Posts for July 2003

Radical Software Resurfaces

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In the space of Net Art News, one can only enumerate a couple of reasons why the online publication of all issues of 1970s video journal Radical Software is so exciting and relevant: One, the ability to recognize artistic uses of televisual and satellite circuitry has only gotten easier and more important given the aesthetics of net art and tactical media. There are many dialogues to be shared here. Two, Radical Software published issues in which video shared edges with more anthropological themes -- media ecology, San Francisco culture, art for kids, activism, etc. -- contemporary art publications rarely allow these latitudes. The Radical Software archive has an introductory essay by David Ross, a history written by video artist Davidson Gigliotti, and allows users to browse or search PDF articles. Anyway, I gotta go -- writing 'thank you' emails to Davidson Gigliotti et al for making this web site and Radical Software come (back) to life. -- Rachel Greene

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Radical Entertainment at the ICA

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From 9-26 July, Radical Entertainment, a program of events and art installations will run at the London ICA. Its premise is to show a range of dialogues with entertainment culture -- from direct critiques, like Ximena Cuevas' hack of a game show, to projects that revel in the lightness of pop culture debris, like Paper Rad animations. Curators Lina Dzuveronic-Russell and Lauren Cornell know that it's hard to be humorless about mass culture, hence the works that celebrate and revel in consumer entertainment. The dense program of events also suggests that the curators know they'll have to keep their audience... entertained. Details are on the ICA web site. -- Rachel Greene

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YGCOPPMMM

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The inspiration for American artist Amy Alexander's new work PPMMM is the nefarious workings of the Bush administration. Alexander contends that the government has pilfered the popular 'exquisite corpse' magnet poetry sets -- consisting of dozens of magnetized words ready to be creatively configured -- that usually adorn refrigerators. Alexander's smoking gun: the USA PATRIOT Act, which officially stands for 'Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.' Considering the acronym an insult to the magnets, Alexander has programmed a desktop version of word-magnet-poetry. PPMMM, or the Post-PATRIOT Magnetic Motto Maker, an application for home-sloganeering and motto-making is available for both Macs and PCs. The artist also recommends sending your slogans to Washington, but considering the reach and force of the Patriot Act, we suggest users proceed with caution. -- Rachel Greene

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The Mediatopian Situation

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Guy Debord and the Situationist International cautioned the 1968 Parisian intellectual community that the

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TIA meets GIA

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In response to public outcry over the formation of the Total Information Awareness (TIA) System in January 2003, the Bush administration tinkered with the project's name (now the Terrorist Information Awareness System) and hoped everything would be OK. Maybe this PR gesture was enough for some, but not for Ryan McKinley, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab. He decided to follow the old adage: don't get mad, get even. On July 4, 2003, McKinley launched his own initiative, the Government Information Awareness (GIA) in an effort to close the widening gap between a citizen's ability to monitor his or her government and the government's ability to monitor its citizens. His suite of software tools allows users to data mine individuals, organizations, and corporations related to the government and submit intelligence about government-related issues, while maintaining their anonymity. Now this is approaching something more like Total Information. -Brooke Singer

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Who is Reading This? Was Someone Else BCC'd?

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BCC, Flash animations by Motomichi Nakamura, has a palette of just four colors: red, grey, black, and white. The colors reference the influences of the Japan-born, New York-dwelling artist: Japanese manga, the Russian avante-garde, and 1920s Dutch design. In each of the four narratives, arresting visuals relate dark, humorous tales of technology--imbued misunderstanding or miscommunication. One animation opens with a couple holding hands, seemingly happy. In seconds they are driven apart by a litiginous mailing list moderator, who exhorts rules in two languages to drive the lessons of netiquette home. Details aren't provided on the lovers and how they breached regulations. But, BCC still manages to highlight delicate emotions and intricate interactions amid the regimens of net culture. -- Rachel Greene

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NZ Sparks Up

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Now in its fourth year, New Zealand's SPARK Festival brings media artists from around the country and overseas together to discuss new work and ideas in creative practice. This year's draft programme is now online and packs 9 speakers and 24 proposals into the three-day event. Additionally, the day before the festival will see the first gathering of the newly formed Aotearoa Digital Arts network. Those of us not in Hamilton, NZ, can participate in the ADA symposium virtually, but it doesn't look like SPARK is offering remote participation. However, they are still calling for video 'blips' that will be screened between speakers, so if you're a blip-maker, you could be part of the bigger spark. - Helen Varley Jamieson

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Beyond the Horizon of Adobe

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Falling asleep at the Photoshop wheel? Bored by using standard commercial applications to make images or animation? 'Vernacular' may be what the doctor ordered. A new software by American artists Beth Coleman and Howard Goldkrand (known for their music collaborative SoundLab), 'Vernacular,' despite it's nominal nod to language, is a highly visual tool for 'associative data processing.' To compose a project, users drag and drop files (my palette included desktop debris -- assorted images and a PDF file) onto 'Vernacular's' main screen, and then associates them with one another with self-styled categories and colors. The coup de foudre -- users can press play to experience a multimedia, personal, 3D animation. The downside of this indie software is that, at least right now, 'Vernacular' runs only on Mac OSX Jaguar. -- Rachel Greene

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Jam Sessions

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Two artworks well known for draping sexual images across digital surfaces, Shu Lea Cheang's 'Expand' and Zvonka Simcic and Tanja Vujinovic's 'Hardbody' are considered in light of their scores in NetNoise, a new exhibition hosted by CTheory. Organized across three sonic categories -- culture pitch, noise velocity, and sound motion -- NetNoise includes international projects from Briton Simon Biggs, Korean Young Hae Chang Heavy Industries, Japanese artist Kogo, and Australian rubric-innovator Mez, among others. The curatorial premise is explained in depth on the NetNoise site in text and audio formats. You heard it here first. -- Rachel Greene

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1001 Arabian Nights

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Several experimental web designers have begun publish online .pdf or Flash 'magazines.' Layed out like print magazines and published on a regular basis, these zines feature work by various designers. Some Flash magazines have begun incorporating minimalistic animations, like twitching books. The new 'Chaos' issue of thisisamagazine.com pushes this medium one step further by adding randomness. Flip through the issue to enjoy a visual treat, and then revisit 'Chaos' to find the pages entirely re-arranged. The focus now shifts from the designs themselves to the user-manufactured relationships between the designs. Interactive web art? Sure, why not? - Curt Cloninger

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