Binwanka: 変身 (Henshin)
Curated by Sarah Fritchey
March 15—March 23, 2019
Artspace is pleased to announce 変身 (Henshin), a solo show of experimental video, sound and kinetic installation produced from 2010-2019 by our current Artist-in-Residence, Binwanka. The works in the show are deeply informed by the artist’s experience growing up on anime and video games, the latter of which he played competitively in the 2000’s, and improvising solo at open mics in New York City. Binwanka makes work from digital materials that are free and readily at hand, including screen captured videos, videos downloaded from the internet, open source software, cell phone videos, and mail ordered Buddhist chant boxes. Animated scenes from Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Mickey Mouse, and Astro Boy serve as the source footage for many of his works. Though, through the process of their pre-production, digital rendering, and post production, their amusing figurative content is transformed into unreadable images. The output is a sublime abstract tableau of mutable color fields, produced through accident and chance with machines.
In his most recent works, Binwanka mines the internet for open source software, which he purposefully hijacks. He renders video files through video synthesizers and sound software, forcing the computer to read an image as sound. As the file goes through the process of being rendered and saved, it faces corruption and potentially the death sentence of an “error” message. Much like a video game, the challenge, is to keep the simulation alive, and through a process of trial and error, Binwanka continues to find solutions and short cuts to create abstracted videos with greater control and speed.
Binwanka’s earlier works (2009-2014) explore the physical structures of gaming apparatuses in and of themselves. These video works are shot with a handheld camera, which Binwanka balances with one hand, as he adjusts the controls on a TV with his other hand. They are shaky, attesting to the ever-present hand of their creator, and to the image on the screen as a mere illusion. Likewise, his sound pieces acknowledge sound recordings as spatial and architectural structures. One work plays from a record created from a piece of laser etched acrylic that produces percussive sounds
For this exhibition, Binwanka will debut a kinetic installation involving a battery powered robot that produces infinite drawings. This work is inspired by the principles of a harmonograph, a 19th century invention that helped humans draw highly mesmerizing geometric images through the aid motion-generating pendulums. The robot will freely roam atop sheets of papers laid with a marker attached to its side. While Binwanka has made hundreds of drawings using analog harmonographs, this is his first electronic design in this series.
In addition, Binwanka will present a written list of principles which guide his practice. He uniquely describes himself as a “generalist,” and his principles will pull from his wide-ranging interests in systems thinking, cybernetics, aleatoricism (the incorporation of chance into process of creation), glitch art, systems theory, S.T.E.A.M., and the concepts of process, chance, obsolescence, as well as texts he checks out of the library, most recently The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, How to Learn Anything Quickly, and Created in Japan, to name a few.
At large, this nine-year body of work examines the physical, linguistic and mental capacity of humans and computers to collaborate in the creative process, mining a computer’s ability to create autonomously, generate its own networks, and cross cultural borders.
This exhibition was made possible with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation of the Arts and Friends of Artspace.
The Opening Reception will be held on Friday, March 15 from 6-9pm, and feature an exhibition walk through with Binwanka from 6-7pm. Following the tour, we will convene for Community Pot Luck Dinner. Please bring a side, main dish or dessert; vegetarian options appreciated. This event is free and open to the public and all are welcome.
Binwanka is a self-described “generalist”, autodidact and non-linear thinker who experiments with art, design and technology. He has exhibited work internationally, nationally and virtually including at the Musée du Louvre, Times Square NYC, and the Museum of Computer Art. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and started the record label S.N.O (Shado Ninrei Ongaku / Shado Ninray) to focus on sound, art, experimentation, creativity and a love for vinyl. He hosts a radio show on WPKN 89.5, which blends range of genres, including: synthesizers, ambient, new age, experimental, noise, psychedelic, drone, progressive, metal, world music, synth pop, obscure, sound art, old school rap, electro, turntablism, free jazz, vaporwave, retro wave, city pop and synth wave. He received his M.F.A. from the New School with a concentration in Design and Technology (2011), and his B.F.A. from the University of Connecticut and Southern Connecticut State University with a concentration in Graphic Design (2006).