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Exhibition: ‘Immaterial/Re-material: A Brief History of Computing Art’ at UCCA Beijing

Text by CLOT Magazine

Floating Bodies (OLED monitors, electrical hardware, custom software), Leo Villareal (2018)

Immaterial/Re-material: A Brief History of Computing Art is a wide-ranging overview of the evolution of computing art from the 1960s to the present. The exhibition explores topics that span from machine-learning aesthetics to digital objecthood and art-making that actively engages with the algorithms and generative logics that undergird the field of computing.

Curated by  Jerome Neutres in collaboration with Ara Qiu the title pays tribute to Jean-François Lyotard’s groundbreaking 1985 exhibition Les Immatériaux, which conceived of a new mode of materiality that echoed advances in telecommunications technology.

The exhibition is divided into four sections. The Pioneers of Computing Art: The Invention of a New Palette focuses on the work of artists who as early as the 1960s began using algorithms to create drawings and paintings. The Generative Art: A Language for Infinity is focused on computing power and how digital code is granted a kind of materiality of its own. The next section, AI Art-lab: When the Artist Creates Creation explores questions of authorship, focusing on how artists actively shape and select inputs for powerful digital systems. And the final section Illusions and Disillusions of the Post-digital Era sees some artists looking back at past art movements and a younger generation of Chinese artists, expressing a subtle ambivalence towards our hyper-networked world.

Participating artists include aaajiao, Memo Akten, Refik Anadol, Ryoji Ikeda, Laurent Mignonneau and Christa Sommerer, Quayola, Casey Reas, Leo Villareal, Wang Yuyang or Yang Yongliang, among many more. 

The exhibition runs until January 17, 2021. 

(Image courtesy of Leo Villareal )
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