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ATC Revisited — Martinat and Mayorga's "Reality Environments"

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The Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium, hosted by the Berkeley Center for New Media, the Arts Research Center, and the David Brower Center, was proud to host Peruvian artist José Carlos Martinat and collaborator and engineer Enrique Mayorga.

Martinat described for the audience a variety of his projects that used technology to make viewers interact with the world in a new way. For example, in one piece a microphone in a room would follow or move away from viewers, while in another, the curator was forced to write or stop writing based on lighting cues. Enrique Mayorga then contextualized Martinat’s work, explaining how Martinat plays with the notion of “thing” and “personhood.” He seeks to make people act like things, and things like people, to question our relationship with the objects and activities of our daily life.

Martinat then went on to explore later works, in which he developed these ideas by working with the plethora of information on the internet. In one case, he mounted printers on a government building and the printers spat out ATM slips comprising the beginning of a local paper’s headline completed with Google’s search auto-complete and then an article made up of a sentence from each of the search results. Mayorga wrote the program for this work and he explained to the audience how Martinat is an “artist as an algorithm.”

Recontextualizing places, objects, and people, Martinat and Mayorga use technology to make timely, political, and essential art that invites reflection, resistance, and further inspiration.

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