CODE Live 2 at Emily Carr University of Art and Design

Situated in the heart of Granville Island, Emily Carr University’s location and reputation for innovation make it a great venue for CODE Live 2 and for artworks focusing on participation, exploration and research. The University’s design offers a creative exhibition space, where hallways, classrooms, staircases and non-traditional galleries form an inter-connected experience while the surrounding outdoor area is filled with a series of intriguing experiments developed by CODE.lab for passersby to engage with and observe.

Where: 1399 Johnston St., Vancouver

This CODE Live venue is now closed.

Please visit CODE Live 3 at The Vancouver Public Library – Central Branch until February 28, 2010.

You can also experience CODE Live projects around Metro Vancouver including Vectorial Elevation .









The Paradise Institute: Janet Cardiff and Georges Bures Miller
Organized by the National Gallery of Canada (Canada)

In a small replica of a full-sized movie theatre balcony with 16 red velvet-covered seats, viewers put on headphones to watch and listen to a film projected in a miniature movie theatre in front of them.  Surprisingly they hear other more intimate sounds and stories. A real and a fictional layer of sound are intertwined, creating a strange sensation of reality for the viewer.  

Movies are, of course, The Paradise Institutereferred to in the title. Looking over the full-sized balcony into a hallucinatory space of a miniature movie theatre below, a visitor’s senses are further misled by putting on headphones that create surrounding sounds which are equally deceptive between the film being shown and noises being heard. The projected movie is about a man who is a prisoner in a hospital with its own soundtrack faithful to the images. Simultaneously, another soundtrack, more intimate, is confidentially whispered or heard nearby with a surprising fidelity in the viewer’s ears. This other soundtrack seems to directly emerge from other members of the audience present with coughs, secrets, cellphones and other sounds of ordinary life interrupting the flow of the movie’s audio effects. The impression is disturbing as the realities created by the sounds close by are more real than the fiction of the movie, although both are illusions, with their narratives culminating in an eerie conclusion. How the brain tricks itself into believing through image and sound is one of the inescapable implications of the experience of The Paradise Institute.               








CODE.lab: M. Simon Levin and Jer Thorp with Emily Carr students and faculty (Canada)

CODE.lab is a publicly-sited art project that asks visitors to consider these questions and their often ambiguous answers. Visitors are met with a set of performances, constructions and interventions. A strange robotic vehicle rolls backwards along the historic Granville Island train tracks, filming the route in reverse. A man stands motionless in the midst of the bustling crowd, his stillness documented by nearby cameras. Mechanized owls perch on high ledges surveying the activities below. A group of visitors approach a brightly-marked kiosk, only to have their picture taken by an automatic camera. These unique engagements place participants in situations in which their relationship with image and observation is constantly changing.

During the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, tens of thousands of people will descend on Granville Island every day. Already one of the most photographed locations in the city, the Island will be shot from every angle: images from cameras and mobile phones mix with surveillance and media images to document every moment from every perspective. In such a photo-saturated environment, who plays the observer? Who is observed?

In the CODE.lab control room, participants are immersed in imagery. A projection-based installation aggregates live feeds from cameras distributed throughout the island. On screen, live and archived images are mixed, suggesting connections between individuals, between moments and between spaces.




*glisten)HIVE: Julie Andreyev, Maria Lantin and Simon Overstall (Canada)

*glisten)HIVE is an interactive installation in which live projected imagery and sound generation are the instant record of the voices of participants, both local and global, contributing to the conversations. As a subject, animals are seen and discussed both in the media and by individuals. The collaboration is meant to raise awareness of animal intelligence distanced by a culture which thinks of animals almost always in terms of consumption. Twitter contributions offered by the participants are coded before being projected in a pattern reminiscent of the sophisticated movement of bees as individual bees transmit information reporting back to the group. Swarming models are the inspiration for the computer algorithms used to visualize the discussions; technology that imitates the knowledgeable collective efforts of animals and their spatial communication. As interactive art, the contributions are coded and visualized by *glisten)HIVE to contribute towards shared experience and group intelligence.



Odd Spaces: Faisal Anwar (Canada)

In Odd Spaces, multiple projectors, screens, cameras and locations are used to link people and places in Canada and South Asia. Two architectural spaces such as a hallway or gallery will be connected remotely via the internet with web cameras and projectors.  Each location records individuals who randomly enter these spaces, with their movements becoming part of this ongoing artwork. Situated in Vancouver, Pakistan and Bangladesh, these backdrops present a possible contemporary understanding of the people and cultures who traditionally  accept the differences that have alienated them from each other.  If new technologies are meant to provide an easier way for people to connect with each other, then Odd Spaces looks into how such networks operate and the possible outcomes of a digitally mediated meeting.










Song of Solomon: Julian Jonker and Ralph Borland (South Africa)

Song of Solomon is an installation that memorializes the famous song Mbube, aka
The Lion Sleeps Tonight, composed and recorded in South Africa in 1939 by Solomon Linda, while chronicling the injustice to the songwriter. The many recorded versions of the song are fragmented by a system that randomly chooses adaptations.

South African artists Julian Jonker and Ralph Borland have created a continuously changing sound environment based on the history of over 400 recorded versions of the same song, as well as examples of the genre and ancestral form from which it emerged. The song was originally entitled Mbube morphing into Wimoweh when popularized in America by Peter Seeger 10 years later to as The Lion Sleeps Tonight when songwriter George David Weiss added 10 words and a new arrangement in 1961. Weiss’s version appeard in the Disney movie The Lion Kingand made millions of dollars.

Inspired by the injustice done to the original composer, Solomon Linda, who recorded his hit in 1939 after moving to Johannesburg from drought-ridden KwaZulu-Natal, the two artists have both provided a monument to his extraordinary legacy and raised issues about the nature of intellectual property. Linda was paid 10 shillings for a song that went on to make tens of millions of dollars for others while he died in poverty in 1962. By sampling a huge number of variations chosen randomly in fragments by specially developed software, the song is continually arranged and rearranged and imitated. The song’s movement through different cultures and its adaptation to other arrangements speaks to its enduring power as well as to the power of dominant groups to appropriate the cultures of more marginal peoples. Song of Solomonreflects this uncertainty about the idea of authorship, while memorializing Linda as author.This sound installation serves as both celebratory monument and cultural critique.




CODE Dialogues: Co-presented with Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Canada)

CODE Live and Emily Carr University present an all-day forum that brings together the most renowned national and international artists, curators and thinkers for a series of dialogues on the role of digital practices today. Extending the theme of Bridging, Code Dialogues will explore how artistic practices contribute to how we experience technology, our planet, its ecology and the people living within it. While technologies have created a world more closely intertwined through communication, it has also pointed to the challenges of dialogue and participation that virtual distance cannot sometime surmount. Bringing together practitioners committed to exploring the interactive and participatory potentials of digital practices, Code Dialogueswill ask how new technologies shape our individual and collective capacities to think, understand, collaborate and create.

Note: Play: The Hertzian Collective : Geoffrey Shea has been moved to CODE Live 1

Electromode: Curated by Valérie Lamontagne (Canada) / Peau d’Âne

From research in science and art, wearable microcomputers and smart fabrics transform the body through dynamic, kinetic and shape-shifting garments that expand the body’s possibilities. 




Blue Code, Jacket Antics and Tornado Dress: Barbara Layne, Studio subTela (Canada)

Blue Code and Jacket Antics are two communicative garments with texts and designs that scroll across each of their backs. Using programs embedded in the fabrics, an array of LED lights allows these visual messages to move. When the two wearers hold hands, the message becomes the same and moves from one to the other. The fabrics literally become individualized signs imparting meaning as the wearer walks through a public space. The ability to communicate thoughts and commentary within the context of any space becomes literally illuminated through this linguistic garment. With Tornado Dress, Barbara Layne has taken advantage of images from Mike Hollingshead, a storm-chaser photographer and embedded both a funnel cloud and lightening bolts within a landscape, all printed on linen fabric. The dress’s lining is embroidered with conductive threads and LEDs that move in a dramatic imitation of severe storms on the very body of the wearer.





Company Keeper and Emotional Ties: Sara Diamond (Canada)

Company Keeper and Emotional Ties are part of a set of wearable garments that respond to touch and project images based on the wearer’s movements and interactions with others. The works are part of the dressCode project, which explores human emotion, communication and touch as expressed through clothing. Using accelerometer and touch sensors in combination with Bluetooth mobile telephone communication, gesture recognition, embedded headphones and LED lights, dressCode garments tap into the emotional state of wearers and facilitate their well-being by either consoling them with sound or facilitating a visual conversation with a friend. Company Keeper enjoys the perpetual company of a wise, humourous and absurd friend, always at the ready with a modified concerto, capable of neutralizing the occupant’s nervous disposition. The subtleties of the unsaid word are inspiration for Emotional Ties. Male and female body language (preening, for example) is monitored through strategically placed touch sensors inserted into the garments. Once certain body postures are detected, an audiovisual display is triggered on the other garment. For example, if the male adjusts his tie or a female smoothes the fabric around her waist, an LED animation and melody play on the other garment.



Electric Skin and Barking Mad: Suzi Webster with Jordan Benwick (Canada)

Electric Skin is a piece of wearable clothing containing a breath sensor that dims and brightens light emitting diodes in the garment. The breath of the wearer through inhalation and exhalation is turned into pulses of light. Another work by the artist Suzi Webster is Barking Mad whose built-in proximity sensors respond to another person’s closeness by emitting the sound of a barking dog through flat panel micro speakers embedded in the coat. The strength of the sound varies from the yap of a poodle to the deep growl of a Rottweiler, directly in response to the degree of intrusion on the wearer’s personal space. Webster’s intersections between natural elements and clothing create an interesting comment on technology at its most primal.






Peau d'Âne:  Valerie Lamontagne (Canada)

The three dresses by Valérie Lamontagne are a response to a strange fairy tale by Charles Perrault in which a young princess, to avoid marrying a king, demands impossible dresses made of the sun, the moon and the sky. Addressing this fantasy demand for immaterial materials by using the newest parallel technologies, Lamontagne perversely incarnates all three. With live weather data transmitted to them, each dress is transformed to reflect the changing barometric characteristics respectively of sky, moon and sun in real time. The Sky dress mimics a cloud, inflating with an increase of clouds in the sky; vibrating according to precipitation reports. The Sun dress uses 128 LED lights that are set in motion based on ultraviolet and sun intensity readings. It mimics the sun but when the light reaches dangerous UV levels, the dress also acts as a flashing warning sign. The moon dress is also a contemporary version conveying the constant fluctuations of the moon by displaying changing colour patterns on a 28-day cycle. Cool grey with black accents, the Moon dress is covered with artificial flowers that change colour as the moon waxes and wanes. Climatic changes activate clothes and the wearer performs the weather literally, reminding us of the co-relationship between our movements and the environment around us.





Skorpions and Captain Electric : Joanna Berzowska, XS Labs (Canada)

Skorpions and Captain Electric (Itchy, Stiff) are two series of electronic garments created by Joanna Berzowska that are set in motion by internal programming which directly relates to the wearer. In Skorpions, the garments act like parasites with their own desires, their own fears and their own personalities, unpredictably inhabiting the material of the clothes. Skorpions integrates electronic fabrics; the shape-memory nickel-titanium alloy Nitinol and mechanical activators like magnets, soft electronic circuits, as well as traditional textile characteristic like folds and drapes across the body. In this way the garments also reference the history of clothing as an instrument of pain and desire, like corsets or foot binding. In Captain Electric, the garments both passively harness energy from the body and actively allow for power generation by the user. The dresses restrict and reshape the body in order to produce sufficient energy to fuel themselves and actuate light and sound events on the body.Itchy’stailored leather silhouette is decorated with large reconfigurable wool necklaces, while Stiffmimics the postures of muscular rigidity. Like clothes, and like technology, these garments teach us the limits of our control and the relationship between our bodies, movement and the world around us.




Tendrils: Thecla Schiphorst (Canada)

Tendrils is a metaphor for the particles, filaments and networks that combine to create our collective selves, the interstitial signals that flow within our bodies. Like a tidal pool, tendrils reflects the movement and visual patterns as an ecosystem of small movement and senses. TheTendrilsgarment is reminiscent of an active and intelligent skin that responds by shivering, quivering, sighing and “alighting.” These skin-like responses are actuated by a series of small, interconnected motors and light that reflect the inner energy and nervous system of the garment. Based on biological cellular structures that alter their structural form as a response to touch, tendrils subtle movements point to an ecological connection to our larger movements as a whole. Gallery audience members (along with an internet audience) can collectively activate the garments response through touch-screen and mobile technology, taking garments beyond the exhibition room and into the virtual.





Walking City and Living Pod: Ying Gao (Canada)

Walking City is a series of dresses by Ying Gao that explores the idea of motion in fashion design by incorporating pneumatic pistons and pumps beneath the subtle textures of the dresses to animate and activate the swirls and swishes of light materials from within the dress itself. Rather than relying on wind or the wearer’s movement, the dresses are a form of prosthetic device, and when the pressure changes they move, resembling the famous Marilyn Monroe photo posing over a subway grate. The garment itself is mechanically and electronically flexible to its own pre-programmed desires and needs. A person wearing one of these dresses may program the clothes to speak for her.

Living Pod is a set of light-sensitive interactive garments that move and breathe. The movement of one garment is mimicked by the other. The velocity of the garment’s movement depends on the intensity of the light source falling on the dress. In both cases, Gao creates whimsical dresses that look and feel like they are alive, moving and breathing through the space.