NEAT: New Experiments in Art and Technology

“Each wave of art and technology starts with a real or imagined discovery: land, gold, atomic elements, hallucinogens, circuits, algorithms.  As Timothy Leary allegedly observed: “California is the end of the genetic runway.” The Northern California / Bay Area Art and Technology counterculture paves that runway with a true love of science and engineering, a deep resistance to authority, and an undaunted belief in Power to the People. The Bay Area is quick to forgive and embrace projects that don’t go the way they were intended. This ecosystem has evolved to explore, experiment, and to express ideas that could not be expressed before.” 

— From “Art Technology and Bay Area CounterCulture” by Ken Goldberg

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NEAT: New Experiments in Art and Technology at the Contemporary Jewish Museum features nine Bay Area artists, representing three generations of practitioners. Each artist has been commissioned to make a new piece, or update an older artwork, that demonstrates how digital programming is a central, yet just the latest, tool for artist creativity.


GUIDING QUESTIONS

  • How is the work of an artist similar to the work of a scientist?
  • What are the similarities between artistic and scientific processes?
  • What are the similarities between the materials used by artists and scientists?
  • What role does art play in our lives?

NEAT RESOURCES

CJM’s NEAT Online Exhibition Catalog features photos of the works of art and video interviews with the artists, as well as timeline & essays from curator Renny Pritikin, and digital artists Ken Goldberg and Jenny Odell.

NEAT offers playful ways to examine creative applications of STEM concepts for a true STEAM approach. The NEAT Educator Resource Guide offers a visual analysis of selected artworks and links the works to broader concepts in programming, engineering, science, and mathematics. This curriculum provides both arts-based resources as well as STEM-inspired activities to explore the technologies used by the artists in NEAT. Each module in this resource is grounded in the principles of the relevant Next Generation Science Standards and connects to scientific method-inspired processes of observing, hypothesizing, experimenting, and interpreting.

On the field trips, students played with Light Play, an activity created by the Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio that encourages exploration of light, shadow, and motion using a variety of simple materials and light sources. Beginning with gently guided explorations of shadows, single and multiple light sources, three-dimensional objects and translucency, participants gain the proficiency and “light vocabulary” to express their ideas, and their creativity is sparked. They work toward building kinetic light and shadow vignettes, and eventually combine them into a collaborative installation.

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  • The Tinkering Studio’s Light Play lets you explore light, shadow, and motion using a variety of simple materials and light sources. Beginning with gently guided explorations of shadows, single and multiple light sources, three-dimensional objects and translucency, participants gain the proficiency and “light vocabulary” to express their ideas, and their creativity is sparked. http://tinkering.exploratorium.edu/2015/10/02/light-play-fablearn
  • Scratch A project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge. https://scratch.mit.edu/

ONE SCHOOL, ONE BOOK – ON A BEAM OF LIGHT

On_A_Beam_of_Light

Rooftop Librarian Tamra Marshall invites classrooms to participate in a One School, One Book event in conjunction with the NEAT exhibit. Tamra has selected a picture book, On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne and Vladimir Radunsky, which makes wonderful connections to the spirit of this exhibit. Teachers will receive a copy to be added to each classroom library and determine how to connect it to their grade level or content area. A goal will be to forge a Burnett – Mayeda connection as teachers across the grades to reach out to each other and share how they used the book.

Lib Guide http://sfusd.libguides.com/profile.php?uid=94182

  • EarthKAM is a NASA educational outreach program that enables students, teachers, and the public to learn about Earth from the unique perspective of space. During Sally Ride EarthKAM missions (periods when the Sally Ride EarthKAM camera is operational), middle school students around the world request images of specific locations on Earth. View photos taken from the International Space Station by Rooftop students from “Mission 50” (November 10-13, 2015).
  • Your Star – A temporary public artwork by artist Olafur Eliasson that celebrates knowledge, dreams and light. The bright new star will shine in the sky above Stockholm to mark Nobel Week (December 6-12). The website features six videos which follow the emergence of an idea and its journey towards becoming an artwork. The site also offers visitors the opportunity to make their own stars in the virtual night sky. http://www.olafureliasson.net/yourstar/
  • Illuminate San Francisco – Any night of the year, you can embrace the power of light and enjoy exploring the city’s many neighborhoods with luminous public artworks by some of the world’s most notable light artists – including Jim Campbell, Ned Kahn, James Turrell and Leo Villareal. Best yet, these brilliant light art installations are accessible by public transport and free for all. http://illuminatesf.com/

 


E.A.T. –Experiments in Art and Technology (1967)

The 1960s program Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) was a turning point in art’s relationship with science as artists and scientists worked together on new, creative projects. In 1967, Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) was officially launched by Billy Klüver and Robert Rauschenberg after having collaborated for many previous projects, notably the festival «9 Evenings: Theater and Engineeering. 

A Brief History and Summary of Major Projects 1966 – 1998  http://www.vasulka.org/archive/Writings/EAT.pdf

  • E.A.T. – Children and Communication (1971)

For Children and Communication, Robert Whitman designed environments where the children could freely access facsimile machines, electro-writers, telex machines and telephones. For four months, more than 500 children typed or hand-wrote messages, sent pictures and talked to children at another location, children from other areas of the city they would not normally meet. http://www.mediaartnet.org/works/children-and-communication/

  • Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957 bit.ly/1KAs8NS

Crossroads and Cosmopolitanism at Black Mountain College chronicles the stories of fifteen students & teachers, including NEAT’s Robert Rauschenberg & San Francisco artist Ruth Asawa. http://mappingbmc.org/

  • Ruth Asawa: “Transforming the Ordinary” at Rooftop School

In the Spring of 2004, Rooftop School focused on the art of artist and arts advocate Ruth Asawa (1926-2013). https://youtu.be/4z-Amx8dcFM

EAT News - Volume 1, 1967EAT Statement of Purpose, 1967

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