Posts for 2003

A Pain in my SSID

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Once any new technology is unveiled, someone will find a way to make it painful. Taking this a bit too literally is Christophe Bruno, whos latest project, 'WiFi-SM,' features a plan for a WiFi-enabled, wearable patch that dishes a powerful jolt of electricity. How does it work? After connecting to a public node, the chip scans up to 4,000 news sources looking for keywords such as 'murder,' 'death,' and 'kill.' If they're found, the chip triggers a shock so wearers can 'feel' global pain. If participants want to personalize the experience, the product's built-in P2P (Pain-to-Pain) technology allows them to adjust pain thresholds and define their own keywords. Since it's a patch, one can also decide where it goes on the body. My personal keywords would probably be "George Bush", and I think you know where it would be placed. -Jonah Brucker-Cohen

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What's in Your Cabinet?

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For the last few years, Cabinet Magazine, published by the New York-based non-profit Immaterial Incorporated, has brought readers theoretical and artistic investigations into various cultural themes ('Flight' was the last one) bolstered by commissioned visual and audio artworks. A visit to the Cabinet website reveals that they have also been active commissioning works for the web. The most current project, Jackie Goss's 'There There,' is a click-through Flash site that takes visitors on a journey through a history of the mapping of North America. The current collection of nine projects exhibits the same idiosyncratic style as the magazine's print projects, including a narrative about a Balkan village built in Colorado for military exercises and an interactive generator of graphs for universal experiences. -Ryan Griffis

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Barely Legal

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Providing unprecendented, free access to primary moving-image historical material is part of a Rick Prelinger's commitment to making public domain works meaningful as such. When Prelinger Archives, an archive housing over 48,000 'ephemeral' films (including educational, industrial, propaganda, advertising and amateur films) was acquired by the Library of Congress last year, more than 1,500 of the key titles were digitized, and made free and available to the public as downloadable MPEG2 files to 'encourage the widespread use of moving images in new contexts by people who might not have used them before.' Iconic films such as 'Duck & Cover' (what to do during a nuclear attack, featuring a caroon turtle) and 'Are You Popular?' get the most hits, but stunning home movies, WPA films, cautionary tales and utopian kitchen tours are easily found as well among these uncopyrighted or copyright-expired films. -- Johanna Fateman

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For What/Whom Do You Hunger?

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When I was in the Whitney Program, someone hosted a discussion on French writer/theorist Antonin Artaud and the centrality of 'hunger' to his conception of a theater undifferentiated from the overwhelming forces of reality.

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Wireless Sunbathing Allowed

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Do you ever feel that when you're online you're neither here nor there? If so, NYCWireless and the Downtown Alliance want you to explore the possibilities that open wireless (Wi-Fi) networks may provide for connecting virtual and physical space. They are co-sponsoring Wireless Park Lab Days, two days of events designed to expand knowledge of Wi-Fi networks and create new ways to use them. Aside from the new user area to encourage interested newbies, there will be a wireless art exhibition featuring creative and critical uses of wireless technology and a chance to play the scavenger hunt-like Noderunner. Events will be held at City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan on September 19-20, from Noon to 4PM EST. Even if you're not feeling very sociable, you can always do some virtual people watching. - Ryan Griffis

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This Thursday at the Baltic

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This Thursday, September 18, near Newcastle, England, Baltic, the Centre for Contemporary Art, will host a seminar on data-based art. The first talk of the day will feature independent curator and event chair Sarah Cook introducing how visual artists use technologies to respond and deal with environments of information overload. Over the next few hours, attendees will dive into the following -- UCSD Professor Lev Manovich querying the database as a form; Mongrel-member Graham Harwood on how to share data to make it socially relevant, and German cyberfeminist artist Cornelia Sollfrank downloading on her persistent use of random-generators in her art practice. Other participants and three free performances (two sound, one cinematic) round out what should be a full day. Reserve your place online. -- Rachel Greene

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Going Alone

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Dutch artist Karen Lancel presses notions of security and space by secluding participants and focusing their interactions on the topics of isolation and fear. In her work 'Agora Phobia (digitalis),' a white, translucent contraption offers a space for insular conversations with agoraphobics, prisoners, and otherwise cloistered peoples. These dialogues do not remain private however and are archived online along with personal testimonials about human contact (or lack thereof). By superimposing different traumatic experiences of separation, Lancel demonstrates how differently these can be measured depending on whether one dwells on physical spaces or psychological states. Participate online or this weekend in New York City. Details on this Saturday's event, as well as upcoming programs in Holland and Germany, are noted on the site. -- Rachel Greene

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Show Me Your Blips

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The mining of gameboys for sick beats has grown into a genre-spanning practice and, undeterred by Nintendo's non-inclusive language, women do it too. While the detournement of videogame sounds was most prominent in the broken beat, digital hardcore, and glitch movements of the nineties, the new school often eschews the dystopic arcade clamor of its predecessors. Tasmanian-raised, London-based artist Lektrogirl (AKA Emma Davidson) serves on the directory board of micromusic.net, a stylistically diverse (well, kind of) online community for artists to share and discuss low tech and videogame-derived electronic music. Her evil/sweet bubble tracks can heard on the micromusic site and her album 'I Love My Computer' -- made on an Ensoniq SQ80 and recorded to (gasp!) cassette -- is out on Richard D. James' 'braindance' label Rephlex. As if that weren't enough, she is also a founding member of Lektrolab, a women's collective that organizes DJ workshops and parties. -- Johanna Fateman

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Down the Rabbit Hole

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Known simply as 'samorost.swf', this interactive Flash game by Czechoslovakia's Amanita Design combines Myst/Riven-like puzzles with a whimsical animation style reminiscent of crankbunny.com (or Roger Dean's early 'Yes' album covers). The puzzles are challenging but surrealistically intuitive, and the combination of gorgeously textured organic settings and playfully animated vector characters is plenty of motivation to advance to the next level. Samorost is a rare combination of entertainment, art, absurdism, and humor. And, as an added bonus, you get to save a planet from utter destruction. - Curt Cloninger

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Can You Spell R.O.C.K.?

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When Vuk Cosic combined his ascii movie making skills with Alexei Shulgin's midi pop rock skills, the genre of ascii music videos was born. Now c404's Yoshi Sodeoka continues the tradition in gloriously green Quicktime with 'ASCII Rock'. Sabbath, Zeppelin, Hendrix, AC/DC, and more are all given a lo-res ascii/midi audio-visual massage. Angus Young's signature gyrations are remarkably recognizable, even when rendered in animated letter form. Finally, rock icons get the iconic treatment they deserve. - Curt Cloninger

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