Posts for May 2008

All About the Benjamin

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Aaron Koblin and Takashi Kawashima made a hundred dollars the hard way: with a staff of 10,000 people distributed across the globe. Or maybe the easy way, depending on how you look at it. In 2007, they posted a mysterious assignment on Amazon's Mechanical Turk--a crowdsourcing business site that lets companies offer piecemeal jobs for tiny bits of cash--asking potential employees to reproduce a greenish abstraction using a customized drawing tool; each sketcher received one cent in return for their work. Unknown to this invisible workforce, each image was 1/10,000 of a picture of a $100 bill; upon completion, the whole emerged from a mosaic of its hand-drawn parts. Continuing the numerical theme, life-sized digital prints of the work are now available at their site Ten Thousand Cents for $100 a pop, with proceeds going to One Laptop per Child (a charity originally based on the goal of the "$100 Laptop"). This isn't Koblin's first foray into collaborative artmaking with Mechanical Turk: in 2006, he similarly produced The Sheep Market, a collection of 10,000 individual black-and-white drawings, each one commissioned for two cents a piece with the simple instruction to "draw a sheep facing left." Maybe that request was prescient, given that Ten Thousand Cents made unwitting activists out of an anonymous flock of online workers. - Ed Halter

Aaron Koblin and Takashi Kawashima, Ten Thousand Cents, 2008

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centering stage I

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Originally posted on jpegmess log by Rhizome


Interview with Fernando Orellana

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I discovered Fernando Orellana in 2004, the year I realized that there were artists playing with technology out there. All along my tumultuous and whimsical 4-year relationship with new media art, artists have been appearing and disappearing from my BVBMA (Best of the very best media artists) list. I'm slowly moving away from the entertaining, the merely playful, the very geeky, the strictly techy and i'm now looking for something called "an artistic experience". Well, Fernando's installations are quite geeky in a sense and some are even playful but, no matter how you define art, I've always found something extremely meaningful and touching in Fernando's work: a robot dreams, others are unable to make a decision, an elevator appears to be self-aware and a vintage radio relentlessly searches for God. Needless to say, Fernando's work has always amazed me and I can see in my crystal ball that it's going to be that way for the years to come.

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Originally posted on we make money not art by Rhizome


Into the Unknown

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Alongside the Whitney and Venice biennials and certain other surveys of contemporary art, the Carnegie International has not always received its adequate share of attention. Which perhaps accounts, in part, for curator Douglas Fogle's controversial decision to name this year's edition -- the first time in the International's 112-year history. "Life on Mars," lifted from the eponymous David Bowie song, provides a thematic foundation for Fogle's group of forty artists from seventeen countries, all of whom "emphasize the modest over the monumental, and the hand-made over the machine-made" to convey "the poetic wonder in the everyday world." The question about the possibility of life on Mars thus operates as a metaphor for a state of alienation characteristic of contemporary existence, which many of the International's artists endeavor to highlight and explore. This question is ultimately a constructive one, Fogle contends, suggesting that the hopes, fantasies, and other signs we project into the unknown could yield responses - that connections can be made. While the practices of many of the artists in the show, including those of Phil Collins, Cao Fei and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, examine the various ties binding communities, it is the International's website that potentially offers the most interesting place to address the exhibition's topic. Beyond establishing pages on MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr, the International has introduced a section to its homepage, "Signals," devoted entirely to the reflections and ruminations of online visitors. The majority of the posts, to date, were written by people associated with the exhibition, but as the International runs through January 2009, the forum aspires to attract a broader contributor base. If "Life on Mars" truly considers our relationship to unknowns - both great and everyday - then what better venue for inquiry and discussion than the virtual cosmos? - Tyler Coburn ...

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The Medium and Its Shadow: Reflecting on Recoded

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The Centre for Modern Thought at the University of Aberdeen hosted the conference, "Recoded: Landscapes and Politics of New Media" from 24th to the 26th of April 2008. Over three days, mediumistic questions and fantasies ran through the discussion, over the days and around them, talk of interfaces, transmitters, points between, avatars, nodes and graphs, spirits and phantoms and their interlocutors. From the first paper to the last was a meta-conversation: What do we mean by medium, media, new and old? This meta-inflection, as strange as taping yourself listening, became pervasive; even the hotel had a ghost.

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"Writing Desire", 2000, a video essay by Ursula Biemann.

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Originally posted on VVORK by Rhizome


Open Source Embroidery: Craft and Code at HTTP Gallery

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Open Source Embroidery: Craft and Code at HTTP Gallery
An exhibition facilitated by Ele Carpenter


Preview Friday 16th May 6-9pm
17th May - 15th June 2008
Open Fridays to Sunday 12-5pm
http://www.http.uk.net

This exhibition explores the connections between the collaborative characteristics of needlework, craft and Open Source software. This project has brought together embroiderers, patch-workers, knitters, artists and computer programmers, to share their practice and make new work.

The centre-piece of the exhibition at HTTP Gallery is the HTML Patchwork developed in response to the popularity of quilting in Sheffield, the result of a participatory project initiated by Ele Carpenter in partnership with Access Space. The patchwork is built on open principles of collective production and skill-share where each person contributes a part to the whole. The final work is a collectively stitched patchwork quilt of HTML web-safe colours with embroidered codes, and a wiki website, where the makers of each patch identify themselves and write about their sewing process. Each patch is personalised by the sewer, often including embroidered web addresses.

In an interview with Jess Lacetti, Ele Carpenter said about the project: "The same arguments about Open Source vs Free Software can be applied to embroidery. The needlework crafts also have to negotiate the principles of 'freedom' to create, modify and distribute, within the cultural and economic constraints of capitalism. The Open Source Embroidery project simply attempts to provide a social and practical way of discussing the issues and trying out the practice. Free Software, Open Source, amateur and professional embroiderers and programmers are welcome to contribute to the project."

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Originally posted on Rhizome.org Announcements by Rhizome


The Shadow of Right Now

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On June 4th, the second iteration of the 01SJ Biennial will open in San Jose, CA. One of the most compelling components of this major international new media event directed by venerable curator Steve Dietz will be an exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art, entitled "Superlight." The show opens May 10th and appears to offer a very powerful message. Taking on such "light" topics as global climate change, terrorism, the history of colonialism, global outsourcing, pervasive war, inescapable poverty, failing educational systems, and failed relationships, the show encourages viewers to get serious about considering our future. The lineup of artists in the exhibition (including Cory Arcangel, Jim Campbell, Paul DeMarinis, Kota Ezawa, Amy Franceschini, Graham Harwood, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Shih Chieh Huang, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Eddo Stern, Marina Zurkow, and others) could very easily be assembled with no greater purpose than surveying the most significant new media art of this moment. Instead, Dietz pushes viewers (and perhaps the artists themselves) to think further ahead. His curatorial statement fleshes out the fundamental "collision" encapsulated by the notion of "innovation": A face-off between the present and the future, in which one makes proactive decisions about the changes they want to see and the tomorrow they want to craft. Those working in new media are arguably extremely well-positioned to make such articulations, as they are at home on this temporal precipice. Recognizing this scenario charges both artists and audiences with a new sense of responsibility. As Dietz says, "In this contemporary context, 'what's next?' the age-old question at the intersection of art and technology takes on a new urgency." The works he's selected for their address of the aforementioned weighty topics often use light as a medium, if not the real or conceptual sheen of the popular vernacular ...

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Rhizome Seeks Director Of Technology

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We seek an exceptionally smart, responsible, forward-thinking individual to develop and maintain the systems and interfaces that drive our web site and various channels of participation and outreach. The successful candidate will have a penchant for inventiveness, a creative vision for Rhizome's technology strategy, be willing to take on a leadership position and demonstrate a long-term commitment to the job.

This is a ~30 hours/week position with benefits. Salary is commensurate with experience.

Application deadline: June 11th, 2008

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES:
+ Set strategy for overall technology development, in collaboration with Rhizome staff and Board
+ Develop features to support creation and viewing of user generated content
+ Management and leadership of a community-based website
+ Build and support website and newsletter publishing of editorial content
+ Manage mailings to editorial and marketing mailing lists
+ Maintain indexing and searching of website content
+ Monitor and adminster web and database servers
+ Provide technical support to users, members, and staff
+ Manage technology assistant and web production interns

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:
+ Understanding of trends and directions in web development and participatory culture
+ Demonstrated interest in art
+ 2 years experience in Linux systems administration, including: Apache, SSL, Majordomo, Sendmail
+ Expert webmaster skills (HTML, CSS, Photoshop, etc.)
+ Expert skill level in PHP and Javascript
+ Significant experience and skills in information architecture and interface design
+ Significant experience in MySQL database design and administration

Email coverletter and cv to dtsearch(AT)rhizome.org; no calls, no faxes.

About Rhizome
Rhizome is dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology. Through open platforms for exchange and collaboration, our website serves to encourage and expand the communities around these practices. Our programs, many of which happen online, include commissions, exhibitions, events, discussion, archives and portfolios. We support artists working at the furthest reaches of technological experimentation as well ...

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Our dear colleague and friend Patrick May has stepped down after two and a half years with the organization. Patrick has done an exceptional job and we will miss him! We are now seeking a new Director of Technology. Please spread the word.

Originally posted on Rhizome.org Announcements by Rhizome


Private Lives

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Sophie Calle, Unfinished, 2005

The New Normal, an exhibition currently on display at Artists Space, assembles works from thirteen practitioners, all of which were made after 2001 and are somehow representative of the emergent conditions of public and private life in America and beyond. Curator Michael Connor borrows his exhibition title from Dick Cheney's notorious post-9/11 speech, in which the vice president characterized the forthcoming encroachments on citizens' private lives as "the new normalcy." What makes Connor's exhibition truly revelatory, however, is the way it proposes this "rise of state and corporate surveillance" to be as definitive, in the shaping of the private sphere, as the willingness of millions of members of the populous to voluntarily make their private lives public, by means of online venues for personal blogging, image and video diaries, and social networks. This trend, if anything, indicates that for the twenty-first century public, "private information is not always something to fear." To the contrary, Connor argues that the power entailed in this type of public disclosure can be harnessed in the service of new forms of cultural production and new "tactics for political critique."



Sharif Waked, Chic Point, 2003

Support for this point can be found throughout the exhibition. Bangladesh-born, U.S.-based artist Hasan Elahi's 2002 airport interrogation by FBI agents, for example, prompted his developing Tracking Transience, a personal website monitoring his spending, calls and location, with photo documentation for support. Elahi's project serves a pragmatic end - as virtual alibi - but does so in a conceptually telling fashion: requiring the artist to internalize state power and subject his life to the degree of scrutiny the government reserves for suspected terrorists. In a similar vein, Palestinian artist Sharif Waked's single-channel video Chic Point (2003) shows a parade of men ...

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