Like Pearls by Morehshin Allahyari is an animated and interactive mash-up of the Farsi spam Allahyari receives in her mailbox.
Anglia Ruskin University, ISBN-13: 978-0956560865, English, 80 pages, 2013, UK
“Public engagement” is a definition often used inappropriately to describe the effect of any public event with a not-completely-passive public. The Visualise program at Anglia Ruskin University and the Ruskin Gallery has instead embodied it fully with events that are rooted in the history of both the city and the university and deal with new and old media. Curated by Bronaċ Ferran, the program highlighted cross disciplinarity, which seemed to be at home in these spaces – as in, for example, the truly pioneering work in the sixties by Liliane Lijn and her Poem Machines, by Ernest Edmonds, with his generative software code in FORTRAN, and Alan Sutcliffe, with his experiments with computer music and poems, described personally in the respective texts. “Code” seems to be the unspoken common thread – it has been embodied by artists in very different forms like poetry, biology, electronic music, live performances and visual arts, and indeed in the “Poetry Language Code” exhibition, also part of the program. Eduardo Kac, in a previously unpublished text, talks about the latest conceptual embodiment of his “GFP Bunny” involving glyphs, conducting ink and sound and in the interview with William Latham there are more challenging concepts crossing discipline boundaries, like the “form-grow grammars”. Similarly, Giles Lane and David Walker deal with 3D printing from specific iterations of software generating natural forms, in a way closing the circle. This catalogue is a classic example of a combination of new and well-researched material, making it a precious addition to this area of study.