Monday, October 19, 2020

Cyberangels of Peace Fly from Israel Museum to Bahrain Museum of Contemporary Art


Israel Museum and Bahrain Museum of Contemporary Art

    American-Israeli artist Mel Alexenberg is launching Rembrandt-inspired cyberangels of peace on flights from the Israel Museum to the Bahrain Museum of Contemporary Art.

    These cyberangel flights virtually follow the first El Al flight to Manama from Ben-Gurion Airport. They honor Israel and Bahrain on their establishing peaceful and diplomatic relations that build upon the Abraham Accords signed by Bahraini Foreign Minister Al-Zayani in Washington.   

    Alexenberg’s digital artwork shows a cyberangel of peace ascending from the Israel Museum’s Shrine of the Book, where the oldest Bible texts are exhibited, and entering into the Bahrain Museum of Contemporary Art. It expresses a historic event of biblical proportions that heralds the emergence of a different spirit reshaping relationships between the Arab and Jewish peoples.

    Four thousand years after Abraham’s sons Ishmael and Isaac came together to bury their father, their heirs came together in brotherhood on the White House lawn. Muslim foreign ministers of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, the Jewish prime minister of Israel, and the Christian president of the United State of America, representatives of the three Abrahamic religions launched a new era of peace in the Middle East.

     Alexenberg documents the digital flights from Israel to Bahrain and the Emirates on his blog Global Tribute to Rembrandt ( His blog also documents cyberangel flights from Israel to thirty museums on five continents that have his artworks in their collections. These images are augmented by texts on the impact of digital culture on contemporary art by the artist, former art professor at Columbia University, research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, and professor at universities in Israel.

     Mel Alexenberg's exhibition Cyberangels: Aesthetic Peace Plan for the Middle East at the Jewish Museum in Prague anticipated this historic event in Manama. It presented aesthetic values derived from Islamic art that invites a perceptual shift through which Muslims see Israel as a blessing expressing Allah’s will rather than as an alien presence in the midst of the Islamic world. His blog Aesthetic Peace ( shows how Islamic carpets symbolize a Jewish state living in peace surrounded by friendly Muslim states.

      At the Sabbath eve meal, the artist and his family join Jewish families throughout the world singing, “May your coming be for peace, Angels of Peace, angels of the Exalted One.” The song begins with the words shalom aleikhem (may peace be with you). Shalom aleikhem is the traditional Hebrew greeting when people meet, akin to the Arabic greeting salam aleikum. Indeed, the word Islam itself is derived from the same root as salam (peace). May the Hebrew Malakh Shalom and the Arabic Malak Salam be recognized as one and the same Angel of Peace.

    For further information and requests for interviews, contact Prof. Mel Alexenberg at, international call +972-55-855-1223. Images to illustrate this article at Global Tribute to Rembrandt were created by Mel Alexenberg who gives permission to use them in any article based upon this press release.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Shout for Joy! The Plague has Passed: Biblical Insights for Life in a Post-corona Era

Mel Alexenberg's new book

The title of the book speaks to our times in the words of the Bible: 
“Go into your houses, my people, and lock your door behind you; hide for just a moment until the plague has passed, then awake and shout for joy!” (Isaiah 26: 19, 20) 

The book explores creative paths leading to success in a post-corona future that we have not known before. It draws on biblical insights for understanding the spiritual essence of personal, social, and cultural renewal in a post-digital age that will reshape life when the plague has passed. 

 A biblical model of creative process provides methods and tools for reorienting life in a new reality. This model develops awareness of the dynamic flow of divine light experienced as creative thoughts and emotions that are realized in all realms of life. 

Shout for Joy! The Plague has Passed speaks to Christians and Jews who share an abiding love of the Bible by inspiring the creation of a lively dialogue in challenging times between our emerging life stories and the enduring biblical narrative. 

 These insights for successful living after COVID-19 is conquered are derived from Professor Mel Alexenberg’s research and teaching on creative process, digital culture, and biblical consciousness at Columbia University, MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, and universities in Israel.

Biblical texts throughout the book are translated by the author from Hebrew, the original language of the Bible, into the language of postdigital culture that speaks to a generation searching for creative methods for navigating through an unknown labyrinth. 

 Dr. Gerald R. McDermott, professor emeritus at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, and author of Everyday Glory and Israel Matters, wrote when he read the manuscript for Shout for Joy!: “Wow, what a book. You have given me all sorts of wonderful ideas about God in the lockdown, and creativity that comes from God and through which God brings beauty to the world.” 

Unique Contribution 
My book offers a unique contribution to understanding how humanity will require an unprecedented response as the worldwide coronavirus pandemic draws to an end. There are no other books yet published that offer biblical insights for creatively rebooting life in the post-corona era. It is the only book that explores postdigital culture through a bible lens as it is being transformed by the pandemic. 

Introduction: The Post-corona Era is a Postdigital Age 
When we shout for joy that the plague has passed, we will find ourselves in a post-corona era that is a postdigital age that we had not known before. The introduction is based on the Wikipedia definition of “postdigital” as the humanization of digital technologies through interplay between digital, biological, cultural, and spiritual systems that is adopted from my book The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness (Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press). 

Chapter One: Creating a Different Spirit for a New Era 
Creating a meaningful life in an unfamiliar world requires a different spirit, a spirit of creative thought and action, a spirit of freedom of being open to new insights, understandings, and knowledge that illuminate all that we do. We learn these traits from Calev, with a “different spirit” (Numbers 14:24). He could see goodness in the Land of Israel while the others could not. We learn about a creative spirit from Bezalel who created the beautiful Tabernacle, the source of spiritual energies on the trek from slavery to a new era of freedom (Exodus 31:1-3)

Chapter Two: Reading Spiritual Barcodes 
We all stand illiterate before the barcode language of the digital age that only supermarket optical scanners can read. The “Tree of Life” graphic model of shared Divine and human creative processes, provides a symbolic language, a spiritual barcode, for exploring how Divine energies are drawn down into our everyday world. It presents parallels between human creativity and God’s. 

Chapter Three: Following Abraham into a Strange New World 
The life of the patriarch Abraham who walked away from his land, his birthplace, his father’s house, to a strange new world (Genesis 12: 1) can offer insights for navigating through untraveled pathways after the plague has passed. The signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel and UAE and Bahrain in USA is a paradigm shift of biblical proportions where today the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity offer hopeful visions of life in a post-corona era. The attributes of the biblical personalities of Sarah, Ruth, Rebecca, Isaac and Jacob, are also explored. 

Chapter Four: Emulating Moses as He Reorients His Life 
Moses success in reorienting his life multiple times is a model for emulation as the world is rapidly changing. Moses went from life as an Egyptian prince to a shepherd in Midian, returning to Egypt to confront the mightiest ruler on earth, freeing his people from slavery, leading an unruly multitude through the desert for forty years to the gates of the Promised Land to which he was denied entry. The lives of Moses’ sister Miriam, his brother Aaron, Joseph, Deborah, and Tamar, are also presented as models for emulation. 

Chapter Five: Focusing on Creative Process for a Renewed Reality 
The dynamic flow of the creative process is demonstrated through the Bible-based “Tree of Life” ten-step model from initial insight, communication, and emotions realized together in the realm of space and time. The process is described by four events in different fields: cyberangel flight around the globe via AT&T satellites, giant ritual fringes flowing from the four corners of USA, the scientific work of America’s most honored geologist, and an acclaimed artist describing creating his painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection. 

Chapter Six: Discovering God as “The Place” Everyplace 
One of God’s names in the Bible is Hamakom, meaning “The Place.” When Jacob awakened from his dream of a ladder connecting heaven and earth, he discovered that God’s presence can be experienced everyplace we happen to find ourselves (Genesis 28: 10, 18). The spiritual dimensions in places in explored from Abraham’s tent open to all, the Legolike Tabernacle, the Peace Hut Sukkah, Guggenheim Museums in New York and Spain, the Freedom Tower, COVID-9 induced changes in using space, and the Internet Cloud. 

Chapter Seven: Looking Beyond the Surface
A traditional method of Bible study is reframed for exploring the spiritual dimensions of smartphone culture where billions of people create images and narratives to share with others through social media. In all of human history, never has there been such a proliferation of images. Spiritual seeing as looking beyond an image’s surface engenders an ecological perspective, an expanded viewpoint that shifts focus from the here and now to imagining each image woven into the web of an all-encompassing whole. 

Chapter Eight: Collaborating on Intergenerational and Multicultural Creativity 
The post-corona era creates new opportunities for forging intergenerational relationships between individuals, communities, and cultures. An exemplary model is the “Legacy Thrones” project that created an aesthetic dialogue between art students and elders from the Hispanic, African-American, and Jewish communities of Miami. Valued traditions expressed through the lives of the elders were transformed into artistic statements of enduring significance through their ceramic relief sculptures collaged onto three towering thrones installed in a park facing the bay. 

Chapter Nine: Linking Personal and Biblical Narratives 
The biblical narrative is a rich and multidimensional look at an ancient world that has renewed meaning relevant to emerging into a new post-corona world. People of all faiths can gain opportunities to link their emerging life stories to the enduring biblical narrative by Bible blogging their lives. Exemplary Bible blog posts that reveal the spectrum of divine light in everyday life can serve as models for discovering fresh insights for seeing the spiritual dimensions of each person’s or couples’ storyline.

Chapter Ten: Learning for an Unknown Future 
The emergence of fresh directions in innovative areas of learning reshaping global culture that we had not known before are examined. Effective modes of on-line learning that developed during the COVID-19 lockdowns that carry over into the post-corona era are evaluated. Realms of learning that weave together issues of theory and practice in a post-corona era are explored from an autoethnographic perspective. 

About the author 
Professor at Columbia University, research fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, head of the art department at Pratt Institute, America’s leading art college, and dean at New World School of the Arts, University of Florida’s arts college in Miami. In Israel, professor at Bar-Ilan University and Ariel University, and head of Emunah School of the Arts in Jerusalem.

Author of thirteen books and more than 150 articles, book chapters, papers, and blogs. Some are presented below. 

Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media (HarperCollins Christian Publishing), The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness (Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press), Educating Artists for the Future: Learning at the Intersections of Art, Science, Technology and Culture (Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press), Aesthetic Experience in Creative Process (Bar-Ilan University Press in Israel), LightsOROT: Spiritual Dimension of the Electronic Age (MIT and Yeshiva University Museum), and in Hebrew Dialogic Art in a Digital World (R. Mass Publishers, Jerusalem)


Book Chapters 
“Postdigital Relationships between Digital and Hebraic Writing,” Handbook of Digital Writing and Rhetoric (Routledge), and chapters in four books published by National Art Education Association: “From Science to Art: Integral Structure and Ecological Perspective in a Digital Age, Interdisciplinary Art Education: Building Bridges to Connect Disciplines and Cultures, “Semiotic Redefinition of Art in a Digital Age,” Semiotics and Visual Culture: Sights, Signs, and Significance, “Space-Time Structures of Digital Visual Culture: Paradigm Shift from Hellenistic to Hebraic Roots of Western Culture,” Inter/Actions/Inter/Sections: Art Education in a Digital Visual Culture, “Legacy Thrones: Intergenerational Collaborations in Creating Multicultural Public Art,” Community Connections: Intergenerational Links in Art Education

Journal Papers 
“Art with Computers: The Human Spirt and the Electronic Revolution” The Visual Computer: International Journal of Computer Graphics, “Postdigital Consciousness: A Paradigm Shift from Hellenistic to Hebraic Roots of Western Civilization,” Archithese: International Thematic Review of Architecture, “Ancient Schema and Technoetic Creativity,” Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research, “Cyberangels: An Aesthetic Peace Plan for the Middle East,” Leonardo: Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, “Wright and Gehry: Biblical Consciousness in American Architecture,” Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education. 

Articles and Blogs 
I have written regularly for The Times of Israel since 2015. See my articles at The Times of Israel. I blog at Through a Bible Lens, Global Tribute to Rembrandt, and Bible Blog Your Life

My artworks exploring biblical themes, digital technologies, and global systems are in the collections of forty museums throughout the world including: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama; Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio; University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, Kentucky; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart, Indiana; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Michigan; San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, Texas

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, Israel; Jewish Museum in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic; Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary; Museum of Modern Art, Vienna, Austria; Malmo Art Museum, Malmo, Sweden; Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Art Museum of The Hague, The Hague, The Netherlands; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; Museum of Contemporary Art, Caracas, Venezuela; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Canada; Queen Victoria Art Museum, Tasmania, Australia

269 Ahuza St. Palace, Ra’anana 4355741 Israel,, phone +972-52-855-1223 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Shout for Joy! The Plague has Passed: Biblical Insights for Life in a Post-corona Era

“Go into your houses, my people, and lock your door behind you; hide for just a moment until the plague has passed, then awake and shout for joy!” (Isaiah 26: 19, 20)
Shout for Joy! The Plague has Passed presents a vision of a post-corona future that we have not known before. The book offers biblical insights for exploring the spiritual essence of personal, social, and cultural renewal when the plague has passed. It proposes creative ways for enhancing everyday life in an emerging postdigital culture.
These insights are derived from my teaching and research on creative process, digital culture, and biblical consciousness at Columbia University, MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, and universities in Israel. They are expressed through my life experiences in Israel and United States and my experimental artworks in the collections of forty museums worldwide.   
“And it was after the plague -- God said to Moses, ‘Go up to this mountain of Avarim and SEE the Land that I have given to the Children of Israel. You shall SEE it.’" (Numbers 26: 1, 27: 12)
Why is SEE repeated? Moses first saw the Dead Sea and the barren expanse of desert as far as his eyes could see. Then, he saw the future of his people in the Land of Israel.
“Old men and women will once again sit in the streets of Jerusalem. The streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing.” (Zechariah 8: 4, 5)
Moses could SEE men and women in their golden age sitting in the streets of Jerusalem while boys and girls were playing there. He possessed prophetic insight to visualize the spiritual essence of life in the Land of Israel as the joy of grandparents watching their grandchildren at play.
He saw my granddaughter Elianne and great-grandson Eliad playing in playgrounds in central Israel. Moses standing on the mountain saw my professional baseball player son Ari standing on the mound pitching for Petah Tikva Pioneers in Tel Aviv. There were old men and women sitting with boys and girls watching the game and cheering.

Awake and Shout for Joy
The above text is based upon the eighth portion of Numbers (25: 10-30). I wrote it as a sequence of Tweets in the Twitter language of postdigital culture that characterizes the post-corona era. It is from Bible Blog Your Life, a blog that my wife Miriam and I created to tell the story of our life together as a reflection of each weekly Bible portion.
Updated Tweets from Bible Blog Your Life pop up throughout this book to enliven the text and invite you to shout for joy. Albert Einstein links the twitter of birds with the fundamental emotion of art and science that finds expression in Psalms as “a sort of intoxicated joy and amazement at the beauty and grandeur of this world. It is the feeling from which true scientific research draws its spiritual sustenance, but which also seems to find expression in the song of birds.”
Shout for Joy! offers conceptual and spiritual tools to creatively navigate the untraveled ways and paths of the emerging post-corona world that will inevitably change your life. You will learn how biblical insights can contribute to your shaping a meaningful life that integrates new directions and opportunities emerging in the post-corona era with reviving what was most valuable to you in the pre-corona era and what you learned from your experiences during the corona era.
It aims to inspire people of all faiths to create a vibrant dialogue in changing times between one’s emerging life story and the enduring biblical narrative.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Post-corona Era will be a Postdigital Age

I propose that the post-corona era will be a postdigital age as defined in my book The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness (Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press). My definition has become the Wikipedia definition were I quote MIT Media Center director Nicholas Negroponte: "Like air and drinking water, being digital will be noticed only in its absence, not by its presence. Face it - the Digital Revolution is over."

The above image shows me activating my biofeedback-generated interactive self-portrait Inside/Outside: P'nim/Panim that I created at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies for my LightsOROT: Spiritual Dimensions of the Electronic Age exhibition at Yeshiva University Museum in New York.

The ARTnews reviewer of LightsOROT wrote, "Rarely is an exhibition as visually engaging and intellectually challenging."

From the Wikipedia article Postdigital:
“Postdigital, in artistic practice, is an attitude that is more concerned with being human, than with being digital. Postdigital is concerned with our rapidly changed and changing relationships with digital technologies and art forms. Mel Alexenberg defines "postdigital art" as artworks that address the humanization of digital technologies through interplay between digital, biological, cultural, and spiritual systems, between cyberspace and real space, between embodied media and mixed reality in social and physical communication, between high tech and high touch experiences, between visual, haptic, auditory, and kinesthetic media experiences, between virtual and augmented reality, between roots and globalization, between autoethnography and community narrative, and between web-enabled peer-produced wikiart and artworks created with alternative media through participation, interaction, and collaboration in which the role of the artist is redefined.”

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Biblical Insights for Rebooting Your Life after Corona Lockdown

“A lion has roared; who will not fear?” (Amos 3:8)
“Go into your houses, my people, and lock your door behind you; hide for just a moment until the wrath has passed.” (Isaiah 26:20)

Close your door, but open a window to the world.  While the frightening coronavirus pandemic requires that you hide in physical isolation away from everyone, the virtual world of smartphones and social media invites you to come out of hiding and connect to anyone. 

Lockdown confines you to a bizarre way of life that you could have never have imagined. Confined to your home, you are suddenly offered a quite pool of time to rethink your pre-corona life. A miniscule virus invading plant Earth has set up a situation for creatively envisioning a postCOVID-19 life with greater meaning, deeper satisfaction, and spiritual significance than your daily routine before the plague.   

The novel coronavirus has turned life topsy-turvy in our age of new media. Instead of parents urging their smartphone addicted children to talk face to face with friends in physical space they are suddenly being required to limit their interaction with friends to virtual space.

What Was is Not What Will Be

To use lockdown time to creatively rethink what your life could be after the pandemic ends, take into consideration that the world will not return to what it was. Everything will be different.

An online panel of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv explored how the world will inevitably reboot itself after corona. The INSS director Amos Yadlin said, “What was is not what will be.  We will return to a different world, where the corona impact will be on everything.”

The world has seen an altered world order emerge after key events in the 20th century: World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the fall of the Iron Curtain, and 9/11.  Each of these events triggered worldwide changes that created new situations whereby the world everyone returned to after the formative event was not the world they knew before it.  

Reboot your life after the plague has passed

“The dove came back to him in the evening with a freshly plucked olive leaf in its bill. Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.” (Genesis 8:11)
“Although you intended to harm me, God intended it for good.” (Genesis 50: 20)

“Reboot” is a word first used in the 1970’s “to shut down and restart a computer” that evolved in the 1980’s to mean “to start anew: to make a fresh start” according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary.  The Cambridge Dictionary adds to make a fresh start “in a way that is new and interesting.”

I use “reboot” in both the context of living in a ubiquitous digital culture and of starting life anew in fresh and interesting ways after we win the world war against the coronavirus that is not even a living organism, but a minuscule DNA protein molecule that can invade our bodies and kill us.

The two biblical verses above offer insights for rebooting your life by pondering how after the pandemic has receded from the earth that it may have been for the good. The second verse are the words of Joseph to his brothers who had sold him into slavery. His rise to become the ruler over all of Egypt gave him the opportunity to save the lives of multitudes including his family.

Biblical values offers solace when things do not go the way we want. It invites us to accept life’s difficulties by transforming them into opportunities. We learn from a story told almost two millennia ago about what happened to Rabbi Akiva on one of his journeys.  

He was traveling to a far-away place together with a donkey, a rooster, and a lantern.  As evening approached, he stopped in an inn.  When he asked to rent a room for the night, he was told that all the rooms had already been rented.  Since there were no other inns in the town, he continued down the road and camped in the woods when a gust of wind blew out the flame in his lantern.  As he was falling asleep, he was startled by the shriek of his rooster as a fox ran off with it.  His second attempt at sleeping was brutally interrupted by the horrific scream of his donkey being killed by a lion. 

As he began to doze off again, he heard the hooves of horses racing down the road.  When he awoke in the morning and proceeded down the road, he heard that a band of robbers had killed the people staying at the inn.  He realized that the crowing of his rooster, the braying of his donkey, and the light from his lantern would have given him away as the robbers galloped down the road.  His response was, “This too is for the good.  Everything that happens has a reason.”

A common expression heard is Israel is “gam zu l’tova” (“This too is for the good”) when things seem to go wrong.

In the Beginning God Created Media Systems

“In the network of all networks, God created media systems for creating heaven and for creating earth.  (Genesis 1: 1)

Instead of the common English translation of the first verse of the Bible “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,I rebooted my mindset to think in the language of the digital age as I translate from Hebrew, the original language of the Bible in which I teach and speak to my grandchildren in Israel where I live.  

This translation was a creative leap from the biblical past into a new medium future. It draws from my teaching design of natural systems as a professor at Columbia University, creativity for the electronic age at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, and Jewish thought and education at Ariel and Bar-Ilan universities in Israel.

“In the beginning” in Hebrew is read as B’resheet. In the world of science and technology, we are invited to read it as B’reshet, meaning “in the network.” The first word of the Bible, some 4,000 years old, is reframed as the living network of networks, the cloud of Internets blanketing our planet.

In Hebrew, a two-letter word spelled alef-tav, the first and last letters of the alphabet (like A-Z in English) appears before “heaven” and again before “earth.” Alef-tav is pronounced ET.  The first words of the Bible are read as: “In the beginning God created ET the heaven and ET the earth.” Since English has no equivalent for the word ET that links a verb to a noun, it drops out in translations.

ET is God’s first creation before heaven. Spanning the full set of 22 Hebrew letters, ET that appears before “heaven” symbolizes a spiritual media system. The ancient Hebrew alphabet is a prototype of media systems for creating spiritual systems like the Bible itself.

The second ET before “earth” encompasses digital media systems. The digital media system is a binary system of 1-0, on-off, light-darkness. “God separated between the light and darkness.” (Genesis 1: 4)  All that we experience in the virtual world is written with an alphabet of just two letters, 1 and 0. Every photo, text, song, website, blog, and video that you access through your computer or smartphone is written with the binary system of the first day of Creation.

Breaking Out of the Frame: Inside/Outside: Panim/P’nim

“The Lord would speak to Moses face to face as one speaks to a friend.” (Exodus 33:11)

I extended my linguistic reboot translating the first verse of the Bible into the language of the new media age, to using linguistic playfulness to create Inside/Outside: Panim/P’nim, a bioimaging system for live self-portrait generation. It breaks out of the golden frames that have surrounded portraits painted on canvas for centuries by creating a live real-time dialogic portrait.

I designed it in my studio/lab at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies for the LightsOROT: Spiritual Dimensions of the Electronic Age exhibition at Yeshiva University Museum in New York. My bioimaging system integrates real-time computer graphics with biofeedback. 

The starting point for this artwork is the fact that the Hebrew words for “face” panim and for “inside” p’nim are written with the same four letters. I explored creating a digital portrait in which outside flows from inside and inside flows from outside in a continuously flowing feedback loop.

I developed a system using biofeedback from brain waves sensed by electrodes connecting the participant’s head to an electroencephalograph.  For the museum, however, difficulty placing electrodes on people’s heads required that I redesign the system.  I built a console in which a participant seated in front of a monitor would place a finger in a plethysmograph, which measures internal body states by monitoring blood flow, while under the gaze of a video camera.

A feedback loop is created in which changes in one’s internal mind/body state changes a video image of one’s external self.  It is a video/computer graphics self-portrait painted by the dialogue between one’s inner body processes and one’s virtual image. 

A person sits before a video camera.  Her body is connected to a biofeedback sensor.  She watches a real-time naturalistic image of herself on the video monitor.  Information about her internal mind/body processes is digitized and conveyed to the central processing unit of the computer system.  The video image is modified by a specially designed software package that I created with my MIT graduate students. 

It can be modified by changing color or size, by stretching, elongating, extending, rotating, replicating, superimposition or by other computer graphics effects.  For example, the participant sees herself turn green and is shocked by the sight.  The shock, in turn, changes the biofeedback information causing the computer to modify her self-portrait again.  Her green face now becomes elongated. Changes in body processes affect changes in the video image.  The perceived video image, in turn, stimulates the mind/body changes, and so on in a continuous feedback loop like the unending flow of a Torah scroll.

Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphones and Social Media

“Awake and shout for joy” (Isaiah 26:19) when the curtain comes down at the end of the plague.
My latest book Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media, although published shortly before the coronavirus pandemic erupted, seems to have anticipated the need for biblical insights for coping with the radical changes in our lives in physical isolation while demonstrating how new media can connect us in virtual space.    
These insights can open opportunities for creatively rethinking and reshaping your life for the better. When you shout for joy that the plague has passed, you will have had a time confined at home to explore alternative ways to enrich your future.

The book demonstrates to people of all faiths how biblical insights can transform life, in good times and bad, into imaginative ways of seeing spirituality in all that we do.
The spiritual power of digital culture in shaping the future was recognized early on by the Lubavicher Rebbe, the 20th century’s great Jewish leader who was educated as a scientist. He wrote:

“The Divine purpose of the present information revolution, which gives an individual unprecedented power and opportunity, is to allow us to share knowledge – spiritual knowledge – with each other, empowering and unifying individuals everywhere. We need to use today’s interactive technology not just for business or leisure but to interlink as people – to create a welcome environment for the interaction of our souls, our hearts, our visions.”

This article was published in The Times of Israel, March 31, 2020

Cyberangels of Peace Fly from Israel Museum to Bahrain Museum of Contemporary Art

  PRESS RELEASE Israel Museum and Bahrain Museum of Contemporary Art     American-Israeli artist Mel Alexenberg is launching Rembrandt-ins...