Posts for June 2002

DIY Masterpieces

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John Cage did it himself. Nancy Spero did it herself. Now you can too. \'Do It,\' curated by Hans-Urlich Obrist, is a collection of instructions for events, performances, objects, sketches, etc., crafted by more than 60 contemporary artists. Execute your own John Baldessari -- hang it in your home if you like. Upload your results and check out other people's. \'Do It\' started out as an offline exhibition, then appeared as a catalog, and now it's online, with a new crop of instructions by Diller and Scofido, Joan Jonas, Nam June Paik, and Yoko Ono.

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You are the Agent of Alternative Reality

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\"Alternative Corporate Reality\" (ACR) is a nose-thumbing tactical media project that tricks corporations into using anti-corporate icons in their own ad campaigns. Freelance graphic designers are challenged to download ACR stock photography and use it in ad campaigns for their corporate clients. This ACR stock photography features recognizable project organizer Damian Stephens in various mock-serious power poses. Participating designers then upload samples of their \"subverted\" corporate work to the ACR site as evidence of their bravado. More of a sly wink than a thrown brick, but every little bit counts when you\'re fighting the man.

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It All Adds Up

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What is the most popular number on the Net? Surely

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Who Let the Ducks Out?

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What

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Four dLux Projects

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An online gallery launched June 13th in conjunction with the dLux exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. While no curatorial theme is mentioned, projects on display focus either on sound or narrative. For example, visit Jon Drummond and Nigel Helyer's \"Magnus-Opus,\" home to their 100,000,000,000 telephone tone sequences. Since each sequence has been copyrighted, beware: next time you dial your phone, you may be violating international copyright law. Other web works don\'t risk jail time and are by Hanna Kuts and Viktor Dovhalyuk, Shirin Kouladjie, and Ricardo Miranda.

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Conceptual Cinema and Your Family

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The software project HF Critical Mass appropriates the structure of conceptual filmmaker Hollis Frampton's 1971 film (called, of course, Critical Mass), in which a short clip of a couple's argument is fragmented and repeated for 25 minutes. Programmer Barbara Lattanza applies the same methodology to an interface that plays Quicktime movies. The complex playback pattern algorithm makes familiar narratives strange and unsettling. So, upload your family's holiday video, watch it stutter, repeat, and fall apart. Tell yourself the creeping malaise you feel is just about narrative, not family.

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Creativity Aids Courtesy of Eno and Schmidt

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When ambient music godfather Brian Eno finds himself creatively stuck, he reaches for an Oblique Strategy card. Each card contains advice meant to jar the artistic soul out of stagnation and back into the stream of genius. (\"Question the heroic approach\" is a personal favorite.) Eno and painter Peter Schmidt developed the first series of Oblique Strategies in 1975. Now the cards are available as downloads, and one can just click a button to \"pick\" a random card. Commit to following these strategies, and watch oblique confidence bloom.

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No Time For A Screensaver

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What do you get when you cross a networked screensaver, Buckminster Fuller\'s quasi-cosmic tetrahedron worship, Richard Dawkins\' evolutionary cybernetics, and a whole lot of computer down time? You get n 0 time, software that attempts to embody practically every major wired theory put forth in the last 25 years. Networked, customized, imploding, meme-laden tetrahedral avatars! \"n 0 time-sharing\" community protocols! Auto-generated e-mail invitations to exclusive online implosion re-enactments! And you thought it was just a screensaver. (Free. PC version only.)

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Donnie Darko Rips It Up

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Engaging and believable narrative environments within the non-linear, browser-based confines of the internet -- these are the holy grails of much net art. The Donnie Darko site comes pretty darned close. Created to promote the Hollywood paranormal thriller of the same name, the site is its own entity -- derived from the movie, yet establishing an entirely other, web-specific universe, complete with spoofed URLs, password-protected areas, and evil 404 error messages. Winner of the 2002 Prix Ars Electronica distinction for net excellence, donniedarko.com ups the ante for web narrative.

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Believe It Or Not...

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A bat that flies through lead, an ant with an audible scream, a detailed miniature crucifix made out of human hair -- these and other anomalies are on display at the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, and online at the museum\'s website. Something between London\'s Natural History Museum and Ripley\'s Believe It or Not, the Museum of Jurassic Technology is pleasurably disorienting in its deadpan Victorian earnestness and its collection\'s persistent ability to astound. Orchestrated ambiguity meant to undermine certainty and provoke wonder: art perhaps?

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