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CAN 2019 – Highlights and Favourites

As per tradition each year, December is when we look back at the amazing work published on CAN. From ingenious machines and installations to mesmerising experiences that leverage new mediums for artistic inquiry – we added scores of projects to CAN’s archive in 2019. Here are some highlights.

For previous years, see 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011.

Cover image was created with Processing, using 500 images scraped from CAN’s 2019 archive of projects. Using a gradient background and a blurred ‘2019’ type, images were arranged according to their average brightness and matched to the position of gradient pixels. You can see the animated version here or download the project here. Based on Dan Shiffman’s ‘Obamathon’ – source code and tutorial can be found here.

→ Most Viewed

We never pick the ‘best’, as each project has driven a conversation in their own unique way. In the past we let you vote for your favourites but that turned out to be about who has the most loyal friends on social media :) Instead, here are some of the projects you visited the most.

9. Displuvium
– Fragmentin

Displuvium is an artistic research that examines the human desire to control our natural environment, particularly meteorological phenomena. The installation, developed with Designer Renaud Defrancesco, takes the form of a pool filled with water and placed directly on the ground. Read More.

8. Hertzian Landscapes
– Richard Vijgen

Hertzian Landscapes is a live visualization of the radio spectrum. It includes a digital receiver to scan large swaths of radio spectrum in near real-time and using Three.js visualises thousands of signals into a panoramic electromagnetic landscape. Read More.

7. Anti-Drawing Machine
– S. Kwon, H. Kedia and A. Prakash

Anti-Drawing Machine project explores possible alternatives of how we engage with robots today—instead of purely utilitarian and precise, Anti-Drawing Machine is a robot that can be whimsical and imperfectly characteristic. Read More.

– Semiconductor

HALO is a large scale immersive artwork which embodies Semiconductor’s ongoing fascination with how we experience the materiality of nature through the lens of science and technology. Read More.

5. 100% Chair
– Radical Norms

100% Chair is an exploratory project speculating on on the near future where humans and smart machines live, learn and work together. The project explores a design processes that consider Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) as a collaborator and a stakeholder. Read More.

4. Alt-C
– Michael Sedbon

Alt-C is an installation that uses electricity produced by plants to power a single board computer mining a cryptocurrency. The project questions our relationship to ecosystems in regards to networked technologies and abstraction problematics. Read More.

3. Aguahoja
– Mediated Matter Group

Aguahoja I is project/installation that is digitally designed and robotically manufactured out of the most abundant materials on our planet—the very materials found in trees, insect exoskeletons, apples and bones.. Read More.

2. Alias
– Bjørn Karmann and Tore Knudsen

Alias is a teachable “parasite” that is designed to give users more control over their smart assistants, both when it comes to customisation and privacy. Read More.

1. BIY™ (Believe it Yourself)
– Automato

BIY™ – Believe it Yourself is a series of real-fictional belief-based computing kits to make and tinker with vernacular logics and superstitions. Read More.

→ Editors’ Choice

Choosing nine that have received most attention leaves many great works unchecked. In addition to our web-stat selects, we recommend giving the following seven projects – or thorough articles – a(nother) look:

OpenDataCam 2.0
– moovel

OpenDataCam is a open source tool to quantify the world. It consists of a camera attached to a mini computer that is running an object detection algorithm that counts and tracks moving objects. Read More.

Lieux Ordinaires (Ordinary Places)
– Anouk Zibault

Lieux Ordinaires (Ordinary Places) is a project that explores new narratives of public space framed by surveillance – an alternative perspective and a medium with a power to ‘document’. Read More.

Blackberry Winter
– Waltz Binaire

Blackberry Winter is an investigation into the possibilities of identify motion as a continuous walk in a latent space of situations. The work is a triptychon of artificial human motion in asymmetry comprised of three different choreographies of human bodies and their ongoing neural relationship in reference to each other. Read More.

Artificial Arboretum
– Jacqueline Wu

Artificial Arboretum is a project exploring the preservation, study, and public display of “photogrammetrees” found in Google Earth. The collection includes a range of diverse species harvested from their rendered world using the same tools and techniques that created them. Read More.

Open Highway

Open Highway is a real-time light installation visualising highway vehicles at a scale of 1:1 from the Leidsche Rijn tunnel over the A2 highway in Utrecht. The installation itself consists of 14 eleven meter long light bars whose shape and placement corresponds exactly to that of the two-times three lanes of the highway. Read More.

Algorithmic Drive
– François Quévillon

Algorithmic Drive is an interactive installation and performance inspired by inspired by autonomous cars and dash cam compilations. The work plays with the tension generated by confronting the technologies used by mobile robotics with the unpredictable nature of the world. Read More.

Self-Choreographing Network
– Mathias Maierhofer and Valentina Soana

Self-Choreographing Network is a project aiming to challenge the prevalent separation between (digital) design and (physical) operation processes of adaptive and interactive architectural systems. The system features both a physical instance and a corresponding digital twin that continuously augments physical performances based on Processing simulation feedback informed by Arduino controlled sensor data from the robotic joints. Read More.

→ Member Submissions

Thank you all for submitting your projects this year. Here is a small selection of some of the amazing Member Submissions we’ve had!

– Errazuriz, Herrera, Fuentes, Dominguez

TAMI (Tangible Mathematics Interface) is an interface that facilitates the learning of the basics of trigonometry. Comprised of a tabletop display and a series of physical controllers, users can manipulate mathematical parameters and see the results on-screen in real-time. Read More.

Data Art

Commissioned by PingAn Technology, EMERGE designs and builds interactive experience, aiming to make the data touchable and memorable. Utilizing realtime rendering & creative programming tools as design medium, the installation is driven by particle simulations, where data is transformed and visualized with natural change of particle behaviors. Read More.

– TehranPlatform

Wellograph is a temporary installation exhibited in 8th Tehran Annual Digital Art Exhibition, part as an installation and part as a performance. It uses a mobile drawing machine to turn layers of data into 120*120 cm drawings through a durational performance. Concentrating on environmental issues, the set of data chosen to be represented was the number and location of wells around disappearing lakes of Iran. Read More.

– Rexy Tseng

90×200 is an installation that dramatizes the emotions of frustration, anxiety, and delirium through mechanical movements. The work is inspired by the artist’s own experience of being bedridden because of a serious infection. It stages the internal state of push-and-pull with a ghost body accompanied by stale and repetitive machine noises, signaling a symbolic sickness of contemporary living by automation. Read More.

– Leonardo Amico

Scout is our idea for bringing trust in the Smart Home. A device that monitors and displays the online communications of connected objects in real time, and allows to react on any suspicious behaviour by sending the manufacturer a legal request of explanation about the data they collected. Read More.

Crystallisation of Thought
–Living Spirits

Crystallisation of Thought is an installation exhibited in i Light Singapore 2019 (the bicentennial edition) to visualise the beauty of the thinking process behind an innovation with interactive light show and game. Read More.

→ Collaborations

Here is just a small selection of events and organisations we’ve collaborated with this year. While much is planned for 2020, here is how we’ll remember the 2019!

CAN co-hosts Document #1 at UAL’s Creative Computing Institute
Earlier this year, CAN joined forces with UAL CCI to kick off a new CAN-curated event series examining new forms of cross-disciplinary art and design practice. Entitled Document 1., the inaugural event took place March 11th–13th at the UAL’s Camberwell College of Art in London and was comprised of a workshop, seminar, and a symposium.

Fusing Theory and Practice at MUTEK’s Twentieth Anniversary Edition
While we’ve collaborated with MUTEK in a number of capacities over the years, the recent 20th anniversary edition of MUTEK_IMG was the second time we curated a whole portion of their program. We devised a series of three panels alongside corresponding workshops around pressing aesthetic and sociopolitical questions.

Exercises in visual audio and deviant electronics: CAN to host 12 workshops at Mapping Festival 2019
Read about out collaboration with the Mapping Festival for the Mapping LAB – a one-day educational program we curated that included 12 workshops run by leading artists, designers, and researchers in our field.

Whilst we are busy with the work on HOLO 3 (yes, still ;), please 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.

Further Reading

We publish many posts every year and they are not always projects but deserve just as much attention. Here are some notable articles you might have missed or you may want to revisit.

SFPC Spring 2019 Student Showcase
SFPC tutors Celine Wong Katzman and Taeyoon Choi reflect on yet another successful session at the artist run school in New York. SFPC Fall 2019 Open Call is live now!

Intersections – The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry Celebrates its 30th Anniversary
In October CAN headed to Pittsburgh to toast the 30th Anniversary of The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. The event was accompanied by “Intersections,” a dynamic group exhibition showcasing many of the anti-disiciplinary works produced within the labs. Here, we review the show and share details about various included works.

Sensorium Festival 2019: The Augmented Mind and Where to Look For It
From the inventions of computing pioneer Douglas Engelbart to the philosophies of Andy Clark and David Chalmers: curator Philo van Kemenade reveals what inspired the 2019 edition of Bratislava’s Sensorium Festival (June 7-9).

Elektra XX – Transcending the Machinic Body
In Elektra’s 20th year common themes from throughout the history of the festival of machinic bodies and digital transcendence are explored in depth and pushed to their extremes.

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

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