Posts for October 2007

THE EXPLOIT: A Theory of Networks

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THE EXPLOIT: A Theory of Networks by Alexander R. Galloway and Eugene Thacker, University of Minnesota Press.

Alexander R. Galloway and Eugene Thacker challenge the widespread assumption that networks are inherently egalitarian. Instead, they contend that there exist new modes of control entirely native to networks, modes that are at once highly centralized and dispersed, corporate and subversive. In this provocative book, they argue that a whole new topology must be invented to resist and reshape the network form.

The Exploit is that rare thing: a book with a clear grasp of how networks operate that also understands the political implications of this emerging form of power. It cuts through the nonsense about how free and democratic networks supposedly are, and it offers a rich analysis of how network protocols create a new kind of control. Essential reading for all theorists, artists, activists, techheads, and hackers of the Net.” McKenzie Wark, author of A Hacker Manifesto

208 pages | 2007
ISBN 978-0-8166-5043-9 | hardcover | $57.00
ISBN 978-0-8166-5044-6 | paperback | $18.95
Electronic Mediations Series, volume 21

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Originally posted on networked_performance by jo


[Charles Gaines]

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Charles Gaines' installation "Greenhouse" is a smog-conscious microcosm of the city of Los Angeles.

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A computer-controlled system of multicolored lights shines down on a satellite photo of the L.A. basin; each color represents a different airborne pollutant. If regional air pollution levels are low, the lights get brighter; if levels increase, they grow dim. Every 15 minutes, the computer receives data from a website that records local air quality and the structure fills with fog, diffusing the lights in a cloud of haze.

Image Laxart.
Via Stunned and Los Angeles Times.

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Originally posted on we make money not art by Rhizome


Design by Performance: Out of Thin Air

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Design technologies constantly strive to reduce the material resistance between concept and fabrication, and few developments have done as much to this end as rapid prototyping. Like an old-fashioned printer for three-dimensional forms, the technique uses laser-hardened liquid plastic to form a three-dimensional version of objects designed with digital modeling software. For several years, Sweden- and sometimes Japan-based firm FRONT Design has used the process to create furniture that is literally sketched by hand. Members of the group stand in front of an array of cameras and physically draw the outline of an object on a 1:1 scale in the air. Motion capture software then translates their gestures into a three-dimensional rendering, which is made into a material object using rapid prototyping equipment. The resulting 'Sketch Furniture' retains all the approximated lines and rough shading of a hand-drawn sketch--like an unrefined design that has gone directly from notebook to object. Not only is the finished product an unrivaled example of a trend in design toward work that utilizes technology to facilitate a handmade aesthetic, but the work also bears the mark of a process that contains a heavy performance element. As the designers trace the lines of the furniture for the motion-capture equipment, their gestures turn the drafting process into a kind of ballet. Examples of the dance can be watched on YouTube and on the firm's Web site.

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Crossing Over

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Graffiti and Internet art are often cited together as outcasts from the commercial art world, although one seems to have made the jump more swiftly than the other (you guess which one). London's Lazarides Gallery is the latest venue to take on artists that, according to their website, 'established galleries used to ignore.' Only slightly undercutting their underdog status (besides the long tradition of selling graffiti art in a gallery context) is the fact that works by Banksy (who is in the gallery's stable) are now going for well over US$200,000. Commercial successes aside, the latest 'cult' (Lazarides uses the term 'cult' as opposed to 'graffiti' or 'graphic') figure to enter the gallery world is French artist Space Invader. His tags (which can be seen in over 35 cities around the world) are small tiled mosaics perfectly emulating the iconic invaders of his name. For his Lazarides show Space Invader expands his mosaics beyond the simple game characters of his street work (which are documented in the show by a series of photographs) to create a series called 'BAD MEN PART II" which depicts stills from iconic films such as Scarface and Clockwork Orange through the use of another 80s icon-

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HardDisko

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From http://www.makezine.com: “HardDisko“, an art project by Valentina Vuksic, controls sixteen hard drives by alternating simple power / timer circuits to conduct a symphony of sorts. Attached to each disk is a sound pickup connected to a mixer so that when the drive starts up, its initialization process is amplified out to the speakers. Maybe the “Disko” name also means that they come with LED backlit floors for getting down.” - Jonah Brucker-Cohen

Defective harddisks are collected from different PC shops, companies and institutions in the exhibition’s local area. As a drive receives power, it conducts an initialization procedure with the heads moving in a specific pattern and generating sounds. These patterns vary according to manufacturers, models, production series, firmware versions and the disk’s history.

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Originally posted on Networked Music Review by helen


Postmasters Gallery: Kristin Lucas, If Then Else End If

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Postmasters Gallery

459 West 19th Street, 212-727-3323

Chelsea [NYC]

October 20 - November 24, 2007

Opening: Saturday, October 20, 6 - 8PM


On October 5, 2007 Kristin Lucas succeeded in legally changing her name from Kristin Sue Lucas to Kristin Sue Lucas. In Alameda County Court, the presiding judge who granted the request said:

"So you have changed your name to exactly what it was before in the spirit of refreshing yourself as though you were a web page."

Postmasters is pleased to announce the exhibition of new works by KRISTIN LUCAS "If Then Else End If" opening on October 20 and remaining on view until November 24. This is the artist's third solo show with the gallery. The reception is scheduled for Saturday, October 20, between 6 and 8 pm.

Positioning herself at the center of her projects, Lucas' work addresses the complexity of our relationship to the digital realm and the psychological effects of rapid spread technology. Reversing a popular concept of infusing humanity into machines she instead applies familiar strategies of electronic media to her own life. Transformations, mutations, copies, updates, versions, and self-investigation are the focus of Lucas' exhibition. [More....]

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Originally posted on ArtCal by Rhizome


Curatorial Contexts

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CONT3XT.NET is a Vienna-based discussion platform for new media art. Founded in 2006 by Sabine Hochrieser, Michael Kargl (a.k.a. Carlos Katastrofsky), and Franz Thalmair, it has been playing a significant role in the examination of the most important issues that have recently arisen in the field--not only regarding the production of works for the internet, but also their online viewing. The consideration of curatorial methods for new media art is, in fact, one of the core domains of CONT3XT.NET's activity, and reflecting this interest the team has edited the book 'Circulating Contexts--CURATING MEDIA/NET/ART,' that will be launched at Vienna's Depot next Monday. As stated in the Introduction, this publication takes as its starting point the fact that 'Internet art does not necessarily have to be presented in a customary exhibition space, because as long as there is a computer with internet access, it can be accessed anywhere any time. In many cases, net art emerges through the participation of an audience with diverse approaches to the internet, which comments on, transforms and disseminates the works in many different ways.' This topic and others that it has generated are then debated by contributors such as Penny Leong Browne, Yueh Hsiu Giffen Cheng, Ursula Endlicher, John J. Francescutti, Jeremy Hight, G. H. Hovagimyan, Ela Kagel, Joasia Krysa, LeisureArts, Eva Moraga, Scott Rettberg, Duncan Shingleton, Luis Silva, David Upton, xDxD xD, as well as several participants in the organization's mailing list. In between established museum curators' practices and emerging curating models, the presentation of new media art demands more and more theoretical frameworks that still need to be developed, and this project constitutes a step forward in this direction. - Miguel Amado

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Prescient Precedent

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New technologies always lend themselves to personal and artistic expression and a new show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives 1840-1860, illustrates how technology and the artistic impulse have gone hand in hand for well over 100 years. The invention of the calotype in 1941 not only allowed photographers to use readily available fine writing paper to make multiple prints, but also made photography more accessible to a broader population. The particular qualities of the paper negative (softening of details and ethereal light and shadow) lent themselves perfectly to the picturesque tendencies of the time

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Architecture of a Blog

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If you were to take an informal survey of both practicing architects and lay enthusiasts of inhabitable design about their favorite architecture blogs, the result would probably place the Los Angeles-based BLDGBLOG at or near the top. Founded over three years ago, the blog is officially dedicated to 'architectural conjecture, urban speculation, and landscape futures.' Recent posts have included everything from thoughtful ruminations on a proposal to grow high-tech medicines aboard the International Space Station and the arch-shaped structure scheduled to be erected over the contaminated nuclear plant in Chernobyl to interviews with people like visionary architect Lebbeus Woods; Cambridge University Classics professor Mary Beard, who has written extensively on architectural monuments; and science fiction writer Jeff VanderMeer. The author behind BLDGBLOG, Geoff Manaugh, discusses his writing for the blog--as well as his work as senior editor at Dwell magazine and a member of the staff at Archinect--at the Hammer Museum, in LA, on the evening of October 10th. He is joined in conversation by Lawrence Weschler, the longtime New Yorker contributor and director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University.

[Links 1, 2]

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Machinima in Europe (10/12-10/14)

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[See also this previous thread on “The Movies” and Machinima]

machinima.gifThis weekend De Montfort University will be hosting films and filmmakers from around the world at Machinima Festival Europe. According to various Machinima insiders, a number of the videos are returning for awards. Hugh Hancock, coauthor of Machinima for Dummies, points out that “there’s quite a strong lean away from game-based Machinima.” (He’s posted links to many of the nominees here). Six of the films come from Second Life. Two use Moviestorm. My “22 Short Films about Grammar” (nominated for Best Series) use “The Movies.” The question becomes what is machinima when its not made from captured gameplay?

While some trace the Machinima tradition back to other hacking and reapropriation traditions, clearly a major strain of Machinima involves manipulating captured footage of game play. Consider Diary of a Camper, the first machinima drawn from Quake. Or what of the breakout hit Red versus Blue? (Red versus Blue will present an “original” video made for the Festival.)
A retro-hit “Kung-Fu Glitch” uses a Commodore 64 game Kung Fu Master (1984) (and a Retro Replay cartridge) for its material and it proves a curious case study.
In the music video, Entter and Goto80, the film’s director/hackers (dirackers), explain how they

manipulate the game’s graphics and functionality. The blue screen that appears at some points is the interface of the cartridge and the lists of letters and numbers is the data in the RAM. By simply changing this data, you modify the game. This technique was also used for the music.

Here is hacking at the center of a work of Machinima. On the other hand, the movie itself is more a recording of the hack, perhaps more akin to documentation of performance art, rather than a narrative ...

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Originally posted on WRT: Writer Response Theory by wrt@writerresponsetheory.org (Writer Response Theory)