Posts for October 2004

Welcome to The New New York City

(0)

Even before it had a name, the event was coming. Now, dubbed Spectropolis: Mobile Art, Media and The City, it's here. Convening panels, workshops and projects in Lower Manhattan over three days (Oct 1-3), Spectropolis explores how pioneering uses of communication technologies are generating new modes of urban experience and civic participation. Some of the projects have recently been put to use. Bikes Against Bush, for example, were downloading text messages of dissent and chalking them onto city sidewalks during the RNC. Others pose new ways to interface with the city. free103point9's Micro Radio Sound Walk modifies street sounds and feeds them back live into the participant's headphones to create walking tours of the city like it’s never been heard before. Umbrella.net by Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Katherine Moriwaki experiments with the ad-hoc development of networks around Manhattan prompted by chance occurences or coincidence. The workshops offer practical information, such as how to build your own community network or make your own GPS drawing. And the panels, moderated by Jonah Peretti, Laura Forlano and Anthony Townsend, frame these diverse applications of mobile technology with discussions around their history and potential for wider social effect. See the site for a full schedule. - Lauren Cornell

MORE »


Expressing the Art Gene

(0)

From the very beginning of its public life in the early 1970s, transgenic technology has been a controversial subject. Both 'high' and 'low' cultures have latched onto the image of genes and DNA as a new input into the decades old opposition between nature and nurture. Of course, as many scientists, and even artists, have pointed out, the matter is more complex, and the stakes are higher, than such terms can describe. What role is art playing in furthering our understanding of these technological and philosophical changes in how we view (and produce) life? A new colloquium on art and biotech, to be held at the Musée d'Art Contemporain in Montréal, will investigate some of the possibilities for answering such a question. From October 5-8, the numerous speakers and participants, including artists Suzanne Anker, Steve Kurtz and Eduardo Kac, will present their work and ideas on the themes of 'Intersections of Biology, Aesthetics and Ethics,' 'Artificial Life,' 'Genetic Art/Hybrids,' and 'Representations and Critical Strategies.' Registration can be completed on the website. - Ryan Griffis

MORE »


Political Pomp for the People

(0)

The season of political sermons is upon us, that special time of the year when not only candidates, but neighbors, colleagues and friends are busy voicing decisive opinions to the public. Unlike our presidential candidates however, whose political parlance is often delivered to attentive crowds, the wise words of the standard citizen are often lost on deaf ears. Vox Populi, New York based Canadian artist Don Ritter's newest interactive artwork, comes to remedy this disappointing state of affairs. In Vox Populi, a video projected crowd chants 'speech, speech' and encourages visitors to step up to the lectern, speak through a microphone and hear their words amplified throughout the space. A teleprompter located within the lectern scrolls political speeches for the reciting pleasure of the participant, and the crowd on the video screen reacts with varying degrees of support and repulsion. Enjoy the supportive cheers of the many projected faces, but be prepared for their blaring jeers if you falter in your phrasing. Vox Populi is at Jack the Pelican Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn until October 9. - Ophra Wolf

MORE »


Hacktivist Intertexts

(0)

Julia Kristeva's notion of intertextuality looks at the complex ways in which a given text is related to other texts. She claimed that every document is, in some way, a mosaic of other texts; every text is an absorption and transformation of others. Regime Change, the first of two, turbulence commissioned, textual instruments by Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Brion Moss, David Durand, and Elaine Froehlich, literalizes and plays on Kristeva's connections. Beginning with a news article excerpt on Iraq, from April 2003, participants hyperlink between short passages from the Warren Commission, and back again. Viewers-turned-performers then jump between layers, and can add text back into the pieces preceding them. Eventually, the generated, mosaic texts become familiar committee-speak, requiring only contemporary names for us to read them as any contemporary subject: the 9-11 commission, Osama = Saddam, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth... And one bonus for dedicated players: with enough interaction, Regime Change's behavior shifts slightly, allowing your intertext re-mix to include a bit of the unexpected in uncanny ways. - Nathaniel Stern

MORE »


Why Are There No Radical Feminists On Television?

(0)

No friends, this is not the lead up to a reactionary punch line, but rather a question that underlies Pilot TV, a 4-day public access happening in Chicago that begins today. Subtitled 'Experimental Media for Feminist Trespass', Pilot TV explores the intersections of feminism and public broadcast through 50 'pilot' programs produced in a warehouse temporarily turned television studio. Several of the programs hijack the format of stock cable fare. Stephen Remington's anti-Bush workout pumps participants 'towards a new kind of America'. While in 'Extreme Takeover', Edie Fake offers her body up to an open call for 'grafting, tattooing, gluing, embroidering and fringing'. Multi-media lectures on Early 70‚s Video Collectives and ACT-UP situate the event in a trajectory of media activism. These earlier actions are echoed in contemporary art, performed and presented for the camera. Tara Mateik will read the manifesto of SBI (Society for Biological Insurgents) and demonstrate the ways it lives up to its mission of overthrowing 'institutions of compulsory gender through the code'. Stay tuned for the pilot programs on public access following the event. If you are in or near Chicago this weekend, see the site to find out how you can get involved. - Lauren Cornell

MORE »


Está aquí, está allí

(0)

If you were to plan a trip to Tijuana, where would you start? Expedia, Travelocity, Hotels.com? The web's role in commercial travel is difficult to overestimate. Hopefully, other forms of information about places, ones more enlightening and critical than e-commerce tourist guides, are being accessed as well. If you're planning on visiting the US-Mexico border region surrounding San Diego and Tijuana, may I suggest taking a look at the new inSite_05 website? Since 1992, the inSite program has explored the aesthetics, politics, economics, and otherwise everyday aspects of life in and around the US-Mexico border region between San Diego and Tijuana. While the main thrust of inSite lies in its direct engagement with physical sites through artists' interventions and staged discussions, the web is also becoming a critical point of contact. This year's 'Scenarios' component of the program will feature an online exhibition curated by former Rhizome Director Mark Tribe and an online/offline archive project by Berlin-based curator Ute Meta Bauer. But don't look for any utopian claims about virtual border crossing, these projects promise to keep their wires rooted in the ground. - Ryan Griffis

MORE »


We Will Not Disappear

(0)

Ghostly figures materialise and dissolve as a relentless roll-call marches silently past; these are the names of disappeared women of Juarez, to whom the site gender[f] is dedicated. In the upper part of the screen the user has control, scrolling through a list of women artists and browsing the artworks that have been gathered together in this project. The interface neatly reflects the differences in the daily realities of women in the contemporary world, which ties into the theme of the work. While the world's politicians and media focus on an externalised 'war on terror', women everywhere continue to survive their individual wars and terrors. The works - contributed by 48 women artists - range across the bizarre, painful, hopeful and hilarious landscape of female realities, touching on everything from cyber-activism to religion to recontextualising Barbie. gender[f] has carved out a space within the digital sphere for these vital voices and experiences to be heard. - Helen Varley Jamieson.

MORE »


Like Putty in Your Hands

(0)

The act of rendering and manipulating the image of another - often in ridiculous and derisive ways - is an act of protest. Using political figures as amenable objects is a satisfying way of assuming control over a subject whose policies directly affect our lives and sense of nationhood. A traditional stomping grounds for editorial cartoonists, political criticism through caricature is something that newspaper readers have enjoyed vicariously for years. But not anymore. Now, with Subservient President, you assume the role of Commander-in-Chief and George W. Bush is your boy toy. Modeled after Burger King's Subservient Chicken, the site lets visitors type in commands that an animated Dubya responds to. Not all commands will work - 'sing' doesn't make anything happen, but 'drink' and 'dance' sure do. Sometimes he just shrugs or scratches his head, and other times he prompts the user by typing messages like 'ask me about my foreign policy' or 'I took a new oath of office' on his own computer. Click on the FAQ link and you can read about how the site works and enjoy some very funny political commentary at the same time. Jeanne Randolf would be proud. - Peggy MacKinnon

MORE »


Didn't You Know? Democracy Is Fun!

(0)

For those of you who feel weighed down by the impending turmoil of the upcoming US presidential elections, curators Michele Thursz and Defne Ayas have prepared an exhibit to remind us all that democracy can be both fun and inventive. Democracy is Fun! showcases artist-led actions that respond to our politically tense times by putting both humor and technology to creative use. The seed for many of the actions in the exhibit was the 2004 Republican National Convention in NYC, which sent hoards of artists on a whirlwind of creative protests. The works in Democracy is Fun! are characterized by an appropriation of the media of alternative culture - net art, video art, performance and installation - as tools for awakening the political and social consciousness of the urban masses. Some of you might remember the Experimental Party's online Homeland Insecurity Advisory System, the Imagine Festival of Arts Issues and Ideas, the CoDECK, and the massive Bikes Against Bush protest, which was taken off the streets before it could go online. These and many other projects are at The White Box gallery in Chelsea, NYC, opening on October 21 and running until November 6. - Ophra Wolf

MORE »


Whose Speech? Our Speech!

(0)

Thanks to the efforts of many artists, writers, and scientists, the FBI's baseless prosecution of Critical Art Ensemble co-founder Steve Kurtz and University of Pittsburgh Geneticist Dr. Robert Ferrell is a well known story in the arts community. With the help of press coverage in such high profile art periodicals as ArtForum and Art in America, not to mention mainstream news sources like the New York Times and CNN, the grassroots-organized legal defense fund has raised thirty thousand dollars. Unfortunately, Kurtz's defense is expected to cost around five times that amount. One major component of the fundraising has been benefit events of all kinds, from art auctions in Portland, Oregon to DJ shows in London. One more effort to add to the list (and funds) is 'Biofeedback,' a NYC event featuring a line up of musical acts and an appearance by performance artist Martha Wilson as Barbara Bush. The event starts at 8pm on Thursday, October 21 at Tonic. - Ryan Griffis

MORE »