Jack Straw New Media Gallery

The Network Is a Blind Space
Stelios Manousakis

December 9, 2011 - February 3, 2012

Gallery Opening: Friday, December 9, 7pm

Artist Talk: Friday, January 20, 7pm

Jack Straw New Media Gallery
4261 Roosevelt Way NE
Seattle 98105

Click the play button above to listen to our interview with Stelios Manousakis. Click here to download the interview.

The Network Is a Blind Space is a distributed, micro-telematic, site-specific sound installation that explores the physical yet invisible electromagnetic spaces created by Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs). Two computers installed in opposite parts of Jack Straw, one in the gallery and another in the main studio, create an electromagnetic line-space that can be transversed and examined – perhaps broken. The piece spreads out from the gallery space, extending as far as the installation’s WLAN can reach. Sound is generated and modified in real time by visitors logging into the network with ordinary, wifi-enabled, mobile electronic devices (smartphones, iPods, tablets, laptops, etc).

Wireless network spaces co-exist with physical spaces but follow their own rules, which are not always intuitive from the point of view of physical experience. To explore and navigate them a new sense is needed, as vision falls short. In nature, many animals that inhabit environments where vision is not a sufficient navigational tool – such as bats and dolphins – have developed echolocation, transmitting sound and listening to the echoes of the space. The Network Is a Blind Space creates a type of musical echolocation to explore this hidden dimension within the particular spatial configuration of Jack Straw. Devices joining the network become part of the space as active nodes and resonant objects; each can be heard individually as its sound is played from a dome of speakers hanging from the ceiling of the gallery. The state of the system, from the point of view of each of its two computers, can also be listened to via two speakers located on the gallery floor – where the architectural plan of Jack Straw is marked out with tape – each at the respective spot of the computer it represents. Additionally, iPods and iPhones can be used as sound-making echolocation sonars after installing an application.

Stelios Manousakis is a Cretan-born composer, performer, researcher and sound artist striving to develop an artistic language that is both visceral and cerebral, communicating in a purely cognitive and experiential level while being complex and multilayered. Manousakis operates in the convergence zone between art and science, composition and performance, western art music and ‘digital folk’ idioms. He currently applies complexity science, cybernetic and biology-inspired models to generate novel musical systems and non-standard sound synthesis methods, often merging algorithmic finesse with the expressivity of improvisation and the immediacy of real-time interaction. He has co-founded several electro-instrumental and multimedia groups and is currently a PhD candidate at the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS, University of Washington).

Stelios Manousakis - The Network Is A Blind Space from modularbrains on Vimeo.

Jack Straw Productions gratefully acknowledges The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, 4Culture King County Lodging Tax Fund, Washington State Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, PONCHO, ArtsFund, and individual contributors for their support of Jack Straw Artist Programs.

Additional support for The Network Is a Blind Space from the Center for Digital Arts
and Experimental Media at the University of Washington (DXARTS).


Jack Straw New Media Gallery Events

Friday, December 9, 7pm
The Network Is a Blind Space: Opening Reception

Friday, January 20, 7pm
The Network Is a Blind Space: Artist Talk

Recent exhibitions

Mother May I: Work in Progress Phase I (November 4 - 11, 2011) by Beth Fleenor

Voices & Images from Bulgaria (September 23 - October 28, 2011) by Martin Koenig

Talking to Ghosts: Waiting in the River between Worlds (July 22 - September 16, 2011) by Nari Baker

Sympatico (May 13 - July 8, 2011) by Carlisle Roveto

Fragments of the Story (February 18 - April 22, 2011) by Robert Millis

A CLEAR DAY AND NO MEMORIES (December 3, 2010 - January 14, 2011) by Jim Hobbs and Kinski

Chamber Music 8: Particles/Waves (September 10 - November 19, 2010) by Steve Peters

Thinking Caps (June 18 - August 27, 2010) by Vaughn Bell

This Old Piano (April 19 - June 4, 2010)

Metaphors for Dead Pianos (January 29 - April 2,2010) by Hugo Solis

About the Jack Straw New Media Gallery

The Jack Straw New Media Gallery, located in Seattle's University District at Jack Straw Productions, opened in 1999 to support artists working with visual and installation art, with an emphasis on sound. Click here to learn more about the gallery, the residency program, and previous artists.


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