NOWHERE
Imagining The Global City

NOWHERE – Imagining The Global City focuses on the past 25 years work of Dutch artist/photographer Frank van der Salm and consists of a large-scale exhibition featuring a video wall driven by Artificial Intelligence, a collection presentation, a public program and a book. 

Overview of the 18 meter long AI-generated video wall of NOWHERE
Video impression: Kamranovic

The central theme of Frank van der Salm’s work is urban development as an expression of our time. Over the last 25 years, Van der Salm has travelled the world, focusing on urban landscape in its broadest sense. Aestheticism plays a major role in his work. It is the means by which he criticizes the urban world we now inhabit. NOWHERE, bringing together Frank van der Salm’s body of work from the past 25 years, is composed of two radically different parts. The Artificial Intelligence-driven installation, featuring all of his 241 images, is overwhelming and dynamic. It visualises the links between the works, based on their underlying meanings. The images themselves are immaterial. Behind the video wall lies the traditional, quiet museum world: the sphere of the ‘authentic’ works, each with it’s specific size and appearance. They are displayed in isolation from each other. Profusion is replaced by austerity and concentration, with no more than fourteen physical photographs and video works on show at any time. Here, Frank van der Salm’s aesthetic acts as a vehicle for his critical attitude towards the built environment.

In the 1990s Frank van der Salm aimed his lens at the landscape in order to record the human influence on it. Initially he followed in the tradition of the New Topographics, a movement that gained prevalence in the 1970s. Soon, however, he felt that the self-imposed restrictions – black and white, restricted format, the subject depicted sharply in focus and descriptively – was too limiting; Van der Salm started experimenting with colour, format, depth of field and scale. Until the mid-2000s the latter aspect was a distinguishing element of his visual language. The resulting alienation made the observer doubt whether this was an image or a scale model – an idealized model of reality, or an image of reality itself. In various guises, this has remained a characteristic of his work to this day. The central question always remains: which is the ideal image being pursued and what are the underlying values of it? Van der Salm himself indicates that his work – with the urban environment as its main subject matter – is a search for ‘who we are’. In other words: Frank van der Salm’s often impressive, aesthetic images are based on a critical cultural engagement.

We are currently living in a media society in which the image is omnipresent: experiences are guided by images we have seen before in the (social) media. In architecture this is taken a step further: buildings are increasingly designed (or cloned) with the eventual resulting image in mind. The traditional relationship between (physical) original and (digital) copy is reversed.

NOWHERE 
The main exhibition NOWHERE was presented on the ground floor of the Nederlands Fotomuseum, the space divided in half by a 18x3m wall. While the front felt like an open urban space, on a long facade an AI-driven montage of the work was projected. Behind the wall, physical works were on display. The AI that RNDR developed shed a new light on the works and their social relevance. The visualization of verbal concepts, the images, the values they represent and the underlying machine language was translated into a monumental projection. The second part of the main exhibition is an extreme contrast to the urban environment and dynamic projection; ultimate white cubes with a restricted selection of physical works.

Interactive installation “The Collection Illuminated by Artificial Intelligence”

The Collection Illuminated by Artificial Intelligence
For the last few years, the NFM has invited contemporary writers, photographers and curators to – from their specific perspective – curate exhibitions from the museum collection in The Collection Illuminated by…. In the context of NOWHERE the unique occasion presented itself to have an algorithm perform this task. 

In the centre screen in this installation, we travel through the work of Frank van der Salm on the basis of the terms that he assigned to his works. The screen on the left shows images from the Collection of het Nederlands Fotomuseum, while the screen on the right shows pictures from one of the fastest-growing image collections in the world: Instagram. More than 100 million photos are uploaded to the online platform each day. Of these, 41,000 can be seen here – one minute of uploads from the countless billions now on Instagram. 

The presentation with the computer as a descriptor of the images as well as a guest curator is a unique opportunity to address the phenomenon of AI for the general audience and encourage a debate amongst professionals working in the archive and museum world. Are we dealing with AI as a ‘helper’ of the artist or AI as the ultimate curator?

NOWHERE – Imagining the Global City is a Paradox production created in collaboration with the Nederlands Fotomuseum. NOWHERE is sponsored by the Creative Industries Fund NL, the Mondriaan Fund, Fonds 21, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds (Breeman Talle Fund) and Stichting Zabawas. 

The exhibition was on show at the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam from 2 July – 3 October 2021. The Collection Illuminated by Artificial Intelligence will be open until July 2022.

Date
2021
Location
Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam
Project initiator
Curator
Digital Media and AI
Exhibition Design
Sound Design
Documentary Photography
Book Design
OPENRNDR
Open source framework for creative coding
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Studio

RNDR is a design studio for interactive media that develops ‘tools’ that are only finished by how they are used.

To achieve this, we develop processes, create structures, design visualisations, code programs, and create interactions. The end result can manifest itself across different media, ranging from interactive installations, data visualisations, generative identities, prints and everything in between – often real-time. We are triggered by how information and technology transforms networks, cultures, societies, relationships, behaviours, and interactions between people. Our work explores and engages with hybrid space as it embraces both digital and physical realms.

RNDR was founded in 2017 in The Hague, (NL). Its main members have years of experience as partners, computer scientists, designers, art directors and developers at LUST and LUSTlab.

One of our core projects, and basis for most of our projects, is OPENRNDR, an open source framework for creative coding –written in Kotlin for the JVM– with over nine years of development, that simplifies writing real-time audio-visual interactive software. OPENRNDR is fundamental for the capacity of RNDR as a studio, as it allows us to realize complex interactive works. OPENRNDR was awarded the Dutch Design Award 2019

Fields of work
Interactive design (ui/ux), data visualisation, information systems, software tools, interactive installations, media architecture, immersive experiences, interface design, visual identities, generative video, creative coding, exhibition design, graphic design systems, hybrid spaces and platforms, machine learning and artificial intelligence (ai), code and design workshops.

People
Jeroen Barendse (NL), partner. Design and art direction. Former partner of LUST and LUSTlab. Awarded BNO Piet Zwart Oeuvre Prize 2017
Edwin Jakobs (NL), partner. Computer scientist, creative coder and visual artist. Creator of OPENRNDR
Boyd Rotgans (NL), partner. Creative coder & interaction designer
Viola Bernacchi (IT). Design & data visualisation
Els van Dijk (NL), Office manager
Derrek Chow (CA), University of Waterloo, Waterloo, intern, 2021
Rein van der Woerd (NL), Data Art Technology Arnhem, Artez, intern, 2021
Previously at RNDR
Marco Dell'Abate (IT), Royal Academy for the Arts, The Hague, intern, 2021
Jon Packles (USA), intern Parsons School of Design | The New School, and freelance, 2021
Jasper Kamphuis (NL), Intern, Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam, 2020
Ferdinand Sorg (DE), Intern, Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd , 2020
Jaekook Han (KR), Intern, Graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program, NYC, 2019
Gábor Kerekes (HU), Developer, 2017-2019
Amir Houieh (IR), Developer, 2017-2018
Łukasz Gula (PL), Intern, Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, 2018
Noemi Biro (RO), Intern, Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam, 2018
Selection of exhibitions
Perpetual Beta; Encounters in open space, The Grey Space, The Hague, 2021
Open Highway, Raum, Utrecht, 2018
Typojanchi Typography Biennale Seoul, main exhibitor (as LUST), 2017
Cartographies of Rest, interactive installation at Mile End Art Pavilion in London (as LUST), 2016
Hyperlocator, What’s next, Future Tomorrow, 38CC Delft (as LUST), 2016
Type/Dynamics exhibition, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (as LUST), 2014
Selection of lectures
Lecture Information Design masters. Design Academy Eindhoven, 2021
Talk for Graphic Days Turin, Eyes on the Netherlands (IT), 2021
Lecture for TAAALKS conference, Munich, 2020
Presentation at GitHub Satellite, 2020
Lecture at Britisch Library for Central Saint Martins' Form, Reform, Perform: futures of writing, 2019
MiXit conference, Lyon, 2019
Google Span conference, presentation and demo, Helsinki, 2018
JFuture conference, Minsk, 2018
Creative Coding Utrecht, Launch of OPENRNDR, 2018
Selection of workshops
Workshop OPENRNDR for Graphic Days, Turin (IT), 2021
OPENRDNR workshop for Digital Society School, Amsterdam, 2020
Weeklong workshop OPENRNDR @Politecnico di Milano, 2020
OPENRNDR x Machine Learning workshop @ KABK during Tech Week, 2020
Two week OPENRNDR workshop at Tumo, Armenia, 2019
Workshop OPENRNDR at Artez Interaction Design, Arnhem, 2019
Processing Community Day 2019, CCU and Sensorlab, Utrecht, 2019
Royal Academy of Art (KABK), Techweek, The Hague, 2019
Utrecht School for the Arts (HKU), OPENRNDR workshop, 2018
La Scuola Open Source, 1-week workshop, Bari, Italy, 2018
Two-week workshop at TUMO foundation, Yerevan, Armenia, 2019

Contact

RNDR

Paviljoensgracht 20
2512 BP, The Hague
+31 (0)70.3635776

info@rndr.studio


INTERNSHIPS

We are mostly looking for interns that have a background in interactive design. Some experience in coding is preferred. 

interns@rndr.studio

OPENRNDR
Open source framework for creative coding that simplifies writing real-time interactive software

info@openrndr.org
openrndr.org