Daniel Rozin, Descent With Modification
Reception: Wed, May 27, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Artist Talk: Sat, May 30, 4:00 PM
bitforms gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition with Israeli-American artist Daniel Rozin. Descent With Modification marks his first display of interactive sculpture at the Lower East Side location, and his seventh solo exhibition at bitforms gallery, since 2002. Merging the geometric with the participatory, Rozin’s installations have long been celebrated for their kinetic and interactive properties. Grounded in gestures of the body, the mirror is a central theme of Rozin’s practice. In his art, surface transformation becomes a means to explore animated behavior, representation, and illusion.
The exhibition features six installations that are shaped by Darwin’s breakthrough writings on evolutionary biology, particularly “On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection” from 1859. Marked by a new visual emphasis on the mechanism of descent with modification, Rozin’s works are algorithmically based on the randomness of genetic drift. The pieces also use humor as they synthesize notions of the wild with image complexity, pattern, and dynamic behavior. As a group, they further Rozin’s longstanding investigation of modernist principles, and probe the terrain of artificial life.
Central to the exhibit are four software art installations that Rozin developed over a period of five years. In these works, programmed “evolutionary pressure” pushes the artworks to resemble the viewer’s mirrored image. Engaging the viewer with interactive response, each piece positions the site of the audience differently, and varies the formal properties of line, luminosity, and tempo, as screen-based pictures are built improvisationally.
The largest work in the exhibition, Penguins Mirror is an installation scattered on the floor and comprised of 450 motorized stuffed animals. Reductive in palette, yet baroque in behavior, it performs an absurdly homogeneous system of movement. Playing with the compositional possibilities of black and white, each penguin turns from side to side and responds to the presence of an audience. As they perform, the penguins’ collective intelligence is puzzling, yet somehow familiar, as the plush toys enact a precise choreography rooted in geometry.
PomPom Mirror is similarly anthropomorphic, and features a synchronized array of 928 spherical faux fur puffs. Organized into a three-dimensional grid of beige and black, the sculpture is controlled by hundreds of motors that build silhouettes of viewers using computer-vision. Along its surface, figures appear as fluffy animal-like representations within the picture plane, which is made permeable by a ‘push-pull’ forward and backward motion of meshed ‘pixels’. Ghostly traces fade and emerge, as the motorized composition hums in unified movement, seemingly alive and breathing as a body of its own.
The screens for this exhibition have been provided by PLANAR.