Posts for August 2004

The Dandy Warhols

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Register, log in, and dish: a star is born! Blogging has transposed the routes of private and public and placed cyber-celebrity, or at least editorial sovereignty, within reach of anyone craving 15 minutes, or more likely, much, much longer. To compose 'Diary of a Star', for twelve months Los Angeles net artist Eduardo Navas will blog selected contents of 'The Andy Warhol Diaries'. Posthumously edited and published by friend Pat Hackett, 'The Diaries' is Andy's meticulous ten-year account of tax write-offs and affiliated social engagements - porno rags (research), dinners with Jackie O, and loads of cabs. Adjacent to these entries, which are signed 'dandy', is a column of reverberant musings penned by 'meta-dandy'. Navas' accompanying text 'Andy: Meta-dandy' takes on Warhol as the potential postmodern doppelganger of Baudelaire's dandy (or flaneur), both of whom wandered crowds with disinterest and unrelenting perspicacity. Similarly, our third dandy, Navas, engages in pseudo-anonymous online amblings to find hyperlinks for key players in the journals like 'Bianca Jagger', 'Famous Amos', and 'Fire Island'. This generational daisy chain of dandies, editorial siftings, and redistributed texts foregrounds 'new media's dependency on metalanguages to function', he says. It would be our turn, then, to wander and revise. - Kevin McGarry

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Looking at You Looking at Me

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Since the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq began, the nature and meaning of war photography have dramatically changed. With so many soldiers disseminating digital images, the major news media outlets are no longer necessarily the most useful source for visual information. Camera/Iraq, a project of Ratchet Up and the Carleton College Cinema and Media Studies Department, is the newest to attempt to make sense of images of the occupation. Addressing everything from the depictions of the Abu Ghraib torture to the televised U.S. congressional hearings to the censored videos of American soldiers' coffins to photographic technique, it's a forum for posting links, essays, thoughts, and pictures. Camera/Iraq turns the democratization of the image on its head by forcing participants to view thoughtfully and carefully, recognizing the ever-generating connections and growing masses of data surrounding even the least seemingly volatile images. Multiplying the connections among media, military action, participation, spectatorship, technology, and violence, the weblog does the important work of acting on the images that have themselves generated such energy around the world. - Christine Smallwood

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Art Idol

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Whilst artist-cum-business woman replic**t's merger between art and commerce remains as elusive as her identity and merchandise, it seems San Francisco based artist and curator Marisa Olson is through to the next round! Her American Idol Audition blog documenting her, hopefully successful, American Idol audition campaign promises to make her quite the star! Of course one could say that Warhol has been there and printed the T-shirt, and post dotcoms/dotstore, who's interested? - but is this new wave of pop peddlers pushing something different? In the e-age of access and freedom of speech, where networked critique reigns, are artists bored with diluted discourse and hunting more visible validators? And if so is Simon Cowell, successful business man and forthright critic, what they (talent) are searching for? Forget 'society of the spectacle', with the often terse talk on mailing lists, are we heading for the vanguard of vitriol? And do we want caustic criticism over creative commons? Well Olson's public blog could become an invaluable resource ;-) and might just provide some relief from the fever pitch of the America's bigger political talent search! - Charlotte Frost

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Snug Lit

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Based on its doodle-y typeface and the snapshot of a young woman in a red wig on the homepage, one might think that the mini-Mag was a light-hearted, slightly dopey online literary magazine. One would only be partly wrong. The mini-Mag is light in spirit, but serious in terms of its mission: to publish writers whose work is 'outside the ordinary'. Exactly what that means is up to the reader to conjecture. Editor August Highland's bio states that he invented 'Mediated Narrative Repatterning' and 'Formal Spam', but the site shows no particular leanings toward avant-garde writings or hyper-lit. Mainly, Highland wishes to avoid easy categorization, and in fact many entries are quite traditional. What makes this site so compelling is its international scope. The easily navigable pages contain work from all over the world and in different languages. The mini-Mag may yet be 'mini' in size, but it compensates with the scale of its ambition. - Claire Barliant

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Mrs. Brown, I presume?

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In her 1924 paper, 'Mr Bennet and Mrs Brown,' Virginia Woolf proclaimed that in order for a novel to be interesting, it must express its characters. It must stray from the British, 'clumsy, verbose and undramatic' form that had evolved up until the turn of the century. Fiction, she argued, had shifted from thematic to formal. I believe that Woolf's mantras are beautifully, but subtly, embodied in Peter Horvath's latest work, 'Intervals', commissioned by turbulence.org. The network is used as a portal into this net.art piece, where there's no questioning his unique and provocative use of the browser as a cinematic tool for character-based vignettes. Windows as prosceniums, curtains and keyholes paint pictures of uncanny personalities, asking us to re-member alongside a narrative that may or may not be at the tip of our own tongues. - nathaniel stern

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Spyware and Trojans and Worms, Oh My!

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So who hasn't been suckered by a computer virus? Most of us have, and it's a pain in the ass - private citizen or multinational corporation, no one is immune. If you've been on the receiving end too long and feel like wreaking your own cyber mayhem you can unleash your demons at Digitalcraft.org. Produced by a team led by Frankfurt-based Franziska Nori and supported by Tokyo's Trend Micro, I Love You [rev.eng] is an interdisciplinary exploration of the computer virus in all its myriad incarnations - as sociocultural phenomenon, as work of art, and as an expression of the internet as democratic medium. Viewers can explore the aesthetics of computer viruses in a hands-on way with installations that let you infect data yourself, assemble your own viruses and witness the inner workings of a simulated global virus outbreak. Sneha Solankis‚ 'The Lovers' sees two computers infect each other, while 'Obfuscated C Codes' presents hotdog programmers at their finest. The show breaks out at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, from September 11th to October 4th before spreading to the Museum for Communication in Copenhagen, Denmark, where it will continue to fester from October 7th to November 14th. - Peggy MacKinnon

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Memories of the Future

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Ars Electronica's 't+25 timeline' project is part of the festival's 25th anniversary celebration, and is in accordance with this year's theme, 'TIMESHIFT - the World in Twenty-Five Years.' The net.art site asks viewers to make predictions of what is to come over the next 25 years, and/or to vote on the validity of predictions others have already made. Although Philip K. Dick might've warned against such predictions (in nearly all of his books and short stories, when I think about it), without Jules Verne's dreams of the Nautilus, who knows when we would have ventured 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? But surfing these would-be sci-fi writers online might not show what you expect; so far, and in line with growing distaste for the current US administration amongst digital communities, nearly all of the entries are cynical big-brother-like predictions of corporations, AIDS and Bushes still ruling the world. Oh, but apparently one good thing is that Linux eventually wins out over Windows. - Nathaniel Stern

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Auction Action

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Customs forged by the Ebay dominion are axioms of online economy and contemporary supply-demand community. The dotcom stalwart is itself dually legitimate medium for net art as well as an opportune site for experimentation and performance within and in defiance of the protocols of E-commerce. The tradition of Ebay-negotiated art actions has been chronicled by New York artist Jillian Mcdonald in 'EBAY: Buy or Sell or Buy', and now is your last chance to explore this formative exhibition online at Pace University's Digital Gallery, through September 6th. Carlo Zanni's 'Ebay Landscape' mines the virtual auction house for quantitative resources: stock quotes he datavisualizes as a craggy horizon describing part of a 'live' (hit refresh) wilderness. Eteam contracts Ebay as a real estate agent through which they click-purchase a plot of earth in Utah, '1.1 Acre Flat Screen', onto which they project an increase in value that is mediated by an Ebay resale. Rather than measuring art by mountains or market price, Nicholas Dumit Estevez puppeteers Ebay to transubstantiate a bid of $152.50 (precisely the going rate for Keith Obadike's 'Blackness') into pure artistic expression in 'Consartcration: Free Art For Sale', of which the winning bidder pays only fees owed to Ebay in order to inherit her prize. - Kevin McGarry

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Lie of the Storm

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With the Republican National Convention approaching, the media circus is headed into NYC and those with discerning tastes are sure to be selective about where they get their disinformation. An excellent source might be the Experimental Party DisInformation Center, a state-of-the-art media installation presented by the US Department of Art opening on Saturday, August 21 at LUXE Gallery. Featured projects include the Media Deconstruction Kit (MDK), live altering of broadcast news and Convention coverage; Society of the Spectacle, a ten-minute DVD art-loop by DJRABBI; WetheBlog.org, a virtual community for media artists and cultural critics; the Homeland Insecurity Advisory System, broadcasting the daily governmental threat levels; Awaken, a dark portrayal of the Spirit of America; and Abe Golam for President 2004, a poly-vocal remix by a politically reborn avatar-candidate. The opening celebration will feature special appearances by Axis of Eve, Billionaires for Bush, Armed Artists of America (AAA), USA Exquisite Corpse, and others, as well as Martinis made with a top-secret Experimental Party recipe. All visitors are encouraged to 'bring your own propaganda' (BYOP). - Ophra Wolf

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Here's Lookin' at you, George!

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It doesn't take Foucault to see we're living in a surveillance culture. Ever since 9/11 big brother's been watching and encouraging us to spy on each other -- so much so that we sometimes miss really important stuff, like what the government's getting up to. But populations can, and do, subvert the panopticon by appropriating the tools of surveillance, redeploying them in ways that restore power to the populace. The Republican National Convention smashes into New York at the end of the month, and folks from Pursue the Pulse Media Arts Collective (Mark Argo, Dan Melinger, Shawn Van Every, Ahmi Wolf, and Ophra Wolf) have a special surprise to welcome delegates. The CoDeck is built around a late-70's Sears Betavision videocassette recorder refurbished for Linux. The platform consists of a web server, a video playback system, and a video capture system 'effectively a private TV channel' where people can submit self-made videos and view others' submissions, reacting and responding to each other's takes on the political clime in an open, street-based dialectic. Right now you can submit online, but from August 23 on, you RNC in-person spectators hit alt.coffee (139 Avenue A) to do your own spin doctoring. - Peggy MacKinnon

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