Posts for 2002

Get Sleepy with a CPU

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The computer is commonly perceived as a tool for work, but Krista Connerly and Thomas Feulmer purpose its usefulness as a sleep aid. They have posted a rather large (17 MB) sound file online and ask users to make themselves comfortable as it downloads. Instead of the usual 'loading

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Growth From Idleness

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Distributed computing has been used to break 'unbreakable' codes and to search for extra-terrestrial life. The concept is simple -- thousands of users devote their computers' idle time to a common computational cause, and this army of sleeping computers accomplishes what a single computer could not. 'The Bank of Time' is a networked screen saver that uses distributed computing for a more conceptual purpose. Computer idle time is 'saved' in an online 'time bank.' The screen saver then 'grows' time-lapsed virtual plants on your screen based on the amount of idle time you've accumulated. Kooky. - Curt Cloninger

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Killing Me Softly With His Song

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lightofspeed.com contains David Crawford's net art projects from 1996 to the present. Of note are his two most recent pieces, 'I Am Not An Animal' and 'Dance to the Radio.' In these, Crawford constructs ready-made music videos by combining '80s pop songs with stock photos that correspond to the song's lyrics. The photographs are then randomly displayed as each song plays. The results can be unaccountably melancholy. Joy Division's Ian Curtis monotonously sings 'Isolation' as snapshots of bleak 80's office spaces replace each other in forlorn succession. Black humor via ironic juxtaposition. - Curt Cloninger

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Expanded Vocabulary

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Mark Amerika is into text -- as sound, as image, and as good old fashioned signifiers. His latest, 'FILMTEXT,' uses a nifty Flash interface to further explore/exploit these textual manifestations in a slick, post-ascii context. Amerika enhances his dialogue with abstract film loops, ambient audio loops, and a clever form of hybrid actionscript poetry. The interface itself is reminiscent of Yael Kanarek's 'World of Awe' in terms of its chrome windows and rocky topography, but the overall "voice" is Amerika's own. Refreshing to see an old school guru evolving with the tech. - Curt Cloninger

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I Hear Colors

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PixelZoom is an interactive technology that uses audio 'space' to manipulate visual imagery. A series of still images is tweaked based on audio input. When the audio input comes from the left end of the stereo spectrum, the left part of the image is zoomed in on. When the audio input comes from all across the stereo spectrum, the entire image becomes a shimmering 'film' that seems to pulsate to the music. Developed by the South African collective 'No-Organisation,' a short installation of PixelZoom is viewable online. - Curt Cloninger

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Occupation: Cab Driver/Net Artist

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Web interfaces have been used to control real world objects like robots, and real world gallery environments have been used to manipulate web sites. But never have London taxi cab drivers been involved... until now! 'Taxi Art' is a web site that receives real-time input from GPS tracking devices placed in taxis operating throughout London. Visit the site, select up to 4 drivers (you can even view their photos), choose your type of output (shapes, lines, etc.), and then watch as the cabs 'draw' your artwork. Rear view mirror air freshener not included. - Curt Cloninger

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Public Space is a Verb

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Earlier this summer, I received a chilling email with the subject heading 'Note to self,' sent from my own email account. 'Next time make sure to log out,' the message read. 'You never know who might be watching.' The warning turned out to be from a provocative new collective called Public Space Initiative, or PSI (pronounced 'piss'). PSI's initiative is to treat public space as a verb rather than a noun: 'public space is the act of debating what is legitimate and illegitimate in a democratic society.' Their website provides a Public Space Kit offering helpful tips on the legalities and logistics of how to create public space. 'You can gather people together to create dialogue as long as you keep the flow of people unobstructed,' the kit reads. 'Bring an usher, create an aisle, or offer shuttle services.' Tactical media that includes thoughtful event planning. - Claire Barliant

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Pull the Plug

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This year's Ars Electronica Festival theme is

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Not for the Squeamish

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For your next art project on nuclear war, head to The Bomb Project where artist Joy Garnett has gathered together related images (still and moving), information and links as a resource for artists. The availability of online material struck Garnett as she researched an earlier project (painting pictures of nuclear explosions), and the resulting site provides a frightening and visual testament to the nuclear phenomenon. From stunning 'sunsets' to reading lists, exposes of radiation leaks, links to visual arts projects and up-to-the-minute news feeds, this is a rich resource. The data, debris and aesthetics of the nuclear arms race considered in an art context points at issues of information decentralization, and certainly serves as a reality check to any overly idyllic or politically disengaged artists. - Helen Varley Jamieson

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Window on a Shadow

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A window near a library on a campus somewhere deep in the South Pacific casts a shadow - a virtual shadow. The window is a gallery space, established by students at Auckland's Elam School of Fine Arts to take art out of the gallery context; and its shadow is a web site. Both are offered as a breeding ground for experimentation and discussion. Since launching in May, the site has displayed poetry, digital video, macabre Shockwave, and Italian food. Peer in to explore these quirky worlds and the characters who inhabit them. Window dressings change frequently here, but there's an archive where one will find, for example, Turnbaby bringing Edison's early experiments with moving pictures into the 21st century. - Helen Varley Jamieson

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