Posts for 2003

A Vision in Delft Blue

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Dutch artist Hugo Kaagman adorns his site with an array of images and animations whose palette of Delft blue and white evoke his country's history. The shuttling between traditional symbols, such as windmills and animals, and radically contemporary ones, an Internet Explorer icon and a rollerskate, is matched by an old-fashioned, canvas-like interface that features clickable animations. Though the blue and white site is formally precious and appealing, many of its animations are rooted in a sense of irony about the cliches of historic official culture. Also, net art collectors will be happy to know that Kaagman's works are for sale. Details, in blue and white, on the site. -- Rachel Greene

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You and Your Software

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Those who follow 'software culture,' a field which applies critical discourse to the software we use every day, likely know the work of Holland-based critic Matthew Fuller. Not only was he a co-conspirator with Simon Pope and Colin Green on the Web Stalker (the first artist-made web browser), and a frequent collaborator with Mongrel, but he is also a well-known promoter of nefarious, indie software projects (one of the latest is runme.org). Some of Fuller's writings have been published in the just-released book 'Behind the Blip.' Not sure which Fuller essay I recommend the most: maybe the classic Web Stalker intro which first introduced the term 'not-just-art' (opposed to 'anti-art,' 'art,' and 'non-art') into my lexicon... or maybe 'It Looks Like You're Writing a Letter: Microsoft Word' which will have all readers wondering how word processors inhibit creativity and autonomy. If net art itself can be understood as a contestation of new media, isn't software culture a hot topic? -- Rachel Greene

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Taking It Further

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Today I dropped in on Jess Loseby, artist-in-residence at FurtherStudio; I found a note warning me that she's hung-over, and saw her cursor make tentative movements across her desktop. Entering the chat, I offered her some strong coffee and asked her what she's up to. Right now, Jess is working on 'a couple of html pieces based on nursery rhymes.' She tells me she's had a steady stream of visitors since Friday, and I learn from Neil that the Visitors' Studio, where the public can experiment with being net.artists, is nearly complete. The new Furtherfield site offers critical writings, live discussions, artworks, noisemakers, a 'Public Broadcast' where members upload information about their own projects, and the FurtherStudio, where we can observe the net.Artist at work. Furtherfield, in all its interactive glory, takes us further than ever into the dynamic world of digital art. - Helen Varley Jamieson

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Exhibition (In) Space

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Today, August 27 2003, Mars will be closer to Earth than it has been for 60,000 years - a mere 56 million kilometres away. The Mars Patent is seizing this rare opportunity to transport a new artwork to its Mars Exhibition Space (MES) - 'Signal from Mars' by Marianne Heske. Since perfecting the High Reality Machine (HRM_1.0n) in 2001, the Mars Patent has offered free transportation of artworks to its MES. A scientific explanation of the process is provided on the Mars Patent web site, along with geological and meteorological conditions of the MES and copies of works already exhibited on Mars. Artworks may be submitted by completing an online form and, once a work has been teleported to the MES, you can keep an eye on it via live web cam footage (note - reverse transportation is not yet available). - Helen Varley Jamieson

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Gay E-Tourism

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American TV network Bravo has a new gay reality television program -- 'Boy Meets Boy' -- that does TV-dating with a twist. The premise: handsome James lives in luxurious accommodations with 15 potential mates. At the end of each episode James rejects a few suitors based on his own romantic inklings. But, what the leading man doesn't know is that some of the candidates are actually straight. Part gay dating fascism and another part mainstream 'gaydar' bootcamp, the show follows from the post-'Ellen' cultural milieu. Looking backwards, mid-1990s queer e-zine favorite Blairmag played with similar themes in the online game 'Gay or Eurotrash?' and 'Lesbian or German Lady?' The Blair team went voyeur and gathered a collection of street photos at the Rockefeller Center tourist hub in New York City. In the web-based game, users guess if the unsuspecting subjects of these photos are gay or eurotrash / lesbian or German ladies. One click reveals the diagnosis professed by a discerning panel of homo-experts. Blarimag's playful appropriation of stereotypes coded (literally) an insider cruising logic and now seems a historical artifact -- indeed, an artifact made recognizable through the advent of mainstream gay television. - Matt Wolf

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Virtual Seduction

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The future of genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics are at the heart of 'Teknolust,' a new film from Lynn Hershman Leeson and starring Tilda Swinton. It's a cyber-fi story about SRAs (Self Replicating Automatons) - intelligent life forms that evolve to the point where they have the capacity to fall in love. Shot with the new 24p digital high definition camera, Teknolust features an artificial intelligent web agent, whom you can also meet in 'real life' on her web site, www.agentruby.com. You are invited to chat Eliza-style with Ruby to help her reach her goal of becoming more intelligent than humans, and you can check back regularly to see how she's improving. 'Teknolust' the movie opens today, August 22, in San Francisco. - Helen Varley Jamieson.

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The New Classics

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Tony & Beverly Conrad, Valie Export, Hollis Frampton, Joan Jonas, Peter Kubelka, Yoko Ono, Michael Snow, Stan Vanderbeek, Steina and Woody Vasulka

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Parlez-vous WiFi?

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Who says computer geeks aren't romantic? From September 8 through 12, visit ICHIM 03, the seventh International Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting, in Paris, France. Held at the celebrated museum the Louvre, ICHIM 03 offers a range of workshops on digital art and life, including some on creative and curatorial concerns, as well as a

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Nerdy Rock n' Rave

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America's most endearing geek chic collectives, PaperRad and Beige Programming Ensemble, along with their digi-rock n' rave bands, Extreme Animals and Dr. Doo (Paper Rad) and the 8-Bit Construction Set (BEIGE) recently embarked on their Summer of HTML tour. Events kicked off with BEIGE member Cory Arcangel's exhibition of hacked computer cartridges and prints at TEAM Gallery in Chelsea, New York. The 8 Bit Construction Set performed too -- their video act uses outmoded 8-bit technologies (such as Nintendo and Commodore 69 gaming systems) to generate electronic music and digital abstractions. PaperRad's bands Extreme Animals and Dr. Doo played audio thrash in front of Flash cartoons that sample diverse pop-cultural sources to express states of consumer ecstasy. If all that weren't enough, Power Point presentations about the history of computing and 90's MTV enhance the colorful scene. Catch the North American tour while you can -- details on the site. - Matt Wolf

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Born to Shop!

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Buying books online is too easy. Even if you don't have a clue what you want to read, there's always a software agent to suggest something based on your previous purchases or considerations. LA-based artist Angie Waller is putting this information to the test with her new book 'Data Mining the Amazon.' In it, she catalogues and graphs relationships between books and music bought on Amazon.com. Focusing on political icons in the US and abroad, the results are fascinating. For instance, visitors who bought 'All the Best, George Bush' tended to purchase CDs by Creed. Research also shows that readers of Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' were often fans of the Australian 70s band the Bee Gees.

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