Posts for January 2008

Copy Culture

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Open source is a term we most often hear applied to software and intellectual property in the digital realm. The Danish artists SUPERFLEX (Rasmus Nielsen, Jakob Fenger and Bjørnstjerne Christiansen) take open source philosophies and tactics offline and apply them to real world situations. Their work challenges corporate market practice through large-scale DIY projects such as television stations and fuel production plans. One of the most compelling examples of their use of homebrew 'programming' is the project GUARANA POWER. Guarana is a caffeine rich berry farmed in South America, often a major ingredient in soft drinks. A large food and beverage conglomerate sought to monopolize the market in Brazil, and with the help of SUPERFLEX and the Power Foundation, one farmer's co-op stood in direct opposition by bottling their own locally grown and produced soft drink under the label GUARANA POWER. By making their recipe and process freely available, these farmers usurped the proprietary practices of a major corporation. Like their open source applications, another digital convention that SUPERFLEX employs for non-digital purposes is the practice of versioning. The FREE BEER project is an open source recipe for beer (which includes guarana), that can be and has been adapted and improved upon. FREE BEER 3.3 is available as part of their latest exhibition COPYSHOP, recently opened at the Knoxville Gallery of Art. Part exhibition, part workshop, and part, for lack of a better word, copy shop, COPYSHOP acknowledges the importance of open culture, and has made available FREE BEER, Star and Buck Coffee, Black Spot sneakers and other homebrewed alternatives to corporate products. Mindful of the increasingly globalized power structures they live in, SUPERFLEX are not anti-capitalist, but use tools of capitalism to actualize new and progressive ways of thinking about consumer culture. - Caitlin Jones

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Enter The Ghetto Matrix

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What would happen if you remade the Matrix in the ghetto, cast a rapper from Yonkers, NY as Neo, Large Professor as Morpheus, and Peter Vallone Jr as Agent Smith, manned the Nebuchadnezzar with the best graffiti writers in New York City armed with high-powered lasers and then set the whole thing in the true Zion: the County of Kings, Brooklyn, New York?

It would probably go a little somethin’ like this:

You know the Oracle is the GRL

To roll the vid at a baller’s resolution click here and here.

Check out this tutorial on how to build your own cheap, portable and hood-style bullet time camera rig on the cheap and the fly. Designed by the GRL and director Dan the Man for a hip-hop music video for underground rappers Styles P, AZ and the legendary Large Professor, the Ghetto Matrix is just another chapter in the GRL’s continuing mission to make open source the sixth element of hip-hop.


[LINK]

Hip-hop music video featuring a bullet time camera rig designed by Graffiti Research Lab.

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Originally posted on Graffiti Research Lab by Rhizome


Let's Do the Time Warp

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Time travel has long been a popular plot convention in science fiction and has, since at least the early 1700s, been a locus for societies' most utopian ideals regarding technology. Nonetheless, the ability to construct a working time machine has eluded countless inventors. But this week, New York-based artist Jamie O'Shea built what may amount to just that. As the world was waking up to a New Year, Tuesday, O'Shea was entering a 'time machine' of his own design. At midnight on January 1, 2008, he 'shut the door to a room with a slow clock, delayed news media, and artificial day and night cycles.' The idea is to trick his mind and body into slowing down, experiencing 36-hour days, rather than 24-hour ones. He's made use of fellow Eyebeam residents' tools in doing so, with Geraldine Juarez's Hexaclock counting two minutes for every three, and Jamie Wilkinson's Internet Delay Pedal doling out web-feeds in slower motion. O'Shea will emerge from this 'temporal deprivation chamber' on January 19th (our time) a week behind us. Given the demonstrated relativity of time--or of temporal perception, it seems accurate to describe the artist's construction as a working time machine. Skeptics or otherwise curious readers can peek in on O'Shea, via a live webcam at his site. The big question, in representations of time travel, tends to be that of how the traveler will influence the future. This query remains unanswerable except to say that our present is now O'Shea's future and he's sending us messages via a witty blog. Meanwhile, he pleas with readers, 'Time travel is boring. Please send anything to keep me company.' Consider this your opportunity to communicate with the past. - Marisa Olson

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Observable Occurences

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Over the course of the Observable Occurrences event The Space Hijackers launched our very latest piece of equipment "Pirate Radio Briefcase". This stylish case contains a fully operational pirate radio station complete with twin CD players, Mixer, Amplifier, Speakers, Transmitter and Aerial....

Using the case over the weekend we broadcast a series of messages to people driving past on a range of frequencies. We broadcast information about tricks that shops play on you to customers in a supermarket carpark before they shopped. Public service announcements were given to drivers to ignore the adverts on their radio's and the billboards on the roads. Comments on commuting and car lifestyle were broadcast to people heading in and out of London.

[LINK]

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Originally posted on del.icio.us/cecimoss by cecimoss


Enter Vilnius

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Lithuania may seem an unlikely hub of the avant-garde, but as the birthplace of Fluxus founder George Maciunas and avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas, the country has an undeniable place in art history. Its capital city of Vilnius is quickly becoming an emerging location for cultural activity. Set to be Europe's 'Culture Capital 2009,' rumors of a new Guggenheim/Hermitage outpost, and the recent opening of the Jonas Mekas Visual Art Center, Vilnius seems to have 'arrived' on the growing global culture circuit. The inaugural show, 'The Avant Garde from Futurism to Fluxus' (which runs through the beginning of February) highlights the place of Vilnius in the history of the avant-garde. Mekas' impressive collection of documentation Collection of 40 Films forms the backbone of the show, and works by other key artists including Maciunas, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik and Shigeko Kubota strengthen it. A Mekas-curated film series, which includes classics by Luis Bunuel, Marcel Duchamp, Hans Richter and Fernand Leger, is hopefully an indication of future programming. Of course, the degree of fanfare and attention this capital city is currently getting is not always a great thing, and a number of quotes from the press release (e.g. "Scott Weinkle designed the super white cube space of the Art Center-- a formidable transplant of a New York Chelsea gallery to Vilnius") hints at the more troubling trend of art world homogenization. But with the Center's mandate to promote film, video and computer based arts, let's hope that Vilnius will embody the nature and spirit of its Fluxus and avant-garde fathers. - Caitlin Jones

Jonas Mekas, Fluxus on the Hudson, 1971

Update: This post covers the opening of the Jonas Mekas Visual Art Center. It implies that Vilnius is not seen as a contemporary art hub when, in fact ...

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Live Stage: This is the Truth… [Boston]

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truth.jpg
This is the Truth and Nothing But the Truth
by the Institute for Infinitely Small Things :: January 11, 2008; 6-9 pm :: Axiom Gallery, 141 Green Street, Boston, MA.

This is the Truth and Nothing But the Truth is presented as part of Some Sort of Uncertainty (January 11th - Feburary 17th, 2008 ), curated by Adriana Rios. Some Sort of Uncertainty also features works by: Bruce Campbell, Lina Maria Girlado, Elias Heim, Brian Knep, Nathalie Miebach, Liz Nofziger, Michael Sheridan, and Douglas Weathersby.

The Institute for Infinitely Small Things conducts creative, participatory research that aims to temporarily transform public spaces dominated by corporate and political agendas. Using performance and conversation, we investigate social and political “tiny things”. These have included corporate ads, street names, and post-9/11 security terminology...


[LINK]

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Originally posted on Networked_Performance by jo


CALL FOR PAPERS - INTENDED TO PROVOKE: Social Action in Visual Culture[s]

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http://beauty.gmu.edu/visualcultures

CALL FOR PAPERS
Submission Deadline: January 10, 2008

INTENDED TO PROVOKE: Social Action in Visual Culture[s]
The Fifth Annual Visual Cultures Symposium
at George Mason University
Thursday, March 27, 2008

What happens when art is made as an intentionally political act?

This symposium addresses the use of art as a form of social action -resistance - intervention - opposition. We seek to interrogate the ways in which shifts in our understanding of what constitutes "art" are intertwined with social conditions and our will to change them.

Academic or creative work from scholars, students, artists and activists is encouraged. We construe the term "art" broadly, in all of its contemporary meanings: from fine art in galleries and museums to street performance and graffiti to mass media images.

[LINK FOR FULL TEXT]

For more announcements like this one, please visit Rhizome's Opportunities page

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Originally posted on Rhizome.org Announcements by Rhizome


Dialing for Democracy

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Fred Benenson's Committee Caller allows Americans to participate in politics from the comfort of their couch. The web-based system is a tool for calling one's 'favorite politician,' by automatically putting users in touch with members of US House and Senate committees. Eliminating the time spent on researching names and phone numbers--a task which often dissuades voters from engaging in dialogue with their representatives--Committee Caller invites visitors to enter their phone number, select a committee, and click a button labeled 'Put me in touch with democracy.' After that, they need only wait for their phone to ring and they can cycle through each of the designated politicos in a single round, even rating their level of responsiveness, if so desired. Benenson, a graduate student, came up with the idea after a frustrating effort to track down and contact every member of the House Committee on Education and Labor regarding an amendment that would have limited on-campus privacy. He realized that he could use the Asterisk PBX system to automate the dialing process, and began creating a functional database for doing so. Less than a month old, the tool has become quite popular online, and Benenson believes this is because, "it short-circuits a familiar point of friction for people trying to participate in democracy while simultaneously encouraging them to actually speak to representatives and staffers with their own voice." One side-benefit, to the artist, is that this vocal exchange gives participants the ability to formulate and articulate their arguments about pressing issues. If users would like to make a practice run, they can elect to be put in touch with members of fictional committees, such as The House Committee on Google Oversight. This will prompt them to select names from a list of Futurama characters before being patched-through to the ...

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Temporary Sunsets

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For Italian born artist Carlo Zanni, code is a paintbrush. He strategically uses it as a tool to construct autonomous systems that direct and continuously output ever-changing cinematic pictorial representations. Zanni refers to his craft as "data cinema", a practice proposing, "a new way to approach filmmaking and narrative forms at large based on the use of live data feedback gathered from the Net, to create time based social consciousness experiences." The ongoing project eBay Landscape is one of Zanni's most well-known works. Using the Western visual tradition as a frame for understanding global economics, Zanni creates a landscape in which forms--for example, bamboo trees in the foreground and the mountains in the background--are generated through an algorithm tied to CNN's front page and stock market charts. As he explains, "while the shape of the mountains changes everyday (when the NASDAQ closes), the content of the bamboo trees changes as many times as CNN updates its website." Zanni's latest project is the website My Temporary Visiting Position From The Sunset Terrace Bar, in which he combines a pre-recorded video of the city strip of Ahlen, Germany with the real time sunset sky of Naples, Italy. Depending on the time of day, the user may view sunsets through a live feed or peruse an archive, updated daily. In pairing two geographical areas into one ever-changing scene, Zanni’s films poetically capture the tension surrounding international borders. The archived films end with a silhouetted flock of birds rapidly diving across the entire frame, a clear symbolic reference to migration. Given the unprecedented degree of movement within our time, Zanni’s data cinema seems an ideal medium in which to present a meditative portrait of the instantaneous horizon before us. - Miguel Amado

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Fact Checker

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Hot on the heels of the Iowa Caucus, with the 2008 US Presidential election race accelerating, artist Jon Winet is releasing a tool that can help educate people on the issues at stake. The Electoral College Widget is an easy-to-install widget for the Mac Dashboard and features digital flash cards with statistics and crucial info related to each of the contenders and issues such as poverty, health care, and religious discrimination. Given that the device is only for OS-X users, Winet and collaborator Craig Dietrich are also working on a cross-platform Ticker that will stream text, photos, audio, and other election-related content. Meanwhile, the widget is just one component of The Electoral College, a "year-long media project focusing on the U.S. Presidential elections and democracy in America." Winet is no stranger to covering elections and other political spectacles and aspects of The Electoral College grow nicely out of his Goal! 2006 project, which leveraged the popularity of the World Cup games to inform readers about under-reported issues important in the homelands of the athletes. In the next year, Winet will work together with community organizations and local activists to operate The Electoral College as "a hybrid new media art/ journalism project that recognizes the unique moment in history of this election, and the opportunities and challenges presented for democratic, civic engagement." The site will be a 24/7 headquarters for updates on the elections and critical discourse, beginning with the publication of an essay by D.L. Pughe, entitled "When Luck Grows Hard: Real Life in the Fiction Capital of America." Check out Winet's YouTube channel for videos related to the project and stay-tuned for Facebook apps and SMS subscription services. Meanwhile, the Electoral College Widget can be downloaded here. - Marisa Olson

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