Telfair’s annual PULSE Art + Technology Festival faces the future with exciting exhibitions, lectures, and educational events for all ages. PULSE 2020 showcases artists and creatives who demonstrate how technology can either work against us or help us solve global problems. The exhibition Machines of Futility features interactive works that question technology’s usefulness, while Installations in the museum’s TechSpace connect virtual and augmented reality and games with the natural world. The festival’s two evening events include an opening panel by featured artists and “Designing the Future: A Climate for Change.” The festival also features morning programs for students by artists and scientists, family day, tours, and workshops.
Daytime admission to PULSE is free to all Chatham County residents, and students with ID.
Machines of Futility: Unproductive Technologies
This exhibition of interactive and kinetic art highlights artists making machines that use humor and absurdity to question the usefulness of technology. The exhibition includes artist Neil Mendoza’s Robotic Voice Activated Word Kicking Machine, which visualizes how machines hear or don’t hear what we say, substituting an absurd apparatus for the unseen technology in our pockets and homes. In this case, the viewer’s spoken words come out of a horn-like tube as text and are kicked across a screen. The artist’s Anti-Vanity Mirror pokes at self(ie)-obsession, turning away as the viewer attempts to look. Blake Fall-Conroy’s Minimum Wage Machine comments on labor and the generation of income, dispensed as pennies. Alicia Eggert’s clock-like work repeatedly forms the word “Now” in an impossible attempt to visualize the present moment. R. Luke Dubois’ Learning Machines are vintage voting machines augmented with digital technology to present an illusion of choice. These artists demonstrate that machines and technology do not always function as planned and may function mysteriously, or even counter to our input.
Technology often exists in opposition to nature, consuming resources and sometimes negatively impacting our planet. Simultaneously, technology has been used by scientists, artists, and designers for environmental monitoring, education, and production of art that inspires concern about the natural world. Second Nature brings together technology-based art from Telfair Museums’ permanent collection and new works that reference nature. Included is a new augmented reality installation by Max Almy and Teri Yarbrow that unlocks the hidden energy of an ancient oak. Virtual reality using footage from NOAA brings viewers into contact with Gray’s Reef, an underwater preserve off the Georgia coast only accessible to divers. Artist Katja Loher’s video sculpture uses costumed human actors to reflect the decline of pollinators. Videogame makers Earthgames and the Hydrous, a VR/education initiative, use technology to educate their audiences about the effects of climate change. Ian Bogost’s A Slow Year imitates the four seasons in videogames designed for an antique gaming system. In Daniel Rozin’s Sunset Mirror, a digital reflection of the viewer’s image causes the sun to set as one walks towards it. Together these artists and filmmakers speak to our increasingly fraught relationship with the natural world.
January 22, 6pm:
PULSE Members Opening Opening Artist Panel: Neil Mendoza, Alicia Eggert, R. Luke Dubois
Free to members / $8 non-members
January 23, 11am:
Student panel and Q & A: Is Technology useful?
Grades 4-12, college
January 23, 6pm:
Designing the Future: A Climate for Change Screenings and Panel, Presented by W Projects.
January 24, 11am:
Lightning Talks for Students: Technology, Design and Climate Change
January 24, 2pm:
PULSE Curators’ Tour Machines of Futility
January 24, 2pm:
Artists Tour of Second Nature
January 25, 10am:
Raising STEAM: Youth workshops
January 25, 1-4pm:
Free Family Day/STEAM Expo
January 26, 3pm:
Curator’s Tour of the exhibitions Machines of Futility, Second Nature
Investment is provided by the City of Savannah, the Georgia Council for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Media sponsor: Connect Savannah.