Remixing Reality (2011)

Curated by Eric Harrod
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This exhibition is focused on how real-world information and media can be subverted, remixed, re-visualized, and presented in new ways using digital tools. In recent years, artists have gained access to unprecedented methods for variously destroying or creating information, whether it be visual, aural, numeric, written, or otherwise. With the aid of programs and programming, sound sampling, digital imaging, video editing, and the slew of digital formats available, digital tools are offering an overwhelmingly high level of creative control over media. Furthermore, the number of data sources available has increased at an exponential rate over the last decade, with social networks, portable devices, RSS feeds, and perpetually changing news and advertisements propagating across the web. More than ever before, the ability exists to reinterpret and re-visualize the world with computers. Meaningful information can be rendered meaningless and often is; formerly useless, random information can become a source of meaning. Artists can interpret the information cloud almost as would statisticians, while adding new meanings or views to it--such as the work of Laila Shereen Sakr, which used Twitter's web-posting hashtag system to create a complex social mapping of the recent Egyptian revolution. Deconstructive/reconstructive digital art is powerful in its ability to visualize or present information which was previously unable to be seen or perceived. It is now easier than ever to see huge amounts of information simultaneously at their most minute and most massive scales, and it is possible to change our understanding of the world with this new perspective. ____________________________________________________ Suns from Flickr: Umbrico's collage piece, a print of hundreds of thousands of images of the sun posted on Flickr, presents an expanded view of Flickr as a massive image database. In many ways, it highlights the changing nature of photography, and the ways in which digital cameras are democratizing photography--Flickr being a central hub of this phenomenon. Furthermore, this work accomplishes an unusual feat by taking what is normally the most banal, typical photo subject matter (Sunsets) and making it interesting through sheer scale and repetition. ____________________________________________________ Tweeting Colors: This piece uses the colors of Twitter to create a chance-based field of color that constantly changes as Twitter itself changes. While it reveals little about the nature of people's interactions or statements on twitter, it suggests a method of working, in which random or chance-based visual values can be generated from social networks. Conceptually, this piece carries the idea of change and authenticity related to the site itself. ____________________________________________________ Flight Patterns: Hessels' and Dunne's computer-generated image of flight patterns, made using FAA data, is simultaneously visually and conceptually elegant. While giving a sense of scale and mapping out the flight patterns over North America, it gives a sense of beauty to the shapes created by these patterns through color and light. The zooming feature, reminiscent of Google Maps, allows a great deal of texture and variation to be perceived, while the modifying variables available allow further understanding of the nature of these flights. ____________________________________________________ Xerophonics: Helmreich's piece meditates on the nature of copying machines, using their sounds as an expressive medium. Though it appears to be no longer available online, the concept is clear from the artist's statement. Copying machines, like much other printing/office equipment, create incidental sounds and movements, which collectively add to the psychology of the space they are held in; this piece appears to address this by remixing the sounds created. ____________________________________________________ The Ad Generator: This programmed work uses text from advertisements, combined with possibly appropriate imagery from Flickr, to create new "ads". This may be interpreted as an ironic commentary on the nature of advertisements themselves; it highlights the relationships made between text and image, while also dismantling and potentially attacking the meaninglessness of much advertising. ____________________________________________________ PoemeDada: This interactive piece, made as a program, allows the user to create Dada-esque poems using news from around the world as sources. It resembles the early Dadaist practice of creating nonsense poems from newspapers. This program invites the user to punctuate, select, randomize, or move between variously parsed pieces of information from digital news sources. It encourages playfulness and humor in its ability to degrade, fragment, and reduce current events into wordplay.


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