LOS ANGELES — “You would have to be half-mad to dream me up,” the Mad Hatter said to Alice during her romp through Wonderland, that place where her body and state-of-mind regularly changed shaped.
Despite our intense familiarity with machines, there’s still something a bit foreboding about our increasingly sophisticated mechanical creations. Generally they are not evil natured or programmed to destroy us (like those pink robots after Yoshimi), but sometimes there’s a feeling of not being entirely in control of our docile electronic devices, an undercurrent creators have long fed on in iconic ways, whether it’s HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey or the seamlessly human-like replicants in Blade Runner, all reflecting back our own insecurities about robots in our lives.
World on a Wire brings together seven digital artists in a show displaying fleeting moments of the artists’ larger bodies of work. It’s difficult to pull thematic coherence from such an disparate group of cohorts especially when the title derives from Rainer Fassbinder’s 1973 sci-fi film set in a cybernetics lab.
Zimoun is a Swiss sound and kinetic artist whose installations incorporate hundreds of everyday objects and simple movements to create a foreign experience for the viewer. He asks questions like, “What are the aesthetic and tonal qualities of cardboard in motion?” Traveling recently to see Volume, his first solo show in New York, I was oddly excited to find out.
The most commanding visual in Manfred Mohr: 1964- 2011, Réflexions sur une esthétique programmée at Bitforms gallery in New York isn’t one of the German digital art pioneer’s own pieces. Rather, it’s the scroll-size wall panel from Mohr’s solo show at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1971.