Does our use of the Web parallel our use of popular appliances such as the telephone or the television? Digital artist Lance Shields cleverly compares the three in his recent work of Net art, "Tele-phony." The Web is both and neither: it's a communication device, yet it also encourages countless hours of isolating screen-gazing. Good luck trying to enter your commands -- there are some unexpected, er, phony technical challenges built into this site, which are all in the name of fun rather than frustration.
To help communities cope with the far-reaching aftermath of the September 11th attacks on New York City and the Pentagon, Rhizome has launched a special webpage called "911--The September 11 Project," which includes a resource page, links to photographs and art related to the tragedies, and an area for users to post additional relevant links.
Tonight at 8 at Workplace in Toronto, Canada, a new exhibition of net art entitled "Pixel Plunder" opens (and is also accessible online). The show features seven projects that examine authenticity, online copyright rights, and intellectual property issues -- via subversion, parody and satire. On view: sanctioned hacking of the Tate Modern's Web site (by Harwood from the Mongrel Collective), Duchampian digital readymades (by MTAA), and more.
Mark your calendar. This Saturday, Net art meets the e-book world at a launch party (co-hosted by Rhizome and curator Cristine Wang) for new electronic literature launched by Alt-X, the 8 year old Web site that has published seminal hypertext writings by the likes of Mark Amerika. Gather at FUN, located at 130 Madison Street in Manhattan, from 7-10 PM, and listen to live music as large-scale projections of e-book and online art by Eugene Thacker, Digital Studies, and more are featured.
Ever left an incriminating email on your computer screen by accident? Worried that snooping neighbors will take advantage of your forgetfulness? Artist Mark Daggett has created a screen saver that will make your skin crawl. Deskswap is a multi-user artwork that takes a snapshot of your computer desktop and swaps it with someone else also online at that moment. You don't know who's seeing your desktop, and they don't know you either. But you see every icon, folder and window running on their computer. Deskswap was launched yesterday and is already serving 300 users. Sign on, if you dare.
Organizers have recently announced LIFE 4.0, an international competition for digital arts. The competition will evaluate artwork specializing in "artificial life," a term given to computerized systems that emulate the behaviors of living organisms. Spain's Telefonica Foundation is sponsoring the competition. A total purse of $20,000 will be awarded to four finalists. Deadline for submissions is November 2, 2001. Previous winners include the American artist Ken Rinaldo, who last year created "Autopoiesis," an installation artwork using robotics.
On August 29 Net Art News reported the opening of a new solo exhibition by Wolfgang Staehle at Postmasters Gallery in New York. Like Staehle's previous work "Empire 24/7"--a webcam version of Andy Warhol's realtime documentation film "Empire"--this new exhibition features three webcams, each trained on a different urban landscape. One of those landscapes is Lower Manhattan. In grim coincidence Staehle's webcam captured the terrorist attack of September 11, streaming it onto the gallery wall just as CNN streamed images of the attack onto televisions around the world. Staehle's show is not viewable via the Web, however New Yorkers may visit the gallery exhibition, which closes on October 6.
The Ars Electronica Festival, an annual celebration of all things new in the field of art and technology, concluded last Thursday in Linz, Austria. This year's theme was "Takeover: Who's Doing the Art of Tomorrow?" Special events this year included an audio installation called "Container Park" that used forklifts and shipping containers. Artist Golan Levin created a musical symphony using nothing but the sounds of ringing cell phones. Winner of the Prix Ars Electronica for Net.Excellence was PrayStation.com, the unique online portfolio created by artist Joshua Davis. The net portion of the Prix Ars Electronica had been criticized in past years for its unusual prize selections.