James Clar

Bio

James Clar (b. 1979, USA; lives and works in New York & Manila) is a light and media artist. His work analyzes the effects of media and technology on our perception of culture, nationality, and identity. He studied film at NYU and received his Masters from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program. It was here that he began developing his own light systems to create visual sculptural works that combine light and technology.

Clar’s interest is in new technological production processes and their application to artistic narrative forms. His work often deals with the perception of reality and the information systems that create it. For his last exhibition in New York, he placed Japan’s top professional videogame players in a movie, interviewing them and asking if their dreams occur in the videogames they play (does their subconscious dream of a virtual place). For an exhibition in London, he placed an EEG reader onto the central processer of a computer while it played a seamless loop of the movie eXistenZ (recording the ‘brainwaves’ of a computer while it ‘thinks’ about a simulated reality).

Clar’s systems tell narratives situated on the edge of perception. By overlapping non-physical spaces (dream world, virtual world, or spiritual world), constants like gravity and space become pliable material. His interest is in the potential for storylines or narratives to exist.

From 2006 till 2012 Clar’s studio was based in Dubai where he became an active participant in the arts and culture scene of the globalized city. From 2012 until 2020 he moved his studio back to New York where he graduated, also teaching a graduate course at his alma mater. In 2021, James opened a studio in Manila to work from the Asian region.

Clar was an artist in residence at Eyebeam Atelier in New York, Fabrica in Italy, and the FedEx Institute of Technology/Lantana Projects in Memphis. He has previously held studio practices in Tokyo and Dubai, and was an artist in residence at Eyebeam Atelier in New York, Fabrica in Italy, and the FedEx Institute of Technology/Lantana Projects in Memphis. His artwork has been included in exhibitions at Glucksman Museum (Dublin), The New Museum of Contemporary Arts (New York), Pera Museum (Istanbul), Cam Francis Museum (Barcelona), MACBA (Barcelona), and SeMA (Seoul). He has been commissioned to develop largescale installations for 21c Museum Hotels (Oklahoma), Parasol Unit Foundation for the Arts (UK), Fraport Headquarters (Frankfurt), and Dynatrace (Linz).

James Clar (b. 1979, USA; lives and works in New York & Manila) is a light and media artist. His work analyzes the effects of media and technology on our perception of culture, nationality, and identity. He studied film at NYU and received his Masters from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program. It was here that he began developing his own light systems to create visual sculptural works that combine light and technology.

Clar’s interest is in new technological production processes and their application to artistic narrative forms. His work often deals with the perception of reality and the information systems that create it. For his last exhibition in New York, he placed Japan’s top professional videogame players in a movie, interviewing them and asking if their dreams occur in the videogames they play (does their subconscious dream of a virtual place). For an exhibition in London, he placed an EEG reader onto the central processer of a computer while it played a seamless loop of the movie eXistenZ (recording the ‘brainwaves’ of a computer while it ‘thinks’ about a simulated reality).

Clar’s systems tell narratives situated on the edge of perception. By overlapping non-physical spaces (dream world, virtual world, or spiritual world), constants like gravity and space become pliable material. His interest is in the potential for storylines or narratives to exist.

From 2006 till 2012 Clar’s studio was based in Dubai where he became an active participant in the arts and culture scene of the globalized city. From 2012 until 2020 he moved his studio back to New York where he graduated, also teaching a graduate course at his alma mater. In 2021, James opened a studio in Manila to work from the Asian region.

Clar was an artist in residence at Eyebeam Atelier in New York, Fabrica in Italy, and the FedEx Institute of Technology/Lantana Projects in Memphis. He has previously held studio practices in Tokyo and Dubai, and was an artist in residence at Eyebeam Atelier in New York, Fabrica in Italy, and the FedEx Institute of Technology/Lantana Projects in Memphis. His artwork has been included in exhibitions at Glucksman Museum (Dublin), The New Museum of Contemporary Arts (New York), Pera Museum (Istanbul), Cam Francis Museum (Barcelona), MACBA (Barcelona), and SeMA (Seoul). He has been commissioned to develop largescale installations for 21c Museum Hotels (Oklahoma), Parasol Unit Foundation for the Arts (UK), Fraport Headquarters (Frankfurt), and Dynatrace (Linz).

Selected Works

Selected Works

Inquire about James Clar
Cloud Seed (Winter), Cloud Seed (Spring), Cloud Seed (Summer), Cloud Seed (Autumn)
2021
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generative software, camera, television, computer
57.09h x 35.43w in • 145h x 90w cm
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Ball & Chain
2009 - 2010
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car headlights, chain, LED lighting
35.43h in x 35.43w in x 35.43d in • 90h cm x 90w cm x 90d cm
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Edition of 3 + 1 Artist's Proof

24 car headlights are configured into a sphere. LED lighting is integrated into the headlights and the power cable interwoven with a thick chain that connects it to the power outlet.

This sculptural piece is a commentary on energy use. The amount that we can do is limited by the amount of energy we can spend. In effect, energy is our ball and chain.
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Thermal Energy
2013
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LEDs, filters, fence
62.99h in x 47.24w in x 35.43d in • 160h cm x 120w cm x 90d cm
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An array of lights intersect through a fence at an angle, with the colors visualizing hot air rising and cold air sinking.

Thermal Energy describes energy currents and the movement of air. This invisible force fills all open spaces and moves through fences and borders. It creates the breezes that move around the earth, changing the weather, mixing temperatures and gasses, and sustaining patterns of life.
Exhibited at:
'SEEK' (2014), Carroll / Fletcher, London
'Peace Minus One' (2015), Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul
Details
Still Life (under water)
2014
3430
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acrylic, mineral oil, laptop, desk lamp
31.50h in x 49.21w in x 17.72d in • 80h cm x 125w cm x 45d cm
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A laptop and a lamp sit on a desk, completely submerged in liquid while continuing to work. Still Life takes a familiar scenario of contemporary everyday life and by altering the physical environment in which it exists, changes it into something surreal, like in a dream, floating, frozen in time but functioning in place.

Exhibited at: “SEEK”, Carroll / Fletcher, London
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Simulation of a Simulation NY
2016
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TV, camera, motor, 3D printed parts, computer
dimensions variable
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A camera module takes a New York snow globe and shakes it. The camera module is connected to a television to create live animations of the Statue of Liberty and New York City in a constant snowstorm. Instead of using computers to generate animations, real materials and real physics are used to create live generative animations situated between the real and virtual.

Exhibited at: "False Awakenings" (2016) at Jane Lombard Gallery, New York
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Binary Star
2016
3428
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LEDs, filters, wire
74.80h in x 74.80w cm • 190h cm x 190w cm
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Binary Star is an artwork about hidden energies. A binary star is two stars locked in rotation with each other. Here the artwork shows their gravity and energy revolving and pulsing through each other. The artwork can be seen as a visualization of a cosmological phenomenon, or it could be seen as a representation of the energy two people have for each other.
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Triple Oscillation
2016
3432
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led lights, filters
74.80h in x 74.80w cm • 190h cm x 190w cm
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Overlapping and weaving lines of light create a kaleidoscopic spatial looping pattern, like a continuously unfolding shape.

Exhibited at: 'False Awakenings', Jane Lombard Gallery, New York
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Awake While You Sleep
2016
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LEDs filters
74.80d in • 190d cm
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A visualization showing mental perception versus physical reality. The work shows you dreaming of the daytime while you're asleep at night.

Exhibited at: 'False Awakenings' (2016) at Jane Lombard Gallery, New York
Details
River Of Time
2016
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Industrial Conveyor Belts, Steel, Acrylic, LEDs, Computer
168h in x 240w in x 240d in • 426.72h cm x 609.6w cm x 609.6d cm
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River of Time is a permanent installation created for 21c Museum Hotel in Oklahoma City, in an historical Ford Model T production building.

The installation uses conveyor belts whose top surfaces are replaced with semi-transparent colored sheets of acrylic, to create moving panels that flow along the conveyor paths like an animated river. The ‘river’ flows up and over the center of the installation like a waterfall. Behind the waterfall is a large clock that shows the current time through LED lights that shine through the panels of acrylic as they pass in front.

The conveyor belts provide a material link to the building’s past history as an assembly line while creating a dynamic visual installation that displays the current time. The installation mixes digital technology and mechanical components to create an dynamic sculpture of a flowing river in a reference to the past, present, and future.
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Portal (NYC to MIA)
2018
3497
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street lamppost, crowd barricade, LEDs, filter
63h in x 110.23w in x 63d in • 160h cm x 280w cm x 160h cm
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A commissioned work for a collector who moved from New York to Miami. A street barricade and lamppost, materials from New York City, are bent and warped as they enter a spherical light structure. The sculpture is a portal from New York to Miami. Two 3d printed birds (red finches, local to the New York region) sit on the lamppost.
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We Met Online
2019
3436
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Two Alpacas, Touch Reactive LED floor running Conway’s Game of Life simulation
dimensions variable
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Two alpacas walk on a touch-sensor LED floor running Conway’s Game of Life program, their movement and interaction generating patterns beneath them. The alpacas act as physical avatars within a virtual space, while alluding to the psychedelic mind-spaces explored by the pre-Andean Civilizations that domesticated them.

Their movements on the interactive floor influence the evolution of the pixelized cellular automata beneath them. The phrase “we met online” is an increasingly common statement on the initial interaction for contemporary human relationships.

Exhibited at: “Fifth World Problems” pop-up exhibition during Frieze NY at Studio 525 (former space of Andrea Rosen Gallery) in Chelsea NYC

Special Thanks:
Studio 525
WorldStage Inc
Shalimar Alpacas
Jane Lombard Gallery
Saadia Zahid
Elisabeth Johs
Rami Farook
Josh Goldberg
Aaron Parach
Matthew Schreiber
Shelly Sabel
Peter Smith
Matt Ward
Praise Shadows Art Partners
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Noise Field #1b
2019-2020
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controlled laser, water system
dimensions variable
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For his presentation in Art Fair Philippines 2020, in partnership with AC Motors, James Clar creates a laser and liquid installation titled “Noise Field”. Using a laserscanner and a sprinkler system, Clar creates a naturally generated field of visual static. Visitors are invited to step into “Noise Field” to experience what happens when these lasers cross paths with the fine mist.
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Without You There’s Less Data
2020
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Generative Software, Screen Array
dimensions variable
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A single cloud is algorithmically generated and hovers between two screens. One side at high resolution, while the other is reduced information and pixelated. (A second version shows the cloud increasing and decreasing in resolution through a vertical stack). The relationships we have and the people in our lives can make us experience the world in higher resolution.
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Selected Exhibitions

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