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BEAP 02 | The Exhibitions Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth

John Curtin Gallery, Curtin Institute of Technology, Western Australia
gallery@curtin.edu.au ISBN 1 74067 157 0

Reviewed by Michael R. (Mike) Mosher <mosher@svsu.edu>,
Saginaw Valley State University, University Center MI 48710 USA.

Paul Thomas, the Director of the 2002 Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth, and his staff assembled a useful catalog of the exhibitions that were held there from 31 July to 15 September, 2002.The three separate exhibitions were titled Immersion, Biofeel, Screen, and they contained virtual 3D environments, biological work, and 2D graphics respectively.

The Immersion exhibition was curated by Chris Malcolm.Char Davies <www.immersence.com> exhibited two of her VR works,Osmose (1995) and Ephémère(1998).Visualizations of astronomical phenomena by Donna Cox and her collaborators at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications were shown, and Victoria Vesna and Jim Gimzewski presented a nanotech-inspired environment called Zero@Wavefunction.Stelarc exhibited imagery concerning his artificial (third) arm, plus some images of a spiderlike walking platform that is visualized but remains unbuilt.Ken Rinaldo presented a few more of his servomechanism-controlled motorized stalagmites built from twigs, as he has for a decade.

The exhibition called Screen, curated by Pauline Williams, featured work for walls, monitor screens in various installations, videos and a musical performance by Cavity.These are represented in the catalog by a single image each, often a small or momentary detail, which make it difficult to discuss individual works or ascertain from the catalog what precisely was being shown or happening.Guess we had to be there.

It was the Biofeel exhibition, curated by Oran Catts of the University of Western Australia, that appears to have been most provocative.Evidently this university is a capital of new bio-art.SymboticAResearuch Group <www.fishandchips.uwa.edu.au> exhibited the drawings of Meart, the Semi-Living Artist, a fish neuron in a petri dish attached to a robot arm that drew lines when the neuron pulsed.The Tissue Culture & Art Project <www.tca.uwa.edu.au> exhibited Worry Dolls, hand-sized approximations of the dolls given by Guatemalan indians to their children.grown from living tissue in the lab.The group has also generated Pigs' Wings from living pig tissue in the shapes of bird, pteranodon or bat wings.

In Silicon Valley's intellectual capital of Palo Alto, California, they say the most interesting, investment-worthy research is no longer found crafted in cyberspace or for pixel output, but from living meat in the biotechnology labs.Perhaps that idea was mirrored across the Pacific Ocean in BEAP 02.If not in our humble lives and deeds, then in our cells and DNA, we are all the material for amazing works of contemporary art.



Updated 1st September 2003

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