UTILITY: Signal Yellow
23rd February - 5th March,

Opening 23rd February 6pm-10pm

MONO Lisboa

R. Feio Terenas 31A, 1170-176 Lisboa, Portugal


Opening on the 23rd of February at MONO Lisboa, Charli Tapp’s first solo exhibition in Lisbon is dedicated to “What is Useful” and “What is to be Used”.
For this exhibition, Tapp will present a series of installations in a building-site-like setting, among which The Stereos, a pair of twin construction-site-grade sensitive tripod-mounted soprano glockenspiel robots.
Following the display of Velocity0, an autonomous machine-like self-playing piano, at the latest Venice Art Biennale, The Stereos is the most recent addition to Tapp’s arsenal of robotic and mechanic entities.
“I look at them as if they were a band, The Stereos is their band name. They co-exist in the same universe as Velocity0, a universe parallel to ours.”

Recently flooded during the December 2022 Lisbon floods, the art space called for art pieces capable of withstanding the conditions of the location still being under renovation.
While Tapp’s work is produced in Japan, it’s not devoid from a form of preparedness typical of seismically active subtropical areas.
Such feeling transpires in WARNING, a waterproof painting, featuring handles, ready to be removed in case of emergency.

Utility: Signal Yellow introduces yet another aspect of Tapp’s work conversing with the Scrap and Rebuilt culture central in Japan where the artist is based.

Japan’s architectural turnover is tremendously fast with the average life-span of a building ranging from 25 to 50 years before being destroyed, in a state of constant construction-site ballet. Machines roll in-and-out of building sites in a choreographically precise fashion, both harsh yet delicate.

“Relationship with our means of production is key. But the expertise required by the high-demand seismically active environment reduces the role individuals may undertake in fixing, modifying, or repossessing built-things.
Signal Yellow is one of the most important colors. It’s an information-carrying tint separating authorized personnel from unauthorized personnel, and trained individuals from neophytes. But it’s also a playful color, and it should be reclaimed as one”

The exhibition juxtaposes harsh yet delicate elements, inviting viewers into a realm where fragility intertwines with resilience, encapsulating the essence of Signal Yellow's playful yet informative nature.
Utility: Signal Yellow is a rough and sensitive place, where fragile meets tough.
Velocity 0: THE PROGRAM
Velocity 0: Transcode/Transmute
Velocity 0: Stress-Test

23rd April - 27th November,

Pre-opening 20th-22nd April

The 59th Venice Biennale

The Arsenale, Venice, Italy


Velocity 0 is an ongoing installation by artist Charli Tapp in which, driven by a series of computerized processes, 88 electromagnets hit the keybed of a beat-down touring Yamaha CP80 Grand Piano.

Contrasting with the fixed nature of production, the artwork is in a permanent state of research and evolution. There is never a final form to Velocity 0, but rather an ongoing growth and transformation. Over the years, Velocity 0’s hardware has constantly been repurposed and upgraded, rather than discarded, considering the machine as a growing organism.

The permanent research has spanned from exploring the heritage of modernist music in generative systems, sonic landscapes, and cultural relics in the age of network connectivity, all the way to the situation of AI in our relationship to machines.

Initially unveiled at the Saint-Etienne International Design Biennial (2017, France),  Velocity 0 started off as an automated player piano programmed to output a spatial generative music piece over the month-long biennial, based on the work of Terry Riley’s “IN C” foundational score. Ever since, each version of Velocity 0 has been an opportunity to modify, upgrade, and redirect the art piece toward different iterative territories.

In 2021, added atop Velocity 0, generative programming gave way to a new neural network model rendering it capable to process the tonal components of the Shashmaqom, a traditional music system of Uzbekistan, for the first large-scale international exhibition of the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Tashkent (Uzbekistan): Dixit Algorizmi.

In 2022 for the 60th Venice Art Biennale ​​(Italy), Velocity 0’s programming was rebuilt from the ground, enabling interactions with live musicians in Real-Time.

The neural module was reworked and a new input processing interface was designed for Velocity0, onto which network connectivity was enabled, inviting composers from around the world to interact with it in a 7-month-long evolutive piece entitled THE PROGRAM.

At a crossroads between being a robotic machine, a musical instrument, and a materialization of our interaction with technology, Velocity 0’s ambiguous position is ever-changing.
Velocity 0: Al NPC’s Estate
Velocity 0: Lonely Orbiter

4th October - 15th November 2021,

Opening 4th October 6pm-10pm

Center For Contemporary Art Tashkent

Shakhrisabz Street 6, 100047, Tashkent, Toshkent Shahri, Uzbekistan

Within the exhibition Dixit Algorizmi (2019, Centre for Contemporary Arts in Tashkent, Uzbekistan), Velocity 0 is outfitted with a neural-network-enabled module sitting atop the beatdown piano.

In this setting, the system digests data gathered on-site during a prior residency process, utilizing a succession of interpretative devices to control its electromagnets

With musician Abror Zufarov, the traditional music of the Shashmaqom was studied and injected into Velocity 0, attempting to produce an infinite score based on the teachings and misunderstandings of the encounter.

The installation explores the advent of unexpectedness, imperfection, and rupture, in the partial incapacity of computer mathematical models to interpret music outside of the occidental spectrum, the result being voiced rather than put aside. 

This occurrence - dubbed Al NPC’s Estate - is an anagram for Latent Spaces: temporary interstices between data fed to an AI, and data produced by it: A sea of infinite possibilities, unformed, awaiting.

Latent spaces are used to render input information LD (low definition), with the intent of later re-scaling it to HD (high definition), effectively making the machine hallucinate.
Simultaneously Al NPC’s Estate hints at the inhabitation of such territory both being and not being part of the layer of high-dimension. NPCs (ie. Non-playing characters, in video games), are decors, entertainers, and mechanisms for the storytelling to move forward.

For the inauguration of the exhibition Dixit Algorzimi (2019, Centre for Contemporary Arts in Tashkent, Uzbekistan), and before engaging into Al NPC’s Estate, Velocity 0: Lonely Orbiter is to be performed, addressing the in-situ context of the exhibition, and Tashkent’s history as once being the home of Russia’s Cosmonauts training program., during which telemtric signals of hovering satellites are to be transposed into a musical score played on Velocity 0.
Cruise Control
12th November - 27th November 2021,

Opening 12th February 6pm-10pm

MONO Lisboa

R. Feio Terenas 31A, 1170-176 Lisboa, Portugal

Entitled 30.000, Charli Tapp’s textual essay on the extent of automation was distributed a poster to the visitors of MONO Lisboa’s show Cruise Control. Gliding over a visual from fellow artist Jeanne Briand (Lone Driver, 2021), Tapp’s text dissects the carried symbolism of modern car’s cruise control function, as the advent in technology where a pivotal point is crossed and control is obtained while control is given up.


It’s the average number of parts, when broken down to the individual bolt, amounting to a single gesture of quasi-absurd simplicity - a few degrees tilt of the ankle - resulting in the propelling of the human body vastly beyond human speed.

In time, as a species, we’ve conquered nautical, aerial, and even spatial movement. But none has yet been summed up to something as immediate, and as epitomized as the accel’ pedal.
A trigger for the feet.

The exoskeleton we ride in as a glass-coated iridescent second-skin, made us cyborgs ahead of time.
Surely polarized, it would yet be difficult to contest the automobiles’ resiliency. Plagued by endless traffic jams, nerve-racking ecological imprints, yearly death tolls, markers of urban planning failure; cars still remain subcultures expression vessels, technological marvels, and in a marketed historical way, a certain conception of freedom.

But where does such freedom end when autonomy of cars could translate in removing agency of the driver? Without agency, where’s the power of decision in that of movement? It’s only a matter of time before the automobile truly lives up to its name, and moves - on its own.
In many regards autonomy is an ambivalent perspective, being capable of, and amounting to loss of control.

(clic to read full text)
Velocity 0: Player Piano
Velocity 0: IN C/hack

9th March - 9th April 2017,

Opening 9th March 6pm-10pm

10th Biennale Internationale du Design de Saint-Etienne

Cité du Design,
3 Rue Javelin Pagnon, 42000 Saint-Étienne, France

Player Piano is a revisitation of American writer Kurt Vonnegut’s 1952 debut novel. Set in a fully automated future, the book is a meditation on the meaning and purpose of life in a work-free environment in which labor has become the domain of machines.

Whereas Vonnegut’s text is a dark parable illustrating the crushing effects of mechanization on human freedom and culture, this exhibition seeks to reframe the question of a post-labor society in historical terms.

The only thing more ancient than the dream of liberation from work is the dread of automation itself; yet stitching together fragments of this panorama of human endeavor another vision is possible – a civilization simultaneously liberated from the cults of labor, technology and ownership.

Within the framework of the hypothetical island of Abraxa generated by the architectural and research studio Space Caviar, Charli Tapp automated a Yamaha CP-80 Grand Piano.

Produced by Yamaha during the 70s, the CP80 was a unique Grand Piano developed for touring.
Using 88 piezo pickups similar to those of an electric guitar, it produced a hybrid sound right on the edge of the end of the analog era, premising the dawn of the digital one.
Programmed using the seminal piece of modular music “IN C” by Terry Riley as a basis for its understanding of music, the instrument is left to its own device during the month-long run of the biennial., interpreting a never-ending piece of generative music spanning outwards from the work of Riley.

In collaboration with Space Caviar, within the pavilion PLAYER PIANO: A SUBJECTIVE ATLAS OF A LANDSCAPE OF LABOUR (Saint-Etienne International Design Biennial 2017, France), Velocity 0 behaves as an acoustic landscape production engine.

For the closing of the pavilion, a performance entitled IN C/hack is performed by Charli Tapp on Velocity0, the self-playing piano, during which Riley’s original 1964 piece is interpreted for the first time on a single non-human instrument, emulating a quintet of musicians.