JooYoun Paek builds small, object-based responses to urban life, transforming the aches and pains we customarily suffer, at the hands of the metropolis, into novel sites of reflection, social courtesy, and rest. The artist's humorous, insightful approach bespeaks her familiarity with her subject; she was raised in Seoul, Korea, and moved to New York in 2005 to attend NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). Fresh from her recent participation in "Untethered," at Eyebeam, and "Design and the Elastic Mind," at MoMA, JooYoun caught up with me at her LMCC Workspace Residency studio, on the twenty-ninth floor of the Equitable Building in Manhattan's Financial District. - Tyler Coburn
Alexei Shulgin's pioneering works in internet art are collected on his site easylife.org, but many of the links there are empty or obsolete; one called Insanity Notification sends visitors to a site indicating that Shulgin went insane at an unidentified point in the past. It has been more than five years since Shulgin left the online environment to focus on the production of tangible, marketable objects. His collaboration with Aristarkh Chernyshev began in 2003, and two years later the artists founded Electroboutique a gallery-slash-gadget shop selling distorting screens and other high-tech toys. Shulgin and Chernyshev called it "Media Art 2.0," and wrote a manifesto saying the plug-and-play nature of their new work liberated them from a "media art ghetto," adding that their manipulation of familiar screen-based interfaces contained a nugget of criticality. Their work was recently featured in "Criti Pop", an exhibition at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (along with interactive installations that Chernyshev made in collaboration with Vladislav Efimov). - Brian Droitcour
Machine Project, since its inception in 2003, has grown to become one of those mythic, playful and gloriously idiosyncratic spaces -- on the map alongside destinations such as the Museum of Jurassic Technology, the City Reliquary, or the Pirate Store at 826 Valencia. An interdisciplinary non-profit art space run out of a storefront in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, Machine Project host events and exhibitions, which span lectures on the aesthetic cultivation of bacteria to a 3 day banjo performance in their front window. I interviewed founder Mark Allen about his involvement with the space and some of their upcoming projects.
As any techno-cultural aficionado will enthusiastically tell you, the 21st century is the century of "convergence", in which the communications industry progressively rolled out its own rendition of the Swiss Army knife: pocket-sized, hand-held, wireless devices which function simultaneously as movie and music players, mobile phones, gaming engines, internet connectivity devices, still image and video cameras, musical instruments, calculators...with so many functions now capable of being handled by little equipment and energy expenditure, visions of the future both Utopian and dystopian have flown off the shelves at a hitherto unprecedented rate (and wireless electricity is just around the corner as well.) Prophesies abound that this synthesis of communicative modes and cross-pollination of technological functionality is a stepping stone towards realizing some kind of fully-integrated Übermensch; eventually our ability to communicate with and comprehend each other will accelerate to the point where humans morph into sophisticated telepaths. More grandiose yet, there are the fantasies of some ultimate "awakening" along the lines of the "Omega Point" suggested by rogue priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, an ultimate synthesis of human intelligence with cosmic consciousness- the inventor Ray Kurzweil calls the same "universal awakening" phenomenon the "Singularity," albeit with a much more technophiliac gloss to it.
"My whole art practice and art world grew out of intense Internet surfing, collecting and trading links on del.icio.us… Part of it is the feeling that there's so much stuff out there already that it seems pointless to make something new, from scratch-- which is perhaps a bit of a cliché response, but not untrue. The ephemeral nature of the Internet inspires a kind of disrespect for objects-- for for whole, perfect, "created" things. I'm really happy that, when someone comes to my website, my "portfolio" or whatever, they're basically just confronted with a list of lists-- and I like that they might leave thinking, "what did that guy really even do?" Even the word "collecting" implies too much physicality or weight; it's more like pointing or listing. In this way it's different than pre-Internet appropriation, because there's absolutely nothing precious or special to me about my specific source materials."