Salvatore Iaconesi posted on Rhizome's Announcements yesterday that Artsblog.it will be publishing 3 interviews dealing with the financial crisis and new media art over the next month. The first, an interview with Turbulence.org's Helen Thorington and Jo-Anne Green, breaks down government funding for arts non-profits in the United States, and underscores the limitations facing organizations that fund non-traditional arts. Marc Garrett of Furtherfield will be interviewed for the next installment, which goes live January 1st, and a discussion with Simona Lodi, of the Torino Share Festival, will conclude the series on the 6th of January.
Humor has been a prominent but under-analyzed aspect of art in the past century; the comedy impulse is strongest in the history of media appropriation and conceptual art, beginning with Duchamp's poker-faced readymades and continuing through the work of Bruce Conner, Andy Warhol, Dara Birnbaum, Ant Farm, Jeff Koons and many others. Even the very way we talk about art overlaps with laff-lingo: we call certain pieces "one-liners," value work for being "wry" or "witty," and discuss whether or not a viewer "gets it." And of course, one of the first things someone will ask who doesn't "get it" is: "Is this supposed to be a joke?"
Cory Arcangel's work has almost always played on the logic of the joke in its construction: witness his most recent exhibit, "Adult Contemporary" at Team Gallery, which includes work like Self Playing Sony Playstation 1 Bowling (2008), an old bowling game hacked to only throw gutter-balls, and Permanent Vacation (2008 version), two silver iMacs set to email each other and exchange "out of office" messages until they fill up and crash. But the line between comedy and art more or less dissolved in Arcangel's related event at the New Museum's New Silent Series, Continuous Partial Awareness. In this stand-up-style routine, Arcangel performed an hour-long monologue by reading off a huge list of his unused ideas for new artworks, ranging from "give a boring artist's talk entirely through a vocoder" to "have intern watch Lawnmower Man 10,000 times and then make a website about all the plot inconsistencies."
At the very real risk of ruining humor by critiquing it, Cory and I meet recently to discuss the relationship between comedy and art in both his work and that of others. - Ed Halter
Need a demented holiday soundtrack to add that je-ne-sais-quoi to your Christmas celebration? Then take a listen to this. People Like Us, aka Vicki Bennett, who's been appropriating and remixing found footage and sound into her own surreal blend for over 17 years now, put together this special Christmas mix in 2004 as part of Christian Marclay's Sounds of Christmas project at the Tate Modern. For this interactive installation/performance, Marclay invited notable turntablists and DJs to remix his personal collection of 1,200 Christmas albums live. People Like Us use Marclay's yuletide LPs to make one ridiculous cacophony, and this track will surely jumpstart a round of al-al-al-aF or Fa-la-la-la.
Christmastime favorite, the Gingerbread Man, enters the darkside in this video by renown art/music group The Residents. Released in 1994, the album Gingerbread Man was an interactive CD-ROM, an example of the band's many experiments in multimedia during the 1990s. The video below derives all of its content from the original version of Gingerbread Man but was produced for their 2001 DVD Icky Flix. To read more about this unique album, go here and here.
For those dealing with the insanity of holiday travel this winter, this one's for you. Unattended Luggage is a short, simple game in which the player progresses from each stage by collecting all the packages in the room. Airport security guards block the player from moving luggage, and the trick is to dodge them while carrying this task out. The game's designers, Terry Cavanagh, increpare and Alteisentier, claim they made Unattended Luggage while waiting in a Dublin airport.
Rhizome's Community Campaign does not involve a telethon, but if you become a member at the Sprout level, you'll get one of four awesome ringtones that will make you wish we'd never stop calling you. Taigaa offers "Shark and Tiger," a catchy jungle fable from their new album Off, while the punchy, junky band Yacht wants to put their new track "NTSC" on your phone. You can nurse lingering childhood equestrian fantasies while listening to Ben Coonley's interview with an imaginary pony, who says "I like it when you brush me." And Ben Fino-Radin's ringtone is a concatenation of pitches he describes as "meditative," perfect for reflecting on why you're going to let a call go straight to voicemail.
With this kind of variety, you'll want to get your friends to be Sprouts, too, so you can enjoy all four!