Sounding the Body Electric – art, cybernetics and electro-acoustic music in Eastern Europe in the 1960s

    Neo-Constructivist, light and kinetic art, cybernetic design, concrete and electro-acoustic music were fields of high creativity and experiment in Eastern Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. Seizing the opportunities presented by the relaxation of political control of the arts after Stalinism and exploiting the new official encouragement given to cybernetics, electronics and computing, … Continue reading

Electric Birdsong

The University of Brighton Gallery is currently hosting a retrospective exhibition of the work of German sound artist Peter Vogel. Spindly frames dressed with transistors and capped with speakers eschew monumentality or anything as straightforward as a message. They are like electronic pets which respond to the presence of people. When a viewer casts a … Continue reading

A spectre haunts the world and it is the spectre of migration

This review appears in Frieze, November 2011. ♦ In recent years Studio Formafantasma – Italian designers, Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin – have made a number of journeys into the past to excavate the meanings which traditional and even ‘lost’ materials and techniques can possess. Their ‘Botanica’ (2011) series of lamps and vessels, for instance, … Continue reading

Any colour .. as long as it’s black

Warsaw’s Museum of Modern Art – in its temporary location of a socmodernist furniture store – is, appropriately enough, hosting an exhibition by German designer Konstantin Gricic. The works on display do not come from the drawing boards of his Munich studio: Grcic here takes on the role of curator. Like his Serpentine Gallery show … Continue reading

Boiling the City

At the Łódź Design Festival last weekend, I saw this exercise in data visualisation and sonification. Culling data pulled from one of the major Hungarian news sites –www.origo.hu, Kitchen Budapest’s animation tells you something you already know, that the capital dominates the country. One in four Hungarians live in the Budapest metropolitan area. At 30 … Continue reading

Machines Should Work, People Should Think

IBM commissioned Jim Henson, later the hand behind the Muppets, to make a film promoting the MT/ST, an early word processor. Like other IBM promotional films including Charles and Ray Eames’ ‘The Information Machine’ ten years earlier, ‘The Paperwork Explosion’ promised that these labour-saving devices in the office would liberate their users to engage in … Continue reading