The annual fall media arts festival “TodaysArt” took place once again in The Hague, the Netherlands this year over the weekend of Sept. 27 and 28.Following the opening ceremony at one of the venues, the Atrium of the City Hall, Morton Subotnick, a pioneer of the electronic music world, performed Silver Apples of the Moon together with video artist Lillevan. Subotnick played this groundbreaking piece on an analog synthesizer comprised of both analog and digital components.
The Japanese artists are also worthy of mention. On opening day, Atsuhiro Ito, known for using fluorescent tubes as an instrument, presented a collaboration with Diamond Version. On the second day, Ryoji Ikeda, who converts data into audiovisual, made his first appearance in TodaysArt with a presentation of his Test Pattern. Black and white lines flickering at high speed reflected onto the City Hall building (designed by Richard Meier) amid a gently flowing background noise(Fig.1).
The other main venue was the 19-storey former Ministry of Interior, located adjacent to the City Hall(Fig.2). A stage and bar were installed in the lower floors, resulting in the unusual sight of people dancing ‘til dawn to music in an area where entry was once highly restricted. The higher floors were converted into art exhibit spaces so that visitors walked through the large building as if on an expedition.The third venue was Cocky Eek’s Sphaerae, a pavilion that linked the two other venues. Numerous music and light performances took place beneath the dome ceiling that resembled a planetarium(Fig.3).
In the performances over two days, objects, music and light that permeate our daily lives were broken up, expanded and augmented, and transformed into works of art.
Since its first exhibition in 2005, TodaysArt has struggled against the economic environment to maintain its unique style. Future presentations beyond this ninth endeavor will not be easy amid continuing budget cuts in the arts. But the jarring concept of staging a bar and dance floor in the official spaces of the City Hall and former Ministry of Interior are worth noting. The organizers are looking overseas, including Japan, as possible venues for future exhibits.
NTV Europe is a supporter of TodaysArt.