Posts for May 2005

Just Obey Your Ads

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The chipper, poignant and irksome imperatives launched from all corners of daily routine by competing companies permeate our commutes, grocery lists, and vernaculars. Current mantras like 'Laugh More. Cry More. Experience More.' (Blockbuster), 'Try Being More Of A Woman!' (Coty Perfume) and 'Get the Most Incredible Memory Ever.' (Dell) make big demands or promises to their targets! The Institute for Infinitely Small Things, based in and out of Boston, endeavors to compile authoritative research on this topic, comprising a project called The International Database of Corporate Commands. In the opinion that these commands function within society and public consciousness on a nano level that is virtual and powerful, the white-lab-coated Institute invites researchers from all over the world to upload documentation of corporate commands to their online database. By gathering them all in one place and enacting certain slogans in real spaces--a recent flash-mob-meets-teach-in 'microperformance' at a Cingular store produced 10 minutes of literal 'Roll(ing)over'--the institute hopes to produce a better understanding of the ramifications of constant commercial programming. If you'll be in Boston, come visit the Institute on Saturday and Sunday afternoons (2PM) at Space 200 (200 State Street). - Kevin McGarry

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Rhizome Promotion: Hosting Bundle Pack

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Multiple domains causing a headache? Projects, blogs, and e-commerce side jobs running here, there, and everywhere? Why not simplify your online livelihood by administering all your websites through one, single hosting plan? Through May 9, Broadspire Hosting has arranged a special Bundle Pack for Rhizome members that includes up to five separate accounts for one monthly payment. Each account may take its own domain name and includes an individualized email account and web traffic stats. A total of 500MB storage space is to be divided among the five, however you like, and there's a roomy 10GB limit to monthly transfers. Daily data backups and 24/7 technical support as well! All for a $50.00 setup fee and $29.95 per month, plus the peace of mind of having everything under one roof, not to mention of keeping Rhizome healthy, active and multivalent. - Rhizome.org

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Catching The 'Media' Bug

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How often do we hum along to a song that we are not currently listening to? Or recite jokes from ads we don't remember seeing? These types of media could be considered, 'contagious,' or so deeply entrenched in the culture and psyche of our daily lives that they seem as natural as our normal routines. This phenomenon is outlined in Malcolm Gladwell's book, 'The Tipping Point,' which outlines the conditions necessary for cultural contagion to grow. In the online world, 'contagious media' might take the form of forwarded emails, obscure websites, senseless animations, or re-mixed video and audio samples. These snippets or cultural artifacts are the focus of 'Contagious Media,' a show of works by siblings Jonah and Chelsea Peretti and curated by Rachel Greene. The show, now up at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City's Chelsea district, features installation and documentation of several contagious media projects by the duo (and their collaborators) including the infamous 'Nike Sweatshop' email forward and 'BlackPeopleLoveUs.com,' both of which have circulated through the inboxes and (dis)graced the browsers of millions worldwide. - Jonah Brucker-Cohen

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Crisis or Opportunity?

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CRISIS showcases the results of 6 micro-residencies by artists laurie halsey brown, Rob Kennedy, Manu Luksch, Sophia New, Miranda Whall, and Spencer Roberts & Anneke Pettican at Newcastle-based ISIS Arts. Embracing time-based formats such as evolving web archive, video, slide projection and news feed topography, much of the work derives its force from the instability of our media lifeworld--CCTV, 24-hour satellite news channels--and the teeming recombinations it affords. Manu Luksch's 'Faceless Online' is a video-in-process documenting a society populated by faceless humans. Their omni-surveilled reality is ruptured one day when a journalist finds that she does have a face, a cogent metaphor for the moment you realize you are on camera. halsey brown, meanwhile, takes on the built environment, in her Welkom to Rotterdam!, a website about the city with the densest concentration of architects of anywhere, and anywhere but Rotterdam is where these architects prefer to build. The projects all mine the subliminal slipstream of data overload with narrative schemas and affective logics that reveal it to be fragile--created and creative. - Marina Vishmidt

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It's Human Nature

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Before private ownership, all natural resources were open to everyone. But how open is nature today? Nature has always been a product of human perception, identified one day by our ancestors and continually discovered on macro and micro scales. Mechanisms such as DNA and ecosystems were named in the latter half of the 20th century; and now, we are simultaneously surrounded both by nature in its primal sense, as well as by its artificial and virtual derivations. The latter are becoming more and more real, and amalgamating with 'original nature.' The exhibition 'open nature' at InterCommunication Center (ICC), Tokyo, focuses on the technological, aesthetic and philosophical 'openness' of nature. Yukiko Shikata, ICC curator for the exhibition, says 'open nature presents several different approaches interpreting the new 'nature' that has emerged due to the development of digital information environments.' Artworks by visual and sound artists range from Robert Smithson's ‘Spiral Jetty’ (1970), to r a d i o q u a l i a's ongoing 'Radio Astronomy,' to Fukuhara Shiho and Georg Tremmel's (UK/Japan/Austria) new project 'Biopresence 2055,' for which they will embed human DNA in trees, transforming them into 'living memorials.' - Keisuke Oki

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Loose Knit Jewels

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'Fake is the New Real,' a website of homegrown miscellany coming from Chicago, is encyclopedic entertainment; in other words: just what the Internet is supposed to be, right? Goofy and clever, the collection traffics in random nuggets of processed information. Catalogues, hypotheses, and 'very low quality jpegs,' are presented alongside proposals for political re-districting. Each idea is simple and graphical, yet a collective complexity is evident in these numerous political maps, of the Electoral College, nuclear capable nations, world transit systems drawn to scale and Chicago, mile by mile. Reminiscent of Maira Kalman and Rick Meyerowitz's December 10, 2001 'New Yorker' cover--aka New Yorkistan--in 'Electoral College Reform,' the U S of A is divided into 50 equally populated parcels. The page that would ordinarily be named 'Links' has been dubbed 'It's the Song I Hate,' among other monikers, and it is the real deal! - Sara Greenberger

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11,000 Fahrenheit Degrees of Fun

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The Rolling Stones may be burdening us with yet another worldwide tour, but they're far from the oldest ticket in town. Rose Marshack, bassist of perennial Champaign-Urbana, Illinois outfit The Poster Children, is trying her hand at promoting an act that's got billions of years on Mick 'n' Keith: the setting sun. Marshack has enlisted the considerable services of Ticketmaster's Ticketweb division to hawk "Tickets to the Sunset." That’s right, for an unspecified charitable donation of two bucks (not including surcharge, of course), you can get your very own printed ticket to see Dryden's "glorious lamp of Heav'n" descend below the horizon ("Rain or shine, money-back guarantee if the sun does not set"). Marshack calls it a "time-based solar transaction," and wants you to know that t-shirts and posters are also available. Oh, and a Steve Albini-engineered field recording of the sun's March 16th setting in Chicago (on iTunes, Napster, Real, and all other non-analog mp3 outlets). Marshack hypothesizes that all of this entrepreneurialism will make people "feel justified or obligated to watch the sunset… The act of paying for something makes it seem more desirable, justifiable." Did I mention that t-shirts are available? - Andy Comer

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T to the Oogle

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Hot on the tails of art hacks that borrow the big G's latter five letters, such as Cory Arcangel's "Doogle" (which turns any search into a hunt for all things Doogie Howser) and Tsila Hassine's "Schmoogle" (which upturns PageRank and sorts the results of any Google search at random), the trouble-making UK collective C6 has released "Toogle." Billed on their homepage as "comprehensive image buggery on the web," "Toogle" (the T stands for text) is a search mechanism that matches a search string with an ASCII imitation of the corresponding top-ranked image by Google Image Search. Popular searches--such as "Bush," "Sex" and "Lindsay Lohan"--generate text-based likenesses composed of the words that have summoned them. This automatic dictionary of words defined by their Google-endorsed visual counterparts (and vice versa) imprints one (text) so deeply into the other (image) as to leave both only faintly recognizable. A nice foil to the authoritative master of logical answers that is Google. - Kevin McGarry

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How to Succeed in the Arts (by Really Trying)

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A New York gallerist once took the wind out of my sails by telling me "If you're not trying to make it to the top in this town, then GET OUT OF THE WAY!" Umm, what top? What way? ART*

@WORK, an exhibition organized by non-profit organization Ignivomous, offers a playful reproach to the sometimes grim, sometimes fruitful relationship between creative process and capitalist aspiration. Occupying an expanse of office space in Midtown Manhattan, ART*

@WORK includes fifteen artists--one per cubicle--whose installations are open to the public during official "office hours." Writer Tom Moody looks busy at work in his cubicle, but is really representing for the so-called "Bored at Work" network as he dreamily sketches portraits of celebrities and random faces with the Paintbrush.exe program. Cat Mazza recalls less luxurious working conditions with a knitting machine programmed with the web application knitPro to weave corporate logos of sweatshop offenders into clothing. Including new media, performance, sculpture and sound, ART*

@WORK presents artists whose innovative practices (not just products) prove that working in collaborative, lateral ways can be a more powerful expression of success than shooting solo to the proverbial top. - Lauren Cornell

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Do Not Exist (by June 23rd)

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In a move sure to rankle essentialist feminists and politically-minded humanists, Bremen, Germany's Thealit Frauen.Kultur.Labor has announced a call for contributions to a "transdisciplinary European project" premised on the following question: "Is it possible to speak of the non-existence of what is labeled 'Europe,' 'Woman,' or 'Digital Medium,' and does this open up a 'new' perspective in thinking and behavior?" Co-organized by Tallinn's Estonian Academy of Arts and Ljubljana, Slovenia's Institutum Studorium Humanitatis (ISH), the broadly deconstructionist project--called "Do Not Exist: Europe, Woman and the Digital Medium"--is inviting proposals from women artists, theorists, journalists, and activists for its symposia and exhibitions of film, video, and net art. The organizers hope to bring gender, politics, and media art into confrontation with each another, and to do so "in full recognition of a female perspective, allowing the querying of the non-existence of woman from a female point of view." How could a "female point of view" exist in a Woman-less world, you might ask? Put in your two cents, to kontakt@thealit.de, by June 23rd. - Andy Comer

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