audart          the art and technology circus - press coverage


In the next room are several pieces by Marque Cornblatt. One work, "Amber Waves," is a gutted antique radio with a video screen placed inside. The screen shows a man’s face up close wearing headphones. Minutes of the video roll by without any movement on the screen. Also on display is a performance piece that includes a room size puzzle by John Toth. Toth has taken a fabric called tricot and punctured holes large enough for the artists and actors to climb through. The structure allows the movements of the participants to be set to music. The work is suggestive of the architectural idea of mutable walls and overhangs made from soft flexible materials.The danger of performance art is that one can not casually stop in and experience it. The players or artists have to be present for the piece to work. And, it is hard to imagine what you cannot experience. However, there is enough to experience in the gallery to make it worth going. There are many rooms filled with unconventional images and installations. The time to catch this gallery is during the performances and openings, when the space reaches its height of activity.   SHROSSER, ARTSPEAK - NEW YORK CITY

Other works in Circus include puppets in a techno-forest, real dancers dancing with virtual dancers and a dozen other visually dazzling treats that are part Federico Fellini and part Bill Gates. Circus is the first exhibit to have big corporate sponsors in Audart’s 20 months of operation. High-tech firms enchanted by 14 exhibit rooms of art, technology and performance are knocking at the door asking to hold seminars in the 8,000 square foot space that has become a virtual opium den for artistic cyberjunkies.  PAUL GESSELL, OTTAWA CITIZEN - OTTAWA, CANADA

Audart is mounting 19 surveillance cameras throughout the space, linked through telecom company WinStar's DS3 "wireless fiber" drums. The drums, which hang from the ceiling, will be used to network the entire space visually, with live footage, web pages, and random images piped through the drums at speeds nearly 30 times faster than a T1. 

Artist John Toth's installation, "In a Circle," uses that high-speed connection to create a remote dance-duet. Live dancers move inside a web of fabric while live video of another troupe in Buffalo is projected on the scrims surrounding them. Suited WinStar representative John Connolly will be on hand to explain the technology. Asked if he'll feel out of place, Connolly responds, "That's the point. It's about branding and marketing [to the arts community.]"

Indeed, the show makes an unlikely combination of hucksterism and haute couture. Brand labels are featured prominently on all equipment and Regan and her partner are licensed resellers. They're hoping to push the crowds into the control booth area to test drive the machines. "We're not only integrating art and technology," Regan assures, "we're integrating technology and technology - when you ask about DEC, you'll find out about WinStar and Apple."

Many of the artists are willing promoters. In a fog of Nag Champa incense, Hungarian artist <hicode>'s "Spaceship ISIS" will mix classical dance and illbient music against the backdrop of a new "visual sampling" software, Xpose. The program maps a set of QuickTime images to a keyboard, then the images pulse and skip across the screen as the pianist plays. <hicode> makes an effusive pitch for the software, and plans to demo it for the crowds. "This is the music revolution ... which unites musicians and visuals," <hicode> says. "It's a perfect tool for DJs."    AUSTIN BUNN, WIRED NEWS AT WIRED.COM

For the opening night, Audart is taking some of the revelry outside. The show debuts in the abandoned Dresdner Bank, but Audart has secured permission from Mayor Giuliani to close down Broad Street and lure visitors with a sidewalk dominatrix in a mermaid costume laying across a 4.5 meter satellite dish cracking her whip, saying "get inside."

Much of the work in the exhibition, however, is distinctly low-fi. Timothy Young’s puppet show featuring "Granath," the laptop promoting dragon, will run daily, with a program for school kids (no vodka shots though). A hallway of Mandala like paintings by Liz Whitney Quisgard, stretches the length of the gallery, and a monitor inside the vault plays a Humane Society video on ivory poaching for objects d’art. "It’s rather difficult to watch." says Regan. "We’re trying to collect 5000 signatures for them." That is, if anyone can break from the Circus to simply watch TV.      AUSTIN BUNN, THE VILLAGE VOICE

They tinker in a space with with a wide airplane control tower like window, a carona of computers, glued to the keyboards and screen at times with the fascination of someone hooked on a drug piping electronic fixes through the open-24-hours-a-day T-1 lines. This is a potion absorbed via the eyes and ears. “They belong together,” Regan says of their wedding of art and technology.    PETER BIANCALLI, THE MANHATTAN MIRROR

The most recent show, The Art and Technology Circus, featured over 50 artists integrating computers and other technologies with their work. The cyber artists featured in the shows and on their web site are exploring everything from fragmented sci-fi themes as well as more traditional representational ones.   At every turn in this unique space, there are constant reminders of how art and the web are transforming one another.