In this work by Pascual Sisto, a plastic bag obstructs the Google Maps Street View of Minnie Street in Fairbanks, Alaska. Discovered while researching Google Maps Street View, Sisto preserves this "found object" by redirecting it to its own url, lastbreathinalaska.com, as well as capturing it as a back-up video, in case Google decides to reshoot the location. Swirling on a constant panoramic loop, the movement of the camera gives the abstract image an almost 3D-like quality. The piece documents Google's fraught attempt to supply an accurate representation of Minnie Street, and, as such, Sisto sees Last Breath in Alaska (Found Object) as a response to the purportedly omniscient eye of the Street View feature, and the issues of transparency and privacy it raises. - Ceci Moss
Constant Dullaart's series "YouTube as Subject" plays with the image of the arrow-in-a-square button that appears in an embedded YouTube video. When clicked, Dullaart's videos retain their initial black backgrounds, but the arrow-buttons remain, plummeting, strobing, trembling, or turning into a mini-disco light show. In true YouTube spirit, Ben Coonley recently posted his own series as response, this time appropriating the spinning wheel of dots that eager viewers need to sit through as a video loads—in keeping with his longstanding interest in media breakdowns and frustrations. Coonley's dot-wheel now drifts off into the distance, accelerates rotation, and (betraying Coonley's Providence-scene roots) expands into a psychedelic black-and-white OpArt swirl. Better not put off watching Dullaart and Coonley's 'tubed conversation, however. Cory Arcangel's Blue Tube, made only last year, has quickly become near-obsolete. Back then, YouTube embedded a logo bug in the corner of its videos, and Blue Tube simply turned that logo blue. Now, however, after its host site's redesign, it doesn't always function in quite the right way. Who knows how long our friends arrow-button and spinning-wheel-thingy will last? - Ed HalterImage: Constant Dullaart, "YouTube Disco" from the series "YouTube as Subject", 2008
In the first decades after film was invented, its practitioners wrote brilliant, poetic essays debating whether what they had on their hands was a new medium or simply a tool for furthering existing practices like theater or painting. These artists very often used the words "magic" and "wizardry" to describe what they were up to in creating moving images. Today's films use devices further removed from the real to give us the illusion of reality and whether to perpetuate the appearance of seamlessness or to assuage the ADD-addled minds of contemporary net-surfing viewers, everything is way way sped up. Enter Kurt Ralske. He'd like to slow things down. The Boston-based artist's video installations, performances, digital prints, and software art have long addressed the formal questions many people have ceased asking about film, particularly the relationship between sound and image and stillness versus motion. This was the case with his "Alphaville" (Motion-Extraction-Reanimation), in which he reprocessed elements of Godard's famous film and stretched and repeated them across a wider plane, questioning the function of surface and duration in the original piece. In a new project entitled Zero Frames Per Second, Ralske has dissected the films of Godard, Kubrick, Murnau, and others into a series of still images. Each film is represented by two frames--one condensing all motion into a single image and the other accumulating all moments of non-movement. The artist explains that, "Within these images the cinematic experience is freed from duration, narrative, and signification, producing a visually abstract record of the information from the 150,000 or so frames per film." The works free the mind to quickly take in a film in the slowest of slow-motions. They are on view at New York's School of Visual Arts through September 12th. - Marisa Olson
"But a more interesting, and wide-ranging, question is whether designing videogame environments is not something of a missed opportunity for today's architecture studios. After all, how might architects relay complex ideas about space, landscape, and the design of new terrains if they were to stop using academic essays and even project renderings and turn instead to videogames? It seems like you can take your ideas about terrain deformation and instant landscapes and nomadic geology and you can license it to LucasArts, knowing that tens of thousands of people will soon be interacting with your ideas all over the world; or you can just pin some images up on the wall of an architecture class, make no money at all, and be forced to get a job rendering buildings for Frank Gehry. So would more people understand Rem Koolhaas's thoughts on cities if he stopped writing 1000-page books and started designing videogames - games set in some strange quasi-Asiatic desert world of Koolhaasian urbanism? Or do all of these questions simply mistake popularity for engaged comprehension?"
"In 1972, San Francisco-based radical television collective TVTV (Top Value Television) made Four More Years, the first independently produced videotape ever broadcast on television. TVTV's coverage of the Nixon nomination is a groundbreaking challenge to commercially produced news: rather than watching the scripted, variety-show nomination spectacle, the TVTV reporters trawl the convention floor with their lightweight Porta Pak cameras."
"Jeff Talman's sound installations focus on notions of "self-reflexive resonance", often using no other sound source than the natural ambient resonance of the installation site. His works also have a strong visual component, owing to his dual backgrounds in music and ...
Montreal-based artist Matthew Biederman is daring to speak out about what he sees as military and government hijacking of what is "arguably one of Earth's most important, and only inexhaustible resources": air waves. Whereas radio was once intended as a many-to-many mode of communication, tight regulation of frequencies has led to a scenario in which the few (mostly corporate entities) are entitled to speak to the masses. His project, DAREDX, "seeks to re-establish the public's presence and right of occupation within the radio spectrum." In an effort to restore some of the utopian ideals initially associated with radio, the project will connect the public with the voices that float in the air around them and yet often go unheard: the voices of amateur broadcasters. Working almost like an astronomer, Biederman (under the call sign VA2XBX) will pluck transmissions out of the night sky, playing them back in Montreal's Cabot Square and logging and mapping them online. Drawing a connection between free public speech and the right of public assembly, DAREDX will amplify the voice of the people. Radioheads will be excited to know that non-vocal signals will also be charted, as the artist will "work with digital communications on HF, in order to send and receive SSTV (SlowScan Televsion), WEFAX (from NOAA Satellites), PSK31, Hellschrieber, and many more." In case you don't feel dialed-in enough to understand what that means, consider attending one of the talks, walks, or workshops associated with the project--including the one on how to build and take home your own FM transmitter! - Marisa Olson
Juried Exhibition: Earth, at 440 Gallery, Brooklyn
Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) Technical Coordinator