Posts for January 2008

Reconfigurable House (2007) by Usman Haque and Adam Somlai-Fischer

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The Reconfigurable House is an environment constructed from thousands of low tech components that can be "rewired" by visitors. The project is a critique of ubiquitous computing "smart homes", which are based on the idea that technology should be invisible to prevent DIY...

In contrast to such homes, which are not able to adapt structurally over time, the many sensors and actuators of Reconfigurable House can be reconnected endlessly as people change their minds so that the House can take on completely new behaviours.

Some people may walk into the House and find that things are too noisy, too reactive, or maybe not reactive enough. Perhaps some people may prefer sound outputs, others may prefer lights. Still others may prefer the delicate feeling of mist. Each visitor will be able to use a simple interface to configure the reactions and interactions of the house in a completely different way. The "hardware" stays the same, but visitors completely transform the "software"! In this openness, the Reconfigurable House also demonstrates authentic interaction: where the system not only reacts to visitors, but, at a higher level, also changes the way that its reaction is computed...

The house consists of walls and devices that respond to sound, light, touch, footsteps, phone calls, mp3 players and even distant remotely connected spaces. Through elements like the Cat Brick Wall, Mist Laser garden, Monkey Corridor and Radio Penguin Ceiling, constructed from hacked low tech toys and gadgets, the house can be inexpensively recreated by even those who are not experts in electronics. This means that not only is the software of the House open, but the hardware is too.

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See also: Adam Somlai-Fischer's work Induction House (2004) in the Rhizome ArtBase

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


War, A-Z

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The Dictionary of War project takes as its impetus the refrain of philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, "At least, when we create concepts, we are doing something." Whether read as a statement of looming powerlessness or a celebration of the power of theory, the argument makes a fittingly anxious backdrop for the collaborative Dictionary of War, which gathers scientists, artists, theorists, and activists to create an alphabetical index of "key concepts that either play a significant role in current discussions of war, have so far been neglected, or have yet to be created." These include terms like "Stance", in which filmmaker Khalo Matabane compares what it means to take a stance in combat and to take a stance as an artist; "Disappeared", in which Sylvere Lotringer considers what truly happens to disappeared soldiers, and the fact that, despite periods of invisibility, "the war is never over"; or "Pleasure", in which Avi Mograbi explores the perceptions of ex-soldiers regarding their military experiences and the often unspoken "pleasure of controlling other people with the tips of your fingers." The project began in 2006 as not only a publication, but more importantly a public forum in which to discuss the terms at hand, and a website that functions as platform for the presentation of entries and video archives. In the last two years, sessions have been held in Frankfurt, Munich, Graz, and Berlin to discuss and debate the lexicon of conflict. This year, the project moves further east, to Novi Sad, a thriving creative center which has become an important point of congregation for artists and activists. On January 25th and 26th, the new media center, Kuda will play host to the newest iteration of the project, which features contributions by a range of impressive participants, including Hans Bernhard, Galit Eilat, Geert ...

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News Knitter

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Created by Ebru Kurbak and Mahir M. Yavuz, News Knitter is a data visualization project which focuses on knitted garments as an alternative medium to visualize large scale data. News Knitter converts information gathered from the daily political news into clothing. Live news feed from the Internet that is broadcasted within 24 hours or a particular period is analyzed, filtered and converted into a unique visual pattern for a knitted sweater. The system consists of two different types of software: whereas one receives the content from live feeds the other converts it into visual patterns, and a fully computerized flat knitting machine produces the final output. Each product, sweater of News Knitter is an evidence/result of a specific day or period.

New Knitter will be presented at the Seamless fashion show in Boston at this end of the month! In 2006, my team and I had presented at the Seamless fashion show, Taptap, the affectionate scarf! [posted by Cati Vaucelle on Architectradure]

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Originally posted on networked_performance by jo


Crafting for a Cause

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Reacting to rampant industrialization and increased division of labor at the end of the 19th century, a group of artists, designers and architects founded what would become known as the Arts and Crafts Movement. William Morris, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and others denounced the machinations of industrialized production in favor of the more romantic and socially responsible ideal of the craftsman. Although predominantly an aesthetic impulse, the ethos behind the Arts and Crafts Movement has inspired more overtly political and ecological movements in recent history. For example, in the 1960s and 70s, the suburbanization of the United States prompted increased interest in "back to the land" movements. The Foxfire community looked to the mountain culture of the Appalachians as keys to more sustainable and community oriented lifestyles, and the Whole Earth Catalog both advocated and provided tools for ecological and socially responsible living. In recent times, against the backdrop of globalization, unprecedented corporate control, and war, an interest in grassroots craft-based movements has emerged in full force. Shedding their predecessor's suspicion of technology, today's crafters realize the political benefit of the immediate access and increased connectivity afforded by new technologies. The New School for General Studies in New York City will examine the strategies of a new generation of craftsmen in the upcoming talk "Crafting Protest". Scheduled for Saturday January 26, panelists will discuss the "role of craft in forming national identities, especially in times of political turmoil or war; notions of patriotism; feminism and the domestic sphere; and economic models that circumvent conventional market models." Moderated by art historian Julia Bryan-Wilson, participants include Sabrina Gschwandtner, artist and founder of KnitKnit, a periodical that celebrates the convergence of craft and contemporary art, and Cat Mazza, whose software KnitPro was developed in opposition to sweatshop labor practices. Artist and Designer ...

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blood vomit (2008) by jeff baij

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BLOOD VOMIT!!

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New work by net artist Jeff Baij

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


Arco 2.0 Vocento: Call for Proposals

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Is it true that the web 2.0 actually delivers on the grassroots, democratic potential of the web? Or does it merely transform extant ideals into more commercially viable mass platforms? The debate and discussion around the web 2.0 happening amongst internet communities, notably Trebor Scholz' Instituted for Distributed Creativity forum among many others, is active and replete with opinion and interpretation.

While web 2.0 has given way to the development of numerous platforms for the presentation and distribution of material online-- video, photo and personal information-- few meet the specific needs of artists. The Spanish initiative Vocento (in collaboration with Arco) will address this gap in their grant award for anyone--of any nationality--with the best proposal for fostering the "presence, exhibition, communication and management of art on the Internet." Selected proposal will be awarded with 15.000 euros to realize the project.

The winning proposal will be determined by an international jury including Joasia Krysa of KURATOR/UoP, UK and Santiago Ortiz, artist, moebio.com and a representative from Vocento.

The deadline for the proposals is coming up very soon: Jan 31st, 2008. Apply now!

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Escape Code to the Past

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In a small gallery in San Francisco, founded by programmer Christopher Abad, a fun slice of computer art history is being served in the form of an ANSI Art Show. Back in the late-1980s, artists using computers running pre-Windows MS-DOS began making images in standardized codes called ANSI. Through this work, the artists embraced what we would now call limitations, but what were then new opportunities for visual expression. ANSI images were composed of a small group of symbols that could be generated through a combination of keyboard strokes, and a limited palette consisting of sixteen foreground colors and eight background colors. Only thirty lines of text could be seen at any one time, on a monitor, so viewing larger images meant scrolling or using a special ANSI viewer. A unique culture grew among the ranks of ANSI enthusiasts who would continue posting their work to BBSes and distributing them in periodic art packs, into the early-1990s. Talented crews emerged from this scene, and foremost among them was ACiD (Art Creators in Demand). "The ANSI Art Show" on view at 20 goto 10 Gallery, through February 3rd, features classic works by ACiD members Chris Lewis (a.k.a. Lord Jazz) and Jeff Lindsey (a.k.a. Somms), and is co-organized by Abad and Kevin Olson (a.k.a. acidjazz). Lord Jazz's ANSIs flex his muscles as one of the artists able to excel at both picture- and font-creation, while Somms's are compelling for their singularly emotive style. The pieces convey the influence of early computer games and anime comics, but are given a new shape after being printed as large-format transparencies to be shown on lightboxes--thus evoking the computer monitor while minimizing the need to scroll. While it may be true that ANSI culture withered a bit with ...

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Cloud (2008) by Troika

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Troika is a London-based art and design studio run by Conny Freyer, Eva Rucki and Sebastien Noel. They were recently commissioned by British Airways to produce a new project entitled "Cloud" for the luxury lounges in Heathrow Terminal 5. See below for a statement from Troika about the sculpture:

...'Cloud' [is] a five meter long digital sculpture whose surface is covered with 4638 flip-dots that can be individually addressed by a computer to animate the entire skin of the sculpture. Flip-dots were conventionally used in the 70s and 80s to create signs in train-stations and airports. We were fascinated by their materiality, by the way they physically flip from one side to the other. The sound they generate is also instantly reminiscent of travel, and we therefore decided to explore their aesthetic potential in 'Cloud'...

We started to work on the metaphor of clouds as one's flies, and the contrast which exists between the busy, hectic airport experience, and the calm, luminous and ethereal world which we discover as we fly through this dense layer. Another of our inspiration came from the old electromagnetic flip-dots which were used in railways and airport signs from the mid 70s. Those signs, with their characteristic flicking noise which instantly reminds us of travel, represent to us a golden age of technology, when analogue and digital started to merge. The indicators, dots which can flip from one side to the other with an electric impulse, have a fantastic materiality, a physicality which more modern technologies often lack, de-materialised into the virtual...

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SOINU MAPA

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SOINU MAPA is an open collaborative project. Based on "phonography" or the art of recording environmental sounds, our aim is to show, share and exchange field recordings made in the Basque Country. Here, you will find more than 100 sound recordings, that tell us a little bit more about the different sound realities of the Basque country. If you also like to record sounds and want to share your work with us, just contact us and participate! In order to distribute them freely, all recordings are published under Creative Commons license.

SOINU MAPA started thanks to a collection of recordings made by Luz Maria Sanchez in 2001. During a residence at Arteleku, this mexican sound artist did dozens of field recordings on different geographical locations of the basque country, from south to north, east to west.

This collection was archived on Arteleku mediateque, ready to be used by any artist, as Luz Maria wrote on the documentation.
Three years later, Audiolab created SOINU MAPA, in order to present in public all this collection and create a even bigger archive based on the same philosophy...

SOINU MAPA is a project of Audiolab, the sound department of Arteleku contemporary art center from Donostia-San Sebastien. SOINU MAPA has been possible thanks to the help and support of Luz Maria Sanchez and Enrike Hurtado. [via]

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Originally posted on Networked Music Review by jo


We Interrupt Your Program at Mills College

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Organized by independent curator Marcia Tanner for the Art Museum at Mills College, "We Interrupt Your Program" presents fourteen artists whose video and new media works seek to disrupt systems of power. The exhibition, which opened January 16, 2008, follows shortly after what some have called "the year of the woman" for its multiple, rigorous historical exhibitions on feminist art, such as "Global Feminisms" at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and "WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution" at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. While "We Interrupt Your Program" shows work by women only, it presents feminism at its most expansive and best: as a critical lens through which to connect to other social categories, such as nationality, class and religion. And, where iconic "year of the woman" shows focused on historical work, "We Interrupt Your Program" is a look at some of the leading lights in a new generation of feminist artists. The idea of home is a theme amongst several of the works. For instance, in Body Double (2006) San-Francisco-based artist Stephanie Syjuco presents a video triptych that features three Vietnam-era films, Platoon, Apocalypse Now and Hamburger Hill, whose soundtracks have been silenced and images of combat footage razed, leaving only a fragmented landscape and a heavily mediated picture of home and loss. Speaking to the increasing use of documents in art (see "Archive Fever" at the International Center of Photography), the Recovery Channels (1998-2005) by Nina Katchadourian invites viewers to watch fourteen-plus hours of footage from discarded video-tapes the artist retrieved from the streets of New York between 1998 and 2005. The abandoned tapes contain imagery from TV shows, soap operas and news broadcasts, much of which would be unforgettable to people tapped into mass media culture during those years. Recovered but not forgotten, the tapes ...

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