Hidden Patterns: A Conversation About Networks and Arts

Serpentine Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist, physicist and Director of BarabásiLab Albert-László Barabási, ideas collective CAMP, and artist Burak Arikan discussed how network effects and big data are poised to shift our understanding of the dynamics of the contemporary art world. The virtual panel discussion was a side event of the Hidden Patterns exhibition currently on view at Ludwig Museum in Hungary.

The BarabásiLab. Hidden Patterns. The language of network thinking exhibition is on view at Ludwig Museum in Budapest until 20 June. The exhibition Hidden Patterns aims to present the last 25 years of research of BarabásiLab, led by physicist and network researcher Albert-László Barabási. BarabásiLab is a cooperation platform where scientist from different fields work together with artists and designers to explore the virtual characteristics of networks.

Hungarian-born author, researcher and cultural strategist András Szántó opened the discussion and introduced the book Hidden Patterns Visualizing Networks at BarabásiLab which was published on the occasion of the exhibition.

Serpentine Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist pointed out that András Szántó, Albert-László Barabási and him share an interest in the Hungarian avant-garde art of the 60s and 70s, including the works of Dóra Maurer, Imre Bak or the digital art pioneer Vera Molnár. He and András Szántó published a book on the topic in 2008 (Book Marks: Revisiting the Hungarian Art of the 60s and 70s).

Albert-László Barabási revealed that he joined IBM as a researcher in 1994 and decided to focus on the research of networks. His first scientific work was a visual representation of a specific network which serves as the opening image of the exhibition in Ludwig Museum. Utilizing his interest in art, he creates 3 dimensional data sculptures which can be viewed with a VR application in the exhibition. He revealed that he takes inspiration from the works of Vera Molnár and mathematicians Alfréd Rényi and Pál Erdős. The exhibition showcases the international and Hungarian network of art institutions and the most exhibited Hungarian artists among others.

View the full discussion below.