In Conversation with LoVid cover photo


In Conversation with LoVid

by Art Blocks Editorial

LoVid is a New York-based artist duo (since 2002), comprised of Tali Hinkis (tetrachromat) and Kyle Lapidus (color blind). Beginning as a noise music and live video band, in its early years, LoVid toured throughout the United States and Europe in the D.I.Y. music and art scenes. Since expanding their practice from these beginnings, LoVid has put together an important corpus of interdisciplinary work in a wide range of artistic mediums: from video, installations, performance, to net art, fabric works, and stained glass. LoVid’s work has been featured in a variety of non-profit institutional contexts, including at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, the Netherlands Media Art Institute, Amsterdam, and The Kitchen, The New Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, all in New York. Additionally, their projects have been recognized with grants or in-kind support by the Cue Art Foundation, The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Eyebeam, The New York State Council of the Arts, the Graham Foundation, and Rhizome, among others. We had the pleasure of speaking with LoVid in advance of their upcoming Art Blocks project Tide Predictor.
Art Blocks: Hi Tali, hi Kyle! Thank you so much for bringing Tide Predictor to Art Blocks. It has been a pleasure getting it ready for release, and we are delighted to debut this work in our Curated collection. Before we get into some of the ideas behind this latest project, can we take a step back?  Please tell us a little bit about how you met and first got into making art.
LoVid: We both grew up immersed in art—making, seeing, and hearing it—Kyle as a musician and Tali as a painter and filmmaker. Kyle grew up in the New York area and spent a lot of high school in the downtown NYC scene, seeing tons of music and spoken word shows. Tali grew up in Tel Aviv, Israel and spent her time in museums and seeing local teenage grunge bands. When we met, Kyle was involved in experimental and noise music, and Tali, who had been living in Paris, spent a semester in New York, wanting to “play video the way people play music.” Our first date was actually our first day of collaborating too!
AB: Sounds like a really experimental and creative beginning. When did you start pursuing generative art?
LoVid: In the early days of LoVid, our main focus was live video and (specifically handmade) instruments and systems. In 2005, we had a residency at Eyebeam in New York, where we built our first analog audio/video synthesizer, called Sync Armonica. We’ve performed and recorded with our synthesizers ever since, as well as producing installations and sculptures with built-in/embedded synthesizer hardware that creates compositions in real time.
LoVid, Performance view, featuring Sync Armonica. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2008.
These were our first generative works: the compositions and variations were encoded within the circuit boards and their soldered analog patches. Later, we produced web-based generative works, in which the browser itself became responsible for aspects of the work’s creation. More of The Same, 2007 is one example of this.
LoVid, More of The Same, 2007. Live view..jpeg
LoVid, More of The Same, 2007. Live view.
We also made another series of generative works between 2006–11 collectively called Cross Current Resonance Transducer (collaboration with Douglas Repetto), which included web projects and kinetic sculptures that collected and used live data from various environmental sources.
AB: So, generative thinking has been part of your creative practice for many years. Let’s fast forward a bit: How did you discover NFTs / crypto art? 
LoVid: On our first national tour in the US, we brought an inkjet printer to “mint” VHS cassettes live from the road. NFTs are a logical extension of our work with physical media and various online video distribution platforms. Starting around 2014, some of our media-artist friends began rumbling about new methods for ownership of digital art, and we participated in some of these early projects. 
AB: You seem exceptionally attuned to new methods and materials. Can you comment on how your creative practice has changed over time?
LoVid: In the early 2000s, we were almost exclusively engaged in live performances, which were generally very loud and very “flickery.” Then, for about a decade, we worked on installation and performance-based new media projects, which led to amazing opportunities to collaborate with non-profit organizations around the world in institutional and educational settings. We spent a lot of time developing specific technological tools and systems for each piece and often collaborated with other inspiring artists and technologists. More recently, we have transitioned to a largely studio-practice phase. We use the same tools as ever, but focus more on producing digital and physical objects, and working across different mediums: including textiles, glass, single-channel videos, NFTs, etc.
AB: It is really exciting to see how your fundamental conceptual interests find expression in so many different forms and formats in your practice.  Are there any recent professional accomplishments you’d like to share?
LoVid: In the early days of the pandemic we started a series of works called Hugs on Tape that has really grabbed people. Some of the hugs have been sold as NFTs and some as digital videos; we also make large fabric works with them. It’s been exciting and moving to see how this work has resonated, and we are delighted that many of the Hugs have been placed in wonderful collections. We currently have a related public artwork showing in Chicago at 150 Media Stream. This piece, entitled Huggez-Vous, was commissioned for a very large site-specific multi-screen that is part of the building’s architecture.
LoVid, Huggez-Vous, 2022. Site-specific digital animation. 150 Media Stream, Chicago..jpeg
LoVid, Huggez-Vous, 2022. Site-specific digital animation. 150 Media Stream, Chicago.
AB: That’s another example of how a concept has evolved across mediums in your practice. We’ll have to look for that in Chicago. Coming to the project at hand: Can you tell us about the inspiration for Tide Predictor?
LoVid: We have always been inspired by relationships between various signals (e.g., biological, environmental, communications) and currents (e.g., electrical, water-based).  As long-time analog-video nerds, we wanted our first AB project to reflect and honor the legacy of RGB colors and analog signals. We’re always interested in the process of translation: from audio to video, from the physical to the virtual, from body movement to composition, from hardware to software. Our code translates ideas from the analog schematics and calculations we’ve been using in our work for decades, and it is thrilling to see what the outputs look like through this generative process. In some cases, the compositions and colors look a lot like our hardware-based works, but other times, something very different happens. 
LoVid, Tide Predictor #0, 2022..png
LoVid, Tide Predictor #0, 2022.
AB: What should we be looking for in your Art Blocks project as the series is revealed?
LoVid: This work is time-based, so we want collectors to take time and sync-up with its visual rhythm, tune into the changes and patterns in each mint, and attend to the distributed chance-composition as a whole. We can’t wait to see all the flowing rivers of outputs. The colors are largely pure and fundamental (red, green, and blue), and the frequencies are based on division of the frame, with alignments depending on coordination between colors and common denominators. We want Tide Predictor to get into your head and align with your neurocircuits.
AB: We are also looking forward to seeing the outputs roll in and to getting tuned in! Are there other resources you would point people to who want to learn more about your work?
LoVid: One great resource for analog video and other artist-made tools is a book entitled The Emergence of Video Processing Tools. This collection of essays includes an interview between ourselves and Michael Connor that covers a lot of ground. Another useful resource for the context, history, and process of the connection of hardware to generative and digital art is Nic Collins’ Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking, to which we contributed works and essays, alongside many artists and engineers from around the world. Lastly, we’ve always connected coding and electrical engineering to discourses of craft, and scholar and critic Glenn Adamson discusses more about our process and background in this vein in a recent article here.
Left: LoVid, Hyperbolic, 2022. Stained glass. Right: LoVid, VideoWear, 2003. Custom electronics.
Thank you for those links. There is a lot to dig into there. What is the best way for people to follow your work?
LoVid: We are @lovidlovid on both Instagram and Twitter.

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