American Landscapes takes the interiors of commercial photography studios across the United States as its ostensible subject. The artists reject the foreground and highlight instead the space in which images are literally "made." In these occasionally abstract photographs, the surfaces of walls, floors and ceilings junction along straight lines and parabolic curves to create the unspoiled white space known in the photography industry as Cycloramas. Broomberg & Chanarin refer to these spaces as 'scenography for a free market economy' or simply 'Landscapes'. For just as the American West came to represent unbound possibility in the minds of early pioneers, so these studio walls act as a blank screen on which any sort of fantasy may be projected.
Flying down the back roads and divided four lane highways that cross the southern part of the United States has given me pause over the years to think about the rapidly shifting landscape. Granted being born in the mid 1980’s was like being dropped into the rushing river to maddeningly fast growth and development. When the first Best Buy came to my town it was like dreamland opened its gates right up, with the Sunday circular fueling my insatiable desire to get that fresh video game, or the hot discounted DVD player. As the time passed though, and I began to take these road trips with friends across the south, I realized what was eating me. The disappearing sense of regional diversity, passing through Dothan, Troy, Ozark, Alabama each town had become defined by its strip, the reconfiguring of Main Street, into a bypass road lined with the shiny, glowing colors of economic growth and progress.
Each constellation is a set of points on a laser etched map that correspond to photographed franchises of the projected logo. The first in the group is of Eighteen McDonald’s that spread across the beautiful city of Memphis, Tennessee.
Since his first Apparition on Tournez Manege (1993), Matthieu Laurette has been developing an ongoing series of what he calls 'Apparitions' on TV and in the media. (In French, the word apparition means both 'apparition' and 'appearances'). For Pandora's Sound Box, Laurette will develop a new performative series of Apparitions, airing on various American national TV channels from October 27 through November 1st, and continuously on the Video Box in White Box's exterior window. For the opening on November 2nd, Matthieu Laurette will conceive a site-specific related performative event.
Check out these snapshots of Rhizome's New Silent Series event from last week "Variety Evening at the New Museum." Organized by VVORK, local performers staged works by artists Wojceich Kosma, Adrian Piper, Kristin Lucas, Vladimir Nikolic, Tao Lin, Pierre Bismuth and Claire Fontaine. The acts were presented together in a dramaturgy to be understood as a single performance, allowing for new interpretations of each piece. The evening is intended to be carried on as a single score, with instructions for how it can be repeated at different venues in the future.
Gears of War depends on a conventional anti-hero/redemption narrative set in another world where it is up to a motley band of once-disgraced brigands to save what remains of humanity from a subterranean enemy known as the Locust Horde. Its formidable commercial success aside, the game is simply a well-executed shoot-’em-up that offers no significant expansion on that well-worn genre. Its television advertisement is of far greater interest: the emphasis on the melancholy, pathos and self-reproach communicated by ‘Mad World’ connects Gears of War to a contemporary understanding of war produced in large part as a response to the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The conundrum for the producers of war-based video games is a delicate one: how to craft and market a war game in an era when public opinion has turned against war as a paradigm? How, for instance, is heroism rendered in a fictional narrative when the most obvious contemporary social referents - the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan - do not, as social histories in the making, embody the kind of unambiguous moral bases easily identified, for example, in World Wars I and II? How can our period eye, in all its ambivalence, be satisfied while still offering a compelling narrative of heroism?
Those responsible for the advertisement of the juggernaut franchise that is Gears of War obviously concluded that to acknowledge the public’s ambivalence was key to eradicating it as an obstacle to the game’s commercial success. While the game’s story is not a romanticized one, the commercial relies on age-old Romantic notions of self. This is, of course, a rather insidious strategy.
An appropriated educational film found at the UCLA physics lab where the artist has worked for several years, "Hypercube" aims to illustrate the idea of 4-dimensional space. Re-narrated by Cunningham, the video emphasizes her interest in the way scientific ideas can be articulated and offers a context for the artist's interest in experimenting with complex geometric forms.
The metaphor of the brain as a database (or, if you prefer, the database as a brain) flatters and anthropomorphizes the machine more than it explains the mind. Gray matter doesn't seem to be organized in a way that makes the storage and retrieval of information easy; rather, the classification and categorization that characterize the database are pre-digital technologies invented to manage the ever-increasing amounts of information that civilization requires citizens to master. Cicero used a "memory palace" when delivering orations. As he spoke, he would imagine moving through a house where each room and object represented points he needed to make in his speech and the supporting evidence he needed to make them. The antithesis of such memory systems might be the dream, the mind's nightly refresher that reconfigures the day's events and data in disjointed, symbolic narratives. Both the memory palace and the dream are based on irrational elements: subjective experience, arbitrary connections, and word play. That the memory palace is created under the thinker's deliberate control only highlights the conscious mind's eagerness to do what the unconscious mind does automatically. Even as Cicero publicly performed the constructs of reason, his brain was circumventing them.
Last July, in a New York University faculty residence on West Houston Street where Picasso's sculpture and I.M. Pei's architecture face off in a courtyard invisible to Google Earth, Alexandre Singh delivered an installment of his Assembly Instructions Lectures, a series of talks illustrated by a pair of overhead projectors. After introducing his audience to Matteo Ricci, a sixteenth-century Jesuit missionary who taught the memory palace technique to Chinese officials to convince them of the superiority of Western (and by extension, Christian) thought, Singh launched into a detailed recounting of a dream he supposedly had, in which Ingvar Kamprad, founder and principle shareholder of Ikea, announced that the master floor plan implemented in every Ikea store around the world encodes a classification of all human knowledge. For instance, the arrangement of shoes, hangers, and sweaters in a display closet, as Singh demonstrated, represented the kingdoms and phyla of life on Earth. What's more, the Ikea system of Singh's dream world does not merely encode--it controls. If something changes in a store--say, a new couch model is introduced for the new season, or a passing child moves a prop coffee-table book around a fake living room--the fabric of reality is altered.
Yes, it sure is! Today we launched a re-design to our front page, moving it from a three to two-column format. We are planning to launch an overall re-design to the website in Spring 2010. We made this change now to give more room to the art showcased in our blog and to make our activities and programs, all detailed in the sidebar to the right, more clear. We hope this adjustment makes our site easier to read and navigate.
Rhizome launches its annual Community Campaign today! True to our founding as an artist-centered network focused on a new medium, all our activities further a dynamic and groundbreaking art form, and an international community around it. We are reaching out to you to ask that you make contribution now during this important Campaign. Our goal is to raise $35,000, which will directly support our programs and services for artists.
With funds raised through our 2009 Campaign, we will:
All of these initiatives are done in service to our community. But, we need your support to realize them. As an independent 501(c)3, Rhizome’s fundraising is entirely independent; we rely primarily on foundations, government agencies, an annual benefit and our community for support.
Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) Technical Coordinator