Immaterials. Photo credit: Timo Arnall
Immaterials. Photo credit: Timo Arnall

Immaterials artist Timo Arnall on seeing the invisible

09 June 2015

Making the intangible tangible: Timo Arnall discusses the Immaterials exhibition now showing at Lighthouse

Immaterials install. Photo credit: Timo Arnall
Immaterials install. Photo credit: Timo Arnall

Reblogged from and

A new exhibition, that brings together much of the work from the Touch project, called Immaterials opened last week in Brighton. The exhibition features new large-format prints and the films from many of the key works.

The exhibition is based on Touch work such as Experiments in Field Drawing and Immaterials: Ghost in the Field that explored the immaterial and invisible aspects of RFID technology.

From the exhibition text:
“Our environment is comprised not only of the physical, visible architecture and infrastructure that we can see and touch, but also of immaterial and invisible technological infrastructures that have an increasingly profound impact on how we experience the world. WiFi, GPS, RFID and mobile networks are the invisible materials, mechanisms, and infrastructures which enable contemporary digital culture. But our inability to see these systems hinders our capacity to understand their importance.”

Alongside newer works such as Immaterials: Light Painting WiFi, Wireless in the world, Nearness, Robot Readable World and a premiere of the as yet unpublished Satellite Lamps this exhibition draws together these Immaterials projects for the first time.

The Immaterials project is concerned with the increasing invisibility of interfaces and infrastructures. The systems we interact with everyday such as WiFi and 3G networks have a profound impact on how we experience the world. As Adam Greenfield says:
“the complex technologies the networked city relies upon to produce its effects remain distressingly opaque, even to those exposed to them on a daily basis. […] it’s hard to be appropriately critical and to make sound choices in a world where we don’t understand the objects around us.”

And as James Bridle has eloquently and disturbingly observed:
“Those who cannot perceive the network cannot act effectively within it, and are powerless.”

The project set out to expose some of the phenomena and mechanisms of technological infrastructures through visual, photographic, narrative, animated and cinematic techniques. Over the last five years I have worked with Einar Sneve Martinussen, Jørn Knutsen, Jack Schulze and Matt Jones towards a body of work that is now brought together in an exhibition for the first time.

From 2004–2008 I speculated about the ways in which wireless interactions inhabited physical space, through my work on a Graphic language for touch, and also through films such as Wireless in the world. Some of my students made beautiful but fictional speculations about the physical qualities of different kinds of radio…..

Read more about Timo Arnall’s thoughts about the Immaterials project here



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