Invisible Cities: Alex Monteith

Posted by ld | Mon Oct 18th 2004 8:22 p.m.

Retrieving pages of images from the AltaVista search engine, Invisible Cities by Alex Monteith sets in movement an infinite zootrope of places, people and random information sourced from the distant cityscapes of the Internet.

Scripted by Sean Kerr, the work reveals images based on 2,000 nouns from Italo Calvino's influential novel of the same name. In Calvino's Invisible Cities the qualities of fictional cityscapes are relayed back home, search engine-like, to the awaiting emperor Khan. In Monteith's work, the landscapes of cities are replaced by the landscapes of information media: the shape the book would have taken if the emperor had been more techno-savvy.

The work is a conceptual play between the retrieval of images, both textual and graphic, and of language (AltaVista means "a view from above"). It is every bit as sharp and quirky as is the novel script it uses as its source; a response to the text and to the invisible architecture of the Internet in equal measure.

At Window: http://www.window.auckland.ac.nz/
  • Geert Dekkers | Tue Oct 19th 2004 1:17 a.m.
    NOt having read "Invisible Cities" leaves me myself vulnerable to
    critique of course -- but I do know some of Calvino's work. But may I
    dare to question why searching altavista for images based on 2000
    common nouns could give me results that are something like " the shape
    the book would have taken if the emperor had been more techno-savvy" ??

    I wanted to end this with a Gertrude Stein quote, which I thought was
    "a word has no meaning a sentence has" -- but then I realized I was
    unsure if I'd quoted correctly -- was it perhaps "a sentence has no
    meaning a paragraph has"?? I thus spent a good part of a half hour
    trying to find the quote -- and realized that while it is easy to find
    something "on the internet", it's vicously difficult to find something
    SPECIFIC.

    So -- back to the piece above -- it's obviously a useful script. But as
    a work of art -- it's just too easy.

    Cheers
    Geert
    (http://nznl.com)

    On 19-okt-04, at 4:22, Luke Duncalfe wrote:

    > Retrieving pages of images from the AltaVista search engine, Invisible
    > Cities by Alex Monteith sets in movement an infinite zootrope of
    > places, people and random information sourced from the distant
    > cityscapes of the Internet.
    >
    > Scripted by Sean Kerr, the work reveals images based on 2,000 nouns
    > from Italo Calvino's influential novel of the same name. In Calvino's
    > Invisible Cities the qualities of fictional cityscapes are relayed
    > back home, search engine-like, to the awaiting emperor Khan. In
    > Monteith's work, the landscapes of cities are replaced by the
    > landscapes of information media: the shape the book would have taken
    > if the emperor had been more techno-savvy.
    >
    > The work is a conceptual play between the retrieval of images, both
    > textual and graphic, and of language (AltaVista means "a view from
    > above"). It is every bit as sharp and quirky as is the novel script it
    > uses as its source; a response to the text and to the invisible
    > architecture of the Internet in equal measure.
    >
    > At Window: http://www.window.auckland.ac.nz/
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • Michael Szpakowski | Tue Oct 19th 2004 2:33 a.m.
    Hmmm..yes..this is perhaps a *slightly*.. inflated
    claim...
    <It is every bit as sharp and quirky as is
    the novel script it
    uses as its source; >
    & what is a *novel script*?
    --- Geert Dekkers <geert@nznl.com> wrote:

    > NOt having read "Invisible Cities" leaves me myself
    > vulnerable to
    > critique of course -- but I do know some of
    > Calvino's work. But may I
    > dare to question why searching altavista for images
    > based on 2000
    > common nouns could give me results that are
    > something like " the shape
    > the book would have taken if the emperor had been
    > more techno-savvy" ??
    >
    > I wanted to end this with a Gertrude Stein quote,
    > which I thought was
    > "a word has no meaning a sentence has" -- but then I
    > realized I was
    > unsure if I'd quoted correctly -- was it perhaps "a
    > sentence has no
    > meaning a paragraph has"?? I thus spent a good part
    > of a half hour
    > trying to find the quote -- and realized that while
    > it is easy to find
    > something "on the internet", it's vicously difficult
    > to find something
    > SPECIFIC.
    >
    > So -- back to the piece above -- it's obviously a
    > useful script. But as
    > a work of art -- it's just too easy.
    >
    > Cheers
    > Geert
    > (http://nznl.com)
    >
    >
    >
    > On 19-okt-04, at 4:22, Luke Duncalfe wrote:
    >
    > > Retrieving pages of images from the AltaVista
    > search engine, Invisible
    > > Cities by Alex Monteith sets in movement an
    > infinite zootrope of
    > > places, people and random information sourced from
    > the distant
    > > cityscapes of the Internet.
    > >
    > > Scripted by Sean Kerr, the work reveals images
    > based on 2,000 nouns
    > > from Italo Calvino's influential novel of the same
    > name. In Calvino's
    > > Invisible Cities the qualities of fictional
    > cityscapes are relayed
    > > back home, search engine-like, to the awaiting
    > emperor Khan. In
    > > Monteith's work, the landscapes of cities are
    > replaced by the
    > > landscapes of information media: the shape the
    > book would have taken
    > > if the emperor had been more techno-savvy.
    > >
    > > The work is a conceptual play between the
    > retrieval of images, both
    > > textual and graphic, and of language (AltaVista
    > means "a view from
    > > above"). It is every bit as sharp and quirky as is
    > the novel script it
    > > uses as its source; a response to the text and to
    > the invisible
    > > architecture of the Internet in equal measure.
    > >
    > > At Window: http://www.window.auckland.ac.nz/
    > > +
    > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is
    > open to non-members
    > > +
    > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms
    > set out in the
    > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is
    > open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set
    > out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >

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  • Rob Myers | Tue Oct 19th 2004 3:03 a.m.
    The net.art backlash has begun! :-)

    - Rob.

    On Tuesday, October 19, 2004, at 09:48AM, Michael Szpakowski <szpako@yahoo.com> wrote:

    >Hmmm..yes..this is perhaps a *slightly*.. inflated
    >claim...
    ><It is every bit as sharp and quirky as is
    > the novel script it
    > uses as its source; >
    >& what is a *novel script*?
    >--- Geert Dekkers <geert@nznl.com> wrote:
    >
    >> NOt having read "Invisible Cities" leaves me myself
    >> vulnerable to
    >> critique of course -- but I do know some of
    >> Calvino's work. But may I
    >> dare to question why searching altavista for images
    >> based on 2000
    >> common nouns could give me results that are
    >> something like " the shape
    >> the book would have taken if the emperor had been
    >> more techno-savvy" ??
  • Lee Wells | Tue Oct 19th 2004 6 p.m.
    Pretty Cool but the book is still far better.
    Nice simple script.

    Cheers,
    Lee

    On 10/18/04 10:22 PM, "Luke Duncalfe" <lduncalfe@eml.cc> wrote:

    > Retrieving pages of images from the AltaVista search engine, Invisible Cities
    > by Alex Monteith sets in movement an infinite zootrope of places, people and
    > random information sourced from the distant cityscapes of the Internet.
    >
    > Scripted by Sean Kerr, the work reveals images based on 2,000 nouns from Italo
    > Calvino's influential novel of the same name. In Calvino's Invisible Cities
    > the qualities of fictional cityscapes are relayed back home, search
    > engine-like, to the awaiting emperor Khan. In Monteith's work, the landscapes
    > of cities are replaced by the landscapes of information media: the shape the
    > book would have taken if the emperor had been more techno-savvy.
    >
    > The work is a conceptual play between the retrieval of images, both textual
    > and graphic, and of language (AltaVista means "a view from above"). It is
    > every bit as sharp and quirky as is the novel script it uses as its source; a
    > response to the text and to the invisible architecture of the Internet in
    > equal measure.
    >
    > At Window: http://www.window.auckland.ac.nz/
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • Alex Monteith | Wed Oct 27th 2004 9:25 p.m.
    Dear Geert,

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  • Alex Monteith | Wed Oct 27th 2004 9:28 p.m.
    Dear Lee,

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