Posts for April 2008

Round and Round

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Starting this Friday night and running through April 28th, Mudam Luxemboug will host a series of events organized by Candice Breitz involving artists who "explore the logic of call-and-response" in their practices. Many of these artists, including Cory Arcangel, Matthieu Laurette, and Pierre Bismuth, have been previously categorized by the use of appropriation or recycling in their works, a characterization Breitz believes to feed into a false dichotomy, in the discourse surrounding contemporary art, between "original" creative production and critical responses to culture's reserves. For Breitz, "all creative acts are responses to other creative acts," and her curated program aspires to locate the practices of the participating artists in the history of call-and-response, which many musicologists trace back to oral cultures on the African continent. Call-and-response is a mode of creative expression that necessarily emerges "between people," in that it entails the participation of multiple speakers and listeners, thereby departing from "the traditional western separation of speaker/performer and listener/audience." Over a series of daylong sessions, Breitz will engage artists on a series of topics: "Art Goes to the Movies" will focus on the cannibalization of mainstream cinema in the work of Paul Pfeiffer, Bismuth, Martin Arnold and Breitz; "After Images" explores Surasi Kusolwong, Jonathan Monk, and Kaz Oshiro's use of other artists' works of art in their practices; and "Mondo Youtube" will find Arcangel, Laurette, and Bjørn Melhus discussing "the participatory potential of mainstream media such as advertising, the Internet, reality television, video games, Myspace and YouTube." As these types of mainstream media double as sites for corporate marketing and trend-appropriation - a topic Breitz has frequently addressed in her career - the question of the possibility for innovative, critical gestures becomes of paramount importance. Thankfully, one would be hard-pressed to find a better panel of practitioners ...

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Charges Against Steve Kurtz Dropped

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2008

JUDGE DISMISSES MAIL FRAUD CASE AGAINST BIO-ARTIST KURTZ

Buffalo, NY--A process that has taken nearly four years may be coming to an end. On Monday, April 21, Federal Judge Richard J. Arcara ruled to dismiss the indictment against University at Buffalo Professor of Visual Studies Dr. Steven Kurtz.

In June 2004, Professor Kurtz was charged with two counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud stemming from an exchange of $256 worth of harmless bacteria with Dr. Robert Ferrell, Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Dr. Kurtz planned to use the bacteria in an educational art exhibit about biotechnology with his award-winning art and theater collective, Critical Art Ensemble.

Professor Kurtz' lawyer, Paul Cambria, said that his client was "pleased and relieved that this ordeal may be coming to an end."

The prosecution has the right to appeal this dismissal. How the prosecution will proceed is unknown at this time. If an appeal were undertaken the case would move to the New York Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City.
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Originally posted on Rhizome.org Recent Discuss Posts by Marisa Olson


troops

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Above, small screengrab of "troops" from double happiness.

Originally posted on double happiness by bennett


Water Curses by Animal Collective

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Artist and prolific chart-maker Andrew Kuo directed a vibrant and wonderfully pixelated music video for Animal Collective's new song "Water Curses." See below.

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Putting the Hustle and Flow in Check

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Cars have turned our zen garden sandbox of a landscape into a systematically ravaged ant farm. The impetus to transport goods cheaply and "effectively" has brought roads and motorized vehicles that have wiped out communities, histories, and wide swathes of flora, fauna, and the atmosphere. Artists Ryan Griffis and Claude Willey have both concerned themselves with such disappearances, whether it is public space or atmospheric moisture that is evaporating in response to the encroachment of new technologies and the environmentally-corrupt corporations that wield them. This week they collaborated to open an exhibition of "cultural projects focusing on the problems of mobility and energy." Presented by Green Museum, an online environmental museum, "Conducting Mobility" includes internet-based works by Brian Collier, Free Soil, Amy Balkin/Kim Stringfellow/Tim Halbur/Greenaction/Pond, kanarinka, Michael Mandiberg, Laurie Palmer, Platform, Josephine Starrs/Leon Cmielewski. The show uses the United States' problems as a tip-off point, while also commenting on the extent to which we've exported our fuel-consumption patterns and other transportation-related disasters to other countries, citing India and China as key examples of foreign "ecosystems plundered by our unquenchable energy needs." The organizers point out an ironic, if very sad pattern in this model, which is that it's not only tourism, migration, and military conflict that keeps people "on the move," but environmental disasters themselves. Westerners have a way of simply moving campgrounds and keeping the eco-hating party rolling when things turn ugly in our own backyard. At this point, things are already so bad, that it can be easy to feel pessimistic about the future of our planet or what one might do to help. Griffis and Willey offer this show as a call to action, stating, "It falls to all of us as global citizens to redirect our governing institutions and ...

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Days In the Life Of...

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"You may think I am crazy," Jonas Mekas wrote in one of his 1963 "Movie Journal" columns in the Village Voice, "[but] the day is close when the 8 mm. home-movie footage will be collected and appreciated as folk art, like songs and the lyric poetry that was created by the people." In the future, he predicted, we will come to appreciate "travelogue footage, awkward footage that will suddenly sing with an unexpected rapture" since "time is laying a veil of poetry over them." History has borne out Mekas's prophecy: the decades since have seen the emergence of the diary form through artists as varied as George Kuchar, Sadie Benning, Joe Gibbons, Shigeko Kubota and Michel Auder, working not only in small gauge film but later with various hand-held video formats, from Portapak to Pixelvision and beyond. With the advent of YouTube, the possibilities of the video diary as expressive means have only grown: witness how Oliver Laric, Petra Cortright or Guthrie Lonergan suss out the "unexpected raptures" of generation Web 2.0.

As a filmmaker, Mekas himself has been one of the major practitioners of the form, typically working retrospectively: to create his multi-hour films Diaries, Notes & Sketches (Walden) (1969), Lost, Lost, Lost (1976) and As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000), he culled bits from years of 16mm footage, shot off-the-cuff with his Bolex while hanging with friends and family and journeying the world through the realms of art and cinema, and edited episodes together into epics that ponder the passage of time. Given his accomplishments-- as one of the most important promoters of American independent cinema, he helped create the Village Voice film section, pioneering distributors The Film-Maker’s Co-op, Anthology Film Archives, and Film Culture magazine-- Mekas' usual crowd happens to include many now-- legendary names: Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol, the Kennedys, and Stan Brakhage are only among the most widely famous, populating his screen along with a multitudinous who's who of the history of experimental film.

In 2007, Mekas took his filmmaking online, using his website Jonasmekas.com as the platform for a project called 365 Films, posting a new video each day for the entire year. Intended for "eye-pods" (as his May 31 entry puts it), many of these tidbits are created from now-archival film and video diaries years or decades old, while some employ content shot only days prior to posting. This week, Anthology Film Archives will screen a selection of the 365 Films theatrically as part of its Mekas retrospective From Diaries to Downloads, allowing viewers to sample the evolution of Mekas’ practice. The program will include conversations with fellow filmmakers Peter Kubelka, Harmony Korine and Ken Jacobs, trips ...

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Online Curation: A Discussion Between Nicholas Weist and Lumi Tan

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Nicholas Weist and Lumi Tan are co-founders and -directors (along with their partner Summer Guthery) of the online curatorial project "Why + Wherefore". Tan was also a guest curator on a previous online curatorial project founded by Weist called pHytonics-- which is now director-less but lives on as a fixture of powerHouse Books' online program.

"Why + Wherefore" was begun in December of 2007 with an invitational featuring over 50 artists. For the current show, entitled "TBD," each of the three curators select works to be loaded individually, reacting to each piece in succession with the following. The work is loaded in real time. The next show, which will include only video-based work loosely related to pop and media culture, will debut in early May. A screening of select work from the show will be held at Monkeytown, Brooklyn, NY, in early June.

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Men in Denim

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By Iain A. Boal

The computer, it has been argued, inspired a wave of post-war 'imaginary futures', from ecstatic fantasies of time and space travel to fears of mankind's extinction. Yet, prior technological developments were similarly animated by fantasies and anxieties about the transformation of human capacities. Here Iain Boal brings three critical histories of modernity's futuramas firmly back down to earth.

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In this review for Mute magazine, Iain A. Boal provides a thoughtful comparison of publications by Richard Barbrook and Fred Turner on the history of digital utopianism.

Originally posted on Mute magazine - Culture and politics after the net - CULTURE AND POLITICS AFTER THE NET by Rhizome


Interview with Bart Hess

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I discovered the work of Bart Hess just a year ago, at the Salone del Mobile 2007. The video of his graduation project A Hunt for Hightech was shown as part of Family of Form, the exhibition that the Design Academy Eindhoven had organized in Milan that year. Just one video on a small screen and several people glued to it, fascinated and sometimes slightly horrified. The images showed mutant skins, breathing shoes, living furs and metallic gloves. My vocabulary is actually even more limited than ever when it comes to describe the futuristic fabrics and textures that the young designer had imagined. As his website won't give much details about him and his work, I decided to write Bart and pester him with my questions...

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Originally posted on we make money not art by Rhizome


The Wrath of Math

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In these days of artist surfblogs and folksonomic curating, there's a discernible pattern to the emergence of a net artist. Like a musician strategically leaking her new album to the interweb, net artists drop their new wares on del.icio.us, then sit back to watch the URL's bookmark history grow. (For an example of artists using del.icio.us as a creative platform, check out the tag cloud on veteran net artists JODI's account.) This week it was an illustrator named Math Wrath who caught social bookmarkers' hungry eyes. The artist's site feels like the web presence of The Little Prince, if said prince fell into Rainbo Brite's candy-coated astral world. Operating under a strictly pseudonymous handle, like many in the contemporary surf set, Math Wrath offers a fresh glance at familiar themes and forms ranging from video games to comic books. While Mountains offers an eternally-scrolling horizontal landscape that will feel familiar in shape to anyone experienced in playing auto racing games, the reversal of the traditional Left/Right scrolling direction relieves the viewer of the driver's role, instead making them more like the giddy, if bewildered, child passenger in the back of a station wagon. The work's juxtaposition of razor-sharp, sparkly diamond-dust stalagmites against a glowy sky merges two vocabularies that don't often find a horizon point. This uncanniness is perhaps more obvious in TayZonday in YouTube Limbo, in which a graphically low-level portrait of the Chocolate Rain phenom is adorned with a swirly geometric blindfold. The effect of this co-mingling of bitmaps, sprites, and blingee gifs feels akin to an orchestra dividing into factions, to play in different time signatures, yet somehow staying in tune. The artist is clearly familiar with contemporary memes, as evidenced by pieces like ...

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