BOOM! : Boomboxes, iPads, Audiovisual Interfaces

BOOM! : Boomboxes, iPads, Audiovisual Interfaces

CULTURE SHOCK presents BOOM!, a good old-fashioned celebration of technology, creativity, physicality, and art.

The BOOM! exhibition experience begins in the elevators taking visitors to the show, where a series of generative animation artworks by Glenn Marshall will be screened, including Supernova, Eyegasm and Zio.

When input/output jacks were incorporated into boomboxes, allowing for the coupling of devices such as microphones and turntables, an explosion of creativity occurred. New forms of dance emerged, new forms of music, as cultural experimentation was taken to the streets. This installation pays homage to that energy.

BOOM! features Boomboxes from the personal collection of Lyle Owerko, Generative Animation iPad apps from Glenn Marshall, audio interfaces curated by Dave Hodge, and dance performances by Victor “Kid Glyde” Alicea and Melanie Aguirre. Innovation happens when things that are separated get mixed.

VOLTA NY patrons are encouraged to touch the iPads, create with us, interact, smile, dance and be happy.

“Exactly when the term ‘boombox’ hit the streets is not known for sure. In the United States, department stores apparently began using the term in marketing and advertising as early as 1983. Street slang linguists pin the term down at 1981, and define the boombox as ‘a large portable radio and tape player with two attached speakers’. Initially, it became identified with certain segments of urban society, hence the nicknames like ‘ghetto blaster’ and ‘beat box’. And due to their size and relative portability, as the general public began to embrace these gargantuan creations of electronics, lights, and chrome-plated gadgetry, a new form of expression was born.”

— Lyle Owerko


CULTURE SHOCK is a New York City-based media consultancy for creative industries. We are recognized for strategic and creative approaches to content creation, art curation, marketing, brand development and positioning in global, digital and local markets.


Lyle Owerko is a photographer and filmmaker. Known for his perception and knowledge of urban movements, his instinctually crafted visual images have found an incredible place in the lexicon of popular culture, fine art and journalism.


Glenn Marshall’s distinct style of abstract computer animation blends modern art, eastern mysticism, mathematics, nature and science. Glenn is a strong advocate of the digital artist’s necessity to be both artist and programmer.


Dave Hodge is an award-winning musician, music producer, composer and sound designer. He’s performed with some of the most critically acclaimed acts around the globe, including Basement Jaxx, Bran Van 3000, Macy Gray, Broken Social Scene, Feist and Brazilian Girls.


Head of acclaimed NYC b-boy crew The Dynamic Rockers, Kid Glyde has appeared in numerous dance movies and won several prestigious b-boy titles.


A native New Yorker, Malanie has been dancing since the age of 3, and brings a lifetime of artistic creativity and experience to the worlds of dance, film, & music.

BOOM! Presented by Culture Shock at VOLTA NY

BOOM! Presented by Culture Shock at VOLTA NY

BOOM! was a refreshing exhibit at VoltaNY because you took a break from using your eyes and opened up your ears to the sweet sounds of boomboxes controlled by iPads.

The old school devices lining the wall are from the personal collection of photographer and boombox enthusiast Lyle Owerko (pictured above), who is currently working on The Boombox Project, a visual timeline of the era of the boombox. The devices on the wall could be controlled by 5 iPads, each with different mesmerizing patterns that when manipulated with your finger changed the sounds emitted from the wall of machines. In this age of digital music and ubiquitous iPods, it’s easy to forget about the explosion of creativity that the boombox created in the 80s, and the way it represented a generation, influencing music, dance and culture. Integrating the iPads was a fun way to unite two totally unique periods in music and technology. Can’t wait to see what comes next from the creative minds at Culture Shock!

In Search of iPad Art

In Search of iPad Art

Most people think it’s cliché to talk about the iPad itself as a work of art, but we’ve yet to see the tablet be embraced as the next artist’s medium. Early after it debuted, there were many who lamented that the artistry of the iPad was all Apple’s: the purpose of the thing was to consume stuff that other people made. Roughly two years since the first model debuted, a new iPad will hit hands on Friday and, if the fanboys are right, it will change the way we think about tablets thanks to the new high resolution screen and top notch camera. With new software that makes photo editing easy and a zippy processor that makes video editing seamless, Apple’s latest iteration seems intent on making the iPad more creative. But, if our empty search for iPad art is a sign, the art community doesn’t seem to care about the iPad one bit. Everyone may own iPhones and carry MacBooks and AirBooks, but the iPad is still stuck in the world of commerce.

With the Armory Show, New York’s biggest art fair, in full swing last weekend, we wanted to see if there was any sign of iPads as art. Perched on piers 92 and 94 in midtown Manhattan, the Armory Show is not just for the gallery types. Its historical legacy conjures up the idea of innovation in art — a fair at the 69th Regiment Armory over on Lexington Avenue in 1913 was where Marcel Duchamp introduced his infamous sculpture Fountain, a urinal laid flat and signed “R. Mutt.” To a large degree, the modern incarnation of the Armory Show is also all about innovation. There were a few people walking around with iPads in front of their faces, taking pictures and video of the art in the hundreds of booths set up for galleries, non-profits, art publications and (yes) sponsors, but not a single iPad painting on display and certainly no arty apps. There was a special wing dedicated to art from the Nordic countries, another that featured most of the 20th-century art and a giant champagne lounge in the middle.

When the topic of iPad art came up with one gallerist, David Hockney’s name was mentioned. Like Jorge Colombo, the artist who makes New Yorker covers on an iPad, Hockney’s been fascinated for the past few years with the possibilities of digital art and turned to the touchscreen devices lately. He’s done dozens if not hundreds of paintings on his iPad since the device came out. The Guardian’s Lauren Niland wrote earlier this year that “Hockney’s adoption of the iPad is the natural next step in his interest in using technology to explore art.” The pixelated pieces are quite good, but quite similar to his pigment paintings.

But Hockney was not at the Armory Show. We saw people buying art on iPads, plenty of others were using tablets to take pictures or read the news in between booths. They sat in the corner of more than a few booths but never on the wall. As we marched towards the door, we saw one gallery — Gallery Hyundai — with a slick screen on the wall and paused to ask a couple of questions about art and technology. “I’m not an expert on touchscreen art,” said a young woman starting to pack up her things.

It wasn’t a huge surprise when we heard about an interactive iPad installation at the Armory Show’s not-too-distant sibling, Volta. There we met Hugh McGrory from the media consultancy Culture Shock who was standing in front of a wall of boomboxes (all vintage and battery-powered) wired into five iPads and humming rythmic sounds. If you walked up and touched the iPads, the screens would brighten and the sounds would change thanks to some artistically designed apps that took advantage of the platform in intriguing ways. The apps are all very interactive. “We’re not motivated by selling art,” Hugh told The Atlantic Wire. “We’re motivated by transforming and being a catalyst.” Below is a demo of Glenn Marshall’s app Supernova:

Culture Shock is not a gallery; it’s a business. Brands come to them looking for innovative ways to use media and technology to market their products. In the past, they’ve worked with Vimeo, DJ Spooky and Tribeca Enterprises. “It’s way more exciting to be at the beginning of something,” he said. “Everybody’s really energetic and on a mission to try to move the future forward and also engage with audiences.” This sounds more like startup than an art project.

We gave up on finding the iPad art around that time. On one hand, we had to. The show was over and nightsticks were directing us towards the door. On the other hand, we weren’t sure it made sense to find iPads hanging next to oil paintings and plaster statues. It reminded us of something Hugh mentioned about the guys that developed the apps for Culture Shock’s exhibition. “Most of the people creating it, the last word they’d use to describe themselves is ‘artists’,” he said. “They don’t go there. In a sense I find that very exiting, because it takes other people to call these people artists.”

VOLTA NY’s 2012 Fair Opened with a BOOM!

VOLTA NY’s 2012 Fair Opened with a BOOM!

NEW YORK, (March 9, 2012). With the energy of a Brooklyn b-boy, VOLTA NY’s 2012 fair opened with a bang. Or, more appropriately, a BOOM!, the titular site-specific combo of technology, art and awesome tunes at Culture Shock central. Crowds coalesced around Lyle Owerko’s vintage boomboxes and iPads playing Glenn Marshall’s dynamic animations. They were jamming along to on-the-spot dance-offs in the lounge and streetside, led by Dynamic Rockers champ Victor “Kidglyde” Alicea and joined by Melanie Aguirre, Soraya Lundy, “Poker”, and “Supaman”. It was intense. There was art: walls and elaborate installations of art, and tons of it flying off those walls. That was the case at Boston’s Steven Zevitas Gallery, who sold about 19 of Whitney Biennial 2012 artist Andrew Masullo’s sunnily chromatic abstract paintings ($6,000-12,000). The Hague’s Livingstone Gallery sold one of Ryan Mendoza’s dramatic oils just from its invitation image ($12,000), plus works on view at VOLTA NY ($17,500-$25,000). Milan’s Magrorocca sold four lines from a six-line grid of Francesco Merletti’s intimately-scaled figurative paintings ($2,000 per line), plus several others in a range of sizes ($4,000-$7,900). Meanwhile DODGEgallery sold all three of Sheila Gallagher’s mesmerizing melted-plastic paintings ($15,000-$16,000), with a waitlist on more to arrive. Valencia’s espaivisor – Visor Gallery recorded a massive first-day win, selling a statement work ($49,000) by Croatian New Art Practice artist Sanja Iveković. Her concurrent survey retrospective Sweet Violence at MoMA is still drawing crowds.

BOOM! Project interacts with visitors at Volta art show

BOOM! Project interacts with visitors at Volta art show

Today marks the opening day of the Volta New Yorkart show, which will continue through this weekend. To inspire readers about the spring arts season, spoke with Debra Anderson and Hugh McGrory, the curators of the BOOM! Project, which will be on display at the Volta Show.

The BOOM! project was inspired by the artist Lyle Owerko who created the first book on the history of the boombox. Lyle’s amazing photographs of these machines look like futuristic cityscapes. We talked to Lyle and quickly realized that we should exhibit the boomboxes themselves instead of their 2D images. Looking at the cultural explosion that the boombox created in the 20th century we were reminded of the iPad today. From there we brought in Dave Hodge to curate the audio elements. Then we asked ourselves a question. What do people never do at an art show? Our first answer was ‘smile’. Our second answer was ‘dance’. We knew we needed dancers so contacted Victor Kidglyde Alicea and Melanie L Aguirre. BOOM! grew organically. That makes it real. We have no idea what will happen at the fair.

Volta is known as a contemporary arts fair that highlights solo artists’ projects, giving the show a much more intimate feel than traditional art fairs like the Armory Show. The BOOM! Project was made possible by Culture Shock, a media consultancy group that excels at curating projects for generally arts-based clients. Anderson, the CEO, and McGrory, the Creative Director, have been working on BOOM! for just over two months now , and both note that while curating can be challenging, “Volta is something we do for fun […] to move art forward. It’s more like a mission than a job.”

BOOM! is sure to attract visitors with such a great mix of non-traditional mediums, from video to music, dance, and digital technology. The project is a work that will succeed in getting people to think critically about art, but allow visitors to truly enjoy themselves – and isn’t that what art should be all about? Audiences will be invited to interact with the work by creating their own music on iPads, and by joining in the dances.

Culture Shock will be located at Booth P1, just past the elevators (even the elevators are part of the experience, with animation screenings presented throughout the day), so be sure to check them out. A ticket to the Volta Show is only $15, and can be reduced if purchasing a dual Volta and Armory Show admission. It is located at 7 West 34th Street.

Anderson and McGrory leave us with a bit of advice for readers, focusing on how we celebrate art today:

“We want them to seek out art that relates to the world as it is now. Our behaviors have changed dramatically in the last 10 years but most art feels stuck in the last century. If art feels like something separate and removed from the viewer then it’s coming from a place that has long been left behind. It’s time to take over. The 21st century is just beginning to get started.”

Your New York Art Fair Guide

Your New York Art Fair Guide

New York is crawling with art fairs this week, bringing collectors, dealers, artists, and lovers of spectacle alike out of their lairs. Monumental in scope, the Armory Week’s fairs are scattered from the Upper East Side to the Lower East Side to the Piers on the Hudson River, and everywhere in between.

The most grand of all is the Armory Show itself, held on Piers 94 and 95 in Midtown Manhattan. This year features 228 international galleries, divided into five sections: The Armory Show-Contemporary; The Armory Show-Modern; Armory Focus: The Nordic Countries; the Not-For-Profit Section; and Solo Projects, which features 11 emerging dealers. In other words, the Armory has a little bit of something for everyone, especially those who love Northern Europeans. Highlights include works by Cindy Sherman at Sprüth Magers (Berlin); new works by artists that have recently joined Sean Kelly, including Idris Khan, Peter Liversidge, Nathan Mabry, and Alec Soth; and a site-specific installation by Michael Riedel at David Zwirner.

Along with booths by most of the major international galleries, the fair also features Armory Film, a programming initiative curated by the Moving Image Fair, which will show a selection of experimental films such as Flight, 2011 by Liz Magic Laser, and Despair by Alex Prager.

If you’re looking to channel your inner old guard, visit the ADAA Art Fair at the Park Avenue Armory, which features most of the sterling galleries including Pace, Blum & Poe, Cheim & Read, Lehmann Maupin, Galerie Lelong, and Luhring Augustine. Consisting of works that are less experimental, but more major collector friendly, highlights at the show include David Wojnarowicz and Hunter Reynolds from P•P•O•W; Dorothea Rockburne at Greenberg Van Doren Gallery; and “Acquavella: The First 90 Years,” a long-view look at the historic gallery.

At the Independent, which is being held for the third year in the former DIA space on West 22nd Street, 43 participants—including 47 Canal, Elizabeth Dee, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Andrew Kreps, Maureen Paley, White Columns, and even a gallery from Dubai, The Third Line—will stage a show for those who take art as a critical and aesthetic medium a little more seriously. It includes the 29º Observatory, a site-specific environment on the roof built by the architect who designed the layout for the show, Christian Wassmann. Takeaways for those who can’t afford the art itself include stickers conceived by Matthew Higgs and tote bags designed by Warsaw-based artist Agnieszka Kurant.

If the power of an art fair can be measured by the satellites it inspires, the Dependent speaks volumes for its progenitor, the Independent. Back again for a second season, the fair, which is being held on Saturday at the Comfort Inn on the Lower East Side, will feature some of Brooklyn’s finest galleries, including Regina Rex and Cleopatra’s. Also exhibiting are Lower East Side mainstays including James Fuentes and Ramiken Crucible, as well as Chelsea galleries such as Foxy Productions, and the collaborative publisher Specific Object.

Volta, which will include 80 galleries, will be featured in a live taping of the Cable TV series Art Trek/NYC, a five-borough quest that showcases emerging artistic talent. The event also features an interactive program that includes generative animation iPad apps from Glenn Marshall, boomboxes from Lyle Owerko, and dance performances by Victor “Kid Glyde” Alicea and Melanie Aguirre. For those who need to quench their thirst, the fair also sponsors the new craft Ignatz Bier, brewed by HomeBase Lab in Berlin.

If you have the stamina, other fairs to visit include Scope, which includes 55 contemporary art galleries from 16 countries who will show their wares in a 30,000 square foot pavilion on 57th Street and 10th Avenue; and the New City Art Fair, an event that will feature 13 galleries from Japan looking to pick up new talent in New York.