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With this first-ever exhibit of its kind, the Stroom Center for the Visual Arts is focusing international attention on Information Design as a newly emerging discipline and art form. The exhibit will open at the gallery of the Stroom Center in The Hague, in The Netherlands on January 25, 2000 and is first to present information design as public art in a major gallery. The exhibit "InfoArcadia" will run until April 22nd, 2000 and will include 21 designer-artists from 6 countries.
For more information on the exhibit see | InfoArcadia Press Release
EXHIBITION (JANUARY 25, 2000 - APRIL 22, 2000)
2511 BN Den Haag
phone: 31 70 3658985
Ronald van Tienhoven
Da Costakade 158
+31 20 6853853
Maarten de Reus
1019 WZ Amsterdam
+31 20 7772348
Exhibitors and Designers
ROBERT E. HORN (USA)
For five years, Bob Horn worked with three students on a large scale project called "Can Computers Think?". The title is based on a quote from the mathematician Alan Turing who claimed in 1950 that machines would one day be able to think like humans. The project resulted in seven large posters that describe the debate concerning the development of artificial intelligence by means of flow charts: a claim leads to a rebuttal which leads to a counterrebuttal. The 7 posters contain over 800 important moves in the debate made by 380 participants worldwide from more than 10 academic disciplines, and integrated with over 300 illustrations and 60 photographs. The posters look like the production systems of a nuclear reactor, but on closer inspection reveal a world of information. With this large project Horn wants to prove that the marriage between language and image is an effective way of disclosing complex information, which he describes in his recent book, Visual Language. <http://www.macrovu.com/> or <http://www.stanford.edu/~rhorn>
PAUL SLOVIC, PSYCHOLOGIST (USA)
In 1987, the American psychologist Paul Slovic researched Risk Perception, or how do we calculate danger and how realistic are our thoughts on the subject? Slovic's statistical research--which involved 81 dangers to be evaluated by 34 respondents who had to give 15 opinions on each of these dangers--resulted in 40,000 assessments. These were converted into a so-called Cognitive Map of Risk Perception. This diagram consists of a field with four poles on the ends of an X- and Y-axis. The four poles are "old, known risk with immediate effect" (eg. dynamite) versus "new, unknown risk with delayed effect" (eg. DNA-technology), and voluntary, not dreaded risk (eg. caffeine) versus involuntary, dreaded risk (eg. nuclear war). For the InfoArcadia exhibition, Slovic's diagram was redesigned by the Dutch graphic artist Jeroen Barendse and printed on a large floor carpet. Thus the usual decorations found on oriental carpets are replaced by the statistical poetry borne out of Slovic's survey.
MATT MULLICAN (USA)
A square plane, divided into four horizontal bands of red, black, blue and green, and a yellow square in the middle. When you click one of the planes, symbols appear. Seemingly simple, they hide a complex system of references that Matt Mullican has developed with monomaniac precision since the seventies. His works are no depiction of reality, but form their own model for a cosmology, with an amalgam of universal and personal symbols and images ranging from cheap American comics and photographs from human bones to complex virtual spaces designed by the artist himself. The spatial structure of a website or CD-Rom seems tailor-made for him. Mullican's CD-Rom was first presented during the last Documenta exhibition in Kassel in 1998.
AD REINHARDT (USA)
In 1946, Ad Reinhardt published his first tree drawing in a series of satirical comics entitled, "How to look...", followed fifteen years later by a second drawing in which he again takes a close look at the modern art scene in America. In this series, Reinhardt takes on his self-imposed role as "Official Thorn in the Art World's Flesh" against the critics of abstract art, at first purely didactically but growing ever more vicious. Meanwhile the painter Reinhardt developed into the most extreme representative of the l'art pour l'art-principle. Between 1953 and his death he made two hundred black paintings; from 1960 onwards all in the same format.
MARTIN DODGE - CYBER GEOGRAPHY RESEARCH (GB)
There is a new Terra Incognita and it's called the World Wide Web. Humanity has added a new world to the existing one, and despite the fact we made it ourselves, we only know it approximately. It's not surprising that a new generation of geographers his risen whose passion matches that of Ptolemy or Mercator. These cyber geographers are attempting to chart the web by all means available today. The Englishman Martin Dodge, connected to University College in London, has occupied himself with cataloging cyber geography for years. His website is a treasury of the most pregnant examples, both in historical and topical context. His webzine Cyber-Geography Bulletin critically follows recent developments. <http://www.cybergeography.org/>
In 1996 the virtual Internet World Exposition (IWE'96) took place on the Internet. The structure of the exhibition was based on traditional World Expositions in which land and theme pavilions take a prominent place. The Japanese theme pavilion was partly designed by Sensorium, a mixed company of interface and information designers, graphic designers, musicians, writers and representatives of other disciplines. After IWE'96 the staff of Sensorium wanted to continue this collaboration. The anthropologist Shinichi Takemura plays a central role within this the Tokyo-based collective. The Internet projects by Sensorium are simple and evocative. In "Night and Day," the world reveals itself by means of a circle of 24 web cams, that are each placed within one of the global time zones. Night slowly glides across the earth, draping darkness over everything, including the web cams on the night side of the earth. This simple fact can induce a remarkable and intensified experience, both in the physical and metaphysical sense. With a project like "Night and Day," Sensorium manages anywhere in the world to generate images that transgress time, place, and culture. <http://www.sensorium.org/>
ARMAND SCHULTHESS (SWI)
In 1942 the former official Armand Schulthess bought a 2 hectare parcel of forest near Auressio in the Swiss district Tessino. In 1951 he moved to the small house located on this plot. During the next two decades he developed an encyclopaedic cosmology on his small estate, or to use the words of the German curator Harald Szeemann, a "written cosmos". Thousands of paint bucket lids, cardboard sheets and other objects were decorated with hand written or typed propositions that were mainly copied from encyclopedias, works of literature and professional journals. Over the years the trees in Schulthess' forest were decorated with these propositions, that were hung on branches and connected with wires. The two pavilions in the InfoArcadia exhibition have walls consisting of a semi-transparent nylon wire mesh on which black-and-white photographs have been printed. Schulthess' work is InfoArcdia 'Avant La Lettre'.
STEPHEN MCSWEENEY AND THOMAS MOORE (IRELAND)
In 1998, Stephen McSweeney and Thomas Moore adapted R.D. Laing's The Bird of Paradise to an audiovisual installation. They filmed 80 video fragments of 40 seconds, each having one central character. McSweeney and Moore called their interpretation of Laing's text a "hypermedia adaption." By means of two pressure sensors the visitor is capable of selecting two scenes of the 80 film fragments offered. Each fragment shows a scene from the perspective of one of the characters. Because the viewer can decide which is the central character in the foreground, he can to a degree control the structure of the scenario.
BERNHARD CELLA (AUSTRIA)
In 1995 the Austrian artist Bernhard Cella presented his project 'Jahrbuch Kunst Österreich'. During the previous two years Cella collected all official announcements of art exhibitions in all nine of Austria's provinces. He arranged these announcements in different ways, such as the nature of the works, the sex of the artist, group or solo exhibitions, and the scale of the city's where the event took place. These facts were incorporated into a series of prints and a book. Then the prints were exhibited simultaneously in all of Austria's provinces. The mapping of the actual state of affairs in the Austrian arts thus became a subject in itself. Cella's tables are part of a long tradition of such data-representations. On the other hand, silk screen prints hold all the representational values of a traditional work of art. The work is executed in an almost heraldic color scheme. Gold, red and silver not only lend a feudal glamour to the series, they also refer to the golden period of Gustaf Klimt. The first thing you see is ornamental abstraction, and only on closer inspection do the color fields reveal their information.
JOUKE KLEEREBEZEM (NL)
Jouke Kleerebezem coined the term InfoArcadia. In 1998 he participated in the VisionPlus 4 Information Design Conference in Pittsburgh organized by the Carnegie Mellon University. For InfoArcadia he wrote Design Equals Information/Republic of Attention, an essay which speculates on the new parameters that the new information era imposes on the concept of design. This essay describes, not without irony, InfoArcadia as a 'utopic circumstance of pure meaning and complete communication.' A project about information design could not wish for a more appropriate banner. <http://www.ciw.net/D=I/index.html> or <http://www.ciw.net/inf0Arcadia/index.html>
TJEBBE VAN TIJEN (NL)
A wooden box with two handles that can be used to unroll a long cibatrans document with information placed on a light box. Scroll down, would be the modern term. This work looks antique at an exhibition on contemporary information design. Tjebbe van Tijen, artist, archivist and curator of collections, uses seemingly unusual interfaces to present the information he has collected. Still, in his view, the computer screen is nothing more than a contemporary version of the parchment roll, with the same unpractical limitations. Van Tijen illustrates how using principles from the past can make you see past and present with different eyes.
ORIGIN MEDIALAB (NL)
Origin Medialab is a small business in an enviable position: it's activities take place on the borderline between university and regular IT-company. This is why, contrary to other commercial enterprises, a lot of time can be invested in innovative research into the field of artificial intelligence, information technology and multimedia. One of the most fascinating products of Origin Medialab is the Aqua Browser, a dynamic search system that is not only able to unlock information in a visually attractive manner, but also has the capability of adapting to the wishes of its user. This allows a more flowing exchange between information and user than the browser technology that controls today's information technology marketplace. One of the first companies where the Aqua Browser proved useful was the Public Library in Eindhoven. The database of the library was unlocked by means of words or titles that drift up from the virtual space of the computer screen. If the user clicks on one of these words, it seems to float towards him, while at the same time in the background other words drift to the surface.
PAUL MIJKSENAAR (NL) AND PIET WESTENDORP (NL)
Directions for use, signposting and a mental map seem to be each other's exponents. The first is a tool when handling something new, the second helps us to determine our course, and the third is a reflection of the subjectivity of our perception. These three phenomena are the beacons in the sphere of activity of Paul Mijksenaar and Piet Westendorp. Both are affiliated with the department of design at the Technical University of Delft. Paul Mijksenaar is also director of 'buro Mijksenaar', a design studio in Amsterdam. Together they are the authors of the recently published 'Open here: the art of instructional design.' This book combined with the German designer Daniël Gross Mijksenaar's and Westandorp's collections of so-called mental maps and manuals were selected and put on two CD-Roms that are shown by means of two LCD projectors.
DOUWE DRAAISMA (NL)
In the essay that the cognitive psychologist Douwe Draaisma wrote for InfoArcadia he bridges the gap between the first anatomical manual in history that was true to nature, and the latest developments in the field of visualising the human anatomy. The first is the 'humanis corporis fabrica' by Andreas Vesalius from 1543, the latter is the MRI brain scan. Jan Stephan van Calcar, the artist employed by Vesalius, required nothing more than pen and paper. MRI-technology requires the generating of powerful magnetic fields and the arithmetic of fast computers. Both claim to be true to nature. Modern scans and antiquarian anatomical plates have conquered a place in our collective visual memory and give us an idea of things we cannot see.
YURI ENGELHARDT (NL)
InfoArcadia is a visual place. In one way or another, each contribution to this exhibition deals with the problem of presenting information in a visual way. There is obviously a large number of different ways in which concepts can be translated into visual artifacts. Some of these visual techniques have developed due to advances in computer technology, others can already been found on archaeological objects from ancient cultures. Recently Yuri Engelhardt has developed a visual grammar in which a great variety of different theories of visual representation can be linked and compared. His contribution to this exhibition is in its own right a visual representation of this work in progress. Aided by the graphic artist Niels van der Sluis, Engelhardt developed a new graphic interface which visualizes the grammar he developed in an effective, yet beautiful way.
SCHIE 2.0 - JAN KONINGS (NL), TON MATTON (NL), LUCAS VERWEIJ
Mercator's Blind Spot is a project typical for the approach of Schie 2.0. It aims to deconstruct the Mercator projection--the accepted two-dimensional representation of the world--which is used in atlases and maps. Schie 2.0 simply shifted the North Pole to the center of the earth, which has a devastating effect on the depiction of the rest of the world. The dogma of the Mercator projection is shown as it is: a distorted interpretation of the world that by its common acceptance has the appearance of the truth. Presented on two monitors, "Mercators Blind Spot" shows the visual and theoretical background of their contribution to InfoArcadia.
JORINDE SEIJDEL (NL)
In the course of the exhibition an essay by the dutch publicist and writer Jorinde Seijdel will be added. She will play the role of "token visitor', but by all means a visitor with a superbly sharp mind. <http://www.mediamatic.nl/whoiswho/seijdel/index.html>