Posts for November 2002

A Friendly Game of Quake

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If you sit down to play a round of Quake, chances are you're going to get your head blown off. That's exactly what artist Joseph Delappe envisioned would happen with his latest project, 'Quake Friends.' With 5 others, Delappe entered the networked game as a character named 'Rachel,' and along with collaborators, Joey, Ross, Chandler, Phoebe, and Monica, acted out an episode of the long-running sitcom, 'Friends.' Using gamespace as virtual performance space, Delappe and friends kept playing, with the goal of enacting the entire script, even as they were blown up along the way. By bringing the Must See TV cast on to Quake's killing floor, Delappe's work used simple creative changes for semiotic results. -- Jonah Brucker-Cohen

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Cyber-Solidarity, Art Actions Raise Awareness

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Ever wonder who made the components for your computer? Chances are it was underpaid women working in semi-legal conditions and living in squalid shantytowns along the US-Mexico border. Juarez is one of these towns, where basics such as sewage and clean water are inadequate, and anyone who speaks out is likely to be silenced. Since 1993, 800 women and girls have disappeared in Juarez. Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (Bring Our Daughters Home) is an organization of the families of the disappeared. When they called for international support earlier this year, they found unexpected solidarity with cyberfeminist and hactivist groups. On August 14, Undercurrents, Electronic Disturbance Theater, Desktop Theater, Women in Black and Las Viejas Escandalosas supported a street march with an online petition, chatroom protests and a Floodnet action. And during November, art actions are taking place in Mexican newspapers, Mexico City, Juarez and Los Angeles. These have contributed to increased media attention and global awareness of the issue. Show your support by reading and signing the petition at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/JUAREZ/petition.html. - Helen Varley Jamieson

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Spam for Sale!

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Ever wondered where all the dot-com schwag went? Remember the good ol' days of late 90s start-up fanaticism where promo items such as Razorfish tea cozies and Pets.com kitty litter scoops were handed out like communion? Dot-com nostalgia has hit home with UK based artists Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead's latest project, "Dot-Store". The site offers Google Tea Towels that show search results of "Is anybody there?" as well as temporary tattoo's of the web's finest "Under Construction" graphics. Search the store alongside the artist's fake pop-under ads and you can purchase everything from other people's e-cards, to lenticular badges of animated cursors, to custom ringtones for your mobile like "silent_ringtone" and "young_father" (designed for single parents). If that's not enough, next September they'll be auctioning off the site and it's remaining products on Ebay. -Jonah Brucker-Cohen

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Hi There, Leak Much?

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Ever wanted to enter a chat room and piss on someone? Conceived by designer Francis Lam, "Our Design Playground" exists as a portfolio site in the background of a dynamic, multi-user chat space. Visitors can choose up to 5 different chat environments from forests to rising skyscrapers and have personal abilities such as jumping, pissing, talking, or fading into background obscurity through the "ambient mode" function. My favorite of the supplied chat spaces is an area beside a giant Air Force B-52 Bomber that drops parachuting piglets. Whether its to hang out, wreak havoc, or see piglets, Lam's tiny pixilated avatars are the perfect antidote for the sterility of test-based chat. -Jonah Brucker-Cohen

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Emerging Arts, A New Angle

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Many of us think of 'emerging art' as art practices that are so new that they lack venues for presentation and critical attention. Paul St George has a different take on Emergent Art, one that derives from biological behavior. Based on John Conway's Game of Life, which is actually not a game but a cellular automata describing the birth and death of organisms, St George's 'Emergent Art' organizes these rules into a beautifully Minimal, Peter Halley-esque implementation. I wasn't able to deduce any specifics about the Game of Life, but the artist's salient theme, that complex sequences emerge from simple events, shines through. -- Rachel Greene

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Mark Your Calendars for Minnesota

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Minnesota's Walker Art Center was one of the first institutions to nurture and support net artists, and now, in partnership with the McKnight Foundation, they've come up with another project to encourage creatives. It's a web site, called mnartists.org, with the stated goal to be a resource for Minnesota artists and enthusiasts. The site is kicking things off with multimedia and multiplatform bash on December 5 that will include an exhibition, party, and, for Net Art News readers, a webcast studio visit with more than 250 Minnesotan artists. For those who have never visited the Nordic, cold, friendly and sophisticated mid-Western state, the site expects to provide varied entrees into its art scene. -- Rachel Greene

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Buy Nothing Day

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What better way to celebrate the day after Thanksgiving, which is both Buy Nothing Day and the biggest shopping day in the Western World, than by enjoying some rebellious tactical media? We've got just the caper: a subvertisement contest sponsored by the Banner Art Collective. Peruse the entries, or enter your own subversive banner in the contest by November 28. The winning entry, which will be announced the 29th, will win a prize of $0.00 (zero US dollars), as one would expect from a parodic, semiotic contest such as this one. There weren't many subvertisements posted as of press date, but one, 'Apocolyspe Soon,' was amusing. -- Rachel Greene

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Pleased to Meet Me

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Dawn, Lorelai, Rolf, Bela, and VD3 each have their own weblog. Which would be no big deal, except that all five weblogs are written by the same person -- Margaret Penney of dream7.com. Penney's 'DiaryU' project is a personal experiment in believable doppelganging. Pseudonymity is a familiar theme in the net art canon, from Alan/Jennifer Sondheim's trans-gender explorations, to Netochka Nezvanova trans-human manifestations, to Luther Blissett's media disinformation hacks. But Penney's project is more fictive, akin in spirit to Nick Bantock's Griffin & Sabine trilogy. A fun read -- intentional typos, bad poetry, and all. - Curt Cloninger

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December 5 - Studio Visit with Minnesotan Artists?

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Minnesota's Walker Art Center was one of the first institutions to support net artists, and now, in partnership with the McKnight Foundation, they've come up with another project to nurture creatives. It's a web site, mnartists.org, with the stated goal of being a resource for Minnesota-based artists and enthusiasts. The site kicks off with a multimedia and multiplatform bash on December 5 that will include an exhibition, party, and a webcast studio visit with more than 250 Minnesotan artists. For those who have never visited the Nordic, cold, friendly and sophisticated mid-Western, American state, the studio-visit-a-thon should provide varied, lively entrees into its art community. -- Rachel Greene

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Kanarinka Can

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Kanarinka is the only net artist I can think of who does color studies. Her work on yellow, 'Color Stories - Yellow' integrates samples featuring the color to build 'art modules.' Some of these have an informal quality, but still, perhaps because of the affective capabilities of the color, they seem to move beyond the screen. In other modules, the dominance of color gives way to a focus on narrative, or to an investigation of animating color. Some 'Stories' seem in line with Abstract Expressionist concerns with 'beauty;' others evoke color field studies. There is a lot here -- Kanarinka's work covers some dense (yellow) territory. -- Rachel Greene

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