Eran's Blog

State Festival and Amplified Entity


The cost of living in Tel-Aviv and the Israeli government’s policy urge many Tel-Avivians to leave Israel, and in the last couple of years their main destination is Berlin. While it has been undergoing a lot of changes, the German capital holds its position as one of Europe’s art centers. I found myself taking advantage of cheap flight tickets, and flying there once a month for three months in a row, my last trip aimed at State Festival, where the short film about Frankie was screened as part of the film collection.

 
frankie2
 

Frankie, if you didn’t know and don’t like clicking links, is a robot that interviews people about their emotions, attempting to ‘learn’ what it means to be human. Its mind is an android app, and its eyes are surveillance cameras. That leaves the movie, of documenting the interviews, filmed with no human intervention (apart from editing the mix of responses). The entirety of the interviews can be seen, uncut, on Frankie’s website.

 
Frankie and Eran by Eliran Knoller
 

The festival was amazing, combining both an art section, a film section, live performances, lectures and a conference. Especially interesting to me were a talk by Tarek Besold about computational creativity (not surprising…) and an amazing installation by Jonathon Keats, “Digesting the Anthropocene”, in which he proposed an alternative to visualization. Instead of just using visuals to display (and manipulate…) data, why shouldn’t we taste data? So he made sorbet toppings that correspond to different climate change effects. For me it was not only a mouth-opener, but also a smart critique of visualization.

 

I used a connection flight to visit fellow artists Carolin Liebl and Nikolas Schmid-Pfähler at their beautiful exhibition “Amplified Entity” in Frankfurt. It deals with large machines that create gentle human-like gestures by using simple electromagnetic devices.

 

By decontextualizing the machine’s gestures from human-related environments, Carolin and Nikolas provide a unique perspective, challenging our instinctive grasp of movement. The audience is asked to look at a familiar movement in an estranged context. I was honored to take part in the catalog of the exhibition, commenting about their work from a technical point of view.