From July 29 to August 12 the “Pond Battery” art video by Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits is included in “From Matter to Data: Ecology of Infrastructures” online screening series at post.moma.org. "From Matter to Data: Ecology of Infrastructures" is an online film and video art screening series which places at its forefront the role imaginaries and realities of infrastructures play in works by several generations of artists and filmmakers from post-socialist countries. Organized and programmed by Lukas Brasiskis and Inga Lāce this series presents a selection of 15 works that will be made available in three parts from July 29 till September 9 on post, The Museum of Modern Art’s online resource devoted to art and the history of modernism in a global context. Each part of the series will be introduced by critical texts and followed by online discussions with the artists.
In post-1989 East-Central Europe many of the artists have drawn relations between socialist industrial and architectural projects, biopolitical engineering and natural environments. Furthermore, in recent years, a number of artists from the region have started to focus on immaterial infrastructures, such as networks of servers, cloud computing, and data mining sites, revealing otherwise obscured ideological impact and environmental damage they exert. By foregrounding the complexity of selected works, the series seeks to highlight how certain ideas concerning retrospective as well as contemporary environmental and social challenges migrate through the region, sharing a lot in common, yet being impacted by different cultural and political contexts.
Works by both emerging and acclaimed video artists and filmmakers presented in this series of screenings attempt to reconfigure the linear time positing infrastructures as confounded by a future utterly different from that which the narrative of the socialist progress once promised. They call to experience human-made material and immaterial agents as indexes of environmental oppression and provide a chance for an eco-critical reflection of the infrastructures emphasizing entanglements of anticipation and retrospection.
The screening series are divided in three parts: “Energy: Ideology, Capital and Data”; “Specters of Socialist Architecture” and “Past’s Futures: Anthropocene or Capitalocene”. The screening series starts with “Energy: Ideology, Capital and Data”, screened from July 29 to August 12. In the films of this section the artists question and reflect on the role of infrastructures of energy in regard to the control of societies, wealth distribution as well as geopolitical policies — all seen within the framework of ecological thinking. This part also includes the demonstration of the “Pond Battery” art video by Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits.
“Pond Battery” video visualises the electrical energy generated by MFC (Microbial Fuel Cell) in outdoor conditions during seven month time period from September 2014 to March 2015. Work is a part of Biotricity project series an ongoing art and science research project, exploring dynamics of local ecosystems for envisioning the renewable future networks. Recorded Internet camera images and data from the fuel cell monitoring during the seven month long observation period are now interpreted into time lapse video, complemented by a sound composition.
Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits are internationally acknowledged artists and cultural innovators, who work at the intersection of art, science and emerging media. They are co-founders of RIXC Center for New Media Culture in Riga (Latvia), curators of it annual festival, and editors of Acoustic Space publication series. They also work as researchers and educators in Latvia and Europe; and currently they are visiting lecturers at MIT Art, Culture and Technology Program in Boston. In their artistic practice, Smite and Smits work together as artist duo, creating networked and visionary artworks. Their pioneering internet radio “Xchange” project received PRIX Ars Electronica (1998). Their more recent artworks, such as “Talk to Me” – human-plant communication project, and “Biotricity” – sonic experiment series with “bacteria electricity”, have been exhibited in HeK in Basel, Ars Electronica in Linz, National Science and Technology Museum in Stockholm, Van Abbe Museum for Modern and Contemporary Arts in Eindhoven, ZKM in Karlsruhe, MIT Center for Theoretical Physics in Boston, Venice Architecture Biennial. Smite & Smits have received The Excellence in Culture Award (2017) from Latvian Ministry of Culture. Their artwork “Swamp Radio. Fluctuations of Microworlds” (2018) was nominated for Purvitis Przie in Visual Arts of Latvia in 2019; recently another of their artworks was nominated for Purvitis Prize - one of their most recent atworks "Atmospheric Forest" was nominated for Purvitis Prize in 2020.
APART collective, Ieva Epnere, fantastic little splash, Flo Kasearu, Saodat Ismailova, Krzysztof Maniak, Angelika Markul, Deimantas Narkevičius, Bahar Noorizadeh, Oleksiy Radynski, Emilija Škarnulytė, Rasa Šmite and Raitis Šmits, Sophia Tabatadze, Krassimir Terziev, Ivar Veermäe
This film program is co-organized with the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Lithuanian Culture Institute and Lithuanian Cultural Attaché in New York, Consulate General of Estonia in New York, Polish Institute, and Consulate General of the Slovak Republic in New York.
Images for press can be found here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1sH9XnAzRzLFzdg0lDXIEwa8BhFU3ueD_
Direct link to the screening series: https://post.moma.org/environment-data-ecology-infrastructures-screening/
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