Ali Hossaini and Ouroboros, a history of the universe

Ali Hossaini teams up with video artists and programmers, Blake Shaw and Bruno Levy from Sweatshoppe, for their 3-D extravaganza “Ouroboros, the History of the Universe”, now showing at the Ise Cultural Foundation in Soho. I’ve known Ali since our days together at the Site and ZDTV in San Francisco where I art directed motion design and he produced topical content at the interactive dotcom start-up. At the time Raves were popular, whose visuals were reminiscent of 1960s music events that partnered with light shows of psychedelic imagery .

The ambitious exhibit, curated by Koan Jeff Baysa, depicts a visual universe through 30,000 layered and appropriated images from the internet. The software that Hossaini, Levy and Shaw developed to create the layering is experimental, which gives this show its unique look. They note that they are not trying to approximate slick and commercial Hollywood versions.

Rather, the concept is the exhibit’s strength; imagery of the sacred mixed with the mundane, the importance of nature and man’s inner sense of self that in contrast, transcends a relatively short technological and mechanized history.

The Sweatshoppe collective of Levy and Shaw developed the aesthetic of Ouroboros, which is based on television’s primary colors of red, green and blue as opposed to fine art’s of red, yellow and blue. By writing their own software, the pair have developed ways to transform ordinary images into Chromadepth, which produces a stereoscopic effect; layers appear to recede and advance, depending on diffraction of color. While the collective often does live video wall performances, for Ouroboros the technique was applied on a large scale to create an immersive hologram.

For a taste of the show, watch this clip and be sure to check out Saturday’s New York Times review by Dennis Overbye.

Ouroboros: The History of the Universe from SWEATSHOPPE on Vimeo.

For more information on Hossaini and an artist’s statement, visit his site.

“Ouroboros: The History of the Universe” continues through April 23 at the Ise Cultural Foundation, 555 Broadway, at Prince Street, SoHo; (212) 925-1649,

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One Response to Ali Hossaini and Ouroboros, a history of the universe

  1. Ali Hossaini says:

    Victoria, thanks so much for the astute review. Your interpretations are dead on, and you even brought up some new things for me to consider! It’s interesting how everyone brings something new to the same artistic experience.

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