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This weekend, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Arts (UCCA) debuts “Immaterial Re-material: A Brief History of Computing Art,” presented with support from Baidu and Fondation Guy & Myriam Ullens. On view through January 17, 2021, the exhibition features a group of over thirty international artists whose works outline a narrative on the past, present, and future of computing art.
The exhibition aims to establish the field of computing as its own artistic language, paying homage to the 1985 exhibition of Jean-François Lyotard, “Les Immatériaux,” a groundbreaking presentation incorporating advanced telecommunications technology. With the help of curators Jérôme Neutres and Ara Qui, the UCCA has selected about 70 works that encompass digital art produced through computer algorithms and generative function, dating back to the early days of the medium in the 1960s.
As “Les Immatériaux” noted how modern tools that create art have the dual ability to cause damage, “Immaterial/Re-material” explores the origins of the art form in order to offer an informed projection of its possible future. Across sections like “Pioneers of Computing Art,” “Generative Art,” “AI Art-lab,” and “Illusions and Disillusions of the Post-digital Era,” is work from digital art pioneers and those who have grown up with digital technology.
“Immaterial Re-material: A Brief History of Computing Art” covers a range of topics and media within the digital art spectrum, including interactive, generative works, creations made by Artificial Intelligence, and digital reconstructions of art history, to name a few. Of note are pieces like Refik Anadol’s video work Machine Hallucinations-NYC Fluid Dreams, a simulation by John Gerrard entitled Flag (Amazon), and Vera Molnar’s 1981 plotter drawing Hommage à Monet. Also on view is work by artists Quayola, Lu Yang, Michel Bret, Edmond Couchot, Memo Akten, Manfred Mohr, Harold Cohen, Fei Yining, Elias Crespin, Wang Yuyang, Alan Rath, Frieder Nake, and Yang Yongliang.