new installations & sculpture
Golan Levin debuts interactive artworks at bitforms gallery in New York.
November 30, 2007 – January 12, 2008
bitforms gallery is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition by artist Golan Levin. Known for his work in audiovisual performance and interactive software art, Levin presents five intimate new works at bitforms gallery. A rare opportunity to experience Levin’s work firsthand, this exhibition will conclude with an artist’s talk at the gallery on 12 January, 2008 at 4:00 PM.
Levin’s new works signal a shift in his interests toward spectatorship and the human gaze as a means of activating visual art experiences. The performative behavior and imagery in many of the new pieces is constructed from the artworks’ own history of being observed. Ultimately envisioned as systems of feedback, these works play with the sights and vision of an art audience and are intended to be experiential. Responding to each viewer’s unique body, face and eye movements, these works connect individually with each participant.
Two of the pieces exhibited specifically use eye movement as a real-time interface that impacts Levin’s visual compositions. Creating a typographic tapestry of recursive observation, Eyecode records and replays brief video clips that are articulated by the duration between two blinks. Responding to a viewer’s gaze with a variety of psychosocial behaviors, the Opto-isolator features an solitary mechatronic blinking eye, at human scale, peering behind a black veneer. Among other forms of feedback, this artwork looks its viewer directly in the eye; intently studies its viewer’s face; looks away coyly if it is stared at for too long; and blinks precisely one second after its viewer blinks.
A synaesthetic abstraction of the gravity within negative spaces, the Interstitial Fragment Processor collects and drops contoured forms inside a picture plane. Soft red and blue animated objects sink toward the gallery floor, producing a sonic improvisation of vertical decent. Temporal composition in this work operates in response to viewers’ shadows cast on the gallery walls.
Using framing that is similar to a mugshot, Reface (Portrait Sequencer) is surreal video mash-up that focuses in on three horizontal sections of a viewer’s head. Based on the popular parlor game, “Exquisite Corpse”, this work composes endless admixtures of the personalities and genetic traits of its visitors. The kinetic portraiture in this work engages a sense of humor and narrative invention.
Ghost Pole Propagator captures and replays the “skeletons” of passersby in its environment, creating a layered and dynamic tapestry that reflects the history and activity of a locale. Presenting a universal communication of presence, attitude and gesture, the stick-figures this artwork generates are compact and expressive means of representing the human form.
Golan Levin‘s (b. 1972, New York) work combines equal measures of the whimsical, the provocative, and the sublime in a wide variety of online, installation and performance media. He is known for the conception and creation of Dialtones: A Telesymphony, a concert whose sounds are wholly performed through the carefully choreographed dialing and ringing of the audience’s own mobile phones, and for interactive information visualizations such as The Secret Lives of Numbers and The Dumpster, which offer novel perspectives onto millions of online communications. Levin’s other recent performance and installation projects use augmented-reality technologies to create real-time, multi-person visualizations of their participants’ speech and gestures.
Levin’s work has been exhibited in the 2004 Whitney Biennial; the New Museum of Contemporary Art; the Kitchen; and the Neuberger Museum; Ars Electronica Center, Linz, Austria; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan; NTT InterCommunication Center (ICC), Tokyo, Japan; and the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany, among other venues. Public commissions include the Tate Modern online and artport at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Levin’s funding credits include grants from Creative Capital, The New York State Council on the Arts, the Rockefeller MAP Fund, The Greenwall Foundation, the Langlois Foundation, and the Arts Council of England. Levin received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the MIT Media Laboratory, where he studied in the Aesthetics and Computation Group. Presently Levin is Associate Professor of Electronic Time-Based Art at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also holds courtesy appointments in the School of Computer Science and the School of Design.