Generative Art Conference :: Brigid Burke

13 – 15 December 2006, Milano Italy

The Ninth Generative Arts Conference at the Politecnico di Milano University Milano, Italy bought together a comprehensive collection of International architects, academics and a sprinkling of independent artists. I feel fortunate thanks to ANAT to have been part of the Festival, which provided a fantastic eye opening experience into Generative Art.

The Conference included three days of presentations from over forty participants, ten exhibitors of Artworks and posters (and DVD/VHS Video, Generative Robots and Hardware, Installations, Art/Design Web Sites, CD-ROM, Interactive Environments, Musics, Slide projections, Video-Music Generations, Movies, Generative software…) in the exhibition hall close to the conference hall and the coffee break point. The GA2006 Performance Festival included an event in two evenings on the Thursday and Friday that included a sequence of five multimedia performances. I performed on the Thursday evening to an appreciative audience who gave me much positive feedback at the conclusion.

GA06 aimed to perform the idea of process. The three days were filled with a series of events, artworks, industrial objects, architectures, music, environment, communications, software and hardware devices, and discussed these issues as recognizable by creative concepts. The other side was the GA06 focused on the identity of progress, the recognition of each possible generated event, the complexity of contemporary objects, spaces, communications and music.

The Festival was opened by Professor Celestino Soddu who later spoke on Generative Design been the logical synthesis of a creative process using transformation rules (algorithms). He discussed in much detail the creative processes having two main factors involved the unpredictability of the environmental context and the clients request also the link of subjectivity of designers when they interpret these external factors. He also concluded that the “…Generative Approach can be successful used in teaching architectural design as subjectivity-oriented approach..’

The lectures were held in a modern lecture theatre with state of the art facilities. The studio facilitated about 50 –100 participants always in attendance. The atmosphere was relaxed and gave many opportunities for artists and researches to discuss the subjects on hand. As an independent artist and not really affiliated with any institution or company gave me another perspective and the pros and cons of what many of these participants were researching.

There were many architect researchers who spoke through out the conference including Alsdair Turner from the UK who examined the ectomorphic design of the theatre. He compared many different generative techniques to create the theatre. He used “…An ecomorphic theatre as a case study for embodied design’ An interesting presentation on the same lines was The Ultimate Cathedral by Mordechai Omer and Avi Rosen where Avi spoke about the developments throughout history of cathedrals from the prehistoric era to the Pyramids, radio and television stations, up to the cyberspace era. That icons represent our history and the existence in the ultimate cathedral is the continuous artistic act of a self-reflective hyper-subject.

Andre Rangel Macedo from Portugal presented a short innovative and energetic performance/lecture. The reactive piece presented was seen on video projection, under the control of a video sign analysis system that covered potentially all of the projection areas. Andre as the performer created real time images that were numerical data driven which resulted in generative design which created an esthetical reflex “… if someone reacts intuitively to an audio or visual event, a closed circuit is created in which the music and movement slowly unify themselves…”

Dr. Daniel Biseg gave the highlight of the conference for me in two papers, from Zurich, Switzerland in collaboration with Dr. Tastsuuo from Tokyo, Japan. The projects are somewhat related in that the Media files: video and audio files and life are remixed and realized in an interactive multi agent system. They engage in flocking and behaviour synchronization resulting in the material continually changing and fragmenting. The second project went into great detail how Flocking Messengers and how it is used as a “…real time communication tool which utilizes a technique from artificial life to allow remote persons to speak to each other….”.”…One of the essential aspects of the system is its complexity. The behaviour of the system is unpredictable because it combines a flocking simulation with acoustic and visual simulation….”

Jon Bird gave two informative and interesting papers from Sussex, UK. He and his colleagues spoke about Net work: Lessons from collaboratively designing an interactive artwork and Evolving Fractal Drawings. These were both very interesting papers about research into these fields of robotic creativity.

The opening concert on the Thursday evening showed us the variation in quality works been produced throughout the world in Generative Art community. My personal favourites were Green Daises ” by Mark Rudolf from Copenhagen, Denmark This work was well-crafted and integrated superficial and audio samples of daisy images into surreal green landscapes. The last work on the program “Drawings” by Prof. Antony Viscardi from Pennsylvania, USA adapted a series of architecture drawings on thick tracing paper and showed short film excerpts of a dancer moving in and out of the long sheets of his hand drawn pencil drawings suspended from the roof. There was some beautiful interplay between the drawings and performer. My performance that evening of “Illuminated” a series of compositions using clarinet, live and pre-recorded electronics, improvisation and visuals (DVD)was performed to a full house that had much activity and excitement.

On Friday evening the final concert was opened with a highlight of the performances with a well-crafted work by Ge-Suk Yeo entitled Iigob sorigori – a cycle of seven sound poems. This composition had a great sense of balance and strength from the all components, it was a cycle of seven sound poems combined and sung on voice with electro-acoustic sounds and a video projection. The music was based on onomatopoetic words spoken in different languages. “….This work can be considered as a surrealistic radio drama or minimalistic opera with slowly moving visuals based on sound calligraphies….” The presence of the soloist captivated the audience with her surreal, moving performance and understanding of the musical style of the work. The following two works failed to captivate me in both style and coherency of performance skills and innovation, which was a shame.

My visits to Art Galleries in particular two exhibitions The first at the Museum of Musical Instruments of the Castello Sforzesco, the second eight rooms of the work of Tamara de Lempicka at the Promozioni Natale. The many architecture landmarks of Milan were just as inspirational also the fashion (almost overwhelming) was inspiring All these events will enhance my professional development in this field of art.

This rich experience in Milan of performing and been challenged artistically by other academics, architects and like minded artists led me to hear an array of cultural differences in many fields that I would not associated with electronic arts also to see the advancements across so many traditions in such a short three days. I would also like to thank Prof. Celestino Soddu Chair of Generative Art Conferences Director of Generative Design Lab and countless support team for there great effort in entertaining and making the participants feel welcome in Milan, also for the evenings, parties and wonderful pizza, coffee and wine they organized in the breaks daily, and the conversations on the state of electronic art and culture.

I went to the festival with an open mind. The exposure to cross cultural influences in electronic art was most exhilarating leaving me with much inspiration that has already effected my work.

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