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Sylvia Grace Borda, M. Simon Levin, Dennis Rosenfeld, Jer Thorp, Glocal (2010), installation image. Courtesy of the artists, photographed by Sharon Doucette.

Glocal

Over 50,000 images contributed by people around the world launch the UrbanScreen venue.

This digital artwork reconfigures the newly built Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre into a generative façade of images.

An algorithm selects from an archive of 50,000 digital images contributed by 5000 individuals. Contributions from Surrey students are joined by images chosen by people across the globe: more than 15,000 images from England, China, Dubai, and many other countries. A chosen image then triggers a link to the thousands of contributed images in a Glocal Flickr Pool. What is produced are “similarity maps.” These maps take seemingly random images and reveal their connection through aesthetic and structural qualities. The generation of these maps collapses the distinction between the global and the local (glocal) through emerging technology. The resulting generative images are then projected onto UrbanScreen (west wall of Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre), creating poetic and metaphorical links that animate the building with images of spaces elsewhere.

Glocal was developed as a team artist-in-residence project in Surrey Art Gallery's TechLab between January 2008 and March 2009 with an accompany Gallery exhibit. Artists Jer Thorp, M. Simon Levin, Sylvia Grace Borda, and Dennis Rosenfeld were invited to consider the current state of photography, the open source software movement, and the phenomenon of a global community created through digital technology.

M. Simon Levin says: “Glocal questions the nature of image-making in the twenty-first century. It draws on social scientific methods of participatory action research through distinct components—toolkits, workshops, and an online digital archive—each meant to transform how an individual takes, imbues, and apprehends images.”

Glocal is co-presented by CODE (Cultural Olympiad Digital Edition) and was shown every evening during the 2010 Cultural Olympiad. The creation of UrbanScreen and this opening exhibition were funded by the City of Surrey, CODE, and the BC Arts Council Unique Opportunities Program.

About the Artists

Sylvia Grace Borda

Sylvia Grace Borda is an artist, media curator, and producer who works in photography, video, and public art. She has exhibited internationally in the UK, Taiwan, and the United States, and has represented cultural engagement projects such as Glocal at the Balkan Biennale and EK Modernism at Scottish Parliament speaking on the importance of community public art. Sylvia has been an Associate Researcher at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and the University of Stirling in Scotland.

M. Simon Levin

M. Simon Levin is a Vancouver-based artist who creates site-based systems that explore the aesthetics of engagement using a variety of designed forms and tools that address our many publics. His teaching and inter-disciplinary art practice has led him to create and collaborate on numerous art projects within Canada, USA, Mexico, Australia and the United Arab Emirates. Levin has taught with Vermont College, the University of British Columbia, and Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

Dennis Rosenfeld

Dennis Rosenfeld is a Canadian artist and technology specialist currently living in San Francisco. His work spans a range of media including installation, sculpture, photography, painting, video, electronics, and software. He holds a master’s degree from UCLA’s Design/Media Arts program and has been involved in new media projects for galleries, institutions and festivals across the USA and Canada including Counterpath Gallery, Zero1 Biennial, UCLA New Wight Gallery, CAM Raleigh, Surrey Art Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery and the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad. Much of his work can be characterized by an interest in the social and cultural effects of technology, precarity, global mobility, and life in the twenty-first century.

Jer Thorp

Jer Thorp is an artist, writer, and teacher living in New York City. A former geneticist, his digital art practice explores the many-folded boundaries between science and art. Thorpe is one of the world's foremost data artists and is a leading voice for the ethical use of big data. His award-winning work has been shown around the world and the web. He is best known for designing the algorithm to place the nearly 3,000 names on the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan. Thorpe is an adjunct professor in New York University’s renowned Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Curator: Liane Davison
Origin of Exhibition: Surrey Art Gallery

Image credit: Jer Thorp, M. Simon Levin, Sylvia Grace Borda, and Dennis Rosenfeld, Glocal (detail). 2010. Photo by Sharon Doucette.