Posts for October 2007

Interrupting the Program

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By the late 1960s, a decade after the television became the centerpiece of the suburban living room and sin qua non of American--if not yet global--culture, artists had begun to appropriate the power of official communication represented by broadcast media to their own critical and often confrontational ends. The recently opened exhibition Broadcast, at the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore through November 18th, chronicles 30 years of artists intervening in and manipulating television and radio. Some appropriate audio and images from mass media and re-broadcast them in ways that critically address their values and conventions. Dara Birnbaum's six-channel video installation, 'Hostage' (1994), for example, reworks footage from the kidnapping of German industrialist Hanns Martin Schleyer by the Baader Meinhoff group aired some two decades before, while Siebren Versteeg's 'CC' (2003) uses an Internet connection to feed text from randomly selected blogs into the closed-caption boxes below looping video television newscasts. Other artists participate directly in original broadcasts by either creating their own or intervening in existing media channels. One of Gregory Green's anarchistic experiments with stylized pirate radio equipment joins Christian Jankowski's work 'Telemistica,' which documents the artist's calls to Italian on-air psychics during the 1999 Venice Biennale, as does Chris Burden's literal takeover of the airwaves, 'TV Hijack, February 9' (1972), during which the artist, appearing as a guest on a local television talk show, held his interviewer hostage at knife point for the duration of the program.

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Historical Resource Roundup: Aspen Magazine

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Long before there was McSweeney's, there was Aspen. Published by Phyllis Johnson intermittently from 1965-71, each issue of Aspen was a multimedia bonanza--a box filled with individual texts, photographs, audio recordings, posters, postcards, and for some issues a 16 mm film. Initially a proto-lifestyle magazine (the first issue had an article about the joys of cross country skiing, and the proceedings of the 1965 International Design Conference), by its third issue (designed by Andy Warhol and including submissions from Lou Reed and John Cale as well as flip books by Warhol and Jack Smith), it was almost completely dedicated to the practice of contemporary art. A quick perusal of the index reveals an unbelievable wealth of materials. Excerpts from Marshall McLuhan's The Medium is the Massage and the first printing of Roland Barthes' infamous essay, The Death of the Author, sit alongside a diary by John Lennon, a film by Hans Richter, and other gems too countless to mention. The diverse material nature of the periodical lent itself perfectly to the internet's multimedia structures, and in 2002 it was migrated/translated to the web by Stanford book publisher Andrew Stafford. Available via Kenneth Goldsmith's also impressive on-line archive of the avant-garde, UbuWeb, Aspen online is a beacon of accessibility--taking what was an extremely important, small-run, difficult to find, and now impossibly rare publication and making it widely available.



(image: Ian Hamilton Finlay, 'Wave/rock')

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Particles Capitalism: Tales of the Matter Market [Berlin]

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Particles Capitalism: Tales of the Matter Market (a b.a.n.g lab project) by Ricardo Dominguez and Diane Ludin (Principal Investigators); Nina Waisman, Tristan Shone, Caleb Waldorf (Lead Researchers); Marius Schebella and Pierre Galaud (Assistant Researchers) :: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, John - Foster - Dulles - Allee 10 :: 10557 Berlin :: Performances: October 12, 13 @ 7:00 pm :: free admission :: Installation Hours: Go here :: Interventions: Today, around Berlin in Unexpected Spaces.

Nomadic New York counters Manhattan’s restless flow of money with “decelerated” in-between spaces. Their performance art refuses spectacle.It takes on a political dimension through the formation of temporary collectives which occupy spaces in new ways. The artists open up New York and Berlin through their nomadic coming and going, their avoidance of fixed structures. In Berlin they will tell us a story of life in the global metropolis, a story that we all have in common.

For the market, nanoparticles hold the 21st century’s great promise. For critics, they are a vision of pure horror, as long as the toxicological risks are not known. The era of unregulated nanocapitalism has already dawned, with these smallest of particles being used today in cosmetics, fabrics and dyes. Ricardo Dominguez, founder of the Electronic Disturbance Theater and initiator of virtual sit-ins on the Zapatista resistance, sees his art as explicitly politically commissioned. He and Diane Ludin invite the public to a multimedia lecture-performance with two leading nanotechnologists that will provide insight into the stories of the global particle market. Knowledge is action!

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Originally posted on networked_performance by jo


Metalandscapes at the Pilar i Joan Miro Foundation

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Pau Waelder:

metalandscapes
Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca (Spain)
October 5th, 2007 – January 6th, 2008
Participating artists: Mauro Ceolin, Adam Chapman, Joan Fontcuberta, Thorsten Knaub, Scott Snibbe and Carlo Zanni.
Curator: Pau Waelder

http://www.metapaisatges.com
http://www.metapaisajes.com


The landscape is not just the natural environment or its representation. It is in itself a cultural construct, subject to the codes and beliefs of those who have configured it, be it physically (determining its shape by the arrangement of gardens, plantations, roads, bridges and constructions) or as an image (choosing the point of view and the elements that will be included). The representation of landscape, in painting, photography or other media, is thus not just the plain reproduction of the environment. It becomes a selected vision, a whole Weltanschauung summarized in one image.

Landscape painting brought the concept of mimesis to its extreme by pretending to be a real window at which the viewer can stare. But also, as an abstraction of reality, it incorporates several codes of the cultural environment in which it has been created: landscape can also mean social status, ownership or identity of a particular territory. It is also the result of the encounter of culture and natural environment, and thus depending on how the relation between these two elements evolves, the representation of landscape will change. Mankind has been afraid of nature, has then tried to understand it, label it, domesticate it, later on despise it and finally, on the fringe of extinction, recuperate it with a rather unrealistic nostalgia. All of these transformations are reflected in the representations of landscape that have been made during the last centuries.

Today, globalization offers us a repeated landscape all over the world: the horizon of a vast city or a never ending freeway ...

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Originally posted on Rhizome.org Raw by Pau Waelder


Evolving in Brussels

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On October 4th, a vernissage held concurrently in Second Life and in Brussels inaugurated that city's first art space devoted entirely to art made in electronic media. Located in central Brussels, iMAL (Interactive Media Art Lab) Center for Digital Cultures and Technology boasts a group of workshops at the disposal of resident artists as well as more than 400 square meters of public space for events and exhibitions. The facility opened both its real and virtual doors with a three-evening series of events, including the dual celebrations, as well as audio and visual performances by French artists Pascal Baltazar and Mathieu Chamagne, who are known for their digital sound works created with custom gestual interfaces, and a demonstration of Danish artist Sven Konig's instant video sampling software. Through October 14th, noted electronic music composer Kim Cascone is hosting a workshop titled 'Genetic Laptop Music' at iMAL. Each of the 15 participants in the project, equipped with a networked laptop running common audio software, perform a function within a composition process based on genetic selection. Audio is chosen from a 'gene' pool of open-source sound files, which are then recombined or 'killed' by participants. As the group of possible combinations narrows, a participatory audio work emerges. The workshop culminates with a public performance at the new iMAL space on October 14th. - William Hanley

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Experimental Art

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This weekend, the much talked about 24-Hour Serpentine Gallery Experiment Marathon will be taking place in the gallery's Olafur Eliasson- and Kjetil Thorsen-designed pavilion in London's Hyde Park. The brainchild of Eliasson and Serpentine curator (or Co-Director, Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects to be exact) Hans Ulrich Obrist, the Marathon aims to bring together artists, architects, and scientists to explore issues of time, space, and reality (all themes that run throughout Eliasson's own practice) and experiment with them in a public forum. An extension of Obrist's '24-Hour Interview Marathon' of last year, the event also harkens back to E.A.T's (Experiments in Art and Technology) infamous and highly influential '9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering' which took place in New York, in 1966, and featured a collaboration between artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage, Yvonne Rainer, and over 30 engineers from Bell Labs. Of the many projects underway this weekend, one that succinctly demonstrates the conflation of disciplines and cultures at work is a joint venture between Obrist and John Brockman (of the loosely-organized 'think tank' Edge), for which a broad range of artists and scientist were asked the question, "What is your formula? Your equation? Your algorithm?" Using a simple sheet of A4 paper, respondents ranging from Richard Dawkins to Brian Eno rendered their own scientific method, as art.



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Cable Cosmologies

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Storytelling, on a universe-shaping scale and in a spastic, homespun-costume style, has underpinned most of Bay Area-artist Kamau Amu Patton's work, from advertising posters mounted on the sides of bus shelters to animistic works on paper. Having trained in sociology and physics before completing an MFA at Stanford University, the artist's background in both social critique and the ordering principals of the cosmos both come into play in his video-focused installation work, which borrows from the vernacular of African American cable-access cult leaders. Spinning eccentric cosmologies of divine kingship that cross invented hybrids of African and Christian religious ritual with the low-budget aesthetics of local programming, the artist uses this sub genre of American television to create sometimes ridiculously overblown rites and iconographies surrounding apocalyptic prophesies. Rather than a parody of TV mystics, however, the work traces the media conditions under which these kinds of millenarian narratives are told and their visionary creators find a pulpit. Promising to investigate "the media produced of African American cult activity in America, including the 5 Percent Nation, Nuwaubian Nation, and the Black Hebrew Israelites," an exhibition of his recent work is currently on view at Machine Project, in Los Angeles. Here video work is accompanied by sculptural objects related to occult practices in an installation that speaks volumes about American folk narratives playing out on television as it takes up the conventions of the cable cult genre.

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Curation 2.0

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The much-hyped Web 2.0, without a doubt, has put content development into the hands of the user--allowing unparalleled participation in cultural production, reception and distribution. 'Video Vortex,' a new show and series of screenings organized by Amsterdam's Netherlands Media Art Institute: Montevideo/Time Based Arts (after a related conference which took place at Argos Museum) takes these user-driven tools and philosophies and applies them to the curatorial process. Artists Graham Harwood, Giselle Beiguelman, Beatrice Valentine Amrhein, Walczak & Wattenberg (which all utilize user driven tools and tactics for their included works) are shown alongside a special installation, 'curator for a day.' Allowing visitors to choose from Montevideo's vast archive of materials (which includes works by Steina and Woody Vasulka, Marina Abramovic and many others) to put together a video program, 'curator for a day' puts decision making in the hands of the viewer. And so it's not just for their own edification, the program will be on view for the rest of the day, and must be accompanied by a coherent rationale for their selections. Montevideo/Time Based Arts has a long institutional history (they have been a leading media art institution in Europe for thirty years) and through 'Video Vortex' the curators contextualize the current flood of enthusiasm for Web2.0 tactics within a larger history of media driven 'utopias.' While the show and accompanying programs certainly celebrate this era of user driven content, it also critically assesses them and their underlying structures. 'Video Vortex' opens October 20th. - Caitlin Jones

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Modern Culture Mash-Ups

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The brainchild of artist Gursoy Dogtas, Matt Magazine bills itself as "a synthesis between a fanzine and a current affairs magazine," but while it comments on contemporary political and social issues with a zine-style combination of appropriated material and original content, it has a more restrained take on the cut-and-paste aesthetic than the average D.I.Y. publication. Crossing subjects and historical moments, each story combines a previously published text--typically classics on subjects ranging from philosophy to natural science--from a single source with images from another origin to create telling pairings. Every issue also has a similarly two-part theme: the first issue focused on 'Freizeit und Konsum' (leisure and consumption), and the second, which was released on October 10th with an opening and short-running exhibition at Les Complices in Zurich, tackles 'Mobility and Surveillance' with a series of five stories. The issue opens with Duncan Campbell's investigation of a global surveillance system, 'Inside Echelon,' accompanied by photos from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert. Other pieces branch out to include 'Attacks on Civil Aviation' by Ariel Merari set against stills from a video work by Natalie Jeremijenko in which she attempts to board a plane wearing rollerskates, and Carl Schmitt on 'The Theory of the Partisan' matched to images of the Surveillance Camera Players. Dogtas's own photography is offset by both selections from Carl von Clausewitz's 'On War' and an essay by geographic theorist Tim Cresswell. Every piece in the issue sketches the sometimes enabling, sometimes conflicting relationship between two phenomena that increasingly frame modern life.

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Locate This

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"Uruguay's capital Montevideo is soon to be re-named Montedvd to make it sound less eighties." "Kyrgyzstan is the world's leading exporter of typos." So are the 'facts' laid out in Craig Robinson's new book Atlas Schmatlas. Known by many as the creator of the website flip flop flyin, Robinson has been entertaining us for many years with his light and self effacing website which is part gallery, part blog, part sketchbook, and part television station. Widely recognized for his Mini Pops, pixilated portraits of international celebrities, Robinson also chronicles the life of David with the One long Arm and his own questionable life choices in What If. Not his first foray into cartography (see 2005's fantastic Mapping Bruce) Atlas Schmatlas is loaded with beautiful maps and some real but mostly made up facts about the world. It could be said to be a humorous reflection of an increased cultural and artistic interest in centralized mapping and locative systems. However, it could also be said to be a charming (or irritating, depending on your perspective) and only slightly problematic text that reduces the cultures of the world to pixelized caricatures and a few witty lines of text.

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