Posts for 2002

Sleeping in a Tiny Place

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It's not a pill, it's a capsule. New media and video installation artist Jeff Gompertz of Fakeshop.com exhibits 'Capsule Hotel' as part of New Hotels for Global Nomads at the Cooper-Hewitt in NYC. The exhibition focuses on the hotel as a design laboratory and fantasy-generator. 'Capsule Hotel' is comprised of three elements: two capsule units direct from Japan hooked up with surveillance gear so you can watch your neighbor in the next capsule; digitally processed security camera footage of a hotel in Osaka; and a field recording of a young woman's memories of her father's time in the capsules. Visitors are encouraged to enter the capsules, where they can experience the feeling of being contained in these shiny ultramodern units for themselves. Security camera footage offers gray images of anonymous businessmen in white robes. The field recording adds a more personal layer -- the woman recalls her own confusion, as she thought the capsules actual pills that her overworked father somehow slept inside. - Margaret Penney

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I Have a Mood and I Have the Ring

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In Yael Kanarek's new extension to 'World of Awe,' the 'mRB,' she prototypes the traveler's favorite intelligent toy, the moodRingBaby (mRB), through a slick powder blue 3d web interface made in collaboration with Bnode (Judith Gieseler and Innes Yates). Originally, the moodRingBaby played the role of the traveler's sole companion, showing the twisted smarts of an advanced Tamagotchi with a mild case of Tourette's -- this combo provided some of the more entertaining albeit disturbed dialogue and stories in the Traveler's Journals. The new collaboration looks at the mRB more clinically, reducing it to its key components: skin, input, CPU, and output. The web interface, models, and drawings of the moodRingBaby are on exhibit as part of Beta-Launch at Eyebeam, in NYC, through December 1. -- Margaret Penney

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Nino to the Nth

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Nino is Mexican, Italian, or Russian. He is an 8-year-old boy, a 45-year-old man. He wants a girlfriend. He wants a boyfriend. He loves his wife. He wears suits. He dresses like a homeboy. This showcase of multiplicity is 'Portrait of the Artist as a Homepage,' by Nino Rodriguez, a work included in the current Montreal Biennial. Click on Nino's picture, only to find a completely different Nino (the 'real' Nino is in there somewhere). Rodriguez's site celebrates the hybrid experiences of life, playing with the emblematic aspects of personal websites. -- Claire Barliant

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Speedy Node Seeking

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The idea of warchalking spread like wildfire through the media and is, in turn, becoming reality. Warchalking takes its lead from a Depression era practice in which hobos marked friendly homes offering free food or housing. Now, folks chalk sidewalks with established symbols to indicate the presence of open wireless networks in an effort to transform who, how, and where we can access the net. Last August game designers Yuri Gitman and Carlos J. Gomez de Llarena with help from NYCwireless and Eyebeam turned the act of node seeking into a playful scavenger hunt. Teams raced to find the most number of wireless networks in a set amount of time. Digital cameras replaced chalk: at each node they were instructed to take a photograph and upload it to game headquarters as proof of connectivity. Log on to see the resulting images or start your own game and see for yourself how ubiquitous wireless networking has become. --Brooke Singer

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Take on Borders

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PBS recently launched 'P.O.V.'s Borders' a web site showcasing commissioned and contributed materials dealing with border issues, both literal and figurative. The first installment of the series runs through mid-December, and its focus is migration. One commissioned work by Alex Rivera, 'Visible Border,' consists of footage from a surveillance x-ray used to prevent the smuggling of goods and bodies at border crossings. In the 'Stories' section, three teenagers from Elsa, Texas, a town near the U.S.-Mexico border, turn the camera on themselves as they embark on life away from home. These are 'Real World' stories for a teen audience, with a different take on 'real.'

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Surveilling Official Art

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'History of Art for the Intelligence Community,' a new work by Vuk Cosic, appropriates classic paintings (like Kasimir Malevich's 'Black Square,' or Cezanne's 'Still Life with Plate of Cherries') to integrate them with RSG's 'Carnivore' technologies. Like in other 'Carni' clients, network activity makes the art. In Cosic's implementation, Carni opens up features of these canonized masterpieces. See Mantegna's St. Sebastian wounded by arrows, the number of which depend on LAN static. Or see a mutated Cezanne still life, in which the portion of cherries varies. Those who consider historical paintings to be dusty relics of official culture will like Cosic's vital redos. - Rachel Greene

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South of the Digital Border

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Take a sledgehammer to the logic of linear time. OnRamp Arts' 'Tropical America' invites you to weave through 500 years of Latin American history, collecting sugar cane and speaking to the gods along the way. Save lives instead of ending them. Follow a narrative that's not only intriguing, but soaked in history. Hard to believe teenagers came up with this. A video game disguised as a puppet show, a woodcut for the Flash generation. Best of all become a Hero of the Americas, and help create a memorial to those that history has forgotten. -Cinqu

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Be My Head

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The 'exquisite corpse' meme has assumed all sorts of subtextual meanings in the net art lexicon, but originally it described the children's game where different people draw parts of the same body without having seen the other parts. 'qaddawah' is an online version of the same game. Mix and match heads, torsos, and legs drawn by several different artists, or click the 'automate' button to generate an endless series of random combinations. You can even submit your own corpse for future dissection. The overall feel of the project is hand-drawn and commendably un-digital. - Curt Cloninger

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Who Loves Sally and Johnny?

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'Black People Love Us!' uses the edges of media satire and fakery to raise critical consciousness of subtler forms of racism. About a couple who are enthralled by their acceptance by blacks, the site was executed as a collaboration by a group of actors, a designer, writer and programmer. 'Black People Love Us' balances a pithy, memorable URL with inconspicuous, easy design, and vital social content for maximal viral potential. That is, if its design was overdone, content over-intellectualized, or its URL complex, the project would mitigate its own impact. The recipe seems to have worked: in its first two weeks, 'Black People Love Us' has had over 250,000 unique visitors. Browse the letters section to see how and why people "love" this site, and how many "get the joke." -- Rachel Greene

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Hello World

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Imagine having a chat room conversation with the entire Internet. Gogolchat offers just such an experience. Gogol is a software that parses your chat room dialogue through a search engine, spitting back the random results as part of the chat. At a loss for words? Never mind, Gogol has no qualms about perpetually parsing its own dialogue. The overall experience is not unlike having an absurd conversation with the collective conscious. Gogolchat's dada-esque DHTML manipulations make it as visually disorienting as it is textually bizarre. - Curt Cloninger

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