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The 2010 01SJ Biennial, which opened this week in San Jose, Calif., in the Silicon Valley, asks artists, engineers, and designers to hack the world, building and rebuilding--physically and conceptually--with ideas and innovation.

With a DIY ethos that asks questions through art and offers answers through design and engineering, the 2010 01SJ Biennial, which runs from September 16-19, will feature hundreds of artworks along with performances and events, all engaging the future with concepts in art and design.

Artist Natalie Jeremijenko's xAirport project, a 150-foot zip line above an artificial marsh created in Downtown San Jose, models a system design intended to address the role of wetlands in our urban environments.

Taking advantage of the space necessary for metro airports, Jeremijenko playfully strategizes methods for environmental integration into our world, producing symbiotic diversity in living environments.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Name Your Price

Everything has social costs, some easier to measure than others. Paper or plastic? Tap or bottled water?

Name Your Price: Unpacking Social Costs, a project from the UC Santa Cruz Digital Arts and New Media Program, seeks to promote fair labor and ecological practices by calculating specific information about clothing choices and making the data available to consumers.

In an effort to expose the benefits and costs of what we buy, the installation asks a series of questions regarding a consumer's values and clothing purchase preferences. Then it produces an assessment of the consumer's current wardrobe and offers suggestions for future shopping.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Gift Horse

Constructed inside the Biennial's South Hall, Gift Horse is a project from Victoria Scott and Scott Kildall that will be paraded through the streets by costumed warriors during Saturday's 01SJ art parade, the Green Prix.

Playing off the idea of the "Trojan Horse" as a digital virus infecting computers, Kildall and Scott are leading workshops during 01SJ in which participants will create origami-like paper sculptures modeled after real viruses. The sculptures will fill the belly of the beast before it leaves the South Hall and makes its way through the city.

Arriving inside the San Jose Museum of Art at the end of 01SJ, the Gift Horse will spill its viral contents onto the floor, releasing participants' artwork into the museum.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

01SJ Future Films Program

A graveyard of junked cars--missing doors, hoods, tires--the Empire Drive-In is a large-scale multimedia installation that will screen films as part of the 01SJ Future Films program.

More than a fun way to view films, the Empire Drive-In evokes a grungy nostalgia for the heyday of the automobile and pre-multiplex movie watching. Today, only 381 drive-ins remain active in the United States.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET


Garnet Hertz's OutRun is an outlandish concept car that merges the gameplay of the '80s-era arcade driving game OutRun with an electric vehicle that actually drives on the street.

Calling it a "mixed-reality simulation," Hertz created custom software that turns the real world view into an 8-bit video game interpretation.

Insanely dangerous? Yes. Crazily awesome? Absolutely!

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Tomato Quintet

Part greenhouse, part space-age symphony, Tomato Quintet was one of my favorites of the installations I explored in San Jose, intimately meshing the natural and digital worlds into a unique scientific experiment.

An interactive listening experience that translates the ripening of tomatoes into digital sounds, the Tomato Quintet relies on the gasses emitted from the fruit during the growth process.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Tomato Quintet

Climbing into the greenhouselike tent, visitors to the installation experience audio based on changes in temperature, the ripening hormone Ethylene, and the presence of CO2. The result is a symphonic score patterned by the evolution and changes in the growing environment.

On the final day of the 01SJ Biennial, the performance-artist tomatoes will be made into salsa and served during a high-speed playback of the sound data recorded over the weekend.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

i-Weather as Deep Space Public Lighting

An artificial sun synced to the inner cycle of the human hormonal and endocrine systems, the i-Weather as Deep Space Public Lighting exhibit features a lighting scaffold with 24 rotating colored LED lights, shown here illuminating 01SJ's South Hall.
Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Setting up in the South Hall

Setting up in the South Hall, Ali Momeni and Minneapolis Art on Wheels work on the techno-political multimedia exhibit, which will open Saturday at 01SJ.
Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Mutant Bridges

Examining the nature of architecture and engineering as branches of science, Mutant Bridges is part of a larger series of works from Madrid called Science Friction.

Borrego Cubero says that while bridges are often seen as devices of connecting, unification, and inclusion, they are also paradoxically exclusionary, with technology as enabler in a process of "spanning the landscape."

In the series of works, bridges such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bixby Creek Bridge are examined as they relate to the interaction of human social networks.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Kaho Abe

Kaho Abe, as part of Eyebeam, a DIY art collective based in New York, has created a Rube Goldberg or Fischli and Weiss-like contraption called the Ticket Machine.

Insert a quarter, and follow the path of the deliberately overengineered gizmo as hacked and discarded electronics perform one step after another, leading to the printing of a ticket. My receipt read "Everything has the potential to become a pancake."

Photo by: James Martin/CNET


Zorop, a participatory game by artists Ken Eklund and Annette Mees, creates a narrative of associations between strangers on the street.

The piece is designed to lead to discoveries between strangers, and it maps the creative connections made during the gameplay over the coming weekend of 01SJ onto an interactive visualization projected onto an Onomy Tilt Table. The visualization can then be zoomed in an out, letting viewers navigate through the universe generated by the community of collected data.


Photo by: James Martin/CNET


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