PIONEER GRAILS: 72-HOUR OPEN NFT EDITIONS
EXPANDED.ART'S PIONEER GRAILS is a series of 72-HOUR OPEN NFT EDITIONS presenting paradigmatic artworks from key figures in the history of digital art.
UBERMORGEN (Engl.: the day after tomorrow, CH/AT/US, *1995) is an artist duo with a steady ascending worldwide presence, a synthesis of autistic actionist lizvlx (Liz Katlein, she) and pragmatic visionary Luzius Bernhard (they). The net.art pioneers, master deducers, and media hackers are widely recognized for their online activism, haute couture NFTs and websites, polarising social experiments, radical research and empathy, dark AI, nonbinary primitivism, and conceptualism.
CNN called them "Maverick Austrian Business People" during their VOTE-AUCTION online project. They reached a global audience of 500 million while challenging the FBI, CIA, and NSA during the U.S. presidential election. In 2005, they launched their acclaimed EKMRZ TRILOGY, a series of conceptual hacks: GOOGLE WILL EAT ITSELF, AMAZON NOIR, and THE SOUND OF EBAY. UBERMORGEN occupies 175 domains.
In 2021, THE NEXT BIENNIAL SHOULD BE CURATED BY A MACHINE (Whitney Museum of American Art) used AI and TikTok to catapult visitors into 64 twisted parallel universes. In 2021, they have started to challenge crypto art by creating, among others, deeply nostalgic pixel art such as THE D1CKS, hand-pixelated 1 of 1 haute couture NFTs.
Anne Spalter is a leading digital artist, creating dystopian landscapes with AI and other technological tools. She has been actively working in digital art for decades; she established the first digital fine arts courses at Brown University and RISD during the 1990s and wrote THE COMPUTER IN THE VISUAL ARTS, which is used internationally. Together with Michael Spalter, she oversees Spalter Digital, one of the largest private collections of early computer art.
In 2022, Spalter was part of MASS MoCA's alumni residency, named one of the 50 most important crypto artists by Rizzoli, participated in the SPRING/BREAK Art Show NYC and the CADAF Art Fair; and released RABBIT TAKEOVER, an NFT project that sold out in five minutes. Her 20-minute NFT video piece, THE BELL MACHINE, was acquired by the Buffalo AKG Museum in December 2022.
"I use the same criteria for technological work as any other kind: do I feel something when I look at it or engage with it?"
– Anne Spalter
7-10 NOVEMBER 2023 | 6-6 PM CET
ANNE SPALTER: WORDLESS MESSAGE (2023)
Because of climate change it is now snowing in the desert. Cats land in a UFO–what secret message do they bring?
In WORDLESS MESSAGE, the convergence of art and technology becomes a powerful tool for storytelling. The initial AI-generated composition laid the foundation, but additional rounds of AI processing as well as significant handwork in Photoshop made this artwork complete. It serves as a testament to the possibilities that emerge when we harness the capabilities of technology to explore and express complex issues like climate change.
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Geoff Davis is a generative artist who founded the Micro Arts Group in 1984 with the goal of supporting artists and making computer art accessible to the public, as inspired by the London experimental film and video scene.
Geoff Davis is an artificial intelligence researcher in the ethical use of generated text at the University of the Arts London (UAL). He has worked for the UK’s innovation trust Nesta, developed ‘eco’ buildings, and was a founding member of the UK’s Sustainable Development Commission (SDC). His fiction has been published by PEN International.
With Micro Arts, Geoff Davis released a series of computer-generated conceptual art pieces and story text generators on data cassettes and Prestel TV Teletext. Davis also provided a forum for computer artists and musicians with a print magazine, articles, and downloadable software on Micronet 800 on Prestel.
Micro Arts was revived in 2019 by the Computer Arts Archive (part of the Computer Arts Society CAS and BCS) and has had exhibitions in Leicester and London, UK.
2-5 NOVEMBER 2023 | 6-6 PM CET
GEOFF DAVIS: PIANO BAR – RED (1984)
PIANO BAR by the British artist Geoff Davis is a piece of generative computer art; it uses randomness in its design. When you watch it, you can get lost in its captivating rhythm and visuals.
The name PIANO BAR might remind you of an old-time player piano. The visuals scroll or move up the screen, building upon one another, similar to how a piano player's notes are read or how printers output information. It is also visually similar to the piano roll used for note editing in music sequencers and digital audio workstations since the 1990s. Sometimes it resembles the designs in Anni Albers' fabric art and recalls the early days of computing, when machines were inspired by weaving looms. It could reflect images of bottles on a conveyor belt in a bar or capsule magazines loading and emptying.
However, all these visual connections, including even the title, were added after the code work was created by Geoff Davis in 1984, when the piece was added to the Micro Arts MA2 Various Unusual Events collection. This collection was a set of computer art exemplars that pushed boundaries and challenged what digital art could be. It was very different from Geoff’s previous generative works that mathematically painted pixels on the screen.
"Digital art is still controversial, like old-school computer art, with the same old debates about value."
– Geoff Davis
OONA is an anonymous conceptual artist whose practice explores the intersections of technology, finance, gender, and identity. Through moving images and performance art, OONA exposes the collision between progressive technologies and socially regressive ideas, offering a critical perspective on the contemporary cultural landscape.
Born on November 1, 2021, in Vatican City, OONA has performed and exhibited internationally at venues including Art Basel Miami, The Metropolitan Museum of New York, Proof of People London, Proof of People New York, Vellum Los Angeles, and Avalanche Summit Barcelona.
OONA's performances and exhibitions have garnered critical acclaim and attention from collectors and curators. She has been featured in numerous publications, and her work is held in private and public collections.
12-19 SEPTEMBER 2023 | 6-6 PM CET
OONA: MILK & SCISSORS (2023)
The performance MILK & SCISSORS by OONA forces the audience to take control of the artist and her fate. The artist continues to use themes of domesticity to question the art world’s extraction from female artists.
EXPANDED.ART presents the performance during Berlin Art Week, 12-19 September 2023.
"OONA is never subject to the gaze; OONA forces the gaze without asking for consent, making it a near impossibility not to look."
Victor Acevedo is considered a desktop computer art pioneer, as he was an early adopter of personal computer software to create fine art in the early 1980s. Originally from Los Angeles, Acevedo studied Studio art (painting and drawing) and Art history at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (1977–1988), and then attended Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA (1979–1981). He later taught at the School of Visual Art in New York (BFA and MFA Computer Art Departments, 1997–2008). He has shown his work in over 140 group and solo art exhibitions in the U.S. and Internationally since 1982.
Starting in 2007, considering the phenomenology of synesthesia and integrating real-time video-mix workflows into his audio-visual studio practice, Acevedo initially positioned himself inside the genre called visual Music. He later coined the term Electronic Visual Music (EVM) in 2013. This was to identify his motion graphic work more accurately in the digital domain. In recent years, participating in the NFT/Blockchain marketplace has been an integral part of his practice.
His work has been acquired (among others) by the Anne and Michael Spalter Digital Art Collection; The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, as part of the Patric Prince Digital Art Collection; the Museum der Stadt Gladbeck; and the Golden Plotter archives: Computer Kunst 1994 and 2006.
29 AUGUST – 1 SEPTEMBER 2023 | 6-6 PM CET
VICTOR ACEVEDO: TELL ME THE TRUTH (1990)
"The title TELL ME THE TRUTH originally came from the emotional tension of wanting to know the truth about the diagnosis of a terminal illness. But it can also apply to contemporary politics. How democratic societies are successfully sustained with agreements on scientific truths. However, with an acknowledgement that the facts (truth) can and should be updated as humans collectively learn more and evolve."
– Victor Acevedo
Dating from Acevedo’s PC Cubicomp and paint system days, TELL ME THE TRUTH includes computer graphic artifacts like "wire-frame debris" and "brush strokes" using the software’s rectangular fill feature. The artist has even kept the accidental data slur (seen at the bottom of the picture) as part of the final composition. This happened when saving the file to a hard drive that was too full to accommodate all the new data.
"I suppose you can call it an early example of glitch art," Acevedo says.
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"In 1980, being in close proximity to the end of the 20th century, I felt like the conceptual range of analog media had run its course and this new media brought with it a wide-open frontier of possibilities."
– Victor Acevedo
Hans Dehlinger (*1939, Germany) began working with programming languages and computers in the early 1960s during his studies in architecture at the University of Stuttgart (Dipl.Ing.). He continued his education at the University of California, Berkeley (M.Arch., Ph.D.), where he also worked as an environmental planner and architect. In 1980, he became Professor of Industrial Design at the University of Kassel, Germany, where he taught until his retirement in 2004. He is a member of the informal group of Algorists.
In the early 1980s, he began to explore computers artistically, with a focus on algorithmically generated line drawings. The majority of his generative artwork is based on procedures and computer code executed on pen plotters. It thus has aspects of both electronic and physical art. The lines can form delicate structures, dense textures, or even an "unsharp" impression from sharp lines.
His work has received worldwide recognition and was shown first in Europe, later in Canada, Russia, Australia, the USA, Armenia, and China.
The works of Dehlinger are in private collections such as Spalter Digital and in museums such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Block Museum of Art in Evanston, Illinois.
15-18 AUGUST 2023 | 6-6 PM CET
HANS DEHLINGER: YELLOW TREE (2001)
“I studied architecture in Stuttgart. Max Bense lectured in what was then known as the Studium Generale. I don't believe something like that exists anymore. People from all kinds of faculties gathered there. It was really exciting. There were no exams like in statics, building law, design, and so on. It was about questions concerning the art form of concrete poetry, which was fashionable at the time, about the types of language that might be used there, and about the more general question of when something is art. When does something stop being art?
Bense's answer, very briefly: Avoid the term art altogether. The term art is far too loaded, Bense said. Therefore, introduce the term 'aesthetic event.'
The design of YELLOW TREE comes down to just three decisions: the design of a piece of code that makes use of randomly generated, but somehow predefined, polygonal lines; a color for the object generated; and a color for the background. In my opinion, it is the strictness and simplicity of this setup that are of interest for its qualification as an ‘aesthetic event.’”
– Hans Dehlinger
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"Don't let circumstances distract you. By all means, keep going. Engage in deep conversations with like-minded people."
– Hans Dehlinger
Lee Mullican (1919-1998) was a modernist painter best known for his linear palette knife technique. In the mid-1980s at the age of 67, Mullican began working with UCLA's Program for Technology in the Arts to explore how this signature painting style might translate to the emerging digital imaging technology of the day. Mullican started working with the IBM 5170, equipped with the Truevision Advanced Raster Graphics Adapter (TARGA), and a Summagraphics Summasketch stylus to experiment with painting and drawing on a computer.
Replacing his brush and signature palette knife striations with a clickable mouse and pen-like stylus, Mullican was able to merge the late Surrealist method of automatism with the computer's instant and precise replication of marks.
He stated, “I found that beyond what one thought, the computer as being hard-lined, analytical, and predictable, it was indeed a medium fueled with the automatic, enabled by chance, and accident to discover new ways of making imagery.”
Mullican’s works can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.
31 JULY – 3 AUGUST 2023
LEE MULLICAN: MUT-3-2.TGA (COMPUTER JOY)
In the 1940s, painter Lee Mullican began to receive acclaim for his layered abstractions. Upon returning from service in World War II, where he served as a cartographer and graphic artist, Mullican developed a technique of using a printer's knife to create three-dimensional ridges of oil paint atop a flat painted ground; he referred to these marks as striations. Through the implementation of this striation technique, Mullican created captivating works that exude depth and energy.
In collaboration with the Estate of Lee Mullican.
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"I found that beyond what one thought, the computer as being hard-lined, analytical, and predictable, it was indeed a medium fueled with the automatic, enabled by chance, and accident, discovery of new ways of making imagery."
– Lee Mullican
Claudia Hart leverages simulation technologies to collapse the false binaries between human and avatar, artificial and real, mind and body. With a background in architecture and writing, Hart emerged in the 1990s as part of a generation of new media artists exploring issues of identity and representation. Drawing on computing, virtual imaging, and 3D animation technologies, Hart weaves together topics from art history, philosophy, and cultural studies to explore themes of feminism, embodiment, and temporality through symbolic poetics that stitch onto real-world politics.
Born and based in New York, Hart (b. 1955) earned her BA in Art History from New York University (1978) and her MS in architecture at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture (1984). From 2018 to 2022, Hart taught the graduate seminar at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).
Her work is held in the collections of notable museums and institutions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum, New York; the National Gallery, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; the Albertina, Vienna; and various private collections.
3-6 JULY 2023
CLAUDIA HART: GIRL+BOY AVATAR (FROM ALICE UNCHAINED)
GIRL+BOY AVATAR from ALICE UNCHAINED by Claudia Hart is released as part of the PIONEER GRAILS on the occasion of her solo exhibitions at EXPANDED.ART in Berlin and at Annka Kultys Gallery in London to celebrate and share her visionary spirit.
GIRL+BOY AVATAR is on the cover of the fourth edition of DIGITAL ART (Thames and Hudson) written by Christiane Paul, Curator of New Media at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Paul’s book is considered to be the canon of digital art history; the first edition was published in 2003, the fourth edition in May 2023.
The image portraits a gender-fluid avatar performing in the FLOWER MATRIX, Harts personal interpretation of Alice’s Wonderland: an endless labyrinth from which there is no escape. Hart covers the wall of her matrix with emojis using the addictive symbols of casino capitalism and computer languages, both sweet and disturbing. GIRL+BOY AVATAR is a metaphor for contemporary life in the age of the metaverse as Hart imagined it in the year 2018.
"What seems to be shared is a desire to reinvent art from scratch. I did not feel this in any way. In fact, it was my mission to do the opposite. I wanted to expand contemporary art. To connect the past to the present. To connect the dots."
– Claudia Hart
Heinrich Heidersberger (1906–2006) was a photographer. Just like his medium of choice, which gradually changed from a medium of documentation into a medium of art during the course of the 20th century and was marked by introspection well into the 1970s, he continually called his work into question. Heidersberger transcended the technical restrictions with inventiveness and skill, and openly examined the conflict between free and artistic work.
He devoted himself to the claim of embracing a new, contemporary way of looking at things early on in his work. Some very early impulses undoubtedly date back to the time he spent in Paris. From 1928 to 1931, he studied painting there and experienced what he termed as a "sign of fate" when he purchased a used wooden camera at the Marché aux Puces, which later led him to discover the world of photography.
Heidersberger's efforts to convey contemporary expression are also testimony to the vision of the modern arts to unite function and aesthetics, economic, technical and social aspects. He decided in favor of a picture language and practice that utilized the new technical opportunities available and actively shaped them as well. Consequently, he has earned the title of master of the modern age par excellence.
27-30 JUNE 2023
HEINRICH HEIDERSBERGER: ANDROMEDA
Heinrich Heidersberger's black and white RYHTHMOGRAMS were created between 1953 and 1965 as design elements for a mural in a technical college. He developed the RYHTHMOGRAMS from simpler to increasingly complex, almost deconstructivist forms, some of which were created using photographic techniques such as reversal and solarization. Color was the next logical step. The archive contained colored foils measuring 6 x 6 cm, which Heidersberger assembled into five colored rhythmograms between 1960 and 1970.
Finally, in 1973, Heidersberger screen-printed two color RYHTHMOGRAM posters (ANDROMEDA and ENERGY) in black-light active neon colors that were marketed internationally and were particularly successful in London.
Heidersberger also received recognition from artistic circles. Jean Cocteau, for example, was impressed by the relevance of his work. It was very early on that the Frenchman bought a RYTHMOGRAM as a birthday present for Picasso.
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"Heidersberger’s admirable RYTHMOGRAMS are proof that chance does not exist for the poets. Or better yet, give it a different name.
The link of man and machine seems to be a sign of our time."
– Jean Cocteau, 1962
HERBERT W. FRANKE
Herbert W. Franke (1927-2022) was a pivotal figure in bridging the gap between art and science. He was a scientist, author of science fiction, curator, mathematician, physicist, and speleologist. He was a co-founder of Ars Electronica in 1979. Franke has been called "the most prominent German science fiction writer" by Die Zeit, and a "great storyteller" by the FAZ. As a writer, he has been a pioneer of virtual worlds since 1960. In addition, he pioneered cave research with the dating of stalactites, with which he was also able to reveal significant information about climatology since the last ice age.
He began experimenting with generative photography in 1953, used an analog computer in 1954, and the first mainframe computers for his abstract algorithmic art in the 1960s and 1970s, before beginning programming himself in 1980 with one of the earliest Apple IIs.
Franke has consistently explored new territory with analytical methods and the assistance of machines for over 70 years, looking into the future of digital art until he arrived in the metaverse as an artist and curator in the early 2000s.
His first NFT Drop MATH ART was sold out within 30 seconds, he was the headliner at the Tezos Booth at Art Basel in 2023 with a work from 1979. In 1970, Franke was represented at the Venice Biennale and showed a screen print of the series SQUARES created with a computer. Herbert W. Franke died on July 16, 2022, at the age of 95, leaving behind an extensive oeuvre.
HARRY YEFF & TRUNG BAO
Harry Yeff and Trung Bao are two of the world's leading vocal experimentalists today, both utilising an almost inhuman vocal range. As artists they have collected hundreds of vocal techniques from around the world, which informs their knowledge and deep appreciation of the incredible nuance that VOICE GEMS capture.
Their voice-centred performance and artworks have generated a global following amassing over 100,000,000 views and a global portfolio of arts and institutional partners. Exhibiting VOICE GEMS at Miami Art Basel 2022, Davos 2022, PROOF OF ART Francisco Carolinum in Linz
29 MARCH - 1 APRIL 2023
VOICE GEMS ASTROPOETICON (DESTINATION IN UNCERTAINTY)
In 2021, Herbert W. Franke and Harry Yeff started a conversation about the concept of VOICE GEMS and an audio-visual collaboration. Franke suggested using the lyrics of ASTROPOETICON because they are a minimalist and associative approach to language that could have been created by an AI. These lyrics were frozen as gemstones, the VOICE GEMS ASTROPOETICON, created by Herbert W. Franke, Harry Yeff, Trung Bao, and an AI. (The first three 1/1s have been minted and collected in 2021.)
The lyrics used for the VOICE GEMS ASTROPOETICON (DESTINATION IN UNCERTAINTY) belong to a cycle of 16 poems called ASTROPOETICON. Written by Franke in 1979 to be published in a book alongside artworks by German space artist Andreas Nottebohm, he voiced them on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 2007.
Presented by EXPANDED.ART in collaboration with art meets science – Foundation Herbert W. Franke and ELEMENTUM.ART on the occasion of Herbert W. Franke’s solo show CODED BEAUTY at EXPANDED.ART in Berlin. The art meets science – Foundation Herbert W. Franke will use their portion of the sales for a designated purpose: translating significant texts by Herbert W. Franke to English and making them publicly available.
"Herbert W. Franke loved the beauty of nature and its structures. He was a collector of gems like crystals, stones, and stalagmites. So you can imagine that being able to see spoken words frozen in a gemstone was very intriguing for him."
– Susanne Päch