Digital Art @Google: Ancient Stories with Modern Technology (New York, USA)

Ancient Stories with Modern Technology
October 28 – December 31, 2010

Digital Art @Google announces the opening of Ancient Stories with Modern Technology, opening October 28 at Google NYC. The exhibition includes National Geographic explorer and photographer Chris Rainier, media artist and author Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) and media artist and speech recognition researcher for Google, Andrew Senior. The artists will be present for the public opening and talks at dates to be announced.

Seven thousand of the world’s languages are oral and within forty years, fifty percent of them will no longer exist. As they vanish, we lose entire universes of the conceptual thought, practical knowledge and technologies that they contain. Rainier’s preservation efforts align with Google’s mission to take all the world’s information and make it accessible and useful to everyone.

Ancient Stories with Modern Technology features the celebrated photographs and videos of Chris Rainier. Rainier is the noted National Geographic explorer and photographer who works with the Enduring Voices Project team, including eminent ethnolinguist David Harrison. The Enduring Voices Project uses technology to document and revitalize endangered cultures and their repositories of knowledge in areas of science, medicine, technology, and the natural world which are crucial to humankind. The exhibition marks the official “launch” of the Enduring Voices YouTube channel.

Both Chris Rainier and Paul D. Miller use advanced digital and web technology to honor and aid threatened cultures.

ArtTechTEK Tanna is an installation by media artist Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) presenting the first works inspired by his vision for the Vanuatu Pacifica Foundation. With this new artists residency initiative launching on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu’s South Pacific archipelago, Miller asks, “Can 21st Century technology support Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in ways that enrich village life and Contemporary Art?” Miller’s active interest explores indigenous-digital connections, modernization’s current impacts on South Pacific micro-cultures and how island & urban artistic encounters might inform Contemporary Art.

Vanuatu Pacifica Foundation’s residency-in-context program – developed in response to the request of a Naihné Tribal Chief – is designed to address the artist’s role in nurturing systems that feed rich cultural expression.

Ancient Stories with Modern Technology presents two works by Andrew Senior, media artist and speech recognition researcher for Google. Senior investigates cultural nuance and interpretation of language in Machine Translation and linguistic traits that betray a speaker’s origins in Shibboleth named after a word used to distinguish friend from foe in biblical times.

Digital Art @Google was initiated with the intention of engaging Googlers with the art world and promoting creativity with digital technology. The exhibitions and artist talks, which take place at Google, Inc, are open to guests at times indicated on the website.

The first exhibition, Data Poetics on view June 11 through August 13 included data-based work by pioneer digital artists. We Write This To You From The Distant Future, August 20 – October 22, a multi-media exhibition of work by visionary creators in the arts and sciences, focused on a future world imagined and possible to build.

Digital Art @Google is curated by Nina Colosi, Curator of The Project Room for New Media at CAM and founder of its public art program, Streaming Museum, which presents exhibitions in cyberspace and public spaces on 7 continents. The program was inspired by pioneer video artist Nam June Paik who in the 1970s envisioned the Internet, predicting an “information superhighway” as an open and free medium for imagination and exchange of cultures.

According to Colosi, “A natural synergy exists with Google in this partnership. The Project Room for New Media’s program showcases artworks and educational programs which incorporate technology and the Internet in the creative process.”

Digital Art @Google emphasizes the correlation of Google’s mission in organizing the world’s information and making it accessible, with the ability of artists to reflect and synthesize information in the creation of artwork that expresses the contemporary world. The exhibitions and speaker programs will inspire, entertain, and help envision the world in new ways.

The exhibition program was initiated at Google by Josh Mittleman, User Interface Software Engineer, and supported by the Google Community Affairs committee at Google New York City. Mittleman described the motivation of the exhibit, “Art is one of many tools that can help to organize and make sense of the world’s information. Digital Art @Google NYC is the first step toward introducing the digital arts community to Google, and to starting a conversation that will lead to a rich, ongoing collaboration.”