Interactive installation assembled by robotic machines and untouched by human hands from concept to materialization.
Collateral Event of the 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia Curated by P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center founder Alanna Heiss, and selected by the Biennial’s Board and ILLUMInations Director Bice Curiger
Venezia / Arsenale Novissimo / Nappa 90
Preview: June 1 from 5 pm
Opening: June 4 from 6 pm
Outside itself was nominated by DOX Centre for Contemporary Art.
Federico Díaz, acclaimed Prague-based artist, is creating a self- replicating, site-specific sculptural installation shaped by viewer-inspired data for la Biennale di Venezia 2011 that gives new meaning to the term “going viral.” The installation, curated by P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center founder Alanna Heiss, and selected by the Biennial’s Board and ILLUMInations Director Bice Curiger, will premiere as a Collateral Event of the 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. Díaz’s outside itself project is an interactive, mathematically-programmed, robotically-produced, light-responsive installation that grows and morphs as a life force onto itself. The installation will be on view Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 6pm, June 4 through September 30, 2011, as preceded by a preview June 1 at 5pm and official opening June 4 at 6pm. Admission is free and open to the public. outside itself is being presented at Nappa 90 within Arsenale Novissimo in the northern section of the main Arsenale and is easily accessible from the Giardini. For detailed directions see below or visit www.outsideitself.org.
Imagine thousands of black spheres being created and morphing according to changes in ambient light generated by the fluid interactivity of viewers from across the globe. The balls will be fabricated and assembled by two precisely-calibrated robots into an exponentially-shifting composition. Each ball will represent an individual “photon.” Optical sensors will monitor the available light at the site, creating a data stream that reigns the robots. The surrounding light will be affected not only by the passage of time from day to night, but by the number of viewers surrounding the installation, their movements, and even the color of their clothing.
Although Federico Díaz’s installation is produced free from the touch of human hands, it will thus be completely interactive. The mathematical program enables the two robots to build and, together, arrange about 2,000 of the 5-centimeter-diameter balls every 12 hours, completing a large, continuously morphing construction over a period of several months. Together, viewers of all ages and nationalities will influence the sculpture’s ultimate form in this work of “Light” and “Nations” on the occasion of the 54th Biennale, titled ILLUMInations.
Curator Alanna Heiss comments, “Federico’s work embraces new and alternate ways of creating and communicating, and I imagine that five years from now, he will be seen as a visionary within the art world.”
The outside itself installation is an evolution of the work that Díaz created for MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) in North Adams, Mass, U.S. in late 2010. His Geometric Death Frequency-141 installation in the museum’s courtyard also consisted of black spheres that were milled and assembled by robots into the semblance of a rolling wave confined by the boundaries of a non- existent 50-foot-long, 20-foot high tank. The data used to create and position the spheres was generated from a digital photograph of the museum’s clock-tower entry. A three-dimensional rendering of the digital data, the undulating sculpture “splashed” the spheres as high as the museum’s second story. MASS MoCA Director Joseph C. Thompson aptly calls Díaz, “the ultimate shape-shifter.”
Díaz’s project for la Biennale di Venezia’s ILLUMInations takes this cutting-edge concept one step further by adding interactivity. The shape and composition of the outside itself installation will be in direct response to its immediate surroundings. Like an infinitely adaptable organism, or society itself, it will constantly reflect its environment. For Díaz, the robot is like a “stretched hand of our senses,” that extends human ability beyond the limitations of the body, in the same way that society now uses technology to simulate or stimulate experience, or to create “social networks.” Technology is relied upon to communicate and achieve what the body cannot—to go beyond, to go “outside” of oneself.
Federico Díaz lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic. He has shown in international exhibitions at institutions including: Institute of Contemporary Arts/ ICA, London, UK (2005); Royal Institute of British Architects, London, UK (2000); Algorithmic Revolution at ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany (2004); Fondation Electricité de France, Paris, France (2003); Ars Electronica Festival, Linz, Austria (2005); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2005), among others.
He has received the Milano Europe, Futuro Presente 2001 special award for his engaging Generatrix, and the Florence Biennial’s 2007 Premio Internazionale “Lorenzo il Magnifico” in the new media category for his Sakura project (2005). In the U.S., Díaz’s installation Ultra was the first presented in 2008 for the MOMA/ PS.1 exhibition at Art Basel Miami Beach. Most recently, Federico Díaz was selected to represent the Czech Pavillion at the 2010 EXPO Shanghai where he presented LacrimAu, an interactive, scensory-monitoring installation featuring a 24K gold sculpture of a human tear. Federico Díaz’s Geometric Death Frequency—141 remains on view at MASS MoCA in the U.S. through Spring 2012.
For more information about Federico Díaz and Outside Itself, or to download a detailed map and directions to the installation, please visit www.outsideitself.org.