On July 13, 2014, to mark the occassion of the release of The Emergence of Video Processing Tools: Television Becoming Unglued, Rhizome, the New Museum Education Department, and Experimental Television Center hosted a conversation between inventor Dave Jones, whose video instruments span forty years, artists-designers Kyle Lapidus and Tali Hinkis of LoVid, Rhizome conservator Dragan Espenschied, and Hank Rudolph of the artist space Signal Culture and the Experimental Television Center. Documentation of the entire conversation can be found above.
Beginning this autumn, Rhizome and Beijing-based TASML and CAT/CCIA will award a substantial new prize for internet art.
The "no strings attached" prize, which will be awarded three times in total in 2014, 2015, and 2016, will recognize the past work and future promise of one artist making outstanding work on the internet. The awardee will receive $10,000; a second distinction award of $5,000 will also be made each year.
Finger Pointing Worker; video still of performance by Kota Takeuchi.
In the three years since a 9.0 magnitude earthquake tore apart infrastructures and livelihoods throughout eastern Japan, there's been a surge of international interest in any sign of the island country's recuperation. But Japan is no stranger to the process of recovery; its historical timeline is fractured by a variety of disasters. In the last hundred years alone, there were more than 40 recorded earthquakes which surpassed a 6.0 reading on the Richter scale, in addition to 6 major military operations.
This component of Japan's past is unfortunately, and often, mistaken as a component of Japanese identity in part because of its recurrence in national art and pop culture. Katsushika Hokusai's The Great Wave (c. 1833), a painting that depicts a frothing tsunami wave in the process of swallowing a row boat, is arguably the most recognizable piece of Japanese fine art. In another medium, and arriving nearly 100 years later, is Ishiro Honda's Godzilla (1954), the monster cinema star often understood as a metaphor for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Because of their central quality of immense power and their appearance alongside Japanese disasters, both of these works are often regarded by the Western world as reflections on the peculiarities of Japan's geological and political timeline, yet rarely as explorations of the kind of natural and man-made events any country is liable to experience at any moment. (Especially significant is the fact that both "Tsunami" and "Godzilla" are Japanese words, transliterated to English only from their kanji and ateji phoneticizations, respectively).
Former Ministry of Highways Building, Tbilisi.
There is a sense in which all architecture is authoritarian, regardless of its ideals. No matter how many community meetings a planning process incorporates, in the end only one building may be built; one architecture, which by its very existence precludes another. The eventual users and non-users of the space may make minor modifications. They may open or close windows, but in the end they must deal with the consequences of the building, whether it is a postwar housing project or a San Jose strip mall. They must negotiate its little manipulations, and have little in the way of recourse if these should become oppressive.
Artists, at least of a particular bent, are not the sort to take authority at its word. Even under the most oppressive of conditions artists find ways to critique and to criticize, and to present alternate theories of the world. They respond to all forms of power, architecture included, through gestures that range from the most basic act of graffiti to Ai Weiwei's "studies of perspective."
San Francisco (AFP), June 26, 2014 - Google on Thursday said that it is "forgetting" things in Europe to comply with a legal ruling granting people the power to have certain information about them removed from searches.
Even though it was sunny, I knew something was wrong the moment I woke up the day of The Ruling. I didn't check the news, I didn't read the paper, I just felt something in the air—an electric current of negativity buzzing in my back pocket where I keep my phone. All morning it shook. It vibrated until it died.
It shows how completely genre TV has appropriated the concept of DNA identification that one would immediately associate Invisible—artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg's product-provocation designed to protect "against new forms of biological surveillance"—with murder scene clean-up. Invisible comprises two bottles of spray: Erase and Replace. The former deletes 99.5% of DNA residue; the latter is "a solution of customized amplified DNA" designed to "obfuscate the remaining .5%." Together they could certainly be used to "spoof" the site of a crime, but Invisible's stated purpose is firmly focused on the quotidian-dystopic, a new SF sub-genre attempting to describe the daily grind of the immediate future.
The product's launch video incorporates visual strategies from apocalyptic films (scene-setting turbulent news footage) and tropes from sci-fi viral-thrillers (surveillance camera footage, a color palette of washed out blues on black). The marketing copy argues that only "You should be in control of how you share your information." Dewey-Hagborg positions Invisible as a necessary tool in an emergent world where the logic of data-mining extends away from the keyboard, right down to your genome.
In Luc Besson’s sci-fi classic The Fifth Element (1997), the "veryperfect" future human is reverse engineered from a severed hand. As sole surviving fragment of the hijacked Mondoshawan spacecraft carrying the antidote to the "Great Evil," this bronzy limb first appears laid out for examination in a gravel-floored capsule. "A few cells are still alive," analysis reveals, and the hand provides the building blocks for Milla Jovovich's Leelo. Mechanical and chemical processes generate skeleton, tissue, and finally skin... "Reconstruction complete." Initially resembling a prosthetic fused to a new body, the metallic hand has in fact formed a sort of glove around a replacement humanoid limb, which Leelo promptly employs to smash her glass surround—the screen that separates her from the outside world.
Terminating at the wrist, the severed hand of The Fifth Element corresponds to a recent proliferation of hand imagery in art concerned with the framing of human life by digital technologies, as well as the shaping and subversion of these technologies by humans. While the hand is a motif of long standing in art, it plays a crucial new role in this discourse of cyborgian intra-activity, given its ambiguous status as tool and not-tool, human and technology. In this article, we discuss hands as they take on different valences as human and technological actants, performing labor, forging intimacy, and experiencing sensory pleasure. Throughout, we argue that images of the hand in contemporary art problematize the boundary between organic human and inorganic tool, with implications for our understanding of labor, the body, and touch. Where the subject appears impoverished by constant connectivity, several artists break the screen, like Leelo, in a bid to emphasize materiality, the "immediacy and irreducibility of lived experience."
Still image from the documentary Transcendent Man (2009), featuring Ray Kurzweil.
Bills, letters, clothes, books, records, photos, DNA samples—these are some of Fredric Kurzweil's personal effects, collected and stored by his son Ray, who will one day use this material to bring his father (who died when Ray was 22) back to life. Cataloged in a temperature-controlled room in Kurzweil's own home, this material betrays a personal basis for the noted futurist's most famous fixation: triumph over death.
Kurzweil's home could be an off-site extension of A Museum of Immortality, which opened at Ashkal Alwan in Beirut last Wednesday. Organized by Anton Vidokle and based on a curatorial concept by Boris Groys, the exhibition takes its inspiration from Kurzweil's now obscure predecessor in the field, Russian cosmist and theologian, Nikolai Fedorov. In the mid-1800s, Fedorov beseeched humanity to join together in "The Common Task": resurrecting every human being who has ever walked the Earth. Both a devout Christian and proto-transhumanist, Fedorov believed that controlling the forces of nature and exploring the far reaches of space carried out God's will. For Federov (as for Kurzweil) death is an obstacle which technology must overcome.