By Levi Michaels
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The international art exhibit “Machinarium” opened on Sunday, July 14th, bringing the works of seven technology-based artists from five different countries to Oi Futuro in Ipanema. The installation explores the dichotomy of man and machine through a variety of visual media, including video, photography, projections, robotics and x-rays.
Brazilian art critic Marisa Flórido has curated the inaugural opening of Machinarium, which occupies two floors of the cultural center Oi Futuro located at Rua Visconde de Pirajá, 54 – until Sunday, September 8th. Flórido selected the seven artists for their common interest in the artificial body and its links to human emotion.
The first floor of the exhibit features works from three artists, including Steve Miller’s x-ray photographs of extinct animals, Marta de Manezes’ video projection of CAT scans taken during different actions, and Cris Bierrenbach’s x-ray photographs of the human body with sharp instruments inserted.
On the second floor, visitors will find Joseph Nechvátal’s simulation of a virtual virus ‘eating’ images, Herwig Turk’s video of DNA sequences projected onto an operating table, and Marta de Manezes’ ‘DNA clouds’ placed in glass.
Other works include Monica Mansur’s Silêncio/Endophilia, which combines video projections of vocal chords speaking the word ‘silence’ with images of the human colon injected with methylene blue, and Guto Nobrega’sBOT-anic, which features hybrid creations of plants with robotic systems that allow them to move around freely.
For Flórido, the machines displayed in the exhibit demonstrate human feelings and desires, terrors and pleasures. “They reflect the attraction between the sexes, the power relations between men, between man and myth, and between the man and the stranger that inhabit creator and creation alike,” she writes.
“Their mechanics resonate with eroticism, the potential of creation and destruction, the power of control, the servitude and rebellion of man and his automaton, with reason and nonsense, religious beliefs and anxieties of finitude.”
The selected artists include three Brazilians, Cris Bierrenbach of São Paulo and Monica Mansur and Guto Nóbrega from Rio, as well as four internationals: Joseph Nechvátal from Chicago, Steve Miller from New York City, Austrian national Herwig Turk, and Marta de Manezes from Lisbon.
“From the earliest cave paintings of men chucking spears at game to the great pyramids to the corpus of Leonardo Davinci and the virtual artists and life hackers of today, technology and art have had a crucial and important symbiotic relationship,” said Daniel Arnaudo, a visiting fellow from University of Washington who works in information technology. “[Machinarium] looks like a cool exploration of how this synergy exists today, and where it may be headed in the future.”
The exhibit is located in Oi Futuro in Ipanema (there is also one in Flamengo), a “social responsibility institute” funded by the communications company Oi with the intention of employing new technologies of communication and information in the development of projects in education, culture, sports, environment and social development.
The exhibit is open Tuesday through Friday from 3PM to 9PM, and Saturday and Sunday from 2PM to 9PM. Entrance is free to the public.
What: Machinarium art exhibit
Where: Oi Futuro, Rua Visconde de Pirajá, 54 – Ipanema
When: July 14th – September 8th, Tuesday – Friday: 3PM-9PM, Saturday – Sunday: 2PM-9PM