Rob Feulner, Sam Meech
Unstable Intermediated Forms
Beginning November 11, 2021, TOPO announces a new exhibition in the showcase with a media proposal by artists Rob Feulner and Sam Meech, Unstable Intermediated Forms. The artists suggest a series of generative video feedback and analog glitch works exploring fluid dynamics, pattern generation and interactivity. The installation connects a variety of “fragile” interdependent devices to generate new forms and interpretations beyond their control. Real-time video processing, misuse of technology, and exploitation of technical limitations are core to Rob Feulner and Sam Meech's approach.
This installation includes video and interactive works previously exhibited by each artist alongside nascent video feedback experiments. The artists use non-linear systems that fluctuate between chaos and order, rendering video artifacts, sometimes giving them natural movements, such as the oscillation of the water. The artists’ original body of work are here entangled through intermediated systems that influence and affect one another, constantly shaping and shaped by the environment.
The multi-channel device presented in TOPO's showcase stands in opposition to the notion of "stable intermediated forms," which refers to works that develop through iteration, that is, through programming processes that combine an element of experimentation and robust outcomes and mitigating risks in the progression towards an ideal. Several of Feulner and Meech's earlier works conform to this notion: crystallised forms born out of experimentation, but ultimately locked down as fixed media processes for exhibitions.
In this exhibition, by offering instead unstable and intermediated forms, Feulner and Meech seek to extend the potential for failure. The exploratory interconnection of technological devices to generate unpredictable results multiplies the possibilities of happy accidents or new harmonies. This remix can produce new dynamics and generate new patterns of co-operative behavior.
The artists use a combination of analog processing, live camera inputs, digital projection and interactive design (using Isadora software). A set of LED lights is also programmed to react with the works in the space.
Re-staging digital art is often challenging, and in this case the intention is to reverse engineer the artists' original works to hack them together. The artists know that some elements of the installation will not work as intended, but that doesn't mean they are not "working." They will certainly have to go on site during the exhibition to adjust settings, camera feedback angles, replace faulty television sets or work around software bugs. In the end, distortions don't matter, dead leaves make great compost and spare parts build machines.
As the video feeds influence each other in their very form, Feulner and Meech's artistic collaboration affects one another. Their collaboration impacts both their aesthetics and production. Unstable Intermediated Forms encourages them to step outside the bubble and expand their field of exploration.
On rentrera dans une autre ère d’Internet, parce que le changement des interfaces fait que les utilisateurs n’auront plus d’accès direct au monde virtuel, puisque tout sera intermédié.
Guillaume Ledit, «Tout le foisonnement que permet Internet pourrait avoir disparu dans 15 ans»,
dans Usbek & Rica, 28 juillet 2017
Rob Feulner (b. 1987, Montreal, CA) is a video artist hailing from Montréal, Québec. Armed with a stack of VCRs, circuit-bent equipment, and a disregard for electrical shocks, Rob Feulner dives wrist-deep into open machinery, creating a landscape of video tracking errors and glitches used to confront modern political malaise. His work has appeared in the Indianapolis Museum of Art, has been broadcasted by The Cartoon Network, and performed alongside MacArthur Fellowship prize winner Anne Carson. His most recent piece, the 17-minute experimental short film Cable Box, premiered at the Festival ECRÃ (Brazil) in July 2021.
Sam Meech (b. 1981, Huddersfield, UK ) is a digital artist with analogue tendencies whose practice includes interactive installation, projection design, and machine knitting. He is interested in hybrid design processes and the possibilities of combining both digital and analogue systems in production and performance. He aims to form new connections between existing and emerging technologies through playful works that emphasise texture, pattern, recursion and translation. He has machine-knitted stop motion animations of pixel art horses, generated poetry from old video titlers, and cast toy train sets in concrete to form apocalyptic projection mapping installations.
His recent practice has researched the integration of optical video feedback systems within interactive digital video installations - an approach outlined in his Master of Arts by Research thesis ‘Video in the Abyss: In the context of the digital, is video feedback still useful as an approach to making art?’. Two of the resulting works (‘Chroma Culture’ and ‘Portals’) toured libraries in the UK, and were shortlisted for the 2019 Lumen Prize for Art and Technology, whilst ‘Chroma Culture’ also won the ‘ALIFE Inspired Art’ award at ALIFE 2020. Both works have been adapted and deconstructed as part of this show.
He also enjoys working with the public to develop projects that enable people to be hands on with technology and creative processes. He has previously developed commissions for Mutek, ONF, Quartier des Spectacles and Maison de la Culture Maisonneuve, as well as many galleries, museums and public institutions in the UK. He is now based in Montreal, and teaches on the Intermedia course at Concordia University.