A significant element in the creation of new media art is the artist’s exploration into the unique possibilities that are still presented in working with every day and obsolete media. Both Robin Fox and Ross Manning, two artists in the Gallery’s 2012 National New Media Art Award exhibition, have a particular interest in established technology.
CRT: homage to Léon Theremin, by Robin Fox, is a highly responsive interactive audio-visual installation which recalls both the magical physicality inherent in playing a Theremin musical instrument coupled with the lurid colour fields of old CRT televisions.
Both elements can be traced to Russian physicist Léon Theremin, a flamboyant inventor who devised both the Theremin musical instrument and contributed to the earliest research which led to the development of the cathode ray tube television — specifically the interlacing vision to achieve a higher image resolution.
For Robin Fox the aesthetic potential of CRT television monitors has resulted in a playful celebration of old and new technology’s — in addition to the CRT television sets the work also incorporates a custom-designed motion tracking system — and an experience which teases out the connective elements between performer, space and technology.
In his work Spectra lll, Ross Manning combines off-the-shelf appliances such as coloured fluorescent lamps and motorised fans, to explore the aesthetic potential of the RGB additive colour model, the basis of screen based technology today. Manning’s elegant and mediative kinetic sculpture weaves a circular pattern at the point of balance between the twisted cables and oscillating fan heads, placed in the centre of a purposed built architectural space. The result is a conceptually rich investigation of video projection deconstructed to its basic components — light, aperture and screen. The sculpture recalls television resolution scan lines that have jumped off a screen and are twirling in space, overlapping different coloured wavelengths of light, or spectra, to produce new colours or, if by chance the lights meet and mix in equal measure, white light.
You can view the award exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) until 4 November 2012 which is accompanied by a richly illustrated publication.