Curator Kelsey Halliday Johnson presents the exhibition Making/Breaking the Binary: Women, Art, & Technology 1968-1985, surveying a generation of pioneering female artists and relating their work to the technology innovators who helped shape the information age. The exhibition will include visual artists such as Jennifer Bartlett and Lynda Benglis, and video and media art pioneers Sonia Landy Sheridan, Joan Jonas, Lynda Benglis, Shigeko Kubota, and Dara Birnbaum. To accompany the exhibition, Johnson will create a reading library that will place these artists into direct dialogue with a broader history of women in technology, with the aim to “further the scholarship of technology and art surveys in which women are under-represented or not contextualized in the field of their peers,” Johnson says. Featured technologists include Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer; Katherine Johnson, NASA’s “human computer;” Mary Allen Wilkes, inventor of the operating system; and Rebecca Allen, the first Emmy Award-winning computer animation artist; among others.
Fall 2016 – proof-of-concept performance
Mid-2017 – pilot version performed
Drexel University’s Frank Lee, PhD, the founder of Drexel’s Entrepreneurial Game Studio who is known for bringing grand visions to reality, most recently on the Cira Centre office building, and Adrienne Mackey, director of Swim Pony Performing Arts, and an adjunct professor in Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, are planning the spectacle, called “War of the Worlds: Philadelphia,” with support from the William Penn Foundation.
The project mixes game play with site-specific live performances around a narrative that the city must prepare for an impending alien attack. Over the course of several months, Philadelphians will have to work together to decipher clues and perform tasks that will protect areas of the city that are deemed vulnerable to alien attack.
Participants will interact with the game online and in-person, requiring players at home and on the streets to solve puzzles, perform, and interact with elements of the game that will be visible throughout the city. In doing so, the players will unite around a shared experience while exploring and connecting with new regions of the city.
Just as Wells’s first-person narrative gave readers a front seat to the invasion, and Orson Welles’s 1938 radio rendition sent listeners into a frenzy, Lee and Mackey’s interpretation is meant to elicit a visceral reaction that mobilizes a broad group of participants. It merges play and theater on a massive scale representing a unique theatrical experiment in which game players become performers and have the opportunity to change the outcome of the game.
A digital installation, Blueprint embraces the relationship and parallels between art and science, creating compositions through the mathematical principles of logic that underpin life.
Exploring analogies between DNA and computer code, UVA have created the Blueprint series; works that pair genetics and code as the blueprints of artificial and natural systems. As the work slowly changes over time, patterns fluctuate between varying degrees of complexity. Blueprint uses the basic concepts of evolution to create an ever-transitioning image. With cells literally transferring their genes to their adjoining others, color flows like paint across the canvas.
Drawing up a unique colorful composition every minute, Blueprint presents the unlimited outcome that results from a single algorithm or a single set of rules.
It is currently on display at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It’s too fragile to operate so videos near the exhibit show it in action.
This Automaton, known as the “Draughtsman-Writer” was built by Henri Maillardet, a Swiss mechanician of the 18th century who worked in London producing clocks and other mechanisms. It is believed that Maillardet built this extraordinary Automaton around 1800 and it has the largest “memory” of any such machine ever constructed—four drawings and three poems (two in French and one in English).
Automata, such as Maillardet’s Automaton, demonstrated mankind’s efforts to imitate life by mechanical means—and are fascinating examples of the intersection of art and science.