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Visit Today’s Art

Today’s Art festival was on last week in Scheveningen, near the Hague. This year’s theme was The Fluidity Aspect, curated by Petra Heck. The topic and the location were a perfect match, add glorious weather and you can imagine a visit was a pretty glorious way to spend an afternoon and evening. Yours truly was smart enough to go this year and wasn’t disappointed.


I arrived (a little too) early: all I could see at 3pm was the exhibit near the sea. A lovely walk through the yacht harbour – I had to look for markings of blue tape along the walking paths to get there – took me to the seaside where the exhibit was setup:

“The exhibition is located in the basements of a building located on the Scheveningen boulevard [that] originally functioned as a sea beaconing control post. Until recently it was the archive of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The building and the surrounding terrain used to be hermetically sealed. It is still surrounded by high fences and its architectural design is very closed. In the building’s basement spaces the remnants of two servers, a safe-like closet and a bundle of cut-off cables coming from the wall remain.”

This spooky place seemed really closed at first, but using a back door I entered the dark, windowless basemement divided up into segments with art works. A lot of the works I really were kinetic works and light works whose behaviors were controlled by live data streams of eg. local weather, or by user interactions in pretty radical ways. Here are some favorites:


Trace – HC Gilje

This clever way of positioning programming LED strips in a space gives a very spooky atmosphere that you can just keep looking at. The moving lights constantly illuminate the room from different angles, resulting in a play of shadows. A view that reminds me of having a bedroom window on the street side: every time a car drives by you could see the shadows of the street lights and trees moving through your room. 

HC Gilje – Trace



Zimoun’s 216 prepared dc-motors, filler wire 1.0mm installation presents the viewer with a maddening sound scape of scraping metal wires lining the walls of a white square room.



Stefan Tiefengrabers’ User Generated Server Destruction plays with the common assumption that everything online is untangible and has no physical aspects. Not many people think of the physical servers hosting websites, and the fact that, when the hardware is compromised the websites won’t be online any longer. Art work with a great sense of humour.



Heliosphere by Mathijs Munnik was another awe inspiring kinetic work I spent about a half hour with. A grid of pillars with motors mounted on top swing lights into motion, creating varying patterns of moving lights. The dark space makes that you see patterns long after the lights have died down. A very hypnotic experience. Data about solar wind activity and strength of interplanetary magnetic fields are used to control the motions of the motors and the patterns created.




Lastly, I went to see the Ilinx experience by Christopher Salter, TeZ & Valerie Lamontagne. I was lucky enough to be able to get a slot right away and recommended this work to everyone at MediaLAB. Four visitors at a time are dressed up in suits with sensors and vibrating motors before being fitted with a blurry, waxed milkglass visor. Visitors are taken to another space where they spend about 20 minutes in a sound scape, exploring and experiencing blurry sensations of skin, vision and sound. What struck me about this work most is that seeing less and being less aware of what was actually happening, what the space looked like or where the others were, was actually the strongest aspect of this piece. Your imagination goes wild! And your balance is all off….weird weirder weirderderst.

Oh and of course there was this strange installation Lead Angels 1.0 by Freek de Wilde. This is one of those way over my head complicated works exploring scientific concepts like radiation, nuclear energy and quantum mechanics. What it all means….I don’t know, but it looked like cryptonite sensing the supermen in the room and small windmills responding to people’s aura’s. Great fun day with fireworks for dessert.