Posts for April 2005

Right (Click) to Die

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'Should digital euthanasia be applied in this case?' asks the gateway page of Eugenio Tisselli's recently-launched 'degenerative' project. Not afraid to push a hot button issue into new territory, the artist is here refering to the mindless text-noise yielded by the logic that he has built into his project: the 'degenerative' page--a field of text featuring such questions as, 'is visual culture a ritual of cannibalism and rebirth?' and 'does everything contain the seed of its own destruction?'--is programmed to atrophy by one character each time a visitor views it. The site offers the option of seeing the current state of the project or reviewing a log that charts the decay yielded by traffic to the site on each day subsequent to its launch. Already, the process has progressed to the point where the excitement is essentially past. Finally, whereas the state of ambiguous mental stasis that makes 'non-digital' euthenasia cases so agonizing provokes hard, human questions, the swift and predictable logic of 'degenerative' seems more to allegorize how digital efficiency saps such questions of their gravity. - Ben Davis

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Interfacing the City

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For the most part, 'ubiquitous computing'--the growing trend of imbedding computers in our everyday surroundings--seems to encourage connecting with things we enjoy or need (or the things marketers think we enjoy and need) and avoiding pretty much anything else. iPods allow us to walk around in our own imaginary music video and GPS navigation systems in cars take you directly from point A to point B on the most direct and efficient route. But this tendency to isolate social experience within the known and familiar is not going unchallenged. Many designers, engineers and artists are creating other uses for the ubiquitous networks of communications devices being built around us--uses that attempt to focus attention outward rather than inward. 'The Interactive City,' one component of next year's ISEA and Zero One festival, will feature projects that expand participants' knowledge and experiences of their surroundings. Set in San Jose, CA--the 'Spirit of Silicon Valley'--organizers are currently looking for submissions for 'urban-scale' works that foster novel relationships between the city and its inhabitants. The deadline for proposals is 22 April. - Ryan Griffis

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Bundle up for Spring!

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Multiple domains causing a headache? Projects, blogs, and e-commerce side jobs running here, there, and everywhere? Why not simplify our online livelihood by administering all your websites through one, single hosting plan? New for spring, 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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Dying for Non-Corporeal Art

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Dragan Zivadinov doesn't have great hopes for his actors' longevity; he's confident that by 2045, the 16 performers in 'One versus One' will have all died and been replaced by robotic models, which will utter digital melodies in place of dialogue. First presented on April 20th, 1995, the performance will be repeated every ten years on the same day until 2045, by which point the cast should have transformed into mechanical ghosts. Zivadinov's own death is scheduled for May 1st, 2045, when he will fly into the geostatic orbit and place the robots at 16 points around the earth, before realising his dream to become 'empty-bodied in the absolute nothing with my instinctive physicality' (the fate of his collaborator, Dunja Zupancic, is not stated). This 50-year action is intended to finally abolish mimetic theatre and establish the rule of non-corporeal art. A founder of the Neue Slovenische Kunst (NSK: New Slovenian Art) experimental art movement, Zivadinov's work comprises a series of 'farewell rituals' exploring faith, death and the end of the world through performance art. This decade's performance takes place on April 20th, 2005 in Moscow, where he has previously staged a performance in zero gravity. - Helen Varley Jamieson

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A Gift of the Self

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Tamara Lai's (FR) previous provocations include 'Art-Death,' asking 'How beautiful are we?' and proposing 'To make a portrait of God.' Now, Lai is offering a gift of herself with 'Sacrifice.' Everyone who contributes online work to 'Sacrifice'--classified as either a 'gift of the self' or 'a gift of the other'--before May 31st will receive a signed slice of the artist's virtual body. Gifts so far include portraits of artists as martyrs, meditations on the state of the world, a broken doll on the street, a broken child in a morgue, a paper boat on a wire mesh, two men debating on the choice of the sacrificial lamb--texts, images, animations and interactive works. Lai's own contribution employs explosive pop-up windows and links to sites discussing terrorism and free media. The collected offerings invite contemplation of all aspects of the concept of 'sacrifice;' who is making the sacrifice, what is being sacrificed, and why? A blog, 'BLOG HOST 'pour petits & grands sacrifices / for little & big sacrifices' is 'coming back soon' (I hope it hasn't been sacrificed! ) - Helen Varley Jamieson.

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What's Eating Gilbert and Grape?

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Courtship between two periods in history customarily leads to each sharing the other's things, like tastes for fashion, art and home decor. But, perhaps it is the impossibly bridged distance between flirting times and aesthetics that keeps history perpetually romancing itself. GilbertandGrape (hopefully their singing namesakes would enjoy being conflated with a Leonardo DiCaprio movie) are two New Europeans who describe their art practice as 'performance journalism.' Helen Pritchard (UK) and Anne-Marte Eidseth Rygh (Norway) have set out on a stubborn three-year journey called 'Lone Ranging Romance,' during which they will travel by Volvo through their homelands, with an iconic 20-kilo moose head, conducting interviews around the subject of nostalgia with the ‘heroes’ they meet along their way. These found respondents will be subsequently mythologized into the epic voyage, and the interviews will be posted to GilbertandGrape’s blog every second Thursday of the month. 'Lone Ranging Romance' will conclude when the aforementioned moose head, 'The Lone Ranger,' reaches Nordkapp, Norway, 'where the midnight sun never sets.' This will occur in 2008, timed with the UK and Norway each hosting European Capitals of Culture, and thus becoming sites for historic and arbitrary convergence. - Kevin McGarry

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I Blog, Therefore I Curate

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One could cogently argue that blogging, a daily ritual for millions, is an essentially curatorial act. To blog is, after all, to stage--through selective inclusion, exclusion, and recontextualization--a performance of individual identity, to imaginatively order an inchoate universe through the re-centering lens of subjectivity. The blogger can reincarnate her- or himself as an authoritative and consequential presence, with a voice and purpose. Unflattering as the analogy may be to many curators of fine art, it holds, and Liverpool-based curator Michael Connor has playfully evoked it with what may be the first blogged art exhibition, 'Raiders of the Lost ArtBase.' Commisioned by Rhizome, Connor has delved into the platform's ArtBase--a nearly six-year-old online archive of more than 1,500 new media artworks--to excavate its 'buried treasures' in weekly blog postings. Connor's commentary is refreshingly de-jargonized and entertaining ('OK, turn the techno off, put Rod Stewart back on, and get back to work'), giving this curatorial project a wonderfully personal and decidedly non-institutional feel. There's an earnestness to Connor's manner that underlines and celebrates the ways in which curators have become visible pundits with personalities and agendas--or bloggers, if you will. - Andy Comer

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Rhyme Star's Roadmap

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With online assistance galore, speaking one's mind is no longer a chore. These days all you need is an internet connection. HTTP In Tha House will give your flows a dot-org inflection. Plasma Studii's Judson developed the site to 'shout out some dope rhymes,' and the battle-worthy bot delivers, time after time. Type in a URL (on your Dell?) and HITH produces a holla for your homies to yell. This site reads your site's script all dramatic, and assembles 16 lines, automatic. HITH only needs a hundredth of your words, so 'it hacks them down and reassembles' for all the hip hoppin' nerdz. Bits and bytes are run through a rhyming dictionary, and results greatly vary. So try your URL again and again, subject yourself to an HTTP spin. Observe the cut-up given to Net Art News' home, Rhizome: 'class fresh object positioning hack// href http yack // agonistics a language game// http rhizome maim.' Judon's engine sifts your digital silt, assembles patchwork quilt, remixed to tha hilt. So bring some thesaurus to your chorus, or just reorganize your code. HTTP In The House brings fresh flows to your node. - Marisa S. Olson

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Baring It All

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The newly available Fifth Sarai Reader, takes its title from the term 'Bare Acts,' the name for Indian legislation presented in its 'bare' form, free of interpretive explanations. The collection of creative and critical texts in 'Bare Acts' reveals how legal systems are negotiated and confronted in the processes of daily life and creative activity. Organized in chapters with titles like 'Disputations,' 'Trespasses' and 'Records,' the articles included address these conflicts from positions of geographic and subjective specificity, where abstract laws (like copyright) meet the concrete and flesh of cities and the people living in them. Sarai has made all of their readers available for free browsing and download, so you can chart their ongoing engagement with the collisions between local and global new media scenes. - Ryan Griffis

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You Can Feel It in the Air

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At some point in our lives, we notice ourselves lugging around an overload of ideas and information. How is it that we continually play the role of unwitting receiver to a barrage of loaded transmissions? 'Transmission' is a series of exhibitions presented by the New Museum of Contemporary Art, which profiles artists and scholars exploring the concept of 'transmission' in and through new media, radio, sound and broadcast media. 'Airborne,' the second show in the series, takes on the 'aesthetic, sonic and socio-political' aspects of these cunningly concealed wireless transmissions. Curated by Anne Barlow and Defne Ayas, in collaboration with www.free103point9.org, the exhibition features seven works by New York-based artists that aim to give substance to intangible electronic signals and to the interests they power. Take Paul Davies 'Prayer Antenna,' which wittingly transforms viewers into supplicants as they kneel to insert their head into an ordained helmet covered with antennas; or Mendi and Keith Obadike's '4-1-9,' which invites one to compose an individualized email money transfer scam. Airborne will be at the New Museum until June 4, with performances on May 4 at 6:30PM. - Ophra Wolf

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