From interactive spaces to machines for the imagination to engage with, this year’s Aesthetica Art Prize shortlist is rich in the possibilities of installation art. The final selection of works in contention for this year’s prize, actively invites the viewer’s participation and moves effortlessly between the virtual and the physical, from the latest technology to traditional craft skills, demonstrating the fluidity of genre boundaries within art. The human self and how it interacts both with natural systems and social and economic structures of our own creation is a recurring theme, approached in innovative ways.
Fabio Lattanzi Antinori’s Fortune Tellers sees data transmuted from the powerful and hidden world of global finance into music. Data from 10 years of forecasts of the Shanghai Stock Exchange was translated into notes, which were performed by three Chinese sopranos, and which are activated by the public viewing the work. Part sculpture, part installation, it reminds us of the economic and geopolitical forces that control our lives, yet which lie beyond our control.
It is the digital representation of a natural phenomenon that concerns Jiayu Liu in Ocean Wave, which, based on a short loop, visualises a wave through data. It is an attempt to rethink traditional artistic creation, and also an experiment in whether our emotional response to the natural world can also be replicated. And we are reminded of the social and psychological complexity of any seemingly simple human emotional response in Lisa Chang Lee’s Laughter Project, in which the sound of laughter is removed from its original context and recreated by a computer in response to the observer, creating a sometimes surreal and disturbing effect.
The looped sculptural systems of Laura Woodward, by contrast, are a self-contained world of their own, developing in real time through the interaction between materials and movement, often powered by water, as in the case of Web (Encore) here, a work which encourages us to think about how the wider structure relies upon each component – the network is the artwork.
The work on view at the Aesthetica Art Prize 2018 is fully engaged with and critical of contemporary digital culture. Yet it is the history of print that provides one of the most visually striking works, in the form of Jukhee Kwon’s Babel Library. It is a deconstructive transformation made from hand-cutting pages from old editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica which now cascade like a waterfall to the ground, reminding us of the physicality of the book as object.
Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition 2018 is York Art Gallery until 30 September. For more information, click here.
1. Jiayu Liu, Ocean Wave. Courtesy of the artist.