John Maeda Selected Works     Biography     Press Release

  “F00D (F-zero-zero-D)”

  December 7, 2002 to January 18, 2003


  Cristinerose / Josee Bienvenu Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of “F00D (F-zero-zero-D),” John Maeda’s second solo exhibition. Using his fluency in computer programming, combined with his perspective as one of the world’s top visual designers, Maeda presents 30 new digitally composed photographs that question the relationships between image, artificial image, and reality.

Featured in the exhibition is the series “Dry and Wet Condiments” that originates from the free packets of salt,sugar, mustard, and soy sauce that are prevalent in the food service industry. In addition, the exhibition features digital photographs of color compositions called “Smoothies” based on the colors and shapes of fruits and vegetables including beets, carrots, apples, pineapples, and avocado. Maeda spent a year working up ideas for new digital image processes that he could apply to food. This new body of work focuses on his interest in trying to re-interpret the food we eat in ways that are relevant, but not completely formulaic. In 2002, he began to write computer programs to implement these ideas and refine the resulting visual vocabulary.

In the case of the Cibachrome photograph representing sugar granules, Maeda wanted to find some way to use every little crystal of sugar in one image. Influenced by the idea of nanotechnology — essentially the ability to paint with atoms — and by his conviction that computer graphics has become overused and overdeveloped, John Maeda thought it would be interesting to individually place together each crystal of sugar to obtain an image. The reality of all of the sugar in a sugar packet and the synthetic nature of three-dimensional computer graphics have come together in a series of highly saturated, visually captivating photographs.

The content of a single sugar packet was placed onto a scanner bed, and scanned in several passes. Maeda then created a computer program that was able to extract single images of the sugar crystals from the scan. To his surprise, Maeda found that in a single crystal packet there are more than 70,000 individual crystals. A computer graphic scene was then specially rendered by another piece of software he wrote. Finally another computer program he wrote processed the data such that each ‘pixel’ could be replaced with a corresponding sugar crystal cluster. This general process of using a conventional image scanner as a kind of camera, and the computer programs written by Maeda as a kind of chemistry for developing the film,repurposes digital photography to illuminate the relationships between image, artificial image, and reality.

Two small physical installations titled “Egg2-D2” and “Bento Brite” are also included in the exhibition. These are food-oriented extensions of the work Maeda began in the year 2000 in the “Post Digital” show at Cristinerose Gallery, where he presented new mixed media constructions, attempting to establish a relevant relationship between digital technology and the handcrafted object.

John Maeda is Muriel Cooper Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Maeda’s early work redefined the use of electronic media as a core material for expression through combining skilled computer programming with sensitivity to traditional artistic concerns. He is the 2001 recipient of the nation’s highest career honor in design — the National Design Award — and Japan’s highest honor — the Mainichi Design Prize. Maeda is author of two books: Design By Numbers, MIT Press and the 480-page retrospective MAEDA@MEDIA, Rizzoli/Thames & Hudson. Listed by Esquire Magazine as one of the 21 Geniuses of the 21st Century, in 2001, Maeda was honored with the world’s largest solo digital media exhibition “Beyond Post Digital” at the NTT InterCommunication Center in Tokyo.


  Post Digital

  November 11 to December 23, 2000
  Cristinerose Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Post Digital, the first solo exhibition by Boston-based internationally reknowed artist, graphic designer, and computer scientist JOHN MAEDA. Post Digital, an exhibition of new mixed media constructions, attempts to establish a relevant relationship between digital technology and the handcrafted object.

  John Maeda rejects the use of the computer as a glorified replacement for the palette and paintbrush, and furthermore rejects its much vaunted interactive aspect. According to Maeda, the ability to create visual artifacts on the computer, even when they are interactive, does not in the least represent the real expressive power of the true digital conscious.

  What kind of art can we make with the computer? What is the computer? Why does it get more complex every day? John Maeda strives to solve these questions through the construction of a variety of art objects which embody the spirit of computation, as communicated through their physical form. In Maeda?s work there is an emphasis on the artist?s philosophy of "less-tech" (versus "high-tech" or "low-tech"), which implies a sensitivity to incorporating enough technology into creating art.

  John Maeda is frequently credited with pioneering a revolution in computer-driven graphic design. His computational systems have transformed the way designers think about color, typography, and the printed page. A new generation of designers has felt his influence through his teaching at MIT's Media Lab as well as his invention of such graphical tools as RadialPaint (1994). His much-acclaimed 1999 Web project and book Design By Numbers offered a new, visual paradigm for thinking about computer programming.

  Maeda presents four variations on a theme: the interface between the analog and digital worlds. His Process Blocks (2000), for example, bear the marks of some physical manipulation--hammering, splattering, or burning--along with a digital image depicting the process by which he disfigured them. To capture time in a static object, Maeda custom-wrote software to interleave successive images in a lenticular plate attached to each block: on one face, an image-sequence of matches catching fire; on the opposite face, the actual matches burned onto the pristine Lucite surface. The artist's Media Programs (2000), meanwhile, consist of screens from palm devices embedded in painted panels. Each screen is a digital echo of the paint on the surface, showing the results of a computer program that analyzes the pictorial composition on the panel. Maeda also exhibits graphic printouts and foot-operating interactive sculptures that extend his interest in making computation manifest in a variety of physical forms.

  By juxtaposing the human gesture and its digital equivalent, Maeda provokes viewers into questioning the relationship between them in an age when more and more of our experience is mediated by digital technology. The exhibition coincides with the publication of his 480-page retrospective book MAEDA@MEDIA (2000) distributed in the United States by Rizzoli.

  John Maeda is the Sony Career Development Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, Associate Director of the MIT Media Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is also the Associate Professor of Design and Computation directing the Aesthetics and Computation Group. His artwork has already been exhibited in established art galleries in Japan. He has recently exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, and the California Institute of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco.