Marnix de Nijs

15 Minutes of Biometric Fame

Marnix de Nijs  15 Minutes of Biometric Fame

source: marnixdenijsnl

Marnix de Nijs is a Dutch installation artist. As a pioneer of Dutch media art since the mid-90s, de Nijs makes use of high-concept mechanics, software and ever-evolving technologies to create interactive artworks that play with the viewer’s perception of image, sound and movement.

De Nijs’ work explores how contemporary technological culture acts upon our senses and continuously shapes our modes of perception. Recent installation work focuses on cultural phenomena – and cultural anomalies – induced by rapid technological evolution. Central to his work is the idea that technology acts as a driving force behind cultural change, capable of generating new experiences where societal habits and communication are rethought. His work thrives on the creative possibilities offered by new media, while critically examining their impact on contemporary society and human perception.

To create his technologically complex installation, de Nijs often relies on close collaborations with media labs (such as V2_Lab in Rotterdam, the Netherlands), universities (such as TU Darmstadt, Germany) and highly skilled developers/engineers. His work, in fact, makes use of custom built software and hardware that often adapt existing technological innovations to de Nijs’ specific artistic narratives. Although focused on technology, de Nijs’ background as a sculptor is strongly visible in his work, both in the ambitious physical scale of his works and the craftsmanship he employs to command materials. While a classical sculptural approach may be evident, this is always used to comment on the most contemporary of digital technologies.

Early works such as Spatial Sounds (2000 – 2001, created in collaboration with artist Edwin van der Heide), Run Motherfucker Run (2001 – 2004) and the Beijing Accelerator (2006) comment on the dynamic clashes between the human body and the machine. These works defy the traditional concept of sculpture as a static object and share a fascination with mechanics and speed; echoing Futurist experiments, they investigate the speed-fetishism dominating individuals in contemporary society.

Exploded Views (2008), specifically developed for the city of Florence, emerges from de Nijs’ interest in the way we experience global urban environments. Three participants run on individual conveyor belts. They physically move themselves through an interactive audio-environment and interactive imagery projected at the front of the belts. The movement of the observer’s body sets the 3D images into motion and reveals several cityscapes from all over the world. The city landscapes are scanned with an innovative 3D scanning technology that creates a surreal and dreamlike atmosphere. These 3D scans are meticulously built-up from an enormous pool of photographs, using complex algorithms. Playing with the possibilities offered by the combination of movement and 3D interactive imagery, this installation purposefully places the viewer in a strongly absorptive experience, but what is actually offered contradicts this positioning by mediating a disconnected experience of the city.

In Exploded Views 2.0, which is currently under development, de Nijs further investigates the representation of global urban environments and comments on the prominent role the World Wide Web has assumed in constructing our view of the world and ultimately, on what we perceive as reality. In contrast to the previous version of the installation, the content for 3D city landscapes is provided by users of social media platforms. The work analyzes GPS tags of all the pictures available on photo-sharing community websites (such as Flickr) and reconstructs the top 400 most photographed locations into 3D. The work represents the world according to the way it is photographically represented on the web.

With Exploded Views 2.0 de Nijs remarks on how the ever-growing amount of digital images available on the Internet is rapidly substituting reality as the prime source for shaping our view of the world. Online visual content, shared pictures of city landscapes and events, are simulacra – as defined in Jean Baudrillard’s seminal work Simulation and Simulacra – ‘wherein that which is being simulated is presented and received not as a simulation but as an original. The originals may no longer exist, may never have existed, or their significance has been dwarfed in comparison to the simulacra, which attains a level of primacy and authenticity that traditionally had been the exclusive province of the original’. (Shanken, Edward Art and Electronic Media, London: Phaidon Press, 2009)

Recent works such as the Physiognomic Scrutinizer (2008 – 2009) and its mirror version (Mirror Piece, 2010 – 2011) ironically engage threats of recent developments in surveillance technology that act as omnipotent and pervasive eyes in present-day public spaces. By using biometric algorithms for physiognomic purposes, both installations analyse the facial features of observers and accuse them of inappropriate behaviours simply based on their physical resemblance to famous, controversial characters drawn from a database constructed by de Nijs.

This technology is adopted and further developed in the installation 15 Minutes of Biometric Fame (2011), yet with a thematic shift. The design of the installation 15 Minutes of Biometric Fame is inspired by the camera dollies employed in the television and cinema industries. A camera crane moves autonomously over a large circular track. In a rather intimidating manner, it points the camera at visitors in the exhibition space and scans each visitor’s facial features, comparing them to those of a vast array of preselected persons in a database. The database features “celebrities” harvested from the Internet through online searches performed in the world’s major languages. The comparison process is visualised on an LCD monitor at the back of the camera dolly. The faces of visitors who match preselected persons in the database are displayed on a large public screen and added to the database – elevating ordinary visitors to the status of new-born celebrities.

In the installation 15 Minutes of Biometric Fame, artist Marnix de Nijs ironically deconstructs the processes by which stardom and fame are created by the modern entertainment industry, as well as by ordinary Internet users through various Web 2.0 applications. In our contemporary Internet-driven culture, celebrities include not only glamorous actors and pop singers but also ordinary people who achieve their 15 minutes of fame through participating in reality shows or uploading videos that become YouTube hits. At the same time, this work by de Nijs is further diminishing web database credibility as a source of reliable information through his ambivalent tagging and the feeding back of ordinary faces to the Internet.

De Nijs’ work has been widely exhibited at international art institutes, museums and festivals: such as the Maison des Arts de Créteil (Paris 2011), National Art Museum of China (2008 & 2011 Beijing), Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina (2008 & 2010 Firenze), Museo Reina Sofia (2010 Madrid), ARoS, Aarhus Kunstmuseum (2009 Aarhus), Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (2008 & 2011 Barcelona), Stedelijk Museum (2008 Amsterdam), Moca, Museum of contemporary Arts (2007 Taipei), DAF festival (2006 Tokyo), 6th Shanghai Bienale (2006 Shanghai), Itau Cultural (2002 Sao Paulo), Ars Electronica (2001, 2004 & 2005 Linz), DEAF festival (2000, 2004 & 2007 Rotterdam)

His work won the Art Future Award (Taipei 2000) and received honourable mentions at the Transmediale award ( Berlin 2000), the Vida 5.0 award (Madrid 2002), and Prix Ars Electronica ( Linz 2001 & 2005). In 2005, he collected the prestigious Dutch Witteveen & Bos Art and Technology Price 2005, for his entire oeuvre.

Ivana Hilj, 2011
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source: vimeo

Marnix de Nijs is a Dutch artist whose work explores the dynamic clashes between bodies, machines and technology in contemporary society. Many of his artworks are interactive experience machines that play with the perception of image and sound. De Nijs’s work has been widely exhibited in the Netherlands and abroad. He has collaborated with artist Edwin van der Heide, Time’s Up, the Netherlands Media Art Institute, V2_Institute for the Unstable Media, the Center for Art and Media (ZKM), Technische Universität Darmstadt and, recently, Tsinghua University.
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source: kunsttechniekprijsnl

Marnix de Nijs (1970) is een Nederlandse installatie-kunstenaar, hij woont zowel in Rotterdam als in het Chinese Beijing. Hij is geboren in Arnhem en studeerde er aan de Hogeschool voor de Kunsten. Sinds het midden van de jaren 1990 pioniert hij op het gebied van de mediakunst. De Nijs gebruikt daarbij high-concept mechanica, software en evoluerende technologieën om interactieve kunstwerken die met de waarneming van beeld, geluid en beweging van de kijker te spelen te creëren.

Marnix de Nijs onderzoekt het dynamische conflict tussen lichaam, techniek en media. Naast zijn werk als kunstenaar geeft Marnix de Nijs les aan de faculteit Vrije Kunst aan de Academie voor Beeldende Kunst Arnhem. Zijn eerste grote project was The Trill-machine, die hij in 1996 in Kopenhagen presenteerde. Daarna volgden verschillende andere grote projecten waaronder Panoramic Acceleration’ (1999), Spatial Sound (2000), Push/Pull (2003) en Run Motherfucker Run (2004). Met dit werk bewijst De Nijs zijn kunstzinnige vermogen om de mens – zowel psychisch als fysiek – met zijn machines te beïnvloeden.
Voor de realisatie van zijn projecten werkt hij vaak samen met andere partijen. Zo werkte hij bij Spatial Sound en Push/Pull samen met installatiemaker en componist van elektronische muziek Edwin van der Heide. De software voor Panoramic Acceleration en Run Motherfucker Run is ontwikkeld door respectievelijk Montevideo_lab en V2_lab.

In zijn recentere werk, zoals Exploded Views (2008) en Exploded Views 2.0, Physiognomic Scrutinizer (2008) en Mirror Piece (2010) en 15 Minutes of Biometric Fame (2011), onderzoekt en reflecteert De Nijs op de exploderende hoeveelheid aan beelden via internet, het inherente privacy-vraagstuk en wat het doet met onze perceptie van de werkelijkheid.
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source: vostok4wordpress

El trabajo en continua evolución llevado a cabo por el holandés Marnix de Nijs siempre ha girado en torno al impacto de las nuevas tecnologías en nuestra sociedad, como captura e integra la información en nuestro imaginario colectivo, dando la sensación de situarse siempre por detrás del suceso, por detrás de lo que es la realidad en sí y como este hecho nos permite replantearnos continuamente cada suceso y nuevo hecho que acontece. Es una investigación que se concentra en la crítica de la percepción humana de lo tecnológico, como producto de los cambios culturales a los que nos vemos sometidos.

Sus temas de interés se construyen alrededor de varios temas centrales como son la maquina, el cuerpo humano, la percepción o la identidad. Toda su obra se concentra en instalaciones audiovisuales, con un alto contenido participativo del espectador. Aunque esa participación se entienda más como un ente que está en cierto modo sublevado por la máquina, sin capacidad de elección, y del mismo modo, toda la información trasmitida por estos, siempre nos cuestionan el papel de que tiene la tecnología en nuestra sociedad, como una fuente de legitimación de contenido que muchas veces no persigue la veracidad, sino que construye una nueva realidad artificial que verdaderamente se superpone a la vida real.

Una de sus obras tempranas como es Run Motherfucker Run (2001-2004) nos somete a una pieza que, para empezar, irónicamente, para ser un producto de nueva tecnología, te exige verdaderamente estar en forma física. La pieza se compone de un enorme proyector y una cinta ergométrica. Con una estética digna de una película de terror, parece que salimos desbocados detrás de un peligro inminente que desconocemos en distintos escenarios asolados reconstruidos en tres dimensiones.

La anterior obra conecta con otra Exploded Views (2008), en ella, hasta tres participantes pueden andar por cintas ergométricas, mientras visitamos la ciudad de Florencia. La cinta de en medio funciona como tutor de las otras cintas laterales, que reaccionan a todos los movimientos de la central. La ciudad parece haber sido reconstruida por medio de una visión fantasmal y etérea, que da una impresión de extremada tranquilidad y armonía, en una ciudad que curiosamente no destaca por ello. Añadiendo además la sensación tensa de sentirnos obligados a andar sin parar por la cinta, que construye una especie de paralelismo con el ansia de consumismo visual turístico que acostumbra a tener una gran ciudad como es Florencia.

Por último, 15 Minutes of Biometric Fame (2011), es una instalación montada sobre una pista circular, donde va circulando una grúa montada con una cámara semejante a las que usan en televisión. En ella somos escaneados y comparados con un bando de datos de más de 750.000 celebrities subdivididos en etiquetas según su profesión. Además el espectador que participa en la obra queda automáticamente etiquetado y archivado en un bando de datos de internet, proyectado por un momento a la fama. Su mayor intención es la de destruir y aclarar los motivos por los cuales aparecen los famosos y hacer florecer su humanidad.

15 Minutes of Biometric Fame (2011)

Ya veis, es un artista con un largo recorrido, que sigue evolucionando según los avances tecnológicos, reinterpretando constantemente sus obras según las posibilidades que nos van dando las nuevas tecnologías.