Posts for April 2005

You Can Be a Winner in the Game of Class

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Recalling landmark 1980s board game Life, but in a key of conceptualist critique, Richard Rinehart's blog-cum-multi-player online game directs a fish-eye lens at that great vanishing mediator of the American scene, social class. The blog features Rinehart's astute, personal insights into class's elusive markers, while an array of multiple-choice cards bearing impish questions like 'What kind of raincoat would you buy?' lead a character around the game board. With a nod to Beuys' 'social sculpture' trope, 'Reading Class' deploys the social software of blogging and interactive gaming to devise a composite map of class mobility. There's small development glitches: it's unclear how to register the presence of other players or past journeys, limiting the interactivity to 'back-end' technology of the database and the site's blog, and the character tends to drift off the board. The role of street culture in problematising social distinctions would have been good to address, too. Nonetheless, a sharp intervention in the lineage of 'They Rule' and Michael Alstad's 'Choice Maps,' plotting the material differentials of power and consumption that shape the anxious fairytale of everyday life. - Marina Vishmidt

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One Foot in Front of the Other

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With all the attention that 'locative media' seems to be getting within new media communities, it only makes sense that the actual process of moving bodies through space and place should be seen as a site worth investigating. The history of artists exploring the performative nature of walking--from Richard Long to Yayoi Kusama--provides one starting point for many contemporary practitioners. To give this developing history some context, the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is hosting a symposium called 'Walking as Knowing as Making: a Peripatetic Investigation of Place.' About to start it's fourth, and final, session, the symposium has already delved into the social, environmental and aesthetic dimensions of walking with talks and guided walks by such notables as long time 'walking artist' Hamish Fulton. The upcoming fourth installment, beginning on 28 April, includes presentations by artist Walid Raad (of the Atlas Group) and architectural theorist Jane Rendell among others. If you're too far to walk to the events, you can find discussions and documentation from the symposium online. - Ryan Griffis

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Body Movin'

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The 2005 Boston Cyberarts Festival began April 22 and encompasses more than 70 exhibitions, performances, and workshops in the Greater Boston Area. Since 1999, the biennial festival has brought together artists who work with cutting-edge technologies to show work, discuss the ways new technologies are impacting art practice, and share skills with each other. This year marks the addition of a new conference to the Cyberarts Festival: Ideas in Motion: Innovations in Dance, Movement, and Technology. As means of real-time interactivity between the body and computers become more accessible, many dancers and choreographers have embraced these innovations, creating complex multi-media performances. Highlighting these novel intersections between the body and various media, the Ideas in Motion conference will feature a keynote address from John D. Mitchell, a professor of the Department of Dance at Arizona State University and an early innovator in the use of computers in dance, as well as performances from a number of dance companies including Troika Ranch (NYC), Mei Be Whatever (NYC), Fico Balet (Slovenia), and Kinodance (Boston). Other highlights of the Cyberarts festival include an exhibition of work incorporating GPS and Satellite Imaging and an interactive installation by Scott Snibbe. - Matt Boch

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Re-do the Du!

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Unlike Grandma's pearls, those that fill the cache of art history can, and regularly should be, replaced. The repeated pawning of seminal gestures perpetuates the value of their originals and the virility of their legacies. Thus the tradition of the readymade transplanted to the internet re-seeds the disjunctive potential of Duchamp's creations, but in projects that are more easily reblogged. For their current online exhibition, 'The New Readymades,' UK net art collective low-fi has selected eight net-based works by some of the masters of creative copy-and-paste, each of which investigates the effects of artistic replacements. Substituting human performers with computers (MTAA's '1 year performance video' and Darrel O'Pry's 'On Kawara Generator'), the appropriate owner of a website with an appropriator of the same website (Vuk Cosic's 'Documenta X'), or authentic net.art technologies with a Blogger.com diary (Abe Linkoln's 'My Boyfriend Came Back from the War'), these projects engage the online manifestation of the readymade as a migration that revitalizes the transformational potential of out of place art. - Kevin McGarry

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