Here you will find projects under the "Ecology Urbanitas" theme. Previously being two sections, now are compiled into one: the upper part is "Signal Ecology", and below - "Urbanitas Paradigm" (for more on Urban Projects check the menu under the same title out):



Projects on media ecology paradigm - electromagnetic substance:

Media Inclusus

Construction scaffoldings for restoration of the sacred space of St. Bernardine Church and Monastery in Vilnius, Lithuania, stand like antibodies and influence not only religious life but also attract the energies that are opposite to the surroundings. The artist is connecting electromagnetic extremely low frequency (ELF) receiver to the scaffoldings and transforms it into an antenna.

Suitable frequencies attract not only common waves (10-100 Hz), but are shut down by stronger waves of propaganda and Russian speaking radio station Radio Svoboda, the extremely opposite worldview for the religious milieu. Christian faith is forced by Russian slogans and greater neighbour's discussions on local issues found a warm shelter. Soviet ideology and Russian propaganda adversely penetrates into sacramental environment of antagonistic and resistant post-soviet republic space. Psychogeophysics and media ecology come together to resolve clearance of semantic pathetics.

Inclusive artefacts invoke metal construction as antennae for rendering a message and hearing inaudible and invisible. Site-specific media art project is asking the question of where precisely the hidden executes.

Officially, there is no commercial or military communication around the ELF frequency – but in this range, you also can find signals similar to sferics and produced by natural processes in the atmosphere – especially at periods of sun spots and polar lights. At this site (St. Bernardine Church) radio pollution is too strong to hear any environmental sonics. Local spectral ecologies are fed up with political content influences.

About circuit: The circuit detects and amplifies ELF electromagnetic emissions with some low pass filtering for audio frequency output.

Mobile module: EM sniffer, handy camcorder, and headphones.

/ Psychogeography can be defined as an examination of the total effects of geography and place on the individual.

/ Psychogeophysics expands this artistic research to embrace geophysics, defined as the quantitative observation of the earth's physical properties, and its interaction with local signal ecologies.
Psychogeophysics proposes a series of interdisciplinary public experiments excavating the spectral city and examining the precise effects of geophysical/spectral ecologies on the individual through pseudo-scientific measurement and mapping, algorithmic walking and the construction of situations.

- Media Inclusus in St. Bernardine Church, 2011. Some variations of the project appeared in other public spaces of Vilnius, Lithuania.
- Media Inclusus video documentation film exhibited at Propaganda in Kulturhuset / Culture House in Stockholm, Sweden. 2 min 42 sec, loop, 2012.


1. Scaffoldings in St. Bernardine Church in Vilnius, Lithuania.
2. Media Inclusus video in Kulturhuset / Culture House in Stockholm, Sweden.


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Maxwell City - sonic artwork, 19 min. 50 sec. A compilation of electromagnetic sounds recorded during the Maxwell City workshop at Atelier Nord. Using different antennaes and coils the participants attempted to document the electromagnetic soundtrack of various parts of Oslo. Contribution by Vygandas Simbelis, HC Gilje, Amanda Steggell, Martin Howse, Erich Berger, Atle Barcley, Sneha Solanki, Lindsay Brown.

Artwork broadcasted in 2007-2008 at Ctrl_Alt_Del Sound Art Festival. Radio broadcasting worldwide in New York (P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre), Athens (1st Athens Biennial), Montreal, Ghent, Berlin, Zagreb, Basel, Graz, Zurich, Istanbul (10th International Istanbul Biennial).


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The Rosary (from Latin rosarium, meaning "rose garden") or "garland of roses" is a popular and traditional Catholic devotion. The term denotes both a set of prayer beads and the devotional prayer itself, which combines vocal or silent prayer and meditation.

Artwork Media Rosary is designed of different format connectors and crossovers smoothly connected to each other into closed circuit. It seems to become a technological devotion for media artists. Media Rosary is accompanied by the sound artwork Listen to the Window, where the window provides certain parameters for the antennae. The electromagnetic sniffer receives waves in the gallery with the direct antennae made out of metal foil tape sticked around the window frame.


Media Rosary, Net'as - thematic exhibition of works by artistic researchers in art practice, curated by Vygandas Simbelis, gallery Academy, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2008.


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Beta Band Interface - is an electromagnetic apparatus transmitting frequency around beta band onto human brain. Some scientists have suggested that this level of waves may be present at some allegedly haunted sites and so cause people to have odd sensations that they attribute to a ghost and 19 Hz might be responsible for some ghost sightings. According to scientist appeared in media archaeology from 18 century - Emanuel Swedenborg - he discovered soul and living ghosts in the same frequency.

Electromagnetic induction made by directly inducing voltage in human brains through the spinning of a copper wrapped bicycle wheels across the earths magnetic dipole.

For example, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a technique used to induce a short-term interruption of normal activity in a relatively restricted area of the brain by rapidly changing a strong magnetic field near the area of interest.

The project was presented at Pixel festival, Bergen, Norway. Collaborative work with British artist Jonathan Kemp.



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The project Oslo Sound is backed-up in 1864 by Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell with his revolutionaries and equations. It takes practice in Oslo (Norway) city and its surroundings and is proposing an artistic investigation into electromagnetic substance: media ecological spectrum of urban space.

The real world and electromagnetic sound play choreography in video (2 channel video projection) and observer is involved in interactive play of media art installation.

2 video projections, gambling machine, 2 EM ELF sniffers, 10 kW sound system. Exhibited in Intro art centre, Vilnius, Lithuania.


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The project Sonic Oslo is an artistic investigation into electromagnetic substance in Oslo, Norway. ELF (extremely low frequency) sniffer catches pulses of hidden and invisible urban world where electromagnetically polluted environment screams about unseen danger. The project explains simple techniques within Media Ecology and warns about social policy concerning our daily habits and lovely widgets.

The real world and electromagnetic sound play choreography in media art installation (two channel video projection) and video is involved in an interactive play between 2 screens where the length of videos is different and live montage between projections creates never endless mix in sound and video.

Material was captured in Oslo. Footage was edited in Vilnius.
Video length 34'24'’ & 33’10’’, loop. Exhibited in Mejan gallery, Stockholm, Sweden.

"Vygandas Simbelis idiosyncratically marks a zone – only in an urban environment and devoid of human protagonists; in Sonic Oslo an antenna-like device plays the lead. The device, whose little head registers radiation, is taken for a walk around the Norwegian capital and speaks up whenever it meets electromagnetic impulses in cash machines or cell phones, and a robotic conversation takes place as they speak each other’s tongue of whimpering, tapping and clicking. Again, places have been charged, but in a literal way.

It was the radical Lettrist and Situationist International groups who initiated the practice later known as psychogeography, ”re-mapping” cities in an act of anti-capitalist, consumer-conscious criticism. Before them was Baudelaire’s flâneur, also subtly attempting to redefine an existing urban landscape by placing themselves in it, walking it, inhabiting it, in determined new ways. Many have followed, carrying out pedestrian explorations in city settings; or in rural equivalents where the occult plays a part, searching for latent alternative geographies drawn for example in ley lines."

Johanne Nordby Wernø, ”Your place or mine?”, on ”Site-Sensitive Acts”.



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The second part of a site for mediated urbanity projects:


Social Skin

The history of the Järvafield as a training site for military operations and the indvidual position in social and physical space is the starting point for a project with digging trenches.

Site specific art project with warfare structures, trenches digged, in peaceful time in a field of Kista-Rinkeby area in Stockholm, Sweden. Space and Spectacle exhibition and project in public space, 2012.

Digging trenches involves people to act and communicate on controversial local topics while invoking societal debates in public. Warfare trenches appear without a context of war but in historical perspective of the area. Former military training field proposes site specific approach to the local discussions on social politics.

Entrenchment proposes a new look at the site, viewers’ ground position provides with a frog view (low point of view) and lowered perspective, which for some players it could be very healthy.

Symbolic comparison of the ground as the main representative subject of the debate for local social issues to the skin as private surface of the body. Private internals metaphorically compared to public properties.

Representations of the body inspired a generation of anthropologists and cultural theorists to explore the human body as a text that can be read to reveal a great deal of cultural information. This symbolic function of the body applies not only to the taboos and rituals, but to parts of the body, to representations of the human body and to decorations and modifications of the flesh as ornaments, cosmetics, costuming, tattooing, piercing, and scarification, muscular development, cosmetic surgery, etc. However extreme or seemingly whimsical the practice, it always has meaning, always is shaped by the socio-cultural context in and through which people act.

In one year after the exhibition, in the summer of 2013, the area got ruined by local riots, cars were put on fire, people injured and the exhibition site - Husby art centre was burned down.

The excavator is digging the artwork Social Skin, Husby art centre.

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Second part of the project is Consensus, project space for artistic initiatives in protected environment.

The bomb shelter is an urban and military heritage from the Cold War period. This kind of bunker could be used for other purposes in peace time. One of the proposed usages of such constructions could be cultural activity. Reading and writing personal data as brain impulses in closed shelter - provides personal time and concentrated environment.

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Intervention into the up-following exhibition project Performing the Common (2012) was executed at the same site of Social Skin project (continuation of the project) and Space and Spectacle (2012) exhibition project (extension of the exhibition) near Husby konsthall, Stockholm. Social Skin went on peace with the environment and selection of random flower seeds were planted on the pattern of leveled trenches - warfare structures. Taking departure from computational and cryptographic random seed, sharing the secret key within seeded visual algorithms. The project Social Seed reminds about historical memory on military training field around the site and gives the path and shared keys to oblivion local social problems.


Visitors planting the flowers, Social Seed project, Husby art centre.


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Digital Zoom Spying

The work tackles mass surveillance and data collection.

Penetrations into innermost places are welcome and open for everyone. There are no rules in public space to protect naïve and innocent. No tracing techniques are necessary to capture hidden strategy footages. All data in public space is explicit, open for manipulations. Surveillance video material is accessible to everyone and is potentially broadcasted worldwide. All data is open. Share your privacy! Explicit your source! Your personal data is open to anyone you’ve never seen before. Your public portrait and intimate places are exposed in the exhibition, just for a showing beautiful picture or explaining a simple tactics: private is no more private in a public space.

Would you except a proposal to expose your privatescape for any else purpose anywhere and anytime? Mediated sitescapes with pixelated view captured by ordinary handy cam using digital zoom provides with a veil of secrecy which easily could be redefined into a quality image for smb’s back and black purposes.

The observer of the project is identified with a kind of deviant: the deviant Mr. Infinity for a new paradigm of our daily creative and daily technological environment with an indulgence in a perverted aesthetic sickness.

Questioning privacy in digital age enters technologic means as technique to manipulate or even to control people, so the art in the age of surveillance is a type of field with its own political consequences.

The project asks important questions from technological point of view about why such technology as digital zoom is implemented in consumer level cameras? No one will use such technology just for zooming in and receiving pixelated image… Or maybe someone is using it just to hack some private bodily images of a stranger? But in general pixelated image is a type of abstraction which in most cases brings more artistic values and opens imagination than provides solutions for and satisfies simple consumer needs. In this case digital zoom becomes artistic tool on consumer level and everyone can enjoy its usage. But another question is how long such weird technology will stay in market?

Video material captured in Paris, 2010, edited in Stockholm, 2011.
33'33'', loop.
Exhibited at Site-Sensitive Acts in Mejan gallery, Stockholm, Sweden.



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Drone Orchestra - sonic performance at Piksel 09, Bergen, Norway, electronic media art festival dedicated to technologic freedom and arts. Participating artists Peter Edwards (US), Diego de Leon (ES), Servando Barreiro (DE), Haavar Eggereide (NO) and Vygandas Simbelis. DIY drone synthesizers, rhythm boxes & effects processors used generating rich, textured soundscapes, hypnotic drones and complex rhythmic sequences.

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Megacity Show. Negative evidence of urban complex appeared in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, in summer 2002. The first massive smog of fumes started out of burning peat in the city surroundings and continued sphereing for several weeks. Cityscape fell unrecognizably: all streets smogged, people were wearing masks, pollution raised, etc. The feeling of megalopolis dwelled on a small town. Transaction from a town sized city to megacity succeeded. Photography series is taken of schoolchildren from secondary art school – National M.K.Ciurlionis School of Arts in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Photographs Megacity Show exhibited in art centre Intro, Vilnius.

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V.D.A.

The aim of artistic research project is the investigation of particular time and space with analysis of game strategies. The territory of ensemble of Vilnius Academy of Arts and St. Bernardine Church and Monastery in Vilnius: the history of two different institutions, relatively similar objectives, sacramental and spiritual worlds, phenomenology of faith and creation, feeling of eternity and transiency in chosen period are target points for Vygandas expanded project. The buildings' complex separated by Soviet judgements came together in a unit of V.D.A. project within similarity tactics of body and building. Audiovisual installation with predominant circulation strategies and documentary prospects of chosen time and space are significant aspects for expression of the artwork.

The aim of the artistic research is an academic work on artistic practice within site specific approach in urban milieu. Investigations within urban issues of the spatial and social structures are creatively combined with the body strategies. Perception of urban site is achieved applying paradigms of the body and living organisms. Simply explaining the urban site appears as skin, corridors as blood vessels, library as heart, and so. But all those practices are impossible without dynamism of the site, processes inside, interaction and communication. Important characteristic of the research is retrieving and collecting urban data for the artistic purposes.

The urban site is constantly changing structure, pulsating and growing, depending on environmental factors, both internal and external, while the body reacts likewise. The sharing of the same codes opens wide perspectives. The similarity of the interface is a key principle of the research project and the study of space. As the body and the site are using the same strategies, methods and techniques while time and space is researched through aesthetic values.

Documentary images are a common method to measure and reflect on the monumental scale of change occurring in contemporary society. These images are also highly aestheticised, making beauty even of images of the most desolate slum or industrialised landscape. As a crossover point between art and journalism, the documentary image also allows us to question the veracity of world events from multiple viewpoints, often offering multiple uncomfortable realities instead of a single, easily-digestible worldview. In an era of a massive data onslaught that individuals struggle to cope with, the documentary image continues to offer us a human face on information, sometimes elegantly summarising a complex situation.

Three channel video projection, photography series and released limited edition art DVD is a result of several years’ artistic research.

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Memory Constraints

This artistic documentary film project is reflecting upon various time and memory constraints heavily affecting the small country’s society, which permanently got stuck in the impact from its previous historical phase and occupation period of its “bigger brother”. In the “Memory Constraints” the artist shows how social and cultural relicts survived from soviet times and got prosperous in living practices and in peoples’ behaviors. The film visually communicates the story about how soviet identity is still flourishing in some dark corridors and hidden corners of major cultural and educational institution.

The project is directly focusing on people and their environment in a uniquely strange relation of two cultural institutions – art academy and sacred space. Vilnius Art Academy in Lithuania (Lithuania is a former republic of Soviet Union, now is a full member of EU) is located in the premises of the ensemble of a former Monastery and surrounded by the neighborhood of two major churches and living Monastery. And those two diverse institutions severely and constantly intertwine ideologically and politically, yet sharing the same premises and common location, they share activities and identities. Strong influences arrive from historical consequences and institutional constraints, but the common value stands for cultural understanding and awareness. However, people working in the art school, like not just janitors and service staff, but also teachers and professors are left working from the soviet era and keep sharing their identities and constraints to a younger generation.

In the movie living memories and strange stagnated behaviors seriously influencing the atmosphere and rhythm of such cultural institution as art academy. The project asks important questions and seeks to answer them, although, it also shows how memories from soviet era became materialized in real time and how time constraints dictate and shape visual language of the documentary. And how this documentary film sequence is reflecting upon suspended time from around the 2009 and is exposing a character and deeper identity problems arrived directly from the middle of politically complicated last century of a small country.

Documentary image is a common method to measure and reflect upon the monumental scale of change occurring in contemporary society. In an era of a massive data onslaught that individuals struggle to cope with, the documentary image continues to offer us a human face on information, sometimes elegantly summarizing a complex situation.

The installation and format

The installation is one channel projection divided into 3 smaller screens/parts, each of them is showing separate stories and all of them are synchronized. The view is shown in the attached Reference Image and in the Picture on top and in the 3 Pictures on the bottom of this description document. The other installing type might be 3 separate monitors (3 channels).

Length 10 min, color, stereo sound, English subtitles, DVD quality. This project was released, as media art DVD.

More information: Photography series, printed (90x120 cm) or digital: http://simbelis.com/photography/vda/


view.
v.d.a., multichannel installation: view.


v.d.a., art dvd and package. 


v.d.a., photography series.