The Horror of Google Street View

(1)

Jon Rafman, BR-265, Barbacena, Minas Gerais, Brazil, (2012). Archival pigment print on aluminium. Seventeen Gallery.

It is not a good opening paragraph, as opening paragraphs go: 

A friend of mine showed me how to use Google Maps. I'm sure you've seen it. It lets you use satellite images to look at locations all over the world. A few years ago, I was in a car accident.

Besides unnecessarily explaining Google Maps, "Satellite Images" begins by executing exposition with brutality and an utter disregard for the show-don't-tell "rule." But this is creepypasta, an authorless horror story from the bowels of the internet. A kind of new iteration of the urban legend, with the internet as its city, creepypasta generally takes the form of as FOAFlore (ie friend-of-a-friend lore), comments on a forum, or a final, strangled pleading blogpost, posing as authentic testimony rather than fiction. The genre thrives on anonymity and slipshod writing, both of which boost the stories' presumed veracity. Will Wiles describes the genre as having "an eerie air of having arisen from nowhere... a networked effort to deliver dread in as efficient a way as possible." 

READ ON »


Blue Ruin: Totality and Acceleration

(0)

Republished with permission from Public Seminar.

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. Film still from Atomic Park (2003).

Who could have guessed that when the flood came it would come in slow motion, over forty decades rather than forty nights? As the polar ice sheets unravel and plunge into the waters, whose who have so mismanaged the fate of all things cling to their private arks. The animals, one by one, will be saved, if at all, as gene sequences.

What confronts us now, in our still cozy worlds, are spectacles of disintegration. There's probably not much one can do to prepare American culture or polity to deal, not with its future, but with the very texture of the present. It wants to hide under the covers. As the philosopher Theodor Adorno might put it: let's not let the power of others, or our own powerlessness, stupefy us. We can prepare the space of education, and joyfully, by inventing new practices where aesthetics and technics meet. That's the kind of practice there may be call for soon enough.

One understanding of art—Adorno's for example—would make it the antithesis of technology. Technology partakes in a certain kind of abstraction. It creates a grid through which to reduce qualities to quantities. The place of art is then to be a refuge for the qualitative. Art is where that which cannot be reconciled with an ever more abstract world takes its last stand.

I take a different view. I think of art as a different way of experimenting with a given technology. Art is a kind of practice which finds out what you can do in a given space of possibility. Art is about abstraction just as much as technology, it just uses different methods.

READ ON »


Ten Seconds to Hypertext Oblivion

(0)

 

Before reading this, you may as well play the game. It's only ten seconds long. But, I recommend that you do it late at night, and all by yourself. OK, here's the link. 

Begin.

Blue helvetica typeface displayed on a black background. You click, and a timer appears on screen, counting off ten seconds. 

In the end, like you always said, it's just the two of you together. You have ten seconds, but there's so much you want to do: kiss her, hold her, take her hand, tell her.

This is game designer Anna Anthropy's queers in love at the end of the world (2013), a work made using the Twine interactive storytelling platform that is as much video game as it is hypertext fiction. In keeping with hypertext tradition, one navigates the work by clicking on highlighted words to choose among narrative threads, playing out one of several imagined end-of-the-world interactions as quickly as possible, from biting to fucking to handholding, before time runs out. 

READ ON »


Missing Our Target :-( and Our Telethon

(0)

Artist's rendering: Michael Connor on March 19

First things first: we're behind on our targets with two weeks to go in this campaign — donate today to catch us up?

Now, on to something more exciting. As you may have gathered from our campaign website, on March 19th, we will host a 24-hour telethon to close this fundraising drive. Broadcasting on the web from locations around the globe, net art superstars will shine.

Presenters include: Jeremy Bailey, Ann Hirsch, Jonas Lund, Tom Moody, Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal, and, of course, the whole Rhizome staff (not least Michael's baby, who needs to eat, so donate). Surprise guests! Deep listens! Theory and criticism! Sketches and video!

Over the next two weeks, we'll tease more about the program, including specific live-event rewards for giving. But be certain, any campaign gift will be celebrated via public recognition of your generosity.

So... you know...

READ ON »


booomerrranganggboobooomerranrang: Nancy Holt's networked video

(0)

Nancy Holt, Boomerang (1974), still from video.

In her time on this planet, Nancy Holt came to be known as a great American Land Artist, and certainly her brilliant installations, like Utah's Sun Tunnels and collaborations with her partner Robert Smithson and their peers, are profoundly significant, but it was her work in film & video that has had the greatest personal impact on me.

I somehow didn't see Boomerang, her 1974 video performance usually credited to her collaborator Richard Serra, until I was a Ph.D. student in Linda Williams's Phenomenology of Film seminar at UC Berkeley's Rhetoric program, but the time delay was more than made up for by the work's formative resonance. In the video, made during Serra's residency at a Texas television station, a young Holt is seen sitting in an anchor's chair before a staid blue background. Despite brief station ID graphic overlays and one minute of silence in the midst of the ten-minute piece (announced as audio trouble and reminding viewers of the work's live TV origin), the work is in many ways sound-centric.

READ ON »


Liquid Crystal Palace: Jeremy Blake and his new peers

(1)

Jeremy Blake, Liquid Villa, 1999 Digital C-print 29 x 84 inches Edition of 3 + 1AP

Rhizome Editor and Curator Michael Connor, in his prior capacity as an independent curator, co-organized Liquid Crystal Palaceopening on March 1. Because of its relevance to the Rhizome community, we felt it was worth publishing Michael's writing about the show. Rhizome.org will also present Blake's Liquid Villa as a front page exhibition on March 6 from 3pm to 5pm EST, courtesy Kinz Fine Art and Honor Fraser Gallery.

Jeremy Blake's work seemed to be everywhere in the early 2000s. At the time, I was aware that he was successful in a commercial context, and that he didn't really see himself as a new media artist. (Blake always described himself as a painter.) Both of these things annoyed me about him, because I liked new media art, and I took some perverse pride in its lack of market recognition. It was therefore somewhat annoying that I liked the work. It seemed unsettling and druggy and dangerous, and it felt funny and good in my brain.

Since Blake's tragic death, I've rarely seen the work anywhere, and it sometimes pops into my head. So last year, I decided to look at it again, or as much as I could get my hands on. I was living near LA, and I brought my 2-month old daughter to the highly accommodating Honor Fraser Gallery to go through a stack of DVDs. This time around, Blake suddenly seemed closely connected with a number of other artists working today. The connections that emerged in this new viewing began a thought process that culminated in the exhibition Liquid Crystal Villa, opening tomorrow at Honor Fraser and co-curated with Nate Hitchcock.

READ ON »


Namaste, the ad begins: Bernays & Assoc. sells the e-cigarette

(0)

The following image-essay accompanies a performance given by Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal at This is the ENDD, a forum on the e-cigarette held on February 22. Video of Rosenthal's presentation can be found here.

 

The Bernays & Assoc. Strategy
for Vuse E-Cigarette, Appendix #2

 

Figure 1:


Figure 2:

 

 

READ ON »


Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: Code and Economics

(1)

"Joy To Ode" by Dominik Podsiadly

The latest in an ongoing series of themed collections of creative projects assembled by Prosthetic Knowledge. This edition takes a look at creative projects and cultural implications that emerge from the meeting of computing culture and economics.

It's interesting that the etymology of the word "economics" goes back to the Greek oikonomikos, meaning "practiced in the management of a household or family," "frugal" or "thrifty," especially considering the term's modern-day association with big capitalism. On a small or large scale, economics has always been concerned with the distribution of wealth and the management of resources, and its principles can therefore be applied in a range of other fields. For example: In the mid-70's, the subject entered into dialogue with the biology (such as Gary Becker's paper "Altruism, Egoism and Genetic Fitness: Economics and Sociobiology" and "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint" by Jack Hirshleifer), where resources such as fitness, energy, disease, or environment were studied in an economic framework.

READ ON »