Posts for June 2008

01SJ Diary: Day 1

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Editor's Note: Over the next few days, curator Michael Connor will report from the 01SJ Festival taking place this week in San Jose, CA.


When I arrived in San Jose yesterday for the opening of 01SJ, I couldn't help but feel that this would be a defining year for the biennial festival of "Art on the Edge." The festival was launched in 2006 alongside the itinerant ISEA conference, and I was eager to see how 01SJ would take shape without its more established partner. For 01SJ, based in the heart of Silicon Valley, building local audiences depends on presenting programs that resonate with the tech-savvy, while cultivating their interest in contemporary art.


Last night was the official opening of the Superlight exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art, a central component of the 01SJ program. In his opening remarks at the exhibition, Artistic Director Steve Dietz addressed this challenge explicitly, reinforcing the point that the festival is bringing together the "so-called contemporary art world" with the "so-called new media art world." This relationship was played out in various ways through recent artworks that offer political and personal responses to a world riven by seemingly intractable problems.



Genevieve Grieves, Picturing the Old People, 2008

Talented newcomer Genevieve Grieves addresses the history of Indigenous representation in Australia in her piece Picturing the Old People. For this body of work, Grieves researched 19th-century photographs held in the collection of the State Library of Victoria. She identified particular motifs that ran through many of these photographs, such as romanticized images of the "noble savage" to the allure of the "exotic woman." She created five video portraits modeled after these archetypal motifs, in which the subjects occasionally come to life to enact their suppressed desires. In the video entitled Warrior, a man ...

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Endless Combinations

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An ongoing project by Daniel Gustav Cramer and Haris Epaminonda, "The Infinite Library" aspires to move beyond the categories that traditionally define books. Theirs is a collection arrived at through "inhuman and coincidental" processes, in which the second pages of any two books may be sewn into a unitary volume and, at times, overlaid with geometric patterning. Thirteen volumes have been realized to date, with several splicing content from Jukes Roger Sauter's book of mineral photography, Brasilien - Paradies der Edelsteine (1982), and Rudolf Pfister's 150 Eigenheime (1932), as if to illustrate the countless outcomes that can be arrived at even by cross-reading only two texts; and another volume quite appropriately pairing geometric patterning with Marcel Jaquet's photographs of Lanzarote, that most otherworldly of islands. Even with the limited number of examples on the website, it's evident that the conceptual bearing of this project almost precludes the need for actual objects; its case for infinite, parametric play might be all the more forcefully made by reducing its material terms to foreground the library's open-ended potential, as in Gareth Long's similar sculpture, Volumes 18,775 and 5,784,351,150,231,003 of the Total Library (2007). Given the considerable contributions of past thinkers to this topic, including Kurd Lasswitz's story "The Universal Library" (1901) and Jorge Luis Borges' essay "The Total Library" (1939) and story "The Library of Babel" (1941), one would expect a contemporary project like Gustav Cramer and Epaminonda's to break new ground. Lasswitz and Borges' ideas are certainly due for a revisiting, particularly in light of the trend, exemplified by Project Gutenberg and Carnegie Mellon's The Universal Digital Library, of using the Internet as a reserve for the sum total of our cultural works. Indeed, the storage and combinatory ...

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Long Live the Matrix

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The connections between science and technology are always evolving, and their vocabularies continue to merge as networks further permeate our lives. Much has been written about the coincident emergence of the AIDS virus and computer viruses (and the resultant panic surrounding both) and we've subsequently seen communicative transmissions signify the transmission of communicative diseases as much as any form of broadcast. In the 1990s, a group of scientists, technologists, and humanists interested in collaborating and learning from each others' research formed the Spanish group Art-Science-Technology-Society (which they abbreviate ACTS). Among other activities, these scholars organize an annual exhibition entitled "Banquete_Nodos y Redes" and this year's installation will be at the LABoral Centre for Art and Creative Industries from June 6th-November 3rd. The show includes "thirty digital and interactive art projects which posit a series of critical reflections and participative experiences while also exploring the new shared matrix of the net." The primary interest, here, is in using Santiago Ramón y Cajal's research on neuronal networks to cross-examine Manuel Castells's research on social and telecommunicational networks--and vice-versa. A very diverse range of projects by mostly Spanish artists is suggested as outlining "a path through these neuronal micro-worlds and the global dynamics of contemporary societies." - Marisa Olson


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zach shipko

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stuff by zach shipko. take a peek at more here.
[all zach shipko. top to bottom: machine head. frat boys. flipped baby.]

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Originally posted on i heart photograph by Rhizome


Bennett4$enate on Add-Art *plus* Extended Remix!

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Bennett Williamson's Screenshots from The Computer Chronicles (resized and cropped) is a new body of work created specifically for the Add-Art Firefox plugin. The images are from still frames of The Computer Chronicles, a weekly public television show running from 1983-2002 produced by the College of San Mateo's KCSM-TV. Since its cancellation, nearly all the episodes have been digitized and made available for free download from the Internet Archive.

Add-Art Screenshot

Read more about Bennett's show, see all the images, or get add-art now.

Extended Remix

Because the submissions for the $$$Remix contest$$$ have been so great, I just can't end it today. EXTENDED REMIX! Get your submissions in by June 19th for the famo, the shot at the $100 prize, or just for the lulz.

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Originally posted on F.A.T. by steve


01SJ Diary: Day 2

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Rubén Ortiz-Torres, High n' Low Rider, 2008

Day two of my San Jose experience began with a visit to MACLA to see High n' Low Rider by Rubén Ortiz-Torres, co-director of the 1995 film Frontierland. Using low rider-style hydraulics, Ortiz-Torres has customized a platform lift (normally used for high-level work on construction sites) so that it can not only be raised and lowered, but also unfolded, tilted, and spun like a pinwheel. Today, the High n' Low Rider merely sat still in the gallery space, but on Wednesday it came to life for the 01SJ opening night festivities, spinning wildly in the midst of a throng of people. I could only hope it wasn't a Decepticon.


From there, I continued on to Space 47, an independent project space that featured Floating Chronologies, a solo show by Jesus Aguilar. I last saw Aguilar's work at 01SJ in 2006, where he presented some promisingly clever pieces, including an instructional videotape that offered lessons in how to speak in binary language. For Floating Chronologies, the artist trawled the Internet to find other 'Jesus Aguilars.' Alan Berliner explored a similar line of inquiry in his 2001 film The Sweetest Sound, for which the director invited twelve other Alan Berliners from around the world to join him for dinner, but Aguilar approaches the concept in a different way. In this body of work, information about other people who share the artist's name is assimilated into a single hybrid character. We learn that this composite character earned a bronze medal at the 1980 Olympics, won the 1978 World Cup, earned a Ph.D. in philosophy, and shot a police officer in the leg. By combining these stray online facts under the umbrella of a single identity, Aguilar's piece creates a ...

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Announcing: Net Aesthetics 2.0 Webcast

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In response to popular demand, Rhizome will webcast the Net Aesthetics 2.0 event this evening. Visit this page to watch a live stream of the panel at 7:30PM EST.

Big thanks to Billy Rennekamp for making this possible.

For those in New York, please join us tonight at the New Museum at 7:30PM. The second in a series, Net Aesthetics 2.0 will explore the newest directions and greatest challenges faced by contemporary art engaged with the internet art today. The panel will be moderated curator, critic and Rhizome staff writer Ed Halter and participants include artists Petra Cortright, Jennifer and Kevin Mccoy, Tom Moody, Tim Whidden and Damon Zucconi. To purchase tickets, click here.

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01SJ Diary: Day 3

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Santana Row in San Jose is a kind of holy grail of large-scale property development, combining dining, shopping, and living space in a complex the size of several city blocks. Yesterday at lunchtime, it was bustling with row upon row of restaurant-goers sitting at tables on the sidewalk in the June sun. Imagine, if you can, Paris in the springtime with cheerful waitstaff and ample parking.


For the next few weeks, this terrestrial utopia will play host to RainDance, an outdoor installation by artist Paul DeMarinis. The piece, which somewhat resembles a shower facility, consists of five jets of water streaming downwards onto a raised walkway. Visitors walk under each stream while holding a plastic umbrella supplied by the attendant on duty. When the water hits the taut plastic, it creates a musical composition, generating different notes as the speed of water flow varies. Because the piece is inaudible until a visitor enters, it has a magical quality which was not lost on the shoppers and passersby who happened upon the piece.



Paul DeMarinis, RainDance, 2008

I left Santana Row for the Tech Museum of Innovation, where I saw 01SJ Global Youth Voices, an exhibition produced by Liz Slagus of Eyebeam. Inspired by 2007 Nobel prize-winner Muhammad Yunus' approach to micro-finance, the program had offered $500 grants to artists all over the world aged 11 to 21. Interactive artworks made by 12-year olds from the Nueve School in Hillsborough, CA sat alongside a video tour of Kibera, Africa's largest slum. "It's an impressive amount of work for twenty grand," Graham Harwood commented to me. It's true -- except according to a quick calculation ($500 x 17 artists), the actual figure was much less than 20. In the micro-finance model, even a small loan can change someone's life ...

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From Omega to Alpha

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The more one observes seemingly complex systems, the more one sees simple, repeated patterns of behavior. You don't have to be a systems theorist to note that election cycles, human development, and even the cooling and warming of the planet seem to be programmed on a loop. The big question is how or when to intervene in these cycles--what impact can or should an artist, or any of us, have on the future and its divergence from the present? This is the bigger question that might be said to foreground the current exhibition at Kunstraum Innsbruck. Collaboratively presented by Galerie im Regierungsviertel and Autocenter Berlin, "The End Was Yesterday--Part II" describes itself as post-apocalyptic, presenting the work of 19 artists whose projects deal with the transition from the end of the world to a place of regenesis. The suffix, "Part II" seems to refer not only to this moment of being after the main event, but also to the idea that this is simply a sequel, which could presumably be one of many recitations of a perpetual narrative. If this sounds dystopian, then you're in the spirit. Artists Tjorg Douglas Beers, Christian Jankowski, Annika Larsson, Roth Stauffenberg, Costa Vece, and others delve into tropes of the grotesque, abject, horrific, and futile in this show heavy on film/video, sound, and sculptural work. Freud argued that all dreams are efforts at wish-fulfillment, even our nightmares, which simply show us our wishes in reverse in a representational strategy that is often more successful than "good dreams" at evading preconscious censorship. Freud's thesis on nightmares could be applied to this exhibition, where the dark images cast set the dream of real change into light relief. - Marisa Olson

Image: Kirstine Roepstorff, Dead Star, (2004-2006)

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The Enlightenment

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In Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, McLuhan famously used the content-less light bulb to explain his philosophical slogan "the medium is the message," noting that switching one on "creates an environment by its mere presence." Now Pixel Gallery, in the techno-sage's old stomping grounds of Toronto, showcases two projects that create light-environments from two unusual technologies that go way beyond the bulb; the show, "Living Light," co-presented by Year Zero One for the Subtle Technologies Festival, continues until June 15. Diane Willow's Cascade and Circling, part of her Light Sensitive series, consists of installations employing sea water inhabited by bioluminescent algae. Visitors can touch the sculptures, prompting the liquid in the containers to move and create varying fields of luminance as the clouds of microorganisms shift. French Canadian collective Experientiae Electricae offers a differently volumetric experience with Pixy, which uses electroluminescence to generate light from a variable system of large, independently movable square sheets. Positioned and programmed, each square then corresponds to an individual pixel of a video, and can be spread over objects to create large, three-dimensional, low-resolution images. Pixy expands moving-image video into an architectural space, thereby throwing a few more twists into McLuhan's elucidations of technology's form-content problem. - Ed Halter


Image: Diane Willow, Cascade and Circling, 2008

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