Posts for October 2004

Cultivating Trans Cultures

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Paola Gaetano Adi has begun to conduct experiments in bodily fusion at a distance. Her collaborative 'transBody' project invites artists and amateurs everywhere to donate sets of virtual limbs. By attaching video cameras to their waists, pointed upward or downward, and filming their bodies in motion, viewers can help to articulate Gaetano Adi's 'hybrid bodies'. Such are achieved by randomly projecting odd couples (each appropriately comprising a 'top' and a 'bottom') in quick succession. Ultimately, transBody may not prove transformative, for the crucial task of redefining and re-imagining the body calls for more than spectacular splicing, which leaves the viewer’s own somatic self altogether intact. The same goes for redoing gender. (The 'gentleman' icon that serves as the projects online emblem suggests that this mission, too, concerns Gaetano Adi.) Still, interested bodies are encouraged to submit their better halves for sixty-second, Centaurian screenings. An initial sampling of hybrid creatures will be shown December 1-4 at the Centro Cultural España in Cordoba, Argentina. - Ramsey McGlazer

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Which Way Home?

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There are more ways to map a city than MapQuest could possibly take on. Consider your own strategies: is it according to streets and avenues, or the people and places to which they lead? Where traditional maps drop off, locative media comes in, wedding art and technology and opening up the world of creative cartography. Artist Sylvia Grace Borda took on the task of mapping the city of Surrey, which spans 380 square kilometers in British Columbia, by photographing every one of its more than 1400 bus stops. In order to do this, she walked, biked, drove and rode busses through the city, collecting stories and pictures along the way. The result is Every Bus Stop in Surrey, BC, a database of photographs that offer digital maps or 'snapshots' of Surrey's diverse geography and neighborhoods. The project is presented as a 38-minute DVD film of photographs projected at 2-second intervals, an interactive kiosk that provides access to all 1600 images, and a series of printed photographs. For those to whom the Surrey Art Gallery is off the map, the project is also available online. - Ophra Wolf

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When the Cat's Away

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What would happen if we fired all the curators? Would the art world disintegrate into chaos - no traffic cops, no mediators? Two years ago Irish net artist Conor McGarrigle decided to try it, on-line. The first Stunned Net Art Open, conceived 'to provide an exhibition free of curatorial bias which presents a true snapshot of the state of the art today,' accepted any and all net art creations with no qualifying criteria. A huge response in 2002 and 2003 prompted technical innovations for this year's show, which allow a maximum of viewing with a minimum of clicking. Now each work is individually blogged, and every three days there's a fresh one posted. Or if you prefer, access the RSS and XML feeds so you won't miss a thing. Projects range from Nicolas Clauss's painterly 'White Vibes' to John Gerrard's politically-charged 'Slow Death,' with ongoing new entries. So far everything looks smart, diverse and relevant - nothing stunned about it. - Peggy MacKinnon

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Issue Oriented Programming

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A New Yorker cartoon, celebrating the utopian belief in the mutability of identities online once featured a dog stating as axiomatic, 'On the internet, no one knows you're a dog.' To which, bay area techno-activist Art McGee sharply retorted, 'What's wrong with being a dog?' While there are now more channels for discussion and research into the relationships between race, gender, economies and geographies and that elusive construct 'cyberspace,' the discussion has only really begun. A new email list, dedicated to exploring the role of feminist, postcolonial and queer scholars and activists in internet research, should help broaden the terrain. Developed from affinity group meetings during an Association of Internet Researchers' Conference, the list promises to provide a forum for the discussion of topics concerning the intersection of identity, politics and technology. - Ryan Griffis

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