Posts for March 2005

Pop Ups Are The New Wave

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Life, for Jean-Luc Godard's 'children of Marx and coca-cola,' was an extended meditation on politics, pop culture and the vicissitudes of dating. Peter Horvath adapts the concerns of this generation and the filmic style in which they were rendered in his new work of net cinema 'Tenderly Yours.' Here, the story of Josephine--a contemporary French woman who 'detests money/ thinks herself a marxist/ and thinks she is too old for her age'--unfolds in two simultaneous Quicktime videos. The central window illustrates her brief encounter with a like-minded young man while the smaller, peripheral frame provides ambient and intimate asides in the form of colorful abstractions and pixilated close-ups. Nodding both to the early writings found in the journal Cahiers du Cinema and Lev Manovich's more recent Soft Cinema, 'Tenderly Yours' exploits net conventions to emulate the spontaneous, fragmented and naturalistic mode of new wave filmmaking. The question is whether the quandaries of the children of Marx and coca-cola are relevant to the kids these days, or if perhaps the generation to which Josephine belongs should claim new lineage. - Lauren Cornell

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You Were in Kansas

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Distinguished by having recently made its way East to the Rhizome ArtBase, the Smoky Hill River Outpost, created as a part of the 2002 Smoky Hill River Festival in Salina, Kansas, stands out even three years later and 1400 miles away. Commissioned in the context of the Festival's 'Artists in Action' section, the Outpost has read its Foucault: 30 ft. high and 120 ft. in pentagonal diameter, the multi-faceted structure engaged themes of surveillance and interactivity, among others. The SHRO, a construction exhibited near Salina's dopel-Statue of Liberty, was produced by successful collaboration of local students and West-coast artist Aaron Gach, also known for his work with (or perhaps, as) the Center for Tactical Magic. In addition to a crafts fair, the Artists in Action group that year also featured terra cotta porcelain tiles, a yellow balloon stuck under a bridge, a photo-op with a Lava Lamp, and the so-called Prairie Poets. If the images are to be believed, critical reconnaissance forts are fun for the entire family. - Sara Greenberger

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The Personal is (an index of the) Political

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In the US, voters in national elections get a little sticker that reads 'I voted.' But the daily acts that many of us might consider political or civic-minded are often only noted in the imaginary resumes of our social consciences. How would your attempts to make the world a better place hold up to your ideals if someone were to map them out for you each week? Now you may be able to find out. 'Pindices,' a new web project by UK-based sociologist Andrew Barry and artist/designer Lucy Kimbell, creates visualizations of data input from users identifying their civic and political activities. On the site, each user can create their own 'pindex,' or index of personal political activity, which reflects the amount and type of reported activity through changing button-like badges. Behavior is characterized as either more political and inventive--raising new issues in novel ways--or civic--addressing existing concerns through established tactics. The website, in tandem with a sited gallery installation, will be active from March to August 2005 as part of the ZKM (Karlsruhe) exhibition, 'Making Things Public,' after which the data will be archived and analyzed for publication. - Ryan Griffis

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