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Will Thomas Israel go generative ?


From september 13 to october 13, Israel will hold a solo exposition at  Galerie Charlot (Paris), entitled "A la lisière du bois". That let's expect that his work Lisiere will get the focus, keeping in line with the general orientation of this Gallery onto combinations of video and physical sculpture (like the works of Hugo Verlinde, Misha Margolis, for instance).

But perhaps will he give also some views of the generative track he opened with his Méta-Crâne work (First show 2009), which is the most in line with my present reflections. In the intricate mesh of themes and techniques that Israel weaves along the years, he tied a new node, of impressive potential. Let's hear explain the formal core.

The whole videographic production during the last five years has been cut into 1 000 films, 100 musics and 80 lyrics. The films have been evaluated according to eight criteria : hue, saturation, value, internal speed (the video does not give the definition) and the variariation (derivative ?) of each of these four parameters. Then, a specially designed software creates an indefinite length of video projection as a succession of these clips according to some laws (for instance, a saturated clip will be followed by a more saturated clip. The interview does not say how musics and lyrics are associated with the video clips.

So, we have here a typical example of art generation from a set of parts, following what Bootz calls "combinatorial" (combining pre-built meaningful fragments), as opposed to "automatic" (combining basic elements such as letters). These methods have been mainly used for text (fo instance in France by Oulipo) and for images, be it in a rather coarse and random way (Cadavre esquis) or more "consciously" (collages, matte painting). As far as we know, Israel is the first to do that for video, associating sound and image.

From a generative standpoint, the fact that this formal core is embedded in a rather costly contraption (customized cabin for 360 degrees projection and 5+1 film) and presented with a semi-scientifical speech ("free association", "metaphor of the mind", "representation of the artists real brain"...). But the basic idea breaks really new ground.

We think it could go much farther with less hardware and speech and more sofware and programming. It would not lose much if presented on a mere screen with a sound headset, allowing to reach wider publics (including home cinema and even cheaper installations).

The really important core here is the algorithmics (the grammar, somehow) of clip succession and sound association, plus the sound environment. The websites we found do not say much about the programming of its succession. Written with a sofrware called Isadora by Numedia (?). The field of exploration and artistic creation/enjoyment could enlarge out with :
- a larger base of fragments (clips, musicals, lyrics), why not combined with real time recording at the same time,
- a larger range (but we have no data on this point) of transitions (cut, crossfade, inlay...),
- a deeper call to interaction, whic remains limited in Métacrâne, even if it follows quite well the recommendations of Aziosmanoff, for instance.
- a larger set of criteria (I think of course of the coarse complexity criterium I use in Roxame),
- a call to semantics (pattern recognition with feature space, dictionary...) to put meaning into the compositing game,
- ...

Will Israel go this way ? He could be compared to Lozano-Hemmer or Matt Pike, with their large choice of technologies applied to a persevering thematics (surveillance for Lozano-Hemmer, rythmics fof Pike), constrasted with his own psychological, sex-self-conscious and rather dark ways.

He does not lends himself to easy prediction, since we see him working with glue or a solder iron as well as performing live on stage. Then, "free association" will just be a theme among others in his flow of creativity. For the time being, it will be interesting to get a look to his "Lisière" work and what he will show and perhaps say around it.


Varia to be edited

Vendre du monstre. 2012. St Maximin.
My "LIve" as a robot. Transnumériques 2012 avec Very Mash'ta
Flux 2010. Interaction, graphics
Peeping Tom Travel. 2010. Cah. de Carthage. démo
Métacrane. 2009. Installation. Expensive hardware, demanding also for the player
Association libre
1000 vidéos, 100 sous, 80 textes parlés
8 critères sur films : HSV et vitesse intérieure (?) + variations
pas de sémantique
Isadora, intractif. de saturé vers très saturé.
La macine a pas idée
nb et attitude des visiteurs
son 5.1. customisé. 4 enceintres autour et une au dessus, + caisson de basses desous
Ne s'arrête jamais
vrai cerveau de l'artiste
Je vais arrêter de travailler
Pas d'interaction volontaire autre que position
He could go further, with automatic (or not) criteria, semantic wods
Q choice of clps

Percept 2.O 2008 et 2009. Installation vidéo performance
Peeping Tom. 2006 Transnumériques eys follwing.
Peeping Erotic. (date)
Stomac Cave (2006)
same image as Carese moi. tj musique abstraite

Bloody Ideas. Le baiser des dragons. Video sculpture.

Blue Hopital. Tiring. Video from still images. Probably a methodical construction.Lisiere

Breathe me out. Video/still images

Caresse moi
le visiteu influence par ses mouvemnets
caresses visuelles sur le corps de l'acteur

Flush é Time shapes, text. BIJ Bruxelles. Resembles Lozano
Look or Cindy. 2007. Video

Dreamtime. Mas d'Azil
ésentations projetées
Evelyne Goupil
Repris dessins originaux, redessiner, combinaison matière
Cascade, rebâtir une conscience


Moma. Video, eye
Never ever. Hip hop donce. Palindrrome, loop. palindrome logic not perceptible
Palindrome. Series. Hip hop. Rather disgusting.
Radioscope. Videosculpture
Wogatom. fablab, programing get eys. Video of the making of. Brussels airport. µ
Sirene de LUne ifl

espace de méditation, sterips vidéo interactifs 2'30
+ grandes installations à Bruxelles

Video Pong.
Breath me out. Pong + son + image
Je vais arrêter de travailler, parfait. La machine fait le travail à ma place.