Posts for March 2008

Mapping Darfur

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Since Sudanese government soldiers and their proxy militia, the Janjaweed, commenced assaults on rebel forces and civilians of similar ethnic descent, in 2003, the crisis in Darfur has been at the forefront of international discussion and the subject of extensive political, humanitarian, and journalistic work. "Museum Mapping Initiative," a unique collaboration between Google and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, makes the history and details of the crisis available to a virtual community, allowing Google Earth users to navigate a map of the region amended with data provided by the U.S. State department, including locations of damaged and destroyed villages, internally displaced person (IDP) and refugee camps in Darfur and Chad, respectively, and zones accessible and inaccessible to humanitarian relief workers. Users navigating the terrain can read testimonies of civilians affected by the conflict, recorded by Amnesty researchers, and view photographs depicting aspects of regional life. Taking advantage of Google Earth's architecture, "Museum Mapping Initiative" also allows users to insert their own placemarks on locations in Darfur and Chad towards constructing specific tours, presentations and readings of the crisis. Through this intersection of interactive technology and progressive historiography, the events and stories surrounding this modern-day atrocity can finally be brought to greater light. - Tyler Coburn

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Rhizome Widgets!

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We are pleased to present a set of web widgets for dynamically integrating Rhizome content on external sites and blogs. The widgets are small chunks of code that can be easily copied and pasted into an HTML or blog editor, and they produce a regularly updated and formatted feed of content covering the world of art and technology. We've developed a Rhizome News widget, an opportunities widget, an events widget, an ArtBase tag cloud widget, and a portfolio widget for displaying your Rhizome portfolio.

The widgets can be viewed and grabbed here: http://rhizome.org/widget/

Rhizome Widgets were produced by Nick Hasty.

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To Tell You the Truth....

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The Yes Men are now famous for excelling at the art of parasitic media. Led by two artists whose pseudonyms are Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, they often work with numerous secret collaborators to pull-off interventions that expose corporate and governmental injustices--frequently revealing the fuzziness of the lines between the two. Following in the footsteps of their previous projects (concocted with fellow tactical media peers) under monikers that included RTMark, the Barbie Liberation Organization, and etoy, their grandly ambitious initiatives rely on the art of parody. Copying the source code of corrupt entities' websites and carefully adjusting the text and images to reveal embarrassing truths about their respective atrocities, the group has been able to successfully convince web surfers that they were agents of George W. Bush's first presidential campaign staff, the World Trade Organization, the US department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), ExxonMobil, Halliburton/KBR, and other groups. Perhaps their most successful coup was being invited to speak on behalf of Dow Chemical, on the BBC television news, prompting Dow to reply that they were not, in fact, taking responsibility for the disaster in Bhopal, as the Yes Men erroneously claimed. Such works make everyday, otherwise unspoken injustices front page news, and the group continues to succeed in pulling off what some dismiss as "pranks." Recently the Yes Men took a step that many of their subjects have been unable to take: They made a major apology. A representative of the trademark group at oil company and general environment-hurter BP recently emailed them to complain about the unauthorized site at http://www.theyesmen.org/agribusiness/beyondpetrol/ which bears "a remarkable similarity to the genuine www.bp.com website.... include[s] multiple reproductions of the BP logo," and possibly poses "a real risk... that genuine visitors could be ...

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Guided by Voices

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A new project by musician Halsey Burgund "ROUND" (2008) takes its cue from the enormous cultural influence of crowdsourcing and applies it to the musty old format of museum audio tours. On display at Connecticut's Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, ROUND allows visitors to record their candid reactions to the artworks as they stroll around the exhibitions. Accompanied by Burgund's music, their recordings become fodder for future audio tours, which can be individually customized to feature the voices of curators, artists, or ordinary children or adult museum-goers. The title "ROUND" is a reference both to the notion of a round table where all voices count equally and the musical term for overlapping voices in song. Burgund remarked that the "static and off-putting" voice used in traditional audio tours conveys and enacts an art institution's monolithic voice of authority. ROUND's goal is to "make the audio tour participatory and take it outside the sanctioned voice. It's to encourage people to express themselves," he added. A kiosk provides an introduction to ROUND; nearby, visitors check out small wireless tablet computers before wandering about the museum, listening to audio tours or switching to adding their own vocal reactions to the works on display. Software developer and system designer Mike MacHenry provided technical help in creating the system, which is coded in Python with the use of audiovisual library GStreamer; the tablets run on maemo. The system also depends on Ableton Live and on custom Max/MSP patches and plug-ins, which create the compositional algorithms that generate and randomize the music, as well as effects such as timing speech to the rhythm of the music. The experiment appears to be a resounding success - some 120 people recorded their impressions during the opening on Sunday. In addition to comments about current ...

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Art in General Open Call

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Art in General facilitates the production and exhibition of artist's proposed projects, shifting its mode of support according to what is required for the full realization of their art work.

The open call period for 2008 lasts until 11:59 pm Monday March 31st. If you would like to submit a proposal, go to our open call website http://commissions.artingeneral.org, read all the guidelines and restrictions, create your profile and get to work!

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Originally posted on Rhizome.org Announcements by Rhizome


SoundLAB VI - soundPOOL

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SoundLAB - sonic art project environments
http://soundlab.newmediafest.org

is happy to make 2 announcements:

1. Call for soundart for SoundLAB VI
Deadline: 30 November 2008

2. SoundLAB IV on FILE Rio 2008
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See more info on SoundLab VI, and other calls, announcements and job listings, on Rhizome's Opportunities page.

Originally posted on Rhizome.org Announcements by Rhizome


Resonating Image

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The overlaps and incongruities between visual and aural engagement are the focus of "Finding Pictures in Search of Sounds," sound artist Stephen Vitiello's second solo exhibition with Museum 52, in London. For Boxed Gray (2008), Vitiello has applied a thick coat of silver paint to the walls of the gallery's front room and immersed it with a rapidly paced soundtrack of field recordings and electronics. Subtle Blue Gray (2008), in the back room, forms a conversational counterpoint: three blue lightbulbs flicker and pulse, enveloping the space in nocturnal hues, as four speakers embedded in the gallery walls generate faint, scratching sounds. Collectively, the two works find Vitiello continuing to develop visual analogues to his sound pieces, an inquiry that previously included him mining the sculptural properties of speakers and making graphite, ink and pigment drawings from LFO speaker vibrations. For "Night Chatter", his 2006 show with Museum 52, Vitiello even interwove Virginian ivy with speakers playing a recording of a conversation between Tony Blair and George Bush, processed to a point where the politicians' voices sounded like electronic bells (Hedera B,B,B (2006)). Considering Virginia's military significance for the United States government, Vitiello's piece had the strange effect of turning an element of the state's natural bounty into an agent for the cause: a position from which to surveille. In contrast, Boxed Gray and Blue Gray number among Vitiello's more abstract experiments, forgoing explicit critique for diffuser modes of engagement. Yet by focusing on the expressive and meditative registers of aesthetic experience, Vitiello's sophisticated understanding of the conditions of reception comes to the fore. - Tyler Coburn

Image: Stephen Vitiello, Blue Gray, 2008

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Resource Round-up on Wafaa Bilal

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Earlier this week, we pointed to Brian Holmes' article on the troubling set of circumstances around artist Wafaa Bilal's latest work, Virtual Jihadi. As the situation has evolved, as has the public outcry from artist communities, we offer a round-up of resources on the subject.

Wafaa Bilal's "Virtual Jihadi" exhibit at RPI -- freeculture wiki

Coverage from Regine DeBatty of We Make Money Not Art

Coverage and discussion on Inside Higher Ed and GamePolitics.com

Opinion from Art Fag City

Call for letter-writing support by Ryan Griffis on Rhizome

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Baltimore Rising

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The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is home to a very interesting set of new media artists--both faculty and students--and exhibitions like "sight.sound [interaction] 2.0" are securing the space as a breeding ground for new ideas. An annual exhibition curated by Jason Sloan and open through March 14, the show brings together local and international artists whose work--much as the title implies--explores audio/visual interactivity. "sight.sound" doesn't aspire to a much tighter curatorial theme than that, but this allows viewers to create associations of their own, ranging from labor commentary to the aesthetics of experimentation. For instance, Nashville-based collaborators [Fladry+Jones] and DJ Black Noise meditate on collage theory, as it has shifted from the era of expressionist film to the present, by offering a 30-minute remix of Fritz Lang's film, Metropolis. The original film comments on the relationship between workers and the ruling class in an increasingly mechanized society, and the artists' remix offers a contemporary take on this evolving narrative. Baltimore-based artist Colin Ford conducts an experiment in color psychology, asking visitors to identify the hues that represent business brands, such as "Starbucks Green" and "Verizon Red," and each subsequent visitor's selection is averaged with their predecessor's, which Ford believes turns corporate power on its head by allowing consumers to " alter the meaning that the brand holds." Local artists Dan Huyberts and Will Rosenthal bring play into the fold with their fun projects. Huyberts's Circuit Bent Video Sculpture Aural Vision 1 allows viewers to "watch" nature recordings on a television, using a photocell that triggers the screaming of a circuit-bent smoke detector. Rosenthal's Cideslide is an interactive video game inviting users to choose their own adventure in navigating what Rosenthal describes as a surreal "Lynchian" world by using ...

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For [Everyone's] Eyes Only

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The new media community has seen a fair share of open source-related art and exhibitions over the years, but as the open source movement continues to pick up steam, it's encouraging to see continued projects that bridge the gaps between the discourse of open source computing, the practice of art, and broader social practice. This is exactly what is strived-for in the exhibition, "Given Enough Eyeballs," curated by artist and organizer Annette Monnier, at Philadelphia's Esther M. Klein Art Gallery. Open March 14-April 26, the show takes its title from a passage in Eric S. Raymond's important open source essay, The Cathedral and the Bazaar in which he argues that, "Given enough eyeballs all bugs are shallow." This principle embodies the ideal of collective editing and authorship that calls for loosened restrictions on copyright and other impediments to growth, and which is the model behind collaborative websites like Wikipedia. The Klein Art Gallery exhibition includes works that employ mash-up techniques, excavate public documents, and offer tools for viewers to put to their own devices. Included is Yoshi Sodeoka's Let It Bleed (Left) Let It Be (Right), The Stones And The Beatles Getting Tweaked At The Same Time (2007), in which similarities between the two pop songs are compared sonically and visually, by swapping videos and audio for the two tunes. Putting a humorously geeky spin on the DIY industry is Ramsey Arnaoot's Audio-Video Sampling Synthesizer (2008), a program written "to manipulate preexisting video clips (from assorted sources) and audio from the movie Hackers." Kendall Brun's The Haircut Entries (2004) are included as documentation of a project that, in a sense, revolved around documentation. The artist posted a survey to his website encouraging viewers to suggest a new haircut for him. He then created a ...

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