Swiss artist Zimoun has been compared to a watchmaker of self-reproducing time. His kinetic, sonic sculptures feature armies of mechanical entities that form worlds both uniform and chaotic; futuristic robot battallions and writhing, life-like beings desperate to break free. On Saturday, January 22, 2011, swissnex San Francisco and Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA) team up to present the artist’s first solo exhibition in San Francisco.
Bern-based Zimoun, who has riveted audiences in Europe, China, and North America, uses simple mechanical devices such as dc and vibration motors combined with other industrial flotsam—speaker arrays, ventilators, PVC hoses, and metal wire—arranged in seemingly simple patterns.
Inspired by the sciences of generative systems, robotics, and swarm behaviors, he prepared for his San Francisco exhibition by spending time with the Artifical Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Zurich and the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Lausanne, where researchers study the behavior of ants.
The art and technology festival Ars Electronica has noted of Zimoun, “The clean, elegant sound sculptures combine visual, sonic, and spatial elements in an organically balanced artwork. Using simple and well-conceived mechanical systems, Zimoun’s work transforms and activates the space.”
In addition to the GAFFTA show, Zimoun performs live with Jim Haynes at swissnex San Francisco on Wednesday, January 19, 2011, co-presented by 23five, Incorportated.
January 22, 2011 7:00pm to midnight at GAFFTA
Suggested donation: $5 to $20
January 22, 2011 through February 26, 2011
Exhibition Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4pm-7pm through February 26, 2011.
Born in Switzerland in 1977, Zimoun is an autodidact residing in Bern. His work has been featured in numerous solo and group shows and he has performed throughout Europe, Asia, and North and South America in venues such as the Kunsthalle in Bern, Switzerland, Bitforms, in New York, Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, Transmediale in Berlin, ISEA Singapore, and Elektra in Montreal.
Zimoun recently received an Honorary Mention at Ars Electronica 2010. He’s taken part in everal residencies and served as a guest lecturer at the Zurich University for the Arts (ZHdK), the Geneva University for Art and Design (HEAD), and the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.
In 2003, he and graphic designer Marc Beekhuis founded Leerraum [ ], a label, networking hub, and platform for creative exchange among artists. He often collaborates with other artists as well as experts in related fields, for example with the University of Zurich’s AI Lab, Daniel Imboden of Dim-Tech, Pe Lang, and Helena Gough.
Praise for Zimoun’s work
“The sound sculptures and installations of Zimoun are graceful, mechanized works of playful poetry, their structural simplicity opens like an industrial bloom to reveal a complex and intricate series of relationships, an ongoing interplay between the “artificial” and the “organic.” It’s an artistic research of simple and elegant systems to generate and study complex behaviors in sound and motion. Zimoun creates sound pieces from basic components, often using multiples of the same prepared mechanical elements to examine the creation and degeneration of patterns.” Tim Beck
“Zimoun’s primary instruments are entirely of his own making, each a large-scale installation of small mechanical devices — tables lined with whipping little bits of tubing, small sets of fetishistically situated mini-motors. They are architecturally precise and their beauty is forged by that precision. The meticulous engineering of Zimoun’s work is a set-up — not an end unto itself, but a staged step toward its end result, an orderly step enacted so as to let chaos flourish. His chaos takes place in close settings, in carefully defined spaces, in systems as thoroughly considered as a laboratory experiment. And the sound emitted by them is not an after effect, or an afterthought. It’s a core principal of his practice.” Marc Weidenbaum, Disquiet.
Photo: Myleen Hollero