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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI -Fine Arts Center exhibitions

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An exhibition within the exhibition

Main Gallery, Fine Arts Center Galleries, University of Rhode Island
JANUARY 27 - MARCH 6, 2005

"'The Error Engine' is a tool for the development of self-evolving narrative, a system designed to create performances in language that are authored collaboratively by humans and machines." - Judd Morrissey, Lori Talley, Lutz Hamel

"My work is about coding and decoding, finding the unexpected in mundane materials..." - Karen Shaw

KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 16, 2005 -- Main Gallery, Fine Arts Center Galleries, commences the new year with two intriguing and complementary exhibitions, presented simultaneously. One is a collaborative work in progress, an interactive installation by a Chicago based writer (Judd Morrissey), a Chicago based digital artist (Lori Talley) and a German born computer scientist (Lutz Hamel) currently teaching at the University of Rhode Island where he specializes in machine learning and evolutionary computing. The related exhibition is a compelling, dominantly sculptural elaboration of a number/value/letter based system of her own creation by New York artist Karen Shaw.

Visitors to "From ‘The Error Engine’" and "Body Language" will encounter many forms of texts experientially--visually, syntactically and physically. In the instance of the Error Engine the evolution of our now ubiquitous computer -driven environments themselves will be portrayed, from the later 1950s to a conjectured contemporary context for the Error Engine. Within an environment designed by the collaborative team, the Main Gallery installation will selectively represent the last half century's migration of text from the printed page itself through expressively new languages of "hypertext" before finally presenting their own Error Engine invention for visitor consumption. In the Error Engine, viewer/writer-defined bodies of texts in their prose versions are (alarmingly) analyzed and re-interpreted by the computer processor in a hybrid human/machine collaboration.

In Karen Shaw's fanciful exhibition, text is likewise the focus but emphasis is on creative word play supported literally by the media of sculpture and collage. In one portion of her exhibition - brightly painted acupuncture models of body parts mounted on pedestals or on the wall - Shaw pins dramatic acupuncture needles onto numbered pressure points. These needles serve as devices that bear clusters of words printed on acetate, words and their permutations derived from Shaw’s personal semantics, an elaborate system of what she calls “summantics” that she has practiced for roughly 30 years. In a like-spirited way, Shaw creates order from chaos in a series of lively Chinese diagrams that the artist discovered and modified into text-carrying collages. "To create a sentence out of random numbers I am governed by the rules of grammar and syntax as well as what words are equivalent to said number," she has explained. In Shaw’s works, nothing less than an organic “found” poetry emerges.

As 2005 begins, the de-stabilizing modes of creative activity to which both of these special exhibitions subscribe seem extremely timely and appropriate. To borrow an expression recently used by William Larson, Director of Graduate Photography & Digital Imaging, Maryland Institute College of Art, “information in formation” is what fascinates and propels these artists. In our unpredictable, even volatile times, the interpretations of which are fluid and open to conjecture, artistic practice that addresses communication in our culture and posits alternative, frequently playful (if subversive) systems through which to communicate is welcome. Conventional language and computations are undermined powerfully in both exhibitions. For these artists, as well as for us, words and their meanings are multiply legible and persistently mystifying.

Sunday, January 30, 2-4 pm
Introduction by Lutz Hamel, Performance by Judd Morrissey, Comments by Karen Shaw

Tuesday – Friday, 12 – 4 pm; Saturday – Sunday, 1 – 4 pm

All programs of the Fine Arts Center Galleries are open to the public free of charge.
All are handicapped accessible.