Returning for its third year, the Electronic Music Foundation's acclaimed sound art, music and ecology festival Ear to the Earth will take place this month in locations all over New York City. Ear to the Earth is organized around the principle that sound's distinct emotional impact makes it a significant medium in which to explore environmental concerns such as global warming, extinction and habitat destruction. Divided into two sections, "New York Soundscapes" and "Other Soundscapes," this year's events maintain a strong urban emphasis. Andrea Polli's installation Cloud Car, takes the automobile, a key force within the development of American cities, as its locus. With the aide of special effects technician Chuck Varga, Polli will envelop a Ford Taurus station wagon entirely in mist. Visitors will be invited to sit in the car and listen to environmental sound compositions. Resembling a broken down vehicle on the side of a highway, the work is a poignant symbol for America's current predicament in regards to oil dependency. Cloud Car will be on display at Eyebeam October 18th and will then move to the New York Hall of Science on October 25th. LoVid will also examine energy in their performance Sunification (for Sync Armonica & solar sound) on Thursday October 16th. Drawing from their 2007 Turbulence commission Bonding Energy, in which the duo positioned seven solar panels across New York State in order to collect and transmit solar energy information to a site that visualized this data, their performance will use this same solar data as a basis for live mixing and manipulation with a device known as the Sync Armonica. Other performances scheduled for the festival will foreground the experience of the city from a personal perspective. On October 17th, Marina Rosenfeld will debut Near Speakers, where she will ...
For "Monitor," at New York's Claire Oliver, Brooklyn-based artist Noah Fischer produces a refreshingly rough-hewn body of sculptures that reflect the variegated meaning of his titular product. The monitor here operates at the threshold of objecthood, given both that "we gaze into its pixilated illusion, never directly at its shape and mass" and because the pace of technological development and consumption finds each new screen soon devolving into "e-waste." Boxy, beige monitors congregate in the aptly titled sculpture, Trash Pile, and are shown discarded on sidewalks in some of the black-and-white print-outs comprising wall sculpture Map Installation. Fischer finds a resurgence of Modernist aesthetics in subsequent generations of product design, most notably in those of Apple's laptops and iPhone. With their Judd-esque manufacture and seemingly infinite functions, they market a "sublime promise" all but removed from their production history, as well as from the "global trash cycle." In general, Fischer's sculptures ably marry the tenants of display and the realities of consumption. The crudely painted, triangular shelving of Family Portrait and New Codes could be the unwashed brethren of Steinbach's, the former topped with two wood shells of the new Mac PowerBook. An actual, grandfatherly PowerBook 180 has carved out a seat from one of them, while the translucent screens of an adjacent coterie handheld units glow from beneath. Perfect Lantern makes the reference explicit, as a strip of recessed lighting fills a wood PowerBook's translucent screen, and thus economically stages the condition of immateriality that gives the monitor its unstable nature. - Tyler Coburn
Image: Noah Fischer, Family Portrait, 2008
A perfect thesis for Olaf Breuning's current exhibition at Metro Pictures greets one at the gallery's entrance: several vinyl versions of the artist's name, in different fonts, have been crossed out and appended with the statement, "...at least I tried." The failure to achieve a perfect consonance of authorial name and aesthetic, and the pathetic comedy played out in the multiplication and dismissal of alternatives, carries throughout the exhibition's various bodies of work, which collectively offer a veritable symptomatology of cultural consumption in the networked age. Six white, ceramic busts form vaguely biomorphic bases for "heads" like The Big Challenge (all works 2008), a scale balancing a bucket of plastic boobs and a stack of books, and the Koonsian collection of primary color PVC gloves that comprise the visage of Bird Dog. Giant C-prints alternate between irreverent portraits, like that of a man balancing tiers of filled shot glasses with hands, feet, and nose (Impossible Balance Act), and performative and digital interventions into landscapes. Dozens of smoke bombs yield a painterly action, in Smoke Bombs, while Fire and Why Can't You Not Be Nice With Nature? foreground global concerns, the former depicting a NYC street scene overlaid with hundreds of digitized fire effects, and the latter a bucolic landscape interrupted by an airborne flock of birds, arranged into the letters of the image's title. Over forty of the artist's "Adderall Series" drawings fill every conceivable bit of remaining wall space, frequently jabbing at history and politics with a comparably dumb and unsettling humor to that of the photographs. An oil well sprouts and spouts from a head (More Oil More Oil), or the Chinese Wall surrounds a tiny White House (Chinese Wall), and we chuckle, partly to mask our unease. - Tyler Coburn
The online exhibition space Club Internet opened its fifth show "Free Fall" earlier this month with a party at Mediamatic in Amsterdam. I interviewed artist and founder Harm van den Dorpel about Club Internet and the current exhibition, which will remain up until November 15th. - Ceci Moss
How did Club Internet begin?
It started by buying the domain name www.clubinternet.org -- I eventually wanted to make money with it because Club Internet is a major telecom provider in France. But then I started playing with it and put a script online that enabled people to upload images. I got intrigued by the idea of forming a group of people like in a surfing club, with an exclusive and mysterious character found in societies like the Freemasons. Following that model, Club Internet is a society with membership, as well as being an online gallery.
The title for the latest Club Internet exhibition is "Free Fall." What is the concept behind this title?
Works for Club Internet are chosen because they are best viewed online, rather than making a transformation from the screen to a video projector in a gallery. Television programs are best viewed at home, and not in a cinema, I believe the same often applies to Internet art.
The previous shows sometimes dealt with the subculture of internet artists or were referring to some (technical) knowledge usually available only to the more Internet aware visitors. These were valid and interesting prerequisites, often found in clubs, but I wanted this new show to curate works that required no particular interest or knowledge about the technology behind the Net nor infrastructure of the online art world. This show was also the first with an 'official' opening event in a physical space, bringing the online ...
While both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates are running for office on the platform of change, the question that seems to be on many peoples' minds is the kind of change that will in fact be effected--no matter whom is elected. Mobilization around the leading candidate, in many ways, resembles a swelling social movement, but the extent to which the mainstream media is implicated in this movement begs the question of the shifting relationship between politics and those other visual spectacles we call Art. The current exhibition at Elizabeth Dee Gallery, entitled "After October," asks precisely this question of what's changing (or what needs to change) in art's ability to operate politically, while pivoting on a double entendre that speculates on what will happen after election day and ruminating on what happened to art following the October Revolution. Curator Tim Saltarelli's curatorial statement poses the question of whether a new approach might be taken, given the recent misfires in protest art wherein an effort to negate a political system or scenario instead resulted in entrenching it. The work of Andreas Bunte, Duncan Campbell, Thea Djordjadze, Matias Faldbakken, Claire Fontaine, Luca Frei, Cyprien Gaillard and Pia Rönicke is presented in remembrance of these historical moments and their resultant iconography. After all, the recognizability of, say, "May 1968 Art," which has effectively become a brand, is part of the problem. Saltarelli's invitation is for the art world to begin allowing "for works of art to resonate in different ways than being literal, that are not, always, immediately, accessible." Perhaps in our efforts to break these codes we will decipher new ways of thinking about how to change the world. - Marisa Olson
Image credit: Claire Fontaine, First Flight (2001), 2005. (Two twenty-five cent coins, steel box-cutter blades ...
Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) Technical Coordinator