Posts for 2004

Stuck on Buck

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What do Dr. Suess, Henry Mancini, Lewis and Clark and R. Buckminster Fuller have in common? Well, starting July 12 all of their faces will grace US first class stamps issued in 2004. The US Postal Service is honoring the fiftieth anniversary of Fuller's patent for the geodesic dome with a 37cent stamp that morphs the visionary's head with the triangulated surface of his famous structure complete with his signature black frames. Ditch the I-heart-you and garden bouquet stamps and send a message of design innovation and technoartistry with each bill and letter you send this summer. Heck, you might even be inspired to catch up on all of your snail mail correspondence. Before you head to the back of the line at your local post office, check out the US Postal Service website: www.usps.com where you buy Bucky stamps in sheets of 20 and have them mailed to your Dymaxion House or wherever you call home. - Gloria Sutton

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52 weeks, 52 works

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In South Africa, while access to the networked medium - and certainly to broadband - is fairly limited, the gravity of public interventions to wide audiences is no less an important artistic forum. For these reasons, Capetonian artists James Webb and Thomas Cartwright initiated the 52weeks52works project. Participants are asked to create and publicly display one work of art every week over the course of a year. The website then acts as an archive of work (or the lack thereof, when a week is missed) and of its presentation. Contributing artists, mostly based in South Africa, are also in the US, Japan, Germany and Sri Lanka. The weekly projects range from workshops and exhibitions, to street performances, bathroom installations, street-pole signs and net.art. Some work is witty and dry, some political or even in toilet humor style; a lot are simply dead-end experiments, but pique attention regardless. Overall, we're watching the slow, but steady transformation of a mostly banal archive into a teeming public art project. The facilitators have reopened their call - if latecomers want to join the online, un-curated archive / exhibition / performance, visit the site and Email James Webb for more information. - Nathaniel Stern

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Socket to me!

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There's a storm brewing and everyone's invited! Electric Weekend is a series of free events celebrating the launch of b3 media's new Brixton stronghold, Electric Avenue Studios. Curated by ELECTRA co-director Lina Russell, artists' talks, screenings, and network actions will channel London's interventionalist media arts scene as vital, mappable current primed for public combustion. Apt conductors will be made of spectators participating in DIY and BYOMedia happenings like Emma Hedditch's 'Video Home, Come On', an amalgamating montage of home-movie clips to be collected on-site from willing exhibitionists. Sarai Media Lab's Cybermohalla project recreates an Indian mohalla (dense urban neighborhood) online through the diaristic expressions of working class youth in Delhi. British net art collective low-fi and Irational.org veteran Rachel Baker will unveil new projects and get synaptic with each other, producing a participatory 'node drawing' stemming from Baker's forthcoming 'media arts mapping tool', which will track and visualize circuits of funding and influence for new media in the UK. This weekend, June 26 and 27, slide down to Electric Avenue Studios in Brixton, South London and land yourself in the eye of the storm: suit up and plug in. - Kevin McGarry

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Movin' with rand()%

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Every night, I dream of a vast machine. It eternally shuffles quantum states; it churns all the integers of a complex equilibrium. It's sound that is at the same time landscape; pure extension and span. This condition has persisted for weeks, and I blame it on artists Tom Betts and Joe Gilmore, whose rand()% project seems to have commandeered my RealOne Player. Commissioned by Huddersfield England's Media Centre Network, this internet radio station devotes itself entirely to generative and algorithmically mediated music. Every program rand()% plays is composed afresh in real time; in essence, it's a soundbot. With talents like Itialian digital artist Lia and late German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen in the mix, I'm finding it very hard to sleep. - Lewis LaCook

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Radio Art: Is There Life After Death?

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Radio has been such a neglected medium, and for so long that 'radio art' scarcely exists in the U.S. today. WPS1, a 24-hour internet-only radio station put together by MoMA and P.S.1, seeks to change all that. Drawing on the vast audio archives of MoMA, as well as on the knowledge and collections of their Curator of Contemporary Music - downtown composer/ guitarist Elliot Sharp - and invited appearances by notable DJs and musicians like David Grubbs and Kim Cascone each week, the station finds a way to use radio as more than a transmission device: radio as a means of exploring art. Shows with people like radio-artist Gregory Whitehead confront this problem head-on, while others, like writer Linda Yablonsksy's show featuring famous, creative couples playing and talking about their favorite music, let the sounds themselves tell stories that would otherwise remain secret. After the demise of New American Radio several years ago, the launch of WPS1 provides a viable hope for the future of radio art in this country. - Andrew Choate

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Squatters' Writes

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Bruce Barber knows squat, and he's not afraid to talk about it. The artist/writer/curator/ teaches Media Art, Historical and Critical Studies at NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia -- a city whose easygoing lifestyle and derelict buildings have made it the squatters' Mecca of eastern Canada. Novel Squat is the latest project in a series of interventions involving homelessness and the production of art. Capitalizing on the internet's capacity for dialogical, collaborative, interactive artmaking, Barber adds to the theoretical discourse surrounding the sociocultural and political implications of littoralist art practice. The site gives a history of previous Squats that saw Barber and colleagues offered homeless writers abandoned urban spaces, each fitted with a webcam, in which to live and work, all in the public eye. Visitors can check out multimedia documentation of those projects, read essays on littoral art, collaborate in an online novel project, or download the 'squatscreen.' A Room of One's Own just got bigger. - Peggy MacKinnon

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Interstate Interventions (correct URL)

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Why restrict anti-war commentary to the information superhighway, when the original, concrete-and-asphalt superhighways beckon? That's the back-to-meatspace guerrilla ethos behind Freewayblogging, a site that advocates a low-tech means to reach thousands of captive eyeballs: hanging posters on overpasses and signs with punchy, simple messages. The site includes a fotoblog of placards from around the U.S.-- ranging from old standbys like 'Bush Lied' and 'Who Would Jesus Bomb?' to more inventive invectives like 'You can have my gun when you pry it from the hands of my cold, dead child' and the enigmatic 'Chimpeach', as well a how-to guide of tried-and-true poster-hanging maneuvers like 'The Nighthawk' and 'The Hidden Dragon'. By providing a cleaning house of past posters, Freewayblogging serves as a vector for slogan-spreading. With right-wing talk-radio clogging American drivetime airwaves, why not offer commuters a political alternative? - Ed Halter

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Interstate Interventions

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Why restrict anti-war commentary to the information superhighway, when the original, concrete-and-asphalt superhighways beckon? That's the back-to-meatspace guerrilla ethos behind Freewayblogging, a site that advocates a low-tech means to reach thousands of captive eyeballs: hanging posters on overpasses and signs with punchy, simple messages. The site includes a fotoblog of placards from around the U.S.-- ranging from old standbys like 'Bush Lied' and 'Who Would Jesus Bomb?' to more inventive invectives like 'You can have my gun when you pry it from the hands of my cold, dead child' and the enigmatic 'Chimpeach', as well a how-to guide of tried-and-true poster-hanging maneuvers like 'The Nighthawk' and 'The Hidden Dragon'. By providing a cleaning house of past posters, Freewayblogging serves as a vector for slogan-spreading. With right-wing talk-radio clogging American drivetime airwaves, why not offer commuters a political alternative? - Ed Halter

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Go OFFF

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'I am not a digital artist, I am a' is the open-ended theme of the fourth edition of OFFF, a meeting, melting of, 'experimental audio and unusual video'. Over the first three days of July in Valencia, Spain an international mix will meet to fill in the blank of the theme, or more likely, to realize there can be no one definition in the digi-world. Conference presentations extend from urban art trends to CSS-XHTML standards. The Mercadilo marketplace offers a swapmeet of ideas and products, while the Open Room presents work that utilize, as medium for production or inspiration, digital technology. In the Machina works from the Film Festival can be seen in the format they were meant to be. The melange includes the UK's luv2.tv questioning the responsibilities of today's digital artists, Manila's Inksurge and a retrospective of 'Once upon a forest', the work of Joshua Davis, winner of the 2001 Prix Ars Electronica. If you can't get to the Mediterranean, just the website can take you on a trip. - Bronwyn Mahoney

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Is Free Speech a Form of Terrorism?

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In the dim morning hours of May 11, 2004, American artist Steve Kurtz, a member of the internationally-acclaimed art collective Critical Art Ensemble, called 911 to tell dispatchers that his wife Hope had passed away in her sleep. When police arrived at the couple's Buffalo, New York, home, they discovered that Kurtz posessed a mobile DNA extraction laboratory, part of the Critical Art Ensemble's latest art project, 'Free Range Grain'. The small labortory was being used to test food for possible genetic tampering -- an endeavor quite in keeping with the Critical Art Ensemble's emphasis on revealing and resisting bio-imperialism. Saturated with post-September 11 anti-terror rhetoric, the police called in the FBI to investigate, and, on June 8, seven subpoenas were issued to artists associated with the Critical Art Ensemble, including Kurtz. The artists are to appear before a Federal Grand Jury on June 15. A protest is being planned for the same day at 9 a.m. outside the courthouse in Buffalo, New York, at 138 Delaware Ave. A defense fund has also been established, and suggestions for ways to support Kurtz and the Critical Art Ensemble are available on the CAE Defense Fund website. - Lewis LaCook

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