Art Focused and Distracted: Three new media exhibitions curated by Joshua Decter

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Image of äda 'web page produced for the exhibition "Screen," 1996.

In 1996, curator, critic, and educator Joshua Decter colorfully defined "media cultures" as "a euphemism for how we reproduce ourselves, as a society, into a spectacular—i.e., ocular and aural—organism whose viscera has become technology itself."

Throughout his career, Decter has paid special attention to media cultures and their relationship with the public sphere, developing a curatorial practice that has long been distinguished by its openness to adjacent new media and net art practices. Beyond spectacle, his use of websites, apps, and other technological apparatuses sheds fresh light on artists and artworks generally considered to be decidedly analog.

I invited Decter to walk me through three curatorial projects, all ambitious group shows, that exemplify his career in digital and AFK spaces. In each, the artwork is mediated—either by conceit, didactic, or display—so as to variously diffuse and emphasize the image, addressing the nature of art and its publics under the condition of networked technologies. 

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Seven on Seven NYC is Sold Out (but you can still watch online and join AFK)

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General admission tickets to the 5th Anniversary edition of Rhizome's Seven on Seven program, returning to the New Museum on May 3, are sold out. Missed your chance to buy tickets? Live somewhere other than New York City? Worry not—you can still join this celebration of art and tech. Details after the break. 

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Retweeting Fiction

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New York City. Photograph by Teju Cole, via Flickr.

On the morning of January 8th, Teju Cole published a fiction in the form of 33 tweets, each posted from the account of a different "collaborator," and then retweeted sequentially by Cole. Titled "Hafiz," it took three hours and fifteen minutes to be published. Like most of Cole's experiments in Twitter publishing, it generated much more social media heat than actual critique. (There are a few notable exceptions.) But "Hafiz," both as a story and presentation, is worth examining, as it is both the closest @tejucole has come to Teju Cole's fiction and a singular commentary on it.

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The Image of a Storm Cloud

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The following is a fictionalized account of the opening of Jon Rafman's You Are Standing in an Open Field, which was on view from Sept 12 - Oct 26, 2013 at Zach Feuer Gallery in New York. 

"Zach Feuer's on 22nd Street," said Thor. He looked up from his iPhone and pointed downtown.

"That sounds right," said Zoe. "A really even number. I can picture it on their website." Zoe nodded and then coughed.

I shrugged and joined them—Thor, Zoe, and my girlfriend Ann. Thor leaned over his phone.

Thor was a tall man, handsome with thick eyebrows. At twenty-two, he was a decade younger than me. Zoe, meanwhile, had sparkly eyes. I think she was Ann's age, twenty-eight. "I haven't seen anything new by Jon in a long time," she said. "I don't even know what this is going to be like."

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Artist Profile: Michael Manning

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Animated GIF via dump.fm

LH: For as long as I've been familiar with your work—starting on dump.fm in 2010—you've been incredibly prolific. Back then, you were creating and sharing abstract animated GIFs. I remember you would post hundreds of variations on a single shape. I see that kind of preoccupation, or obsession, come up again and again in your work, with the Phone Arts series, the Microsoft Store Paintings, and most recently, the Sheryl Crow Pandora Paintings. These expansive projects create a sense of repetition, ultimately a smooth rhythm, which appears to be so continuous as to not have a beginning or an end. Can you describe the process for coming up with these projects? How do you distinguish the individual pieces?

MM: I don't like to take any single piece too seriously, I want to work on something without the pressure of it being perfect. I think people discount producing a lot of work because they connect it to feed culture like it's more important to produce massive amounts of content for tumblr or instagram or w/e but that's not really what I'm trying to do. I think it's more interesting to like shit out a bunch of work in a natural way whether it's through a rhythm that you just stumble upon or if you see a jpeg on dump and you're like "loloolllollll pssssssh what in the even fuck ommmmmg" so you have to like rework it 50 times because you're obsessed with it, and then step back after you make this massive body of work and say to yourself "what is all that about dude?", than if you try and distill an idea into one perfect piece you've over thought to death. When you try and make a piece fit a preconceived concept it feels like graphic design, you have the message and the content you're just trying to solve how to effectively communicate that through the work and I don't want to work like that.

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All the News We Hope to Print

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Photo of Salon de Thé Facebook, Tunis, shared on Twitter by @WadhahJebri on February 16, 2011 and recirculated with the #16juin2014 hashtag.

It sounds, at first, like something out of H.G. Wells. On February 16, 2011, a person opening a Tunisian newspaper or website might have come across an article dated more than three years in the future. 

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Beware of Geeks Bearing Formulas: When property becomes smart

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From Joe Hamilton, hypergeographySources: ultrazapping and darrellg.

If you thought cryptocurrencies were hard to understand, you probably want to sit down for your first introduction to smart property.

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Connecting With My Inner Bot

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Incorporate introduces itself in the iOS app store with a simple inquiry: "How do you connect to others, if you're not connected to yourself? This experiment in digital relaxation comes from artist duo Essex Olivares by way of support from SculptureCenter and a grant from the Krasner Foundation. It is an artwork designed to circulate among apps, taking its place in—and perhaps commenting on—an increasingly crowded landscape of self-help tools for the informationally overloaded.

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