Rafaël Rozendaal Features in “Programmed” at the Whitney Museum of American Art until April 14th
“Programmed” presents more than fifty years of conceptual, video, and computational art drawn largely from the Museum’s collection, establishing connections among instruction-based works to create a deeper understanding of their aesthetic and social impact. It allows us to examine closely what it means to use rules and code in art’s creation. In other words, it explores the various ways in which a work of art can be “programmed.” At a time when our world is increasingly driven by automated systems, this exhibition demonstrates how programs, from analog to digital, have brought about profound changes to our image culture over the past half century. Taken as a whole “Programmed” illuminates the underlying structures of communication systems along with the creative potential— and limits—of rule-based processes.
The exhibition is divided into two sections: “Rule, Instruction, Algorithm” focuses on conceptual art practices and their emphasis on ideas as the driving force behind the generation of images and objects. “Signal, Sequence, Resolution” explores the varied ways artists have used rules or code to engage with the television— its programming, apparatus, and signal—as well as with image resolution and the manipulation of image sequences. Hear from the artists and the exhibition’s curators at whitney.org/Programmed.
“Abstract Browsing 17 03 05 (Google)” is a machine-woven tapestry depicting an abstract version of the Google browser’s interface. To produce his Abstract Browsing series, Rafaël Rozendaal created a plug-in for Google’s Chrome browser; available to anyone online, it reduces images and text on any website visited to colored rectangles. The artist surfs the web every day using his plug-in and compiles thousands of screenshots, which he then narrows down to a small selection to be produced as tapestries. The tapestries are created at the Textile Museum in Tilburg, the Netherlands, where Rozendaal’s screenshots are converted into a file for output by a weaving machine. His project connects layers of machine abstraction: the initial transformation of the webpage exposes a composition optimized to grab our attention, while the tapestry references the roots of computing in nineteenth-century weaving machines that automated the creation of patterns.
Dutch-Brazilian Rafaël Rozendaal is a visual artist who uses the internet as his canvas. He also creates installations, tapestries, lenticulars, haiku and lectures. His past exhibitions venues included Times square, Centre Pompidou, Venice Biennial, Valencia Biennial, Stedelijk Museum, and many more. Rozendaal lives and works in New York City.