CAN 2018 – Highlights and Favourites

As 2018 comes to a close, we take a moment to look back at the outstanding work done this year. From spectacular machines, intricate tools and mesmerising performances and installations to the new mediums for artistic enquiry – so many great new projects have been added to the CAN archive! With your help we selected some favourites.

For the full list of all projects published in 2018, click here. For previous years, see 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017.

→ Readers’ Choice

As is the case every year, picking the ‘best’ is hard if not impossible, as each of them has driven the conversation in their own unique way. Here are only some of the projects you voted for most.


9. Putting The Pieces Back Together Again
– Ralf Baecker

Putting The Pieces Back Together Again is an artistic investigation and meditation about complex systems and scientific methodology. Consisting of 1250 stepper motors arranged in a two dimensional grid, each motor in the installation moves in a random direction, sometimes intersecting and reversing direction, producing emergent constellations and behaviours. Read More.
[/two_columns_one] [two_columns_one_last]

8. Proteus
– Maria Smigieska and Pierre Cutellic

Proteus project is an analog digital display that allows for interacting with matter. It is an experiment on the modulation of ferrofluid patterns controlled by both magnetic field and robotic interface. Read More.
[/two_columns_one_last] [divider]


7. Future Flora
– Giulia Tomasello

Questioning our notions of wellbeing to develop innovative tools in the intersection of medical and social sciences, Giulia Tomasello investigates the potential of biotechnology and living materials, proposing a biological and sustainable alternative for electronic textiles and more. Read More.
[/two_columns_one] [two_columns_one_last]

6. Dökk
– fuse*

Dökk (‘darkness’ in Icelandic) is a live-media performance by fuse* and the natural evolution of Ljós (‘light’). Dökk is about a journey throughout a sequence of digital landscapes where the perception of space and time is altered. Read More.
[/two_columns_one_last] [divider]


– fuse*

“Multiverse” is yet another audio-visual installation by fuse* that draws inspiration from these concepts and, through the creation of a sequence of digital paintings, generated in real-time, attempts to represent the eternal birth and death of infinite parallel universes. Read More.
[/two_columns_one] [two_columns_one_last]


OPENRNDR is a tool to create tools. It is an open source framework from RNDR (ex LUST) for creative coding for Kotlin that simplifies writing real-time interactive software. Read More.
[/two_columns_one_last] [divider]


3. Horror Vacui
– Matteo Zamagni

‘Horror Vacui’ is a non-narrative film that explores geological formations of Earth and the frenetic hyper-development attained by humankind. The work reflects upon the alienation from nature as well as the act of perceiving, and the biased interpretation of the notion of ‘reality’. Read More.
[/two_columns_one] [two_columns_one_last]

2. NORAA (Machinic Doodles)
– Jessica In

‘Machinic Doodles’ is a live, interactive drawing installation that facilitates collaboration between a human and a robot named ‘NORAA’ – a machine that is learning how to draw. The work explores how we communicate ideas through the strokes of a drawing, and how might a machine also be taught to draw through learning, instead of via explicit instruction Read More.
[/two_columns_one_last] [divider]

1. Narciss
– Waltz Binaire

‘Narciss’ is a robot that uses artificial intelligence to analyse itself, thus reflecting on its own existence. Comprised of Google’s Tensorflow framework and a simple mirror, the experiment translates self-portraits of a digital body into lyrical guesses. Read More.

→ Editors’ Choice

Choosing ten favourites from many noteworthy projects unsurprisingly leaves many great works unchecked. In addition to our reader selects, we recommend giving the following seven projects – or thorough articles – a(nother) look:


Melting Memories
– Refik Anadol Studio

‘Melting Memories’ is a series of digital artworks that explore materiality of remembering by offering new insights into the representational possibilities of EEG data collected on the neural mechanisms of cognitive control. Read More.
[/two_columns_one] [two_columns_one_last]

Face Trade
– Matthias Dörfelt

‘Face Trade’ is an Art Vending Machine that dispenses unique prints of computer generated face drawings. Instead of paying with money, buyers trade a mugshot that is taken on the spot in order to be permanently stored in the Ethereum Blockchain, consequently turning the transaction into a semi-permanent Face Swap. Read More.
[/two_columns_one_last] [divider]


The chAIr Project
– Philipp Schmitt, Steffen Weiss

‘The chAIr Project’ is a series of four chairs created using a generative neural network (GAN) trained on a dataset of iconic 20th-century chairs with the goal to “generate a classic”. The results are semi-abstract visual prompts for a human designer who used them as a starting point for actual chair design concepts. Read More.
[/two_columns_one] [two_columns_one_last]

Weather Thingy
– Adrien Kaeser

‘Weather Thingy’ is a custom built sound controller that uses real time climate-related events to control and modify the settings of musical instruments. It consists of a weather station, a custom built controller and has 3 climate sensors that transform climatic data into midi data interpreted by the instruments. Read More.
[/two_columns_one_last] [divider]


Making Data Matter
– Mediated Matter (MIT Media Lab)

Developed by the team at the MIT Media Lab’s Mediated Matter research group, the ‘Making Data Matter’ research demonstrates multimaterial voxel-printing method that enables physical visualisation of volumetric data. Read More.
[/two_columns_one] [two_columns_one_last]

Objective Realities
– Automato

‘Objective Realities’ is an installation and performance that explores the idea of how does it feel to be an object in a smart home. It includes a series of VR experiences that change the perspective from a human point of view to the one of an object, inviting users to see and act in a virtual smart home with the capabilities and limitations of a specific object and listen to the invisible chatter that happens between networked things and the home. Read More.
[/two_columns_one_last] [divider]

– Kimchi and Chips

‘HALO’ is a new installation in the series of works by the Seoul based Mimi Son and Elliot Woods where light is sculpted to create form that exists between material and immaterial. The installation is comprised of over 100 motorised mirrors spread across two 4-metre-high towers and one 15-metre-long track that move in line with the sun throughout the day and redirect the sun rays to draw a halo, formed entirely of natural light and floating in mid-air made visible by fine water jets in the cloud of mist. Read More.

→ Collaborations

Here is just a small selection of events and organisations we’ve collaborated with this year. While much is planned for 2019, here is how we’ll remember the 2018!


Deep Learning: CAN co-hosts Mapping LAB at Mapping Festival 2018
Read about out collaboration with the Mapping Festival for the Mapping LAB – a one-day educational program we curated that included 13 workshops run by leading artists, designers, and researchers in our field.
[/four_columns_one] [four_columns_one]

Inventing the Future at MUTEK_IMG
While we’ve collaborated with MUTEK in a number of capacities over the years, the recent 4th edition of MUTEK_IMG was the first time we curated a portion of their program. We devised a series of five panels around pressing aesthetic and sociopolitical questions. In total, we invited two dozen artists, educators, curators, and critics from North America, Europe, and Asia to participate, and the resulting two days of sharing and discussion were illuminating.
[/four_columns_one] [four_columns_one]

A-B-Z-TXT 2018
No one else explores text and language quite like our favourite summer typography school. From August 23-26th many joined us in Toronto for a symposium and three-day masterclass at the artist-run centre InterAccess. This edition’s masterclass was be led by the formidable combination of Jürg Lehni, Mindy Seu, and Jon Gacnik!

[/four_columns_one] [four_columns_one_last]

Whilst we are busy with the work on HOLO 3, take another look at our 236 pages strong, second issue that ponders the prominence of randomness, tours residency programs at research hotspots like CERN, and encounters seven luminaries such as Vera Molnar and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

[/four_columns_one_last] [divider]

Thank you – the readers, members, and a global community of artists and designers – for another great year of discovery!
Happy New Year! 🎉


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.