[June 23] Viral symphOny by Joseph Nechvatal

Date: Tuesday June 23, 2020

Time: 5 pm – 5:40 pm

Location: Twitch.TV/harvestworks  Note: chat will not be available

viral symphOny is a collaborative electronic noise music symphony created by the post-conceptual artist Joseph Nechvatal. It was created between the years 2006 and 2008 using custom artificial life C++ software based on the viral phenomenon model. Tonight, we will broadcast Audio Track #1 (28 min) bracketed by excerpts from interviews with the artist in 2009 by Anthony Masterson and in 2013 by Johan Westenberg.

The complete piece is 1 hour and 40 minutes in length. The first movement of viral symphOny – and raw viral field material – was released in 2006 as a CD by The Institute for Electronic Arts in Alfred, New York . –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_symphOny

In this challenging time for artists, art galleries, not-for-profit associations supporting artists, artist Joseph Nechvatal and Galerie Richard are donating one hundred viral symphOny CD’s created by Joseph Nechvatal (with Matthew Underwood, Andrew Deutsch, and Stephane Sikora) to Harvestworks Digital Media Art Center in New York City.

Founded as not-for-profit-organization by artists in 1977, Harvestworks has helped a generation of artists create new works using technology. For the first 40+ years, Harvestworks has offered artists on-site production studios, workshops, and classes in emerging technologies. – http://www.galerierichard.com/en_news.php

Harvestworks thanks Galerie Richard and Joseph Nechvatal for their donation.  You can support Harvestworks and receive a copy of viral symphOny by becoming a member or sending us a contribution here.      

An excerpt of the Joseph Nechvatal’s viral-modeled artificial life animation Viral Venture (2009), created in collaboration with Rhys Chatham and Stéphane Sikora, is being exhibited here online now by the White Page Gallery / Fuori Visioni art center in Piacenza, Italy. Piacenza is one of the Northern Italian cities with the world’s largest coronavirus outbreaks.

About Joseph Nechvatal

Joseph Nechvatal was born in Chicago. He studied fine art and philosophy at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Cornell University and Columbia University, where he studied with Arthur Danto while serving as the archivist to the minimalist composer La Monte Young. From 1979, he exhibited his work in New York City, primarily at Galerie Richard, Brooke Alexander Gallery and Universal Concepts Unlimited. He has also solo exhibited in Berlin, Paris, Chicago, Cologne, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Aalst, Belgium, Youngstown, Senouillac, Lund, Toulouse, Turin, Arles and Munich.

In 1999 Nechvatal obtained his Ph.D. in the philosophy of art and new technology concerning immersive virtual reality at Roy Ascott’s Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts (CAiiA), University of Wales College, Newport, UK (now the Planetary Collegium at the University of Plymouth). There he developed his concept of viractualism, a conceptual art idea that strives “to create an interface between the biological and the technological.” According to Nechvatal, this is a new topological space.

From 1999 to 2013, Nechvatal taught art theories of immersive virtual reality and the viractual at the School of Visual Arts in New York City (SVA). A book of his collected essays entitled Towards an Immersive Intelligence: Essays on the Work of Art in the Age of Computer Technology and Virtual Reality (1993–2006) was published by Edgewise Press in 2009. Also in 2009, his book Immersive Ideals / Critical Distances was published.  In 2011, his book Immersion Into Noise was published by Open Humanities Press in conjunction with the University of Michigan Library’s Scholarly Publishing Office.  In 2014 he published (as editor) a book and CD/cassette tape with Punctum Books and Punctum Records on the noise music artist Minóy, and in 2015 he published with Punctum Books a collection of his farcical erotic poetry entitled Destroyer of Naivetés. Since 2013, Nechvatal has regularly been publishing his art criticism as the Paris correspondent for Hyperallergic blogazine. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_symphOny


Joe Lewis wrote:

“in the artist/theorist tradition of Robert Smithson, Joseph Nechvatal is a pioneer in the field of digital image making who challenges our perceptions of nature by altering conventional notions of space and time, gender, and self. … Nechvatal successfully plunged into the depths where art, technology and theory meet.”




Matthew Underwood, Andrew Deutsch, and Stephane Sikora

Interview with Joseph Nechvatal

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