Posts for October 2003

Cease & Persist

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Tomorrow, Thursday, October 2nd, the San Francisco Media Arts Council (SFMAC) and the SFMOMA will host the panel 'Copy Art: The Impact of Copyright on New Media Art,' offering a welcome counter-balance to the litigious anti-pirates and ahistorical corporate view-points presently hogging public discussions of intellectual property rights. As copyright law is re-interpreted in relation to developing cultural practices and distribution technologies, this event promises to address the changes pertinent to new media artists and forms . A diverse group of artists and scholars will discuss, from progressive legal and art-historical perspectives, the history of appropriative art as well as legal strategies for the protection and sharing of creative works. Panelists include Lawrence Lessig of public domain activist organization Creative Commons; DJ, sound and visual artist Christian Marclay; and art historian/cultural theorist Jennifer Gonzalez. Moderator Linda Jacobson is chief officer of Glass House Studio, LLC (a provider of interactive visualization services) and a board member of SFMAC. The event begins at 7PM, and reservations are recommended. -- Johanna Fateman

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Fakester Avatars

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The Friendster craze is officially 'so five minutes ago.' The sentiment was confirmed when my college roommate, now a producer's assistant at ABC World News, propositioned me for an interview about the website. When the reporter asked me about fake profiles of ABC's anchor Peter Jennings, I replied, 'Everyone knows that Peter Jennings is a Fakester.' Friendster's network of profiles, pictures, and testimonials are attached through visible webs of mutual friendships. The site spins conventional online dating into an addictive form of social research that makes unexpected reunions possible for singles and couples alike. In Friendster's second wave of popularity, pranksters have created 'Fakesters,' charlatan profiles that serve up fandom, tributes, institutional affiliations, or conceptual identifications. Pop stars like Beyonce Knowles, not to mention celebrity dogs,have cultivated large circles of friends. For intelligensia-hounds, Guy Debord was recently spotted on Friendster using a 1000 word Situationalist manifesto in his 'About Me' column. Some of the most clever conceptual fakesters include the number Pi, who likes Dating both Men and Women, Gay Clich

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Boyfriend in Latvia

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The Canadian duo Boyfriend (Bernadette Houde and Maija Martin) spent last May at the RIXC New Media Centre in Riga, Latvia creating one song a day and keeping an online journal of the day's experiment. They included detailed technical notes, as the demystification of electronic music production was a stated aim of the project, but also offered a view into the aesthetic and personal quirks of their collaboration. On Day 6 angelic voices of feminist irritation float above a saccharine beat in a pauseless recitation of the 47 male names listed as participants in Mutek's conference 'Assessing the Current Status of Electronic Music in Canada.' This track found it's way on to the compilation CD accompanying the second issue of New York feminist art journal LTTR, along with a minimal-but-ravey cover of the Indigo Girls' 'Prince of Darkness' by another of Bernadette Houde's projects, the Montreal-based band Lesbians on Ectasy. -- Johanna Fateman

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Unique Visits

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American President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. In 2003, American artist Abe Linkoln offers his own form of dada-inspired data-emancipation with

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Light Up the Sky

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I heard from a friend who works in fashion that Ralph Lauren is aiming to 'brand the sky.' The firmament may not remain free from rampant commodification for long but at least artists are up there also, bringing the atmosphere to life in novel ways. Case in point, 'Amodal Suspension,' a large-scale installation by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer to take place from 1-24 November in Yamaguchi, Japan. Project participants will send messages via cell phones or web browsers connected to www.amodal.net. Each message will be encoded as a unique set of flashes and redirected into Yamaguchi's celestial sphere by robotically-controlled lights. Lozano-Hemmer has engineered the project such that each transmitted message will be translated automatically between Japanese and English, acknowledging what the press release calls the 'irony of globalisation.' The clouds of data will indeed offer a number of coded messages, and besides visualizing the traffic of information, they also look stunningly beautiful. -- Rachel Greene

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Take A Left at the Carlyle Group

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If you feel lost just thinking about global culture, Bureau d'Etudes may have some navigational tools for you. An art collective based in France, BDE creates graphical maps of relationships of power, like those existing between financial institutions, nation states and military operations. The often complex flow charts, featuring jumbles of pictographs, texts, and connecting circuitry, offer visual representations of abstractions such as the 'military industrial complex' and 'world government.' Critic Brian Holmes' essay, 'Cartography of Excess,' available on the Bureau d'Etudes site, is recommended for further insight into the practice and relevance of mapping as a creative and resistant form of culture. Most maps are available as PDF files in both English and French. - Ryan Griffis

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Balkanize It!

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The Balkans has often been constructed as Europe's heart of darkness - barbarian, exotic, anarchic, with constantly shifting geographical and political borders. Like a virus, Balkanism can flow upstream along the Danube to infect Austria, Germany - perhaps the entire civilised world. Last April, 7 Austrian artists undertook a tour of the Balkans, accompanied by 2 Serbian artists. Their travels are documented in a web site, an 'interactive map of the mental Balkans,' and a live multimedia performance to take place in Graz, Austria on Saturday, 18 October. To add your own thoughts about the Balkans, visit the web site and chose an area on the map to Balkanize by uploading an image, text or sound; or browse through the diverse Balkanistic experiences and opinions of others. - Helen Varley Jamieson

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Swoosh, They Did It Again

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Now that most sports arenas and events have been tagged by sponsors, what else is left to brand for the mobile and hip transnational corporation? Always a pioneer in PR, Nike has uncovered a yet untapped frontier for name placement: the historic squares of urban Europe. The first location for Nike's new campaign is Vienna's Karlsplatz, now known as 'Nikeplatz.' In order to promote the Nike lifestyle to the Viennese public, a seductive 'Info Box' has been installed in the square. There, visitors can learn about the 18 m high monumental swoosh to be built on the square (soon) and the commemorative Turbulence III sneaker (both in celebration of Nikeplatz). Part of a campaign named 'Nikeground,' Nikeplatz is just the first of many international cities that will be upgraded to a Nike City. OK, in case you are filled with dread and fear, you can relax: Nikeground is actually a new project by the always provocative European art group 0100101110101101.ORG in cooperation with Vienna's Public Netbase. But, I bet Phil Knight is thinking... -Ryan Griffis

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The Loughton Candidate's Homepage

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While the Cremaster Cycle by Matthew Barney is so sprawling that it requires museum-scale installation, the web site for the five part project reveals that the opus actually lends itself to online aesthetics. As gorgeous and designed as each element seems, their rhetorical and narrative contexts are complex and often hermetic, and therefore the features of the web site -- the diagramming of characters (family tree style), identification of key sculptures and the provision of synopses, video trailers, and supplemental information -- are all helpful in penetrating Barney's deliberately complex oeuvre. Makeup, prosthetics, gonadal perversity, ascension, descent -- all the Barney hallmarks are represented in this online version. Highly recommended as a supplement and learning tool for those who want to move beyond the Cremaster-hype and engage the artist's socio-biological, post-human, and occasionally Vaudevillian, mythology. -- Rachel Greene

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Poll Position

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Rhizome.org has been publishing Net Art News three times a week for the last couple of months and before restoring our former publication schedule of five days per week, we thought we should poll readers and consider their preferences. Our aim is to find a publication frequency in line with our readers' habits. Please take a moment to let us know how many times per week you would like to receive Net Art News. Thanks in advance for your participation. -- Rhizome Staff

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