observes them, psycho-analyses them and generates mathematically perfect versions of their faces, exposing both the accuracy and flaws of facial recognition algorithms. Based on an algorithm developed by Dr Niels Wouters, the work questions whether we should cuddle up to AIs promise to detect and protect, or rather distance ourselves from a system that monitors us day and night in an attempt to preserve our privacy and personal space.
Turning the tradition of wall texts on its head, Nxt Museum has commissioned Swiss artist Benjamin Muzzin and transition rooms that use a combination of projections, moving-image and text to delve further into the rigorous research and collaborative creative process behind each of the installations. These visually-led explanatory rooms exploit the power of data visualisation to communicate complex ideas effectively to a wide range of audiences.
Nxt Stage is one of Nxt Museums regularly-rotating exhibition spaces, which will also host music events, screenings and live performances. Further interrogating technologys role in human characterisation, Nxt Stage will open with Dimensional Sampling #1 , an audio-visual installation by artist and coder Yuxi Cao (James) with sound artist Lau Hiu Kong (Lawrence) exploring the rise of QR codes worldwide, especially in China where they have become an integral part of modern life, from paying for goods, to identifying senior citizens and even memorialising the life stories of the dead on tombstones.
The theme of the exhibition continues in the Nxt Lab , a space for experimentation, research and development, and home to the museums residency programme. Nxt Lab is a dynamic space that fuses art and technology to confront and respond to urgent socio-political concerns and provide a catalyst for new creative collaborations. It will open this summer with the Dutch premiere of a series of four video works by the Algorithmic Justice League , an organisation that combines art and research to illuminate the social implications and harms of artificial intelligence.
In The Coded Gaze , Poet of Code and founder of the Algorithmic Justice League Joy Buolamwini reveals personal frustrations with facial recognition technologies and the need for more equitable and accountable approaches to AI. Digging deeper into the coded gaze, the research behind Gender Shades revealed that IBM, Microsoft and Face++ were better at guessing the gender of male faces than female and especially struggled on darker female faces. The work demonstrates that automated systems are not neutral; they reflect the priorities, preferences and prejudices of those who have the power to mould artificial intelligence.
Demonstrating real-world examples of this research is a spoken word piece AI, Aint I A Woman? by Joy Buolamwini. This piece highlights the ways artificial intelligence can misinterpret the images of iconic black women: Oprah, Serena Williams, Michelle Obama, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and Shirley Chisholm. Finally, Voicing Erasure , a poetic piece recited by champions of womens empowerment and leading scholars on race, gender, and technology, questions: Is it okay for machines of silicon and steel or flesh and blood to erase womens contributions?, led by new research by Allison Koenecke.