Angela Plohman on 20 Mar 2001 22:00:14 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] The Daniel Langlois Foundation

Press Release

The Daniel Langlois Foundation & the Cinémathèque québécoise present:

Red Dice by American artist Bill Seaman

Montréal, March 22, 2001 - From March 22 to April 22, the Daniel Langlois
Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology is proud to present, in
collaboration with the Cinémathèque québécoise, Red Dice (2000) by American
artist Bill Seaman.

Commissioned in 1996 by the National Gallery of Canada, the interactive
installation Red Dice is a homage to the poem Un coup de dés jamais
n'abolira le hasard (Dice Thrown Never Will Annul Chance), written in 1897
by the celebrated 19th-century French poet Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898).
Drawing on the still-fresh innovative force of this landmark in modern
poetry, Bill Seaman has produced an arrangement of elements that invites the
viewer to juggle words, images and music. 

Approaching Red Dice, the viewer will find an electronic tablet and pen.  On
the tablet, Mallarmé's poem will appear, arranged to faithfully match the
original layout of his words. Mallarmé was ahead of his time when he wrote
Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard, a revolutionary piece that
challenges the reader's sense of order. The poem is sometimes considered one
of the earliest examples of non-linear reading, similar to today's
experience of navigating the World Wide Web.  Viewers of Red Dice can
digitally page through the entirety of the poem on the tablet, or they can
touch the poem with the pen and activate Bill Seaman's fragments of images,
words and music. Other viewers in the room can follow the actions of the
person navigating the work via two projections on the wall.

Seaman describes the experience of navigation in Red Dice as floating,
skating over or flying between images, words and sound, in a choice of two
languages, creating a "recombinant poetics."

In the video that forms the base of the work, Seaman also suggests a
connection between old and new technologies by showing the punched-paper
programs used for the mechanical loom, the mill and the player piano-devices
that are the ancestors of today's computers.

"An adaptation of Mallarmé's poem in the form of an interactive
installation, Red Dice goes beyond mere illustration with its evocative
power, which is enhanced by the combinatory arrangement generated by the
computer program orchestrating the work's visual, acoustic, linguistic and
conceptual elements," says Jean Gagnon.

Born in 1956 in Kennet, Missouri, Bill Seaman began his career as a
performance artist and discovered video in the 1980s. He received a Master
of Science in Visual Studies in 1985 from the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Cambridge. His studies there allowed him to explore interactive
technology and computer-based art.  In 1999, Seaman completed a PhD at the
Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts at the University of
Wales, Newport. His work has been exhibited around the world and he has won
several international awards. He is currently a professor in the Department
of Design/Media Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The exhibition Red Dice will be presented from March 22 to April 22, 2001 in
the Norman-McLaren room at the Cinémathèque québécoise, 335 De Maisonneuve
Boulevard East, Montréal. For information on opening hours and admission,
call (514) 842-9763 or visit 

- 30 -

Jean Gagnon
Exhibition curator and
Director of Programs, Daniel Langlois Foundation
for Art, Science, and Technology
Audrey Navarre
Assistant to the Director of Programs
(514) 987-7177 

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