Renaissance – the exhibition

Algorithmic Abstractions

Renaissance is a digital art exhibition featuring a series of audio-visual installations that include both still and moving images, stand-alone installations, evolving algorithm works, talks and live performances. It is the fruit of a creative collaboration between the visual artists of the Robert Turner Collective (Louis-Hadrien Robert and Paul Turner) and the electroacoustic jazz duo, INFLUUT (Nat Cilia and Daniel Maszkowicz). As a transdisciplinary exhibition, Renaissance looks at how art and technology interact and influence one another, while proposing new paradigms that shed light on our relationships with and reactions to possible future worlds.

The aim of Renaissance is to explore the development of transdisciplinary collaborative work in the future, as the exhibition engages in the relatively new and currently undefined areas of the “digital” and the “organic”. While these terms have permeated fields such as the humanities (“digital humanities") and the arts (“generative art”), and are used in the titles of many exhibitions, academic papers and conferences, there is still an element of unease in the general understanding of such work.

Literature, for example, is full of apocalyptic and other dystopian stories, and the existence of ambivalence towards technological progress can be traced back to Greek mythology. Even after science came to substitute religious discourse in the western world, since the sculptor Pygmalion was succeeded by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the European imagination has been haunted by stories of machines.

More specifically, Renaissance aims to challenge the perceived dichotomy between the “digital” and the “organic”, which is still widely accepted, by exploring digitalisation as a means of understanding nature without conflicting with it. There is no reason for nature to be opposed with technology, as it is possible for the two areas to co-exist and interact, and thereby shape, through these various interactions, the worlds of the future. The artistic drive behind Renaissance is therefore to address and explore this convergence between the digital and the organic.

The exhibition will also explore how technology and art create different synesthetic experiences. By blending images and sounds, tones and colours, rhythms and shapes, Renaissance seeks to show how auditory and visual experiences interact and complement each other.

Synesthesia, as a neurological condition, has been observed in only a small number of individuals. However, synesthetic experiences happen to all of us when we read, and also occur for those who come into contact with immersive artistic media. The human brain and the nervous system create links between these different perceptions and give them coherence. Renaissance draws on different senses and enables audiences to enhance the works by themselves and therefore to contribute to the digital-organic convergence.

Visitors are invited to explore different immersive audio-visual spaces that are constantly evolving. Vision and hearing are closely linked to algorithms, resulting in a process that develops autonomously, like a conversation between the two senses, with sound influencing visuals and vice-versa. The works play with the ubiquity of digital technology, while simultaneously calling for a return to nature. Certain pieces appear fixed at first glance, but then evolve imperceptibly across the defined space. They challenge the dichotomy between still and motion, by retaining the serenity of a still image, while at the same time introducing the change and variation associated with a moving one, sometimes blurring our usual perceptions of time and space.