Posts for March 2003

All the Info That's Fit To Sniff

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No new-comer to the new media scene (active since 1991), the Bureau of Inverse Technology (BIT) continues to provide innovative tools for processing the information that often gets lost in the massive data spectacle. Past BIT projects have included a quantitative video analysis of Golden Gate Bridge suicide jumps ('Suicide Box'), a rocket that gathers crowd information for accurate estimates of public demonstrations, and a method for 'improving' the GPS-based signage on taxis. A more recent work is 'Sniffer,' one of those robotic, toy dogs, re-engineered to sniff out sources of radiation that exceed EPA standards. And for you DIY types, BIT now produces development kits with instructions. - Ryan Griffis

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Shouldn't that be 'Drivetowar.com?'

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A game in line with the topic du jour - when is the war going to start? Forget the minor detail that the US military never stopped bombing Iraq, and take a punt at Marchtowar.com. This deadly serious site combines an American lust for gas with all the fun online gambling offers, as well as the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that your entertainment dollar will eventually trickle down to some needy Iraqi civilian. Links to the US Department of Defense, Human Rights Watch, scientific bulletins and news sites create a chilling context for the game. The only snag is that you must be a Massachusetts resident to be eligible to win the free gas. Damn. - Helen Varley Jamieson

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11 Hours of Hot Uncensored Raw Data

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From Moebius's art deco sets in 'Tron' to William Gibson's 3D datascapes in 'Neuromancer', many artists have imagined what it might look like inside the machine. Cory Arcangel bypasses such stylized, anthropomorphic visions and simply shows us his raw data, 11 hours worth, in all its glitchy 8-bit nakedness. Arcangel tricked Quicktime into reading the binary data daily passing through his computer's RAM. The result is 'Data Diaries,' a collection of intriguing, abstract data 'movies' (complete with audible bleeps and squawks), available in color or black & white. Pass the pixelated popcorn! - Curt Cloninger

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I Got You Babe

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Portland, Oregon based artists Brad Adkins and Christopher Buckingham, under the moniker 'Charm Bracelet,' create projects ranging from film and video screenings to 500 person collaborative paintings that serve as foundations for expanding social networks. With 'You,' Charm Bracelet realizes their mission to visualize social gatherings with a simple Web site and message board. 'You' isn't about self-importance; instead it's about someone else. Visitors are asked to write about someone who has inspired them and read some of the many other entries. These stories will form the basis for a book and exhibition this February. -Ryan Griffis

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Contribute to a Global Movement

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Collecting MouseMiles won't get you a free plane flight, but it will help to move a model train around a track. And by clicking your mouse, you could be adding to an ambient sound installation representing global computer activity. MouseMiles and Clicks are two of Jonah Brucker-Cohen's interactive Desktop Subversibles - software art that encourages us to rethink desktop behaviours we take for granted. Other projects in this collection include ClipIt, providing a window into other computer users' copy-and-paste actions, and MouseTraces, creating visual art from desktop activity. Take a look around -- Brucker-Cohen's site contains many other intriguingly titled interactive projects such as PoliceState, IPO Madness and Crank the Web. - Helen Varley Jamieson

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Your Chance to Party with Wolfgang Staehle

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New York based art enthusiasts should make their way to the Good World Bar in Manhattan tomorrow, Tuesday the 11th, at 10 PM EST. What's the gig? A benefit for The Thing, historic art/media lab and community site. Recently bullied by connectivity provider Verio, The Thing is bouncing back with a celebratory party that is also the launch of a online auction -- artists like O100101110101101.org, BEIGE, Ellen Harvey, Christoph Draeger, Vuk Cosic have donated works. Party attendees will enjoy visuals, DJs, and drinks (proceeds go to the Thing) -- so come downtown to raise a glass and a bid for the Thing. Online auction begins Tuesday. - Rachel Greene

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It's the Artists who are Crazy!

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The Purloined Obrist?

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A recent post to Rhizome was intriguing. Its 'To' field was ambitiously addressed, included were blue chip gallery owners and well-known media figures like Geert Lovink and Pit Schultz. The email body featured an essay written by prolific, impressive curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist recapping the history of the art object from Van Gogh to the present. The text, 'On the Iconoclasm of Modern Art,' is very smart and easy to read -- typical Obrist. As one reads, however, anomalous formats and details standout -- all caps co-mingle with sentence case, the essay dates from November. As it concludes URLS and net artists begin to appear in brackets -- brackets -- often used by editors to denote when an author's words end and her/his edits begin -- suggest that the essay is now in the hybrid author/editor mode. Indeed, the email's sender, Bruno Latour, turns out to have several URLs referenced in the text. Has this writing been appropriated? If so, is Obrist's essay complicated in interesting ways by the addition of URLS? Is the email's aim to dupe readers into thinking Obrist endorsed these artists? Does Latour's email rise to the canonical occasion as did Sherrie Levine's copies of Walker Evans? Discuss. -- Rachel Greene

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Dressed to the 9s

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The Mongrel collective has engineered an online software tool called, '9' that allows for a different kind of distributed computing, where the power of multiple experiences is compiled rather than that of multiple computers. The work functions much like a database, where users can access and upload various forms of information - images, video, audio, text - but without the hierarchal and utilitarian principles of most databases. The space of '9' is a grid that grows exponentially (based on the number nine) to create 'knowledge maps' that link personal, social, and other forms of experience through representational media. One navigates this grid through 'grouped' images that link to other data. It may seem disorienting and complicated at first, but when has navigating social life been simple? - Ryan Griffis

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Artware 2 in Peru

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Artware2, a group show at the Catholic University Cultural Center in Lima, Peru features the work of 11 artists who deal with the unholy trinity of art, science, and interaction. Italian curator Umberto Roncoroni chose work that elaborates on digital life, generative art, virtual reality, and interaction. He writes: 'We think about interaction in a cultural way, we insist on ideas like science/art relationships, links and contaminations between digital culture and local traditions (antropology, archeology).' One of the exhibited artists, Roman Verotsko, develops software to make algorithmic pen plots of flowers. See the 'cyber flowers' online, or in Peru, through May 4. -- Rachel Greene

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