Switzerland’s Stefan Mueller Arisona and Victoria, BC’s Steve Gibson are media artists who have established a strong footing in academia while keeping their fingers on the throbbing pulse of the club scene, DJ-ing and VJ-ing underground. Grounded in the history of audiovisual tinkering, they take creative hints from illustrious forebearers to push multimedia environments into the next realm.
Mueller Arisona and Gibson joined forces in 2006 to create a digital-age reenactment of , the boundary-breaking multimedia show conceived in the 1960’s by Andy Warhol with the complicity of Lou Reed and his cult rock act The Velvet Underground.
A full-blown sensorium featuring giant projections of Warhol’s films, The Velvet Underground at their most dazzlingly abrasive, and dancers let loose from Warhol’s New-Yorker Factory, the original Exploding Plastic Inevitable (1966-1967) was, while it lasted, the most unique and effective discotheque environment prior to the advent of venues such as San Francisco’s Fillmore. In many ways, it remains a benchmark for all subsequent immersive multimedia shows.
Originated under the auspices of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich’s (EHTZ) “Digital Arts Weeks Plus”, Mueller Arisona and Gibson’s take on Warhol’s circus makes full use of digital technology and the free-flowing, associative thinking of the techno age. Armed with multiple projectors, a barrage of laptop computers and additional data-churning devices, the pair have already performed in Zurich, Victoria, Chicago, Vancouver and Shanghai: they now take on swissnex San Francisco, where audiences will have ample space to let their minds, ears and legs wander along with the beats and pixels.
The performance of Exploding, Plastic & Inevitable redux will be preceded by an artist talk with Stefan Mueller Arisona and Steve Gibson.
Meanwhile, the opening part of the evening will be quietly infiltrated by San Francisco avant-pop sound + image + performance vehicle Kunsole, driven by Roddy Schrock and Deric Carner. A multimedia missive sent from a slightly different universe – and a fine way to let friendly ghosts creep into the machines early on.
This event is made possible thanks to the support of the Arts Council of Switzerland, Pro Helvetia.
6:30 pm doors open/mixer
7:00 pm kunsole performance
7:40 pm artist talk starts
8:15 pm Exploding, Plastic & Inevitable performance starts
11:00 pm Exploding, Plastic & Inevitable performance ends
Stefan Muller Arisona
Stefan Muller Arisona, aka robot_mixeur (Santa Barbara, CA/Zurich, Switzerland – DJ, Visuals) is a post-doctoral research fellow at Media Arts and Technology (MAT) of the University of California, Santa Barbara. His main interests are at the intersections of art and technology. His research focuses on novel real-time multimedia systems and on live composition and performance techniques. Stefan has performed internationally and his art works have appeared at renowned locations such as the Ars Electronica Center (Austria, 2006–2008).
Steve Gibson (Victoria, BC, Canada – DJ, Visuals) is a Canadian media artist, composer, curator and theorist who now serves as Associate Professor of Digital Media at University of Victoria, Canada. Steve Gibson’s installations and compositions have been performed in such venues as: Ars Electronica; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the North American New Music Festival; the Banff Centre for the Arts; the European Media Arts Festival; ISEA; Interface3, Hamburg; Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Nürnberg; and 6CyberConf.
Photo: Myleen Hollero