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News-Based Installations

A glimpse at artworks by Michael Bielicky and Kamila B Richter

Falling Times, 2007

Since 2006, Michael Bielicky and his wife, Kamila B. Richter, have been developing ways to translate the constant avalanche of online news headlines into pictographs for video projection onto walls (indoors and out) in real-time. The first five iterations were called Falling Times, a reference to both newspaper names and the present sense of decline. As Paul Kenig explained, “Falling Times… wants to be nothing less than the figurative, infinite social media commentary accompanying [and] contradicting official channels’ news.”

Twitter messages containing certain key words trigger “action scripts” in their custom software. As the items arrive, the scripts select appropriate pictographic representations and project them sliding down the wall. The size of the image depends on how frequently that key word appears in the news stream. For items containing more than one key word, Kamila’s software generates pictographic hybrids.

FallingTimes, NewYork, 2009
Falling Times, New York, 2009

The image above shows Falling Times installed at the Czech Cultural Center in New York City in 2008.  The image below shows a sample of hybrid pictographs with the corresponding headlines.

Falling Times, 2007
Falling Times, 2007

Falling Times was followed by The Garden of Error and Decay (14 iterations between 2010 and 2019). Also based on pictographs, but with color added and a “gardenscape” background, this more sophisticated work attempts to create “metadata-driven narratives” from the news, algorithmically, in real-time.

Michael Bielicky and Kamila B. Richter, Garden of Error and Decay
Michael Bielicky and Kamila B. Richter, Garden of Error and Decay

A massive (520-page) compilation of Bielicky’s work, including his collaborations with Kamila Richter, has been published by ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medien/Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany).  Titled Perpetuum Mobile, it was edited by Peter Weibel just before he died. Price: 50 euros from Amazon.

Exhibition Images: Michael Bielicky and Kamila B Richter, Garden of Error and Decay, wall-filling animated light projection at the 11th Havana Biennial in 2012.

Michael Bielicky


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