New + Historic works from the digital art frontier at Luminous Flux v2.0
August 16, 2015
Luminous Flux v2.0 features technological artwork spanning over 50 years in Santa Fe NM.
Alan Rath often embeds video of his wife’s eyes within his electronic sculptures, as in Electric Eyes. Her pupils behave with frenzy, as if malfunctioning. Captured on two LCD screens, and encapsulated within a transparent tube like a specimen, the gesturing eyes communicate a loss of control, even anxiety. Since the mid-1980s Rath has produced many variations of these disembodied eye sculptures, which have become signature objects in his widely recognized career. The electronic eyes are a commentary on the dangers of human-machine co-evolution. “We are cyborgs already,” said Rath in a 1998 interview with SFGate. “Our consciousness is fundamentally altered because we grew up in an artificial environment.” Rath does not seem to embrace the relentless power of technology in our lives, even if it is “a reflection of the people who make it,” he concluded. Despite the dystopian view, Rath manages to eek out a bit of humor in his pseudo-robotic artwork.
Alan Rath (America, born 1959) Electric Eyes, 2014 Acrylic, Delrin, Nylon, FR-4, custom electronics and LCD monitors 8 x 21 x 8 inches
Luminous Flux v2.0 is on exhibition through Spring 2016
The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation maintains a growing collection of computer, light-based and electronic artworks from pioneering experimenters and contemporary innovators in the field of digital art. The group exhibition Luminous Flux v2.0 features technological artworks spanning over fifty years, illuminating the diverse creativity of this progressive art genre. Luminous Flux v2.0 is the second iteration, and a refresh, of our original exhibition at Art House, an exhibition space in Santa Fe, New Mexico, dedicated to sharing works from the Thoma Foundation collections.
The earliest works in the exhibition, drawings from the 1960s by Desmond Paul Henry, made use of a pre-digital, analog computer. The artistic impulse to collaborate with machines continued through the 1970s with Jean-Pierre Hébert’s precisely coded algorithmic drawings, and into the present as digital media becomes more ubiquitous and complex. A special focus of this exhibition is how artists create images and visual experiences in the digital age. As many of these artworks heighten or alter perception using new technologies such as LEDs, custom-built circuits and the virtual world within the computer screen, it can be said that artists invent new ways of seeing.
The title and concept of Luminous Flux derives from physics; it is the measure of light energy, or brilliance, perceived by the human eye from a light source. The exhibition adapts this term in order to highlight the interactive experience of engaging optically stimulating artworks. In other words, the artwork is complete when a viewer experiences it.