The Point of Departure
Composer and digital media artist Ben Houge presents the culmination of his six-month residency at Suzhou‚Äôs True Color Museum with a solo show entitled ‚ÄúThe Point of Departure.‚ÄĚ The focal point of this exhibition is a new, real-time 18-channel video installation entitled Self-Portrait, Dusk, at the Point of Departure, an ambient work that applies concepts from videogame design and granular synthesis to video, to make a poignant moment last forever. Also included in the show are selected videos and digital prints providing a survey of Ben‚Äôs visual output over the past two years.
An afternoon-long digital music festival will celebrate the opening of the exhibition on Saturday, November 6, from 1pm until 7pm. The lineup includes performances by Hangzhou-based digital artists Yao Dajuin ŚßöŚ§ßťíß and Wang Changcun ÁéčťēŅŚ≠ė, as well as Shanghai‚Äôs Xu Cheng ŚĺźÁ®č (of Torturing Nurse). Ben‚Äôs live performances are known to vary widely in style, and he will celebrate this diversity by performing three different sets of music: an ambient electronic set, a synth-pop set of original songs, and an acoustic set of favorite tunes by artists including John Cage and Jay Chou ŚĎ®śĚįšľ¶.
Long active in new music circles in China and the US, Ben Houge has been increasingly visible in galleries in recent years, with work exhibited at Art+Shanghai Gallery, OV Gallery, and [the studio] in Shanghai, as well as at the Today Art Museum in Beijing. His video Shanghai Traces, originally exhibited at OV Gallery‚Äôs Make Over show last spring, was shortlisted for the Guggenheim‚Äôs YouTube Play Biennial and has recently been acquired for permanent installation at Shanghai‚Äôs Glamour Bar. Ben has performed around eastern China and at all of Shanghai‚Äôs primary live music venues, as well as at the Shanghai eArts Festival, the Mini Midi Festival, Hangzhou‚Äôs 2Pi Festival, the Zendai Museum of Modern Art, the Shanghai Conservatory, the South River Art Center, and several NOIShanghai events. This summer he toured Germany with trumpet player Justin Sebastian. Prior to embarking on a full-time career as an artist, Ben spent twelve years designing audio for videogames, most recently serving as audio director of Tom Clancy‚Äôs EndWar (Xbox 360/PS3) at Ubisoft Shanghai. The concepts of non-linear, real-time, algorithmic and procedural structure he honed as a videogame developer serve as the point of departure for his more recent work in a broader cultural arena. Much more information about Ben is on his website: http://www.benhouge.com.
In an ancient city renowned for its cultural heritage, True Color Museum is Suzhou‚Äôs key destination for contemporary art. Founded by the intrepid music business entrepreneur Chen Hanxing ťôąÁŅįśėü in 2008 as one of the leading privately owned art museums in China, True Color Museum has exhibited artwork by leading artists from China and around the world, most recently in the acclaimed ‚ÄúNature of China: Contemporary Art Documenta‚ÄĚ exhibition last summer and in Taiwan‚Äôs Hsiau Jungching ŤźßŤć£ŚļÜ solo show (ongoing through November 11). The beautiful museum compound, designed by Chen Hanxing, is a destination in itself, and the museum‚Äôs active artist residency program has nurtured the careers of many established and emerging artists. Additional information is available on the museum‚Äôs website: http://www.truecolormuseum.org/.
How was MAX used?
This exhibition kind of uses nothing but Max. Self-Portrait, Dusk, at the Point of Departure uses Max/MSP/Jitter to deploy 18 channels of video, synthesize four channels of audio, and syncronize 9 computers in real-time. Shanghai Traces and Transportation Is Getting a New Look are single channel generative video installations, rendered in real time in Jitter, that use feedback techniques to reflect on the processes of city life and the evolution of history. 29 Giraffes is a series of still images, algorithmically generated (using the lcd object) from photographs of neon lights taken along Shanghai's Nanjing Dong Lu pedestrian corridor. Max was also used in some of the performances at the exhibition opening event.