Daniel Canogar’s latest high-tech artworks are a triple-threat. Each is a mesmerizing digital painting and a seductive sculptural form. On top of all that, the underlying code that feeds these machines connects in real-time with the world itself.
The six works that make up “Echo” on view at bitforms in New York, contain a grid of color-shifting LED tiles with flexible rubber-backed PCB (printed circuit boards) that allows for the screens to bend, droop, and curl around gallery walls.
The “guts” of each (wires and hardware components) are exposed, resembling a tangle of vines or tentacles. Canogar really does “use the whole animal”, incorporating not JUST the backs, but the light that each emits in the room. With multiple sculptures in one space, the reflected light provides ambient backgrounds that contrast and harmonize with neighboring works.
Each slow-moving animation is based on algorithms that appear to mimic natural phenomena: the waves in a pond or a psychedelic sunrise. But the code that drives it is even more “natural”. The precise color, rotation and speed is influenced by real-time data pulled from the web of current global measurements. For example, the corner-hugging “Ember” reacts in real-time to active fires from around the world. The hammock-like “basin” pulls current rain data from 192 international capital cities. And the diagonal “Gust” is local, influenced by wind data in the city it currently occupies.
The effect of the data can’t be decoded or “read” in any meaningful way, but I don’t think that’s the point. This is technology that doesn’t just look organic, it FEELS alive, a living conversation between code and nature.
This exhibition is the US premiere of the flexible screens, but Daniel’s last exhibition at bitforms in 2014 is also worth a browse. In it, “dead” technology was brought back to life with perfectly aligned projections: a circuit board with ghost-electricity, or pieces of cell phones that still appeared to dial calls. Daniel’s work is always fresh – because it evolves at the speed of technology itself.
“Echo” is a tech/nature hybrid that you have to visit in person (I also really want the small one in the back office).
Images provided and courtesy of bitforms, NYC
Detail images photographed by the author, David Behringer.