Posts for February 2008

Open Source Movement

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At 89 years old, American dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham has pushed many boundaries in his celebrated career. Long associated with the avant-garde, he has invited numerous collaborations with new media artists over the years. Since 1991, he has used software to choreograph his works, and the resulting sensor-based animations have recently been exhibited as works in their own right. Now the artist is moving his practice towards an open source direction. Longtime Cunningham collaborators Marc Downie, Paul Kaiser, and Shelley Eshkar, who together form the OpenEnded Group, are releasing an open source recording of Cunningham performing a new version of his renowned piece, Loops. Loops was originally performed in 1971 as a solo dance. In this special re-configuration, Cunningham focuses only on his sensor-laden hands and the resulting work is a graceful visualization of his fingers moving through space. The transition into this form indeed visualizes how the artist has evolved over the years. Cunningham is also releasing the score under a Creative Commons (non-commercial/attribution/share-alike) license, so that it can be more closely studied and remixed in the future. For an artist with such a long-standing interest in chance operations, it's a bold and exciting move to see his work opened up to others in this way. - Marisa Olson

Image: Merce Cunningham, Loops, 2008

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Tiny Specimens

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The "nature expedition" is a tried and true exercise in elementary school science class. Assuming the identities of junior scientists, students embark into nature to collect samples of bugs, plants, twigs and sundry living things for study. The artists Pascal Glissmann and Martina Hofflin, working in conjunction with the Academy of Media Art, Cologne, have updated this model, but with a distinct twist: their samples are solar-powered Electronic Life Forms (2004-2007) or "elfs". According to the artists, "elfs are small, analog creatures reacting to light, calling the attention of the observer with their delicate sounds and movements." Isolated in glass Mason jars and accompanied by photographic documentation of the machines inhabiting their "natural" environment, the artists present elf "specimens" in the gallery much like exotic fauna. The set-up falsely attributes these simple robotic creatures with the characteristics of a living being, thus enduing the elfs with an endearing quality. Glissmann and Hofflin explain the underlying motivation for the project as a questioning of "the relationship between technology, nature and humans." The elf installation is currently on view in the "Urban Living" exhibition at Pittsburgh's Wood Street Galleries. - Gene McHugh

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Open Call: SECRET PORTRAITS

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Portraits are one of the basic forms of artistic practice...

With exhibition "Secret Portraits" the Unknown Artist Virtual Museum approaches this ancient form in the digital age...

"Secret Portraits" refers to the unknown identity of accidental portraits, an important theme to the Unknown Artist...

With the exhibition "Secret Portraits" UAVM seeks to present an digital art show around the portrait, questioning it as a means of representation, centered in photography and digital video and the various practices associated with it, such as drawing, painting or photography.

The show is open to all artists working in digital media.

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Originally posted on Rhizome.org Announcements by Rhizome


YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES at the New Museum

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Documentation of BLACK ON WHITE, GRAY ASCENDING (2007) a new work by Seoul-based collective YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES commissioned for the New Museum. In BLACK ON WHITE, the artists have expanded their usual single-channel format to create an unprecedented seven-channel installation that evokes a chilling story of abduction and assassination from seven separate points of view, set to an eerily laid-back bossa nova score.



BLACK ON WHITE, GRAY ASCENDING by YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES from Rhizome on Vimeo.


BLACK ON WHITE, GRAY ASCENDING is organized by Lauren Cornell, Executive Director of Rhizome and Adjunct Curator, New Museum, and Laura Hoptman, Kraus Family Senior Curator, New Museum.

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[no title]

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"Internet art, net art, and networked art in relation." A collection of conversations and interviews (with: Isabelle Arvers, Marc Garrett, Benjamin Weil, Charlie Gere, Christiane Paul, Cory Arcangel, Jemima Rellie, Sara Tucker , Jon Ippolito and Dirk De Wit) gathered between February 2006 and April 2007 as part of an investigation into the relation between Internet art and the traditional institutions for contemporary art in the North American and Western European regions. By Karen Annemie Verschooren.

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Originally posted on VVORK by Rhizome


Curvilinear Narratives

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British artists Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead (collaborating under the name Thomson & Craighead) are internet art pioneers whose practice often extends beyond the internet to manifest network conditions in physical space. Their Decorative Newsfeeds (2006) project is an example of such an initiative. In both the gallery and outdoor versions of the work, a live news feed is visualized in curly-cue text strings that keep viewers informed of up-to-the-minute headlines. At a time in which statisticians often site the public's limited attention span for both visual art and the news, the project is a nice pairing of the two. Thomson & Craighead compare the animations to readymades or automatic drawings, but one might also see in them a poetic statement about the fabrication of social reality in the media. In gallery versions, the feeds are projected onto both sides of a screen, making the viewing experience more immersive while invoking the notion of a two-sided story. In outdoor contexts, three colorful tracks of text whirl along a trajectory programmed into bright LED boards, sending the classic town square news ticker into a spin. Decorative Newsfeeds have been installed in London and Cambridge, and video documentation can be found online. - Marisa Olson

Image: Thomson & Craighead, Decorative Newsfeeds, 2006

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HOW TO: Curate yourself into the New Museum

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Borna from double happiness figured out a clever way to "curate" himself into the display of Montage: Unmonumental Online in the New Museum's galleries. Click the above for step-by-step instructions. - Ceci Moss

Originally posted on F.A.T. by borna


"Design and the Elastic Mind" @ MoMA

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Adaptability has always been a distinctive feature of human intelligence, but as MoMA's new exhibition "Design and the Elastic Mind" claims, recent developments in science call for faster -- and, indeed, more elastic -- modes of social response. Beginning with a display on nanostructures and concluding with one about social and global networks, this ambitious exhibition examines the various scales on which our contemporary lives are led, and the way design can translate technological innovation into objects of everyday use. Aranda/Lasch's Rules of Six (2007), for example, foregrounds nanodesign's potential for self-assembly with a wall relief and images of nanostructures. Developed through simple rules and interactions, these structures offer provisional cases for the role such generative, modular organization may hold in the realms of architecture and design. On the human scale, Emili Padros for the emiliana design studio's NSS: Non-Stop Shoes (1999) is one of many projects to consider micro-solutions to energy conservation: high-top sneakers that store energy over their use to power lightbulbs and small, domestic appliances. Experiments on the social scale frequently focus on the interaction of individual users with a larger (often virtual) public, as with I Want You To Want Me (2007-ongoing), Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar's condensation of internet dating networks into an interactive, flatscreen display, and Fernanda Bertini Viegas, Martin Wattenberg and IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center's History Flow (2003), which visualizes user-generated revisions to Wikipedia topics. As Senior Curator Paola Antonelli points out in an essay accompanying the exhibition, the ability of virtual users to "break the temporal rhythms imposed by society in order to customize and personalize them" is one of the many ways that we are tackling technological novelty with a spirit of agency and play. - Tyler Coburn

Image: Fernanda Bertini Viegas, Martin Wattenberg and ...

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C.E.B. Reas: TI / Gallery DAM Berlin / ARCO’08 Madrid, Spain

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At ARCO 2008 in Madrid, Gallery [DAM] Berlin presented the digital art installation "TI" by C.E.B. Reas as part of ARCO's "Expanded Box" section. C.E.B. Reas on his website: "Aggregate layers of abstraction remove every trace of systemic complexity, revealing a living surface. Structured form emerges from the results of thousands of local interactions between autonomous elements."



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In this video, from Vernissage TV, Gallery [DAM] Berlin Director Wolf Lieser explains the concept behind C.E.B. Reas' work "TI" alongside footage of the piece taken during ARCO '08.

Originally posted on VernissageTV art tv by Enrico


Yes, No, Maybe So

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New York-based artists MRiver and TWhid (together, they are MTAA) began their collaboration as painters, but quickly moved into the world of new media. They were among the earliest internet artists and are at the forefront of a small handful who are still in practice from that first generation. Their work continues to push the boundaries of the genre, but is consistently informed by the history of conceptual art and performance. They very often contemplate the notion of "translation" between natural and computer languages, and in the form of "updating" works (their own or others') from the platform of one media epoch to another. While their newest piece, YES & NO (2008), grows very clearly out of this trajectory, it is refreshingly different. Like their One Year Performance Video (2004) and Karaoke DeathMatch 100 (2007), it uses software to string together pre-existing video clips of the two artists, but in a seemingly more random way than before. Always fans of language games, MTAA took turns taking sides in the binary of YES vs NO. They each recorded themselves saying these respective words sixty times and the computer randomly selects the order of each clip, so that the artists can disagree with each other in a myriad of chance combinations. Despite the randomness of these face-offs, they read as intentional, and like any good montage, meaning seems to emerge organically from the juxtaposition of the discrete units. The two-channel work looks quite a bit like the duo's Infinite Smile (2005), while perhaps illustrating that a sense of humor and the occasional agreement to disagree are the cornerstones to any happy artistic relationship. - Marisa Olson

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