Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia rethinks art and machine

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Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia rethinks art and machine
Jim Campbell, Motion and Rest #5, 2002, Custom electronics, 768 Red LEDs, 22 x 29 x 1 inches, Courtesy of Jim Campbell Studio.

HALIFAX.- RAM: Rethinking Art and Machine, an exhibition that explores the humanization of machines, opened in Halifax on January 17. It celebrates the leadership of five international artists -- Angela Bulloch, Jim Campbell, Manfred Mohr, Alan Rath and Daniel Rozin - who were among the twentieth century pioneers of this work. Their use of electronic technology, light, graphics, robots, and sound translate their personal visions in ways that enthrall the viewer.

“This exhibition is an excellent opportunity to see some of the history and recent accomplishments of internationally recognized new media artists,” said Ray Cronin, Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. “The artists of the RAM exhibition have paved the way for younger artists in their field, and have inspired people around the world with what we can accomplish creatively through technological advancement.”

RAM is comprehensive in scope: it includes historical works of computer art dating back to the 1970s through a series of mini-retrospectives and culminates in the Canadian debut of the artists’ current projects. Bridging the traditional gap between the artistic and technological disciplines, these innovators show how computers can translate human expression.

The artists represent a wide range of approaches and ideas, with artworks that are both striking and technically innovative. As a whole, the exhibition shows the origins and evolution of new media art.

“Amid the sometimes dizzying progress of technology today, we can easily forget a basic, but crucial point: technology, by itself, is neutral. The exhibition RAM shares the artists’ use of machines as tools of expression and communication, much like paintbrushes. And like paintbrushes, technology works best when sparked by human inspiration,” said Marla Wasser, curator of RAM and president of Pursuits, Inc.

Artists turn to technology because they’re inspired by their surroundings, and today’s landscape is populated by screens and machines. Art is a creative record of its era, and artists help us understand our own time. While technology is often viewed as cold and neutral, RAM: Rethinking Art and Machine presents a new visual appreciation of our increasingly technological world. This interactive exhibition is fun, inspirational and educational, and promises to offer a surprising source of warmth in the Canadian winter.

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