Posts for 2007

Days of Rage

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The popular Vietnam War protest slogan "Bring the War Home" has a rather knotty relationship with the current Iraq War and progressive leftist movements. Initially the slogan of the Weathermen, in our current cultural milieu it unfortunately often has the ring of mere historical rhetoric in the absence of broad political organization. Rather than bringing the 'War' home, California's nonprofit organization Montalvo Arts Center is bringing Iraqi culture home as a means to adjust the political discourse. IRAQ: REFRAME is a multidisciplinary series of events that offers many diverse points of entry and departure, both conceptually and geographically. Coupled with lectures there will be a slew or related programs, including artist Adel Abidin's Abidin Travels, recently at the Venice Biennale, that will be set up at Triple Base Gallery in San Francisco. Abidin Travels is a mock travel agency offering trips to Baghdad; "visitors make online reservations and print plane tickets while a bitterly sarcastic promotional video blends a cheerful, American-accented female voice with disturbing video footage." Illustrating how Montalvo's neighbors in Silicon Valley are profiting off the war, they have posted a page of corporations and their U.S. military contracts, not least of which is Lockhead-Martin Space System's 3.3 Billion dollar deal. When a lot of anti-war shows ultimately still amount to pretty objects in a white box, it's nice to see an organization attempting to reshape an expansive political landscape.


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Digital Output, Analog Process

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As most of the world is making the crossover from analog communication to mandatory digital television and radio reception, and Americans slowly become aware of the February 17th, 2009 deadline to do so, it is not entirely clear what this historic shift will really mean. While the internet allows us all to be 'broadcasters,' in a sense, the relationship of this opportunity to actual democracy and hegemonies of power is still worth considering. As such, the focus of the fourth edition of NOW: Meetings in the Present Continuous lives up to its title. This year the Barcelona-based three-day project will explore 'three dimensions of the new urban condition: the conquest of the radio-electric space, the recovery of the public space, and the city as an ecological challenge.' Each day is full of intellectual exchanges, workshops, and film screenings, including Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott's influential documentary The Corporation (2004) and Reclaim Power (2006) about direct action and CO2 emissions. Friday night, sociologist Richard Sennet, Steve Lambert of Anti-Advertising Agency, and Pierre Humeau of Resisting Aggressive Advertising will discuss the privatization of public space. Every day will feature an installation by the art collective Orquestra del Caos (Orchestra of Chaos) Radio Art, 'an interactive exhibition of radio art and sounds from the electromagnetic spectrum.' Each facet of the project is a reminder that greater virtual freedom often masks the evaporation of public space. - David Michael Perez

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Tis the Season

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It's that time of year again. As many readers will know, a plethora of international art collectors and galleries are about to descend upon Miami, Florida's shores for a frenzied weekend of the art fairs Basel, NADA, Scope, Pulse, et al. My inbox is already filled with messages from galleries announcing their special projects. While business-as-usual is the bottom-line, Fountain Miami has a rather distinct agenda. Founded in New York City in March 2006, Fountain is "a guerrilla-style art fair... an effort to leverage support for independent galleries largely overlooked by corporate-sponsored art fairs." The fair will run rom December 6-9, featuring 14 galleries from Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Miami including Ad Hoc Art, Front Room Gallery, Glowlab, and Steven Gagnon Projects among others. Brooklyn's new media space VertexList will be exhibiting works by JODI, Paul Slocum, Ernesto Restrepo, CJ Yeh, and more. Slocum's always enjoyably-analogue music project, Treewave, will be performing at the fair's opening night on December 7th. And on Saturday, Glowlab artist Bethany Bristow will create an outdoor installation around the exhibition space. While the 'peripheral' fairs can quickly become absorbed into the larger fold, let's hope Fountain maintains its experimental and independent spirit.


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Manchester's Finest: Futuresonic 2008

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Since its establishment in 1995, the Manchester-based festival Futuresonic has been committed to mobile and locative arts and has commissioned and presented works that re-imagine the city in myriad ways. Its purview, however, is much larger than this important, forward-thinking focus. The Festival is renowned for its musical program and Social Technologies Summit, which draw technologists, artists, and scientists from around the world. Last year the ambitious event included a strand called Music for the Beep Generation and an exhibition of commissioned artworks that responded to and were installed in Manchester's main shopping mall--including pioneering works by Mediashed and Katherine Moriwaki. Futuresonic 2008 will run from May 1-4 and takes Social Networking Unplugged as its theme. Proposals for works that investigate collaborative social experience, either in virtual worlds or off-line, in non-networked spaces, will be accepted until the deadline of December 18th. As Futuresonic founder Drew Hemment explains, "unplugged" can also refer to projects that "are excluded and left out of the loop of Web 2.0." A commission of up to

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Feed

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Feed: interactive installation to show how life is fed by media - According to Pier Luigi Capucci, nowadays the relationship between arts and life follows two different paths. The first and more ancient is deep-rooted in the organic matter and is inspired by scientific disciplines: biology, biotechnology and genetic. The second path, more recent, comes from different approaches: artificial life and robotics. The essential difference between the two (apart from tools, approaches and technologies in use) is that in the first path life is presented as it is, while in the second it is represented, i.e. simulated. Shane Cooper’s installation Feed, recently displayed at Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei’s Zone_V2_ Unstable Media, combines the two paths. The work is composed of two halves. The upper half is a video wall of television screens, each tuned to a different channel and playing at low volume. The lower half is a garden of ferns that can survive under conditions of extreme lighting. The television screens provide the light to the plants, which grow towards them in a constricted space, eventually colliding. People interact with the installation because the garden survives thanks to the people presence as infrared cameras convert images of visitors into light. Cooper presents life as it is through growing ferns but also applies the biological network to social network, which is deeply influenced by technological civilization. Feed sums up the relationship between new media and human beings poking fun at people who spend their days laying in front of television, fed by TV meals and news, believing that the tv screen is the only source of knowledge and entertainment.” - Valentina Culatti, Neural.

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Originally posted on networked_performance by jo


[Anhedonia, by Aleksandra Domanovic]

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Anhedonia, 2007, 90 min. In psychology, anhedonia is an inability to experience pleasure from normally pleasurable life events such as eating, exercise, and social or sexual interaction. It was also supposed to be the original title of Woody Allen’s 1977 film Annie Hall, but it was considered unmarketable. By Aleksandra Domanovic.

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Originally posted on VVORK by Rhizome


A Print

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Originally posted on Blogosphere by ilia and will


Software Everywhere You Look

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In an age of Facebook, omnipresent blogs, and camera phones, the charming awkwardness of young love is arguably more transparent, though certainly no less thorny. Digital social networking means that the American teenage heart need not be a lonely hunter. Or at least not as portrayed in Golan Levin's Valentine's Day project, The Dumpster (2006), an interactive online visualization of internet heartbreak. The site extracts real postings from millions of blogs to explore "specific romantic relationships in which one person has 'dumped' another." While this sounds partly tragic, there is a great deal of humanist redemption in viewing how similar our innermost feelings are. Levin will no doubt bring this same sense of hope and wit to his first solo show at Bitforms gallery in New York City, opening Friday November 30th. Levin's illustrious career is too vast to encapsulate and almost reads like the history of interactive software art itself, but suffice it to say he is an artist, composer, performer, and engineer that whimsically presents new ways in which to expressively relate to technology and each other. In the show at Bitforms he will present five new interactive environments that "signal a shift in his interests toward spectatorship and the human gaze as a means of activating visual art experiences." Levin has created work that incorporates its own sense and history of being observed.


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Get Paid to Shift Your Space

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Shiftspace is a project that enables users to create layers on top of the web. Often compared to ambling public parks or recreational areas, these areas allow people to navigate and interact with the web on their own terms, as opposed to the surrounding online territory which, to extend the parks metaphor, can be understood as privately-owned malls. Founded by Mushon Zer-Aviv and Dan Phiffer, Shiftspace was developed in response to the questionable creative freedoms that circumscribe user-generated content. While it ostensibly embodies principles of democratic, grassroots participation, the process of user-generated content is always pre-determined by the site's creator. Shiftspace sets out to subvert these inherent limitations. By downloading the application and pressing the shift and space keys, participants can, in Zer-Aviv and Phiffer's words, "invoke a new meta layer above any web page to browse and create additional interpretations, contextualizations and interventions--which are called 'Shifts'." Rhizome and fellow new media art organization Turbulence provided initial support to Shiftspace; and recently the latter organization, in partnership with the New York Department of Cultural Affairs, gave additional support enabling Shiftspace to distribute 10 grants (for up to $2000) for the creation of new kinds of authoring tools in two categories: 1) Spaces, which allow web users to annotate, modify and shift the content of a page, and 2) Trails, which are maps of shifts (shiftspace content) that create meta-layer navigation across websites. To me, this seems like a win-win proposition. Contribute to the ongoing innovation of a unique, open source project of great vision and potential impact, and have your labor paid for. Why not? Applications are available on the Shiftspace Commissions site. - Lauren Cornell

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Product Displacements

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Young Italian artist Alessandro Nassiri brings together the tradition of performance art with the practices of relational aesthetics to stage actions, carried-out by himself or other individuals, that disrupt the conventions of everyday life. Recently he has developed a project for the streets of downtown New York, in which a group of people, wearing white t-shirts with words forming the expression 'coming soon,' created a 'private demonstration.' However, Nassiri gained worldwide recognition with his humorous online project, 'Giubileo degli stagisti' (Jubilee of the Interns). Informed by the fact that most internships in Italy and elsewhere are not paid, he has devised a counter mechanism that converts time into calories and chocolate. For example, 0.22 pounds of chocolate equal 494 calories, which corresponds to 6 hours spent in an office. The global economy, especially in relation to technological advances, is also examined in Nassiri's latest work, which is currently being presented in Piacenza, Italy. 'TR4480C: An Odyssey of the 21st Century' consists of video reportage of the journey that the artist and a friend made between Tirana and Milan. The purpose of the trip was to buy a 1978 Volkswagen Golf and drive it back to Italy, where it resided until 1994. The car was then crashed and its debris is on view at the gallery. Through this documentation, Nassiri shows how goods are exchanged today. As he has put it, 'When we buy a new model, we throw away the old one. Often our used things are sold in other countries. Old buses from Italian cities are now used in Tirana. The motorcycle of the Italian police in the 80s is now the Albanian police's vehicle.' With irony, Nassiri thus questions the prevailing ideologies, foreign policy practices, and financial trends in late capitalist societies. - Miguel Amado

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