Our Top 10 Articles of 2016

In 2016 POSTmatter relaunched and published our first ever online issue. Taking a look back over the many conversations we’ve had this year, here are ten reads we still can’t get enough of.

1. What's In A Rave

Endless videos of marathon sets and euphoric performances can now be found online in carefully archived music videos, grainy VHS rips and shaky handheld footage. In an extraordinary personal essay on virtual memory, Nora Khan spoke to musicians Evian Christ and Lee Gamble about the powerful nostalgia of these digital archives. Ranging from reflections on Mark Leckey's iconic Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore to Craig David's comeback, they explored the deepening mythology of the rave and its resonance today, commissioned as part of our New Mythologies issue.

 

2. Mix: Voiski

French DJ Voiski discussed his hybrid approach to making music, one that means he is at home in the multiple roles of photographer, artist and producer. Melodies are most often composed by him either on the plane or on the road, and it is some of this more introspective vision that he brings to the dancefloor. He put together a techno mix exclusively for POSTmatter in partnership with SHAPE, an EU-funded platform for innovative music and audiovisual art.

 

3. Take a Trip to New Dimensions with Manfred Mohr 

The digital art pioneer opened up about his creative process with Associate Editor Helen Longstreth, looking back at his investigation over five decades into the role of algorithms in representing human experience. Since the 1960s, Mohr has used computer programmes to build uniquely visualised musical scores, translating his love of jazz to new digital dimensions. His parting words of wisdom: “Whenever one person has an idea, it is just a matter of time until this idea is realised. As crazy as it might sound today, tomorrow it will be there.”

 

4. Fossils of the Future

In the wake of recent political events, it is more clear than ever that, as media theorist Jussi Parikka explains in this interview, that “technology and communications are stunningly effective ways of modifying, manipulating and trickstering the world of things we see and things we don’t.” In this long-read, the Professor in Technological Culture & Aesthetics at Winchester School of Art, based in Istanbul at the time of writing, talks about his work reshaping our understanding of supposedly new and emerging media cultures by narrativizing our long-time attachment to the underground and deep time.

 

5. Who are we each performing for?

Even in an era of ever-advancing technology, Japanese virtual popstar Hatsune Miku’s performance at Berlin’s CTM festival earlier this year was a surreal sight to behold. Beamed as a hologram into the auditorium, the live piece was the culmination of a two-year collaboration between artist Mari Matsutoya, Laurel Halo, Darren Johnston, Martin Sulzer and LaTurbo Avedon. Under their direction Miku, first created as the blue-haired mascot of a voice synthesizer software, reveals a self-reflective understanding of her own relationship to the humans and machines that govern her. In her exploratory review and interview with the artists, Hannah Gregory addressed the conflicting forces at play here, and finally conjured the imaginary, sorrowful voice of Miku herself. Don’t miss the performance when it comes to London’s Barbican in February 2017.

 

6. Standing Out From the Crowd

Alan Warburton works with CGI technology to not only build new and imaginary worlds, but to question our own one. Premiering his new project ‘Primitives’ on POSTmatter’s Instagram, in this accompanying interview he talks to Associate Editor Melissa Ray about his experimental use of crowd simulation software and the subsequent discoveries he has made about the commercial movie and advertising industries. This interdisciplinary artist, animator and conceptualist whose artwork and critical insight on cutting edge software technology is building an astute commentary on art, motion graphic design and contemporary culture is one to watch.

 

7. Show and Tell

In this essay for our New Mythologies issue, Orit Gat takes a conceptual look at the submarine cable map, which plots the very material past, present, and future of global connectivity. Arguing for the importance of having a visual language with which to resist the notion that information travels via abstract clouds in the sky, she explores the role of contemporary art and looks to the sea as a subject present throughout art history in the work of artists from Caspar David Friedrich to Trevor Paglen.

 

8. This Artist Paints Masterpieces With Code

Back in May, when flowers were still in bloom and sunlight lasted beyond 4pm, we featured a series of abstract simulated watercolours that mimic the familiar forms of flora and fauna. These kaleidoscopic digital paintings are the work of KYND, the Japanese designer, engineer, animator and illustrator who majored in oil painting and is now traversing the already blurred lines between the digital and the physical with computer generated renderings of traditional creative tools. Speaking to him in partnership with WeTransfer, his explosive colourscapes were featured as the backdrop to file transfers everywhere.

 

9. The Long Progress Bar 2016

Arriving on the heels of the Brexit result but before Trump’s America had become a reality was Lighthouse’s one-day festival of radical imagination in which artists, activists and academics alike came together to answer to the question ‘What is progress?’ The day included screenings of video works by Kate Cooper, Sam Rolfes and Lawrence Lek; talks from artist Roger Hiorns, Novara Media’s Ash Sarkar and philosopher Nina Power; and DJ sets from NKISI, Gaika and Yon Eta. As media partner to The Long Progress Bar, we produced a roundup of practical ways to enact progress in our communities, as imagined by the lineup.

 

10. Dance With The Virtual Version of Yourself

The worlds of dance and digital collided when the Prague-based creative duo Mária Júdová and Andrej Boleslavsky took part in the Rambert Dance Company’s four-month Sprint residency. Meeting at the midpoint of the collaboration, we found out how they were achieving their aims of enhancing and extending the possibilities of the body as it moves between physical and digital space by testing out a number of prototypes. From interactive installations in which the dancer see herself in an augmented mirror to a virtual reality experience that seemed to detach the viewer from her own body, this was an exercise in developing an entirely new perspective of movement.

 

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