Posts for September 2007

A Push In the Dark

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Digital media may have lost much of its ghost-in-the-machine wonder now that we carry the web in our pockets and incorporate these technologies into most everyday activities, but the group show Dark Matters: Artists See the Impossible, at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts through November 11, allows the media work in the exhibition to reassert some of the lost conceptual heft of its material. The centerpiece of the exhibition is Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen's collaboration Listening Post, a celebrated work that trolls the web and pulls snippets of text from message boards and public chat rooms. It displays the fruits of its scanning on a curved arrangement of small LED displays and articulates a few of them with a cold, synthesized voice. Situated among photography, video, and object-based conceptual work that all points to the (frequently sinister) unimaginable, Listening Post's wash of jumbled information not only surveys the singular preoccupations--from politics to porn--of the users who typed it, but also suggests a control-room window onto the unfathomable vastness of collective production. It is a staggeringly occult--or even spiritual--representation of the Web.

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Ujino and The Rotators

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This week Vancouver's Western Front will open Tokyo-based artist and musician Ujino Muneteru's first solo show in North America. The large-scale installation highlights Muneteru's latest project, The Rotators, a band consisting of instruments the artist constructs from everyday household items such as blenders, hair dryers, pots and pans, and turntables--all driven by the artist's custom control system, Rotatorhead. Influenced by dance music and culture, Muneteru's multi-faceted practice has roots in the performative tendencies of the Futurists, Dada, and the likes of John Cage and Nam June Paik. The exhibition opens September 6th with a live performance of Ujino and the Rotators. There will also be an instrument-building workshop led by the artist on September 5th and an artist talk on September 8th.

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Softspace Heavyweights

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Somewhere between the brick and mortar of traditional architecture and total-immersion fantasy interiors, many designers are increasingly using wifi, RFID, wearable computers, and other remote technologies to construct 'softspace,' ephemeral environments that manipulate light, heat, sound, and other experiential conditions in response to the actions of their inhabitants. London's Tate Modern is hosting a discussion on the design of softspace on Saturday, September 8th. The conversation will no doubt hinge on the social and phenomenological implications of the emerging design field with Tate curator Jane Burton, curator and critic Lucy Bullivant, and new media heavyweight Lev Manovich on the panel, but with designer Despina Papadopoulos and architects Usman Haque, Jason Bruges, and Daan Roosegaarde also in conversation, it promises to offer a solid look at current practices.

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Rhizome Expands Editorial Scope, Hires Staff Writers

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Marisa Olson:

Big news! Rhizome has hired two staff writers--William Hanley and Caitlin Jones--who will make daily original contributions that will expand the scope of our front page news stream. The writers will serve as a community amplifier, covering art, events, and ideas happening on Rhizome and also across the expanding field of contemporary art that engages technology.

Hanley and Jones are respected critics who bring to Rhizome a wealth of experience. Both have written for numerous international publications on new media and contemporary art. Hanley was formerly an editor at ArtInfo.com and Jones held a combined curatorial and conservation position at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum before becoming Director of Programming at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery.

Together with Rhizome Editor & Curator, Marisa Olson, the staff writers will be responsible for bringing Rhizome readers large doses of daily criticism and coverage of local and international events. In addition to their original articles, the writers will become Rhizome's resident rebloggers and will share responsibility for writing Rhizome News--the organization's thrice-weekly email and web-based publication--with the pool of talented freelancers that has always ensured a diversity of voices and subject matter on Rhizome's front page.

Rhizome's front page news stream will now include a mixture of original writing--short posts and longer editorial features--alongside reblogged content: blog posts from all over the web and highlights from Rhizome Raw, the organization's listserv of eleven years, which supports a community of new media practitioners and enthusiasts.

Rhizome's editorial content is part of Rhizome's broader slate of programs, including exhibitions, commissions, education, symposia, performances, and other events, all of which strive to bring greater visibility, context, and discussion to the new media art field.

Please join us in welcoming Hanley and Jones, and please... Post some ...

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Originally posted on Rhizome.org Raw by Marisa Olson


Meet the Olivers

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For the past five months Seattle's Oliver family (Carol, Mike, Nigel, Pete, Syd, and Mary) have been diligently working to complete all sixty-three of the assignments set out in Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July's popular web project Learning to Love You More. The fruits of their labor were installed this weekend at the annual Seattle art and music festival, Bumbershoot, and can be seen in their entirety at LTLYM. Their own blog, Learning to Love Ourselves More, goes beyond the final products and documents their process from beginning to end--including the distribution of assignments, trips to the art supply store, and the personal negotiations and judgments on each other's work. LTLOM is a testament to the strength of Fletcher and July's original concept and the Olivers' actualization of the site's enthusiasm and involvement points emphatically to the transformative and inclusionary potential of the web.

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Remembering Cinema

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Taking its title from 18th and 19th century proto-cinema that used rear-projected images and magic lanterns to tell stories of otherworldly phenomena, the thematic group show Phantasmagoria: Specters of Absence includes a dozen variations on moving shadows temporarily manifesting unseen forces. Several of the works in the traveling exhibition literalize relationships between motion pictures and memory that crop up throughout the history of cinema. This happens most notably in Brazilian artist Rosangela Renno's Experiencing Cinema, a 2004 installation that projects family photographs onto a screen of fog. Others brings some of the shock of early moving images back to the form. Mexico-born, Montreal-based Rafael Lozano-Hemmer contributes Sustained Coincidence [Subsculpture 8]. One of his signature room-size environments, it uses a computerized surveillance system and a series of 36 incandescent bulbs to force viewers into jarring confrontations with their own shadows. The exhibition debuted at the Museo de Arte del Banco de la Republica in Bogota, Colombia--which co-organized the show with Independent Curators International--and it is currently on view at The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, in Hawaii through November 25.

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Makeshift Meadow

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There is a lot of grass growing on Berlin's Unter den Linden this fall, but it is not on the wide boulevard or the nearby Tiergarten, it is in a makeshift factory created by artist Phoebe Washburn at the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin. Known for her seemingly haphazard constructions made from recycled scrap and found materials, New York-based Washburn has applied her same aesthetic to the construction of a factory assembly line titled 'Regulated Fool's Milk Meadow.' The products of this makeshift agro-industrial factory are small plots of lush green grass that are used to create a sod roof for the factory itself. Transported by a series of inefficient yet perfectly functional gears, pulleys, and mechanical elements these small plots of earth are carried through the structure, which provides perfect growing conditions in the form of water, light and a 'gardener.' A completely closed system (the factory creates only for its own edification), the grass emerges plushy and green from its loving environment to be placed on the factory's roof where it soon dies exposed to the gallery environment--a place devoid of natural light and water. Is this an analogy? Maybe. In any case, Washburn's mediation on nature and technology is certainly a beautiful reflection on the inevitable cycle of growth and decay. The exhibition runs through October 14.

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Live Stage: Sculpting the Tour Eiffel in Sound [Paris]

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Sculpting the Tour Eiffel in Sound by China Blue :: September 28, 2007 :: Tour Eiffel, Paris, France.

The Tour Eiffel is a visual icon of architecture, art and European culture. But, since it has been built no one has considered its unique acoustic structure. On Friday, September 28, 2007 the international sound based artist, China Blue will capture Gustave Eiffel's unique steel design in sound. Her acoustic recordings will document the sound and vibrations of the Tour Eiffel's 2,500,000 rivets and 18,038 pieces of steel weighing a total of 7300 tons. She will also register the sonic environment of the approximately 30,000 people who visit it daily as they move from the ground to the pinnacle as well as the machine room's enormous gears and motors that carry the visitors up and down the tower. From the rez-de-chausser to the crown, she will sample the actual vibrations of Mr. Eiffel's monumental design, one of the 'seven wonders of the world,' highlighting the unique but ignored beauty of this iconic structure.

The recordings are the first stage of a major art project. They will be used to make a sonic reconstruction of the Tour Eiffel enabling visitors of the installation to be able to hear the acoustical separations of the steel vibrating and the visitors' presence at the various levels.

China Blue is an internationally exhibiting New York City artist who is interested in the intersection of sound and architecture. She is occupied with the human experience of sound in relationship to a locale and the concept that space is filled by and shaped by those who live in it and use.

China Blue's work integrates sound and installation to create acoustically driven installation environments. Sound is a sculptural material that is either ...

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Originally posted on Networked Music Review by jo


Phoning-In the Good Times

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We love and hate our cell phones like annoying siblings or parts of our bodies, and when we discard and replace them, the act is often accompanied by a pang of loss. That conflicted psychological relationship to our little digital appendages forms the basis for a new body of work by Joe McKay on view at Brooklyn's VertexList September 7 through October 7. His Hacked Cell Phone Sculptures lovingly resurrect outmoded and abandoned mobile phones as components in imaginative contraptions, splaying out Nokia guts and reconstituting them as everything from telegraph devices to a keyboard-based instrument. The neglected machines enjoying a new life are joined by the video/performance work Sunset Solitare and a series of manipulated photographs, titled UFO 1-7. During the September 7 opening, the artist also offers a demonstration of his 'Cell Phone Piano' that could make one misty-eyed for an unhinged flip phone or long-forgotten ringtone.

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Artists Wanted Competition

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Artists Wanted – an open call for submissions.

The current Art World is rife with uninspired work. Too often artists are elevated based on who they know instead of the quality of their work. Our goal is to up-end that process.

Artists Wanted is a new and ongoing program designed to promote the great undiscovered artists of our time. Those selected will receive $2007 cash, an inclusion in our annual publication, and a solo show at the 3rd Ward gallery in Brooklyn. Runners-up will be listed and linked on the website and have the possibility of being featured in our publication. Submission deadline: Sept. 21st. Submission fee: $25 for 3 images. No previous exposure necessary. We want the best, most talented, undiscovered artists. We want you.

All information about submission available through www.artistswanted.org.

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Originally posted on Rhizome.org Raw by Rhizome