Posts for October 2007

Mass Cultural Production

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Jean Tinguely first exhibited his 'Meta-matics' in the late 1950s. Motorized contraptions that aided viewers in producing abstract drawings, they pulled the artist out of the immediate creative equation and simultaneously parodied both postwar technology's promise of automated utopia and the spontaneity of gestural abstraction. His work is the point of departure for an exhibition of artist-created automatons at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt through January 27. Art Machines Machine Art looks at machines designed by artists to produce art, as well as the various provocations and critiques of creative authority that they present. Some of the work reduces artistic production to the conveyor belt, such as Roxy Paine's 1998-2002 'SCUMAK No. 2' (that is, "Sculpture Maker" Number 2), which squirts out blobs of molten plastic that harden into unique, if lumpy, forms. Others shift responsibility for activating the work from the artist to the viewer, including Olafur Eliasson's elaborate Spirograph 'The Endless Study' from 2005. Machines that produce multiples diffuse the value of the art-product--make your own Damien Hirst with his paint-spinning device 'Making Beautiful Drawings' (2007) or watch Tim Lewis's 'Auto-Dali Prosthetic' (2000) sign the celebrity surrealist's name over and over--while others highlight the dislocation of the creative act made possible by the beb, such as Lia's 2007 'I Said If' and Miltos Manetas's online painting project. In addition to prodding at the notion of the artist as author, the projects all question where the actual work lies, asking whether machine or product really belongs in the gallery. Suggesting that the artist has become more like the composer than the musician, a performance of Gyorgy Ligeti's 1962 'Poeme Symphonique for 100 Metronomes,' which is literally performed by the time-keeping devices, accompanies the exhibition on October 24th.

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PERFORMA07 Preview: Society of the Spectacle

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October 27th marks the first day of the second iteration of PERFORMA07, the New York City performance art biennial that promotes the "important influence of artists' performance in the history of twentieth century art, and its ongoing significance in the early years of the 21st." Opening on the night of PERFORMA 07, and cementing its somewhat flashy profile, is a new work by Italian Francesco Vezzoli (of "Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal's 'Caligula'" fame), entitled "Cosi' e (se vi pare) or Right You Are (If You Think You Are)" at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Starring Cate Blanchett and other celebrity heavyweights, it promises to gather audiences and attention not normally garnered by performance art. Not to be overshadowed by the ArtForum Diary fare, however, are a number of noteworthy offerings at various locales throughout the city. The exhaustive and impressive list of PERFORMA participants includes legendary artists like filmmaker Tony Conrad, Yvonne Rainer, and even Alan Kaprow (whose seminal work "18 Happenings in 6 Parts" is being reperformed) as well as up and comers Nathalie Djurberg, John Bock, and Aida Ruilova. PERFORMA TV and PEFORMA RADIO will keep abreast of all the Festival's activities, providing supplementary materials and wider access to those not in New York City. Part full-blown spectacle and part New York underground, PERFORMA07 seems a snapshot of the pluralistic nature of the New York art world and signals the consistent and growing relevance of performance within it. - Caitlin Jones

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Private and Public

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The latest two person show at Dallas' And/Or Gallery showcases the work of Kevin Bewersdorf and Guthrie Lonergan. Using the web in all its multi-functional glory, both these artists emphasize the degree to which the internet has become embedded in our culture and psyches. Lonergan's practice is a superlative example of a new generation of internet artists who combine net.art aesthetics with Web 2.0 content. Turning web surfing into an art form (Lonergan is a founding member of the Nasty Nets Internet Surfing Club), Lonergan borrows from user-generated sites, primarily YouTube, and composes snapshots of a culture that has become increasingly comfortable with the conflation of public and private space. This blurring is evident in the video Babies' first steps for which Longergan combed the web for clips of this monumental family event. With no voice over, the first steps of Riley, Annie Kate, et al, become a compelling vision of how the forms offered by Web 2.0 can transform our most intimate memories into cultural products. Kevin Bewersdorf's work also examines this recontextualization and the eroding distinctions between public and private spaces and the control. In his latest work, Bewersdorf--who recently garnered attention for his part (as co-author and star) in the film LOL The Movie (about our reliance on technology and its affect on our physical relationships), mines the web's image pool with keyword searches and then converts them into objects at his ready-made production house: Walgreens.com's 'Photo Center.' Creating pillows, mugs, coasters and other tchockes, Bewersdorf literally objectifies other people's lives.

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Ramshackle Land

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Like the Lennon/McCartney call to "take a sad song and make it better" there has recently been a strong current among artists to take the technologically mass-produced and make it intimately handcrafted. For over a decade, New York-based artist Ian Burns has perfected this aesthetic of contradictions perhaps better than anyone. Closing this month at Spencer Brownstone Gallery in Soho, The Manner of Work is a technologically deft and fully realized experience. While the show is formally varied, Burns's kinetic sculptures that produce live video feeds of unexpected narratives are no doubt the focal point. Using found objects and mass-produced goods, small cameras capture miniature scenes ranging from the Himalayas to lightning storms, Smithson's Spiral Jetty, and Christo and Jean Claude's Surrounded Islands. Imbued with Victorian romance and environmental apocalypse, each work is a never-ending tautological machine that unnervingly reflects aspects of global industrialization. Though the socio-cultural allusions are rich, the exhibition is uplifting and its best attribute is ultimately Burns's ability to make technological art that references more than its own process.

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Shirely Shor - Extreme runways and transformed surfaces.

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Xanadu & See Saw - Shirley Shor

Shirley Shor expresses her interest in space via a variety of works that bend, stretch, convolve and renew three dimensionality to produce a body of work with sharp compositional aesthetics and considered colours. Inevitably the work insinuates aspects of the real world, utopian architecture, liquid runways and roads, but also, as referred to in her artist statement, political boundaries and territories. Many of the pieces involve custom built software to produce real-time animations and transformations via simple rule-based algorithms.

The Other Spaces series contain rectilinear grids that have been distorted to become liquefied, a set of 'post fish eye lens' spaces which 'contain elastic boundaries, extreme runways, and liquid structures that expand our common perception of space and time. Elsewhere we find the Book of Life, a 'little machine that writes urban architecture in space' -- hermetic grids and structures illuminate each page, networks both microscopic and macroscopic are implied.

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Originally posted on dataisnature.com by Rhizome


Computer Art by Pygoya

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From the site: PYGOYA'S EARLY IBM XT AND AMIGA COMPUTER WORK, USING ELECTRONIC ART'S EARLY DELUXE PAINT PROGRAM (ONLY 1 MG RAM AND 32 COLORS IN 'HI RES'!)

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Originally posted on del.icio.us/53os by 53os


A Choir of Sonic Ether

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There is perhaps no more conceptually poetic and simultaneously strange musical instrument than the theremin. While Both Vladimir Lenin and Jimmy Page had brief fascinations with its seemingly magical properties and it continues to make cameos on pop records, it has largely remained a bastion of avant-garde experimentation. Though surprising, we can be thankful for this historical variance, as internationally-acclaimed sound artist Ray Lee will again harness its possibilities for his forthcoming performance, Force Field, at London's Institute of Contemporary Art in November. Sharing a sensibility with composer Alvin Lucier, Lee has an almost spiritual interest in the point at which scientific phenomenon, sound, and philosophy unexpectedly merge and invisible forces expose themselves to us. And the theremin, an instrument you don't touch, is the ideal path into this cosmology. In Force Field, Lee will activate kinetic sound sculptures by controlling and 'playing' the electromagnetic waves around the theremin's oscillators. By Lee's own design, the effect is a musical performance wherein the ether serves as conductor to an orchestra of sonic machinery.

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Historical Resource Roundup: 9 Evenings

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The touring show 9 Evenings Reconsidered: Art Theater and Engineering 1966 documents the legendary series of performances by the likes of John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, Yvonne Rainer, and many others, and organized by Billy Kluver, a Bell Laboratories engineer, in October 1966 at the 69th Regiment Armory. The exhibition opened in Montreal at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery, traveled to MIT's List Visual Arts Center, and is now on its way to Berlin's Tesla Media Art Laboratory at the beginning of November. For those of us who aren't on the exhibition's path, we can see many elements of the exhibition in a virtual space. Compiled by Langlois Foundation researcher-in-residence Clarisse Baridot, the 9 Evenings: Theater and Engineering fonds has been animated in a way that highlights the specific aspects of the technology not often at the forefront of existing scholarship. Based on the multitude of detailed stage directions, electronic schemas, and process documents in the collection, the interface provides numerous points of access to this incredible set of documents. One click on Robert Rauschenberg's name takes you to video of the tennis match/performance Open Score, and also images and descriptions of all vital electronic components (including photographs of the racquets which were equipped with wireless transmitting microphones). Another click opens an entire section dedicated to every screen and monitor used over the course of the evenings. As so much of the discourse on 9 Evenings is related directly to its importance as an art historical event, it is invigorating to explore this resource that, while still locating this moment firmly within this artistic context, for once puts the technical in the spotlight.

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Sonic Utopia

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Nodar, a small village in the north of Portugal, has since the beginning of 2006 hosted an innovative residency program for new media artists promoted by Binaural, a non-profit organization devoted to the exploration of sound within contemporary art. The artists develop their projects in a communal environment, and later show them both in the region and in different cities across the country. This Thursday, a new series of presentations is starting, featuring artists such as o.blaat (Keiko Uenishi), Rui Costa & Manuela Barile, Nilo Gallego, and Maile Colbert. The first event, taking place at a Barcelos institution, will be followed by other manifestations, amongst which one should highlight an evening of live performances at Lisbon's Ze dos Bois gallery on November 8th. There, Colbert will unveil 'Over the Eyes,' a work that considers collective memory by examining Nodar's wool industry, and Costa & Barile will reveal their latest installment of 'La Scatola,' a piece that addresses the notion of confinement by investigating mainstream representations of the 'I' and the 'other.' Bringing together experimental culture and the practices of everyday life, these artists thus engage with the politics of Western society, challenging its established ideologies with a utopian vision of the world. - Miguel Amado

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World(s) of Awe

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Yael Kanarek's latest show, 'Warm Fields,' at New York City's Bitforms Gallery extends her well-known internet work World of Awe into a gallery space. The World of Awe is a long-running work that follows the movement of a traveler in the land of 'Sunset/Sunrise.' The texts and languages so vital to the virtual sphere are physically articulated through a series of sculptures that reflect the varied landscape that Awe's traveler inhabits. In the piece 'Sunset/Sunrise' hundreds of delicately cut words, spelling out the title in English, Hebrew, and Arabic are pinned to the wall, creating the illusion of multiple spatial and temporal dimensions. The amorphic and web-like 'Travelog 765.34/3: Cut Sunset/Sunrise' makes physical the textual and networked nature of the traveler's journal. While so many artists struggle to make the jump from web to gallery, Kanarek's installation seems an organic and logical physical extension of her internet practice, and just like her weary traveler, Kanarek's work seamlessly moves through multiple spaces.

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