Golan Levin makes art that looks back at you | Summary and Q&A

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Golan Levin makes art that looks back at you


The artist and engineer Golan Levin discusses the importance of using technology to expand the vocabulary of human action and empower individuals through interactive experiences.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why does Golan Levin believe that artists are obliged to use the materials of their own day?

Golan Levin believes that artists have a responsibility to explore and utilize the materials and tools of their own time in order to fully explore the expressive potential and expand the vocabulary of human action. By embracing new technologies and materials, artists can create unique and immersive interactive experiences that empower individuals and promote self-discovery.

Q: How does Golan Levin use full-body input to create more rich and aesthetic interactive experiences?

Golan Levin explores the use of full-body input to move away from the limitations of traditional input methods like the mouse. By allowing people to engage with art and aesthetic experiences using their entire body, he enables them to have more immersive and creative interactive experiences. This approach encourages individuals to discover their own agency and express themselves in unique ways.

Q: What is the significance of the project called Remark, which visualizes speech through shadows?

The project Remark, created by Golan Levin in collaboration with Zachary Lieberman and the Ars Electronica Futurelab, presents the idea that speech can cast visible shadows. By stepping into a magic light, individuals can see the shadows of their own speech. If a computer speech recognition system can recognize what is being said, it spells it out visually. If not, it produces a shape that is phonaesthetically linked to the sounds made. This project explores the connections between language, perception, and visual representation, challenging our understanding of speech and its visual manifestations.

Q: How does Golan Levin incorporate the use of eyes and gaze in his artwork?

Golan Levin is interested in the profound nonverbal communication that occurs through the eyes and gaze. He explores ways to incorporate eye-tracking technology into his artwork to understand how people relate to each other and their surroundings. By creating installations and interactive experiences that respond to and acknowledge the viewer's gaze, Levin aims to deepen the connection between artwork and audience and create novel forms of body language and communication.

Q: What does the project Eyecode aim to achieve?

The project Eyecode, developed by Golan Levin, allows people to create images constructed from their own history of viewing artwork in an installation. Using eye-tracking technology, the software records the viewer's eye movements and constructs an image based on the traces left by previous observers. The installation creates a recursive observation system, where each participant looks at the looking of everyone else before them, resulting in a visual representation of collective viewing experiences.

Q: How does Golan Levin use robotics in his artwork?

Golan Levin incorporates robotics in his artwork to explore novel forms of body language and communication. For example, the Opto-Isolator project reduces the phenomenon of gaze to its simplest form by featuring a single eye that blinks one second after the viewer's own blink. The Snout project utilizes an eight-foot snout with a googly eye and a robotic arm to create a creature that appears continually surprised to see the viewer. These robotic installations aim to engage and evoke emotional responses from viewers through their unique body language and interactions.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Golan Levin highlights the lack of understanding and representation of art that utilizes technology in mainstream platforms, such as the Apple iPhone app store.

  • He emphasizes the need for artists to explore and embrace the expressive potential of new tools and materials in order to expand the vocabulary of human action and empower individuals.

  • Levin showcases various projects, including one that allows people to explore the negative shapes they create in their everyday movements and another that visualizes speech through shadows, demonstrating the creative agency and unique personalities that emerge from interactive experiences.

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