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Media Release

For immediate release
September 9, 2005

Exhibition critically analyses the development of new media art over last 10 years

The Art Formerly Known as New Media
September 17 – October 23, 2005
Opening reception Saturday, September 17, 2 - 4 p.m.
Walter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre

Presented on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Banff New Media Institute (BNMI), The Art Formerly Known as New Media includes 11 contemporary art projects made by 14 of the hundreds of artists who have participated in Banff Centre programs. The selection of works, curated by Sarah Cook and Steve Dietz, covers a range of practices within the field of new media and points to today’s enduring questions of economics, politics, social relations, public space, memory, leisure, and aesthetics.

In its short history, and with each new technological development, new media art – interactive installations, dynamic interfaces, software, responsive performances, immersive spaces, and the Internet – has undergone continual categorization and re-categorization. “All of the works in The Art Formerly Known as New Media challenge and exceed the terminology by which they have, at least initially, been theorized and categorized,” says Steve Dietz. Sarah Cook continues “This exhibition demonstrates that newness is not, in itself, a critical criterion for an engaging experience. These pieces, and the questions they raise about what it means to be human in a technological age, will endure.”

The exhibition includes works by Shu Lea Cheang, Francesca da Rimini, Sara Diamond, Garnet Hertz,, Michael Naimark, Greg Niemeyer, r a d i o q u a l i a (Honor Harger and Adam Hyde), Catherine Richards, Marek Walczak and Martin Wattenberg, and Maciej Wisniewski.

Michael Naimark’s See Banff!, a stereoscopic installation made at Banff in 1994, bears a strong – and intentional – resemblance to an Edison kinetoscope, which made its public debut in April 1894. The kinetoscope achieved instant popularity, but was ultimately short-lived. Over a century later, See Banff comments on the transitory nature of “new” media.

Catherine Richards’s Shroud/Chrysalis II – a copper blanket that, when wrapped around a person, blocks signals from cell phones, radio, television, and other ubiquitous modern forms of communication – is both a tangible reminder of the physical self and an emblem of today’s immersive media environment.

Visitors to the exhibition’s opening reception will have an opportunity to become “unplugged” by being wrapped in the copper shroud of Shroud/Chrysalis II and to interact with Greg Neimeyer’s  work Organum – a game where players collaborate through singing to navigate through digitally crafted scenery.

The Art Formerly Known as New Media runs from September 17 to October 23 at The Banff Centre’s Walter Phillips Gallery. Greg Niemeyer and Garnet Hertz will each talk about their work at 1 p.m on Saturday, September 17, and the opening reception will follow from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m starting with a curators’ tour of the exhibition.

Downloadable images for The Art Formerly Known as New Media are available.

Media Contact
Jill Sawyer
Media and Communications Officer, The Banff Centre