Posts for September 2007

Superrr Slowww

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If you're on the East Coast, then we've got a creative workout regimen for you. This Sunday, lace up your sneakers, put on your best dress sweats, and head down to Brooklyn's McCarren Park to take part in MTAA's Super Slow 5K race. Like the net art duo's previous offline participatory event, Drinkin' and Drawin', which encouraged participants to nurture both their inner artist and inner alcoholic, MTAA do not expect their participants to work without reward. In this case the promise of limited-edition runners' numbers and refreshments should keep the athletes fueled for their long journey. The artists are hoping to see non-competitive, leisurely completion of the 3.11 miles, and have called out for "people who are ready to say, 'I'll finish this 5K when I darn well feel like it and only after I stop by the official MTAA Super Slow 5K refreshment stand for another hotdog'." Taking their specific brand of playful yet theoretically-informed performance art to the street (or in this case the track) as part of the Conflux festival, MTAA is setting up an epic endurance test for themselves, and whoever wants to join them. As so much of their work does, 'Super Slow 5K' draws on the history of 'endurance' in 1960s and 70s performance art and reflects it back with sound theory and humor.

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All Together Now

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Beginning in the early days of sound art and continuing through our era, when every group show seems to include a token video work, one of the biggest challenges facing curators of noise-generating objects is how to deal with their ability to interfere in each other's sonic footprint. For a long time, exhibition spaces were partitioned into muffling isolation booths, confining each work to its own miniature gallery, but more and more curators have taken to embracing the audio bleed that inevitably occurs between works, using overlapping sounds to create new experiences of individual objects. One of the most ambitious examples to date is 'Ensemble,' at Philadelphia's Institute of Contemporary Art through December 16th. Visiting curator Christian Marclay has taken on the role of composer, filling the ICA's galleries with sound-emanating work by well-known artists, including Terry Adkins, Doug Aitken, Pierre Huyghe, and Yoko Ono, and allowing the noises that they generate to flow into one another, turning the entire exhibition into a large soundscape--with the 30-foot ceiling of the main gallery acting as an amplifier.

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Positively Archival

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Video Positive was a bi-annual festival held in Liverpool, UK from 1989 to 2000. During this run it was an important outlet for the media arts in the UK--both supporting homegrown talent and highlighting international artists. The archive of this highly successful festival found its way to FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) where it became part of a large-scale project to assess and make public its own archival holdings. The exhibition, Re: [Video Positive] Archiving Video Positive, highlights the best from this collection and is an inspirational example of how institutions can mine their own history for rich content and expose a new audience to things they may have missed the first time around. The exhibition includes work by artists such as Tony Oursler and Toshio Iwai, as well as a new commission by UK duo Thomson and Craighead. The show is on view through November 4th.

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MediaArtHistories

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Leading scholars take a wider view of new media, placing it in the context of art history and acknowledging the necessity of an interdisciplinary approach collaboration in new media art studies and practice.

Digital art has become a major contemporary art form, but it has yet to achieve acceptance from mainstream cultural institutions; it is rarely collected, and seldom included in the study of art history or other academic disciplines. In MediaArtHistories, leading scholars seek to change this. They take a wider view of media art, placing it against the backdrop of art history. Their essays demonstrate that today's media art cannot be understood by technological details alone; it cannot be understood without its history, and it must be understood in proximity to other disciplines - film, cultural and media studies, computer science, philosophy, and sciences dealing with images.

Contributors trace the evolution of digital art, from thirteenth century Islamic mechanical devices and eighteenth century phantasmagoria, magic lanterns, and other multimedia illusions, to Marcel Duchamp's inventions and 1960s Kinetic and Op Art. They reexamine and redefine key media art theory terms--machine, media, exhibition--and consider the blurred dividing lines between art products and consumer products and between art images and science images. Finally, MediaArtHistories offers an approach for an interdisciplinary, expanded image science, which needs the "trained eye" of art history.

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Originally posted on del.icio.us/network/marisaolson by mccoyspace


Montreal's Message in a Bottle

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Founded by Daniel Langlois in 1997, the Montreal-based Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology has been at the forefront of supporting projects that merge art and technology for over a decade. It now boasts a specific initiative devoted to developing new conservation methods to meet the needs of frequently immaterial media work, and the foundation's Web site serves as open storage for many watershed projects in the history of electronic and digital art. To celebrate a decade of the DLF's accomplishments, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is presenting Communicating Vessels: New Technologies and Contemporary Art from September 20th to December 9th. The exhibition only scratches the surface of the vast number of works the foundation has supported in its history, but it gathers a fairly representative selection of important projects by Eduardo Kac, Jim Campbell, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Jessica Field, and a long list of other notable artists. The title 'Communicating Vessels' refers to objects that facilitate a transfer between two worlds--be it material to code or robotics to biology--but one of the most interesting transitions undertaken by the show will no doubt be how the curators overcome the installation challenges presented by bringing tech-heavy work into the museum's traditional galleries.

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Mirror Mirror

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The construct of the mirror looms large in the work of Daniel Rozen, and his latest show, Fabrication, is clear evidence of this. Disguising technology with natural materials and textile-based constructions, Rozen's work appears to float in the exhibition space, reflecting back whoever stands in front of it. Where 'Weave Mirror' has the appearance of a hand woven basket, 'Peg Mirror' is constructed of 650 circular wooden pieces that shift and rotate to create a mirror image. Conflating textile design, photography, and new media, Rozen's work absorbs and reflects the equally diverse world around it. This is the third solo show by the artist at Bitforms gallery and the work will be on display through October 6th.

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Feeling the Volume Pressure

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Today, Montreal audiences have a chance to engage in an immersive sonic environment. As part of the program of four live events accompanying the exhibition 'espaceSONO::audio.lab,' currently presented at SAT [GALERIE], a 'deep.listening.session' will start at 8 PM, featuring works by artists such as Martijn Tellinga/BOCA RATON, o.blaat, and Mike Hansen & Martin Tetreault. This line-up of serious heavyweights will both maximize and minimize the use of volume pressure. These experimental performances will thus examine, alongside the works on view, the question posed by the projects's curator, Tobias c. van Veen: 'How does one exhibit the unseen? Can sound, too, be experienced as an art, or is it always submitted to the sign of music?' Van Veen has brought together pieces by 36 international artists that occupy the 2000 square-foot gallery, which is divided into stations with custom-designed DVD listening consoles featuring high-end headphones and full spectrum audio. The visitor will therefore encounter different soundscapes, from electro-acoustics to field recordings. According to van Veen, his aim was to 'put the listener into a new bodily space, designed to activate different senses and heighten the becoming-ear of the body,' which would allow the discovery of the many tones of this more and more significant field within contemporary art. - Miguel Amado

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The Other Mid-East Media

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Putting to rest the misconception that Al Jazeera represents the leading edge of electronic media in the Middle East, three artists who invoke the region in their projects presented work at Amsterdam's Mediamatic Fountadion on September 13th. Mounira Al Solh's video, 'Rawane's Song,' is featured in Lebanon's pavilion at the Venice Biennale this year. At Mediamatic, she screened and discussed that work, as well as two works-in-progress ('A Cat in the Hippodrome' and 'The Sea is a Stereo') that also tackle everything from Lebanese politics to migrating populations. Her presentation was followed by a slide show from Amsterdam-based Paul Keller, who draws on images taken in Dubai, Lebanon, Amman, and Damascus to illustrate his concept of 'collateral knowledge.' Finally, the young Lebanon-born, Paris-based musician and composer Tarek Atoui performed a piece dedicated to people in Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon who have suffered as a result of regional conflicts. As a whole, the evening demonstrated the cultural influence of the region extending well beyond the narrow scope of news headlines.

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After the Goldrush

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Combining artifacts from gold rush-era California with the work of the ground-breaking artists from California's Bay Area, Pioneers--a new show at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art--is simultaneously a social history and contemporary art exhibition. The show reflects on the spirit of independence and exploration among California's early migrant population through the lens of the art of California's political, social, and cultural upheavals. Moving image works by Ant Farm and Bruce Conner, the theatrical practice of the Cockettes, and works by Diego Rivera and Dorothea Lange are only some of the artworks which illustrate how art can resonate with cultural moments past, present and future. 'Pioneers' runs through November 5th.

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History Will Repeat Itself

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Over the past few years a number of contemporary artists and curators have taken up the idea of 're-enactment.' No longer the domain of Civil War buffs, re-enactment as an art movement allows us to actively re-engage and rethink our history. History Will Repeat Itself: Strategies of Re-enactment in Contemporary (Media) Art and Performance, organized by Inke Arns of Hartware MedienKunstVerein, in Dortmund, Germany includes works by C-Level, Pierre Huyghe, and Jeremy Deller. Most notably, however, it includes a video (transferred from film) of theorist Walter Benjamin addressing his favorite topic: the copy. Musing on the work of Piet Mondrian, Benjamin comes to the conclusion that copies of Mondrian's work are 'multi-layered and more complex with regard to its meanings, than the original.' It is this repetition (made so much easier in a digital environment), which add layers of meaning to the ideas, events, and objects that constitute our history. The show runs until September 23rd and will then travel to Berlin's KW Institute for Contemporary Art.

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