Posts for March 2009

Curating Contemplation


The current exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, "The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860-1989" is in many ways a bold take on the "group show" genre. Not focused on a particular era, style or group of artists, Senior Curator for Asian Art Alexandra Munroe has instead created a sweeping show of over 110 artists around an idea as ethereal and subjective as cultural "contemplation." The show's thesis, that "vanguard artists consistently looked toward 'the East' to forge an independent artistic identity that would define the modern age -- and the modern mind -- through a new understanding of existence, nature, and consciousness" certainly seems timely in this era of rampant globalization, but it simultaneously opens the door to a host of debatable issues around cultural appropriation.

The broad scope and variety of art forms covered under this broad thematic umbrella, from paintings of James McNeill Whistler and Mary Cassatt through multimedia works of Tehching Hsieh and Laurie Anderson, creates a compelling alternate to the usually mono-cultural narrative of Art History. For those of us interested particularly in time-based media, it also provides a compelling context through which to view issues such as duration, notation, communication systems, and networking that are so prevalent in time-based forms.


Untitled Black Video (2009) - Martijn Hendriks


Reconstruction of a cellphone video of Saddam Hussein’s execution that was leaked onto the internet, only using found comments on the video that were posted on web forums on the first day of the video’s appearance



Films (2008) - Charles Broskoski


The piece explores internet-time, or how time passes on the internet, by providing a contrast to immediacy of online media. On his site, eight well known films (Pulp Fiction, Terminator 2 and When Harry Met Sally among them) play continuously on a fixed daily schedule whether users visit the site or not. The screen is black save only for the subtitles of the dialog.


Currently on view at Postmasters Gallery in New York


Permanent Junk For a Changing World



Image: Shih Chieh Huang, Twilight Zone, 2008
(Installation shot from Zero1 Biennial, San Jose Museum of Art, 2008) Courtesy of the artist

Let's face it: A lot of new media art is mystifying. Shih Chieh Huang's work is mesmerizing. Of course, his installations have much in common with other media art. They light-up and like to be exhibited in dark rooms, they often employ electronic circuitry and robotics, and they are dynamic rather than static--his works move, blink, and make noise. But it somehow seems just as appropriate to connect Huang to the vocabulary of kinetic art (where there have indeed been many media innovators) than to link him exclusively to interactive art. Typically, his work is only interactive insofar as it stimulates deep visceral and emotional responses, but then by that barometer we might as well acknowledge that all art is potentially interactive... In Huang's work, the subject of high technology is perhaps even more important than using high tech media. The artist is a big fan of dollar stores and recycle bins. He collects cheap toys, plastic water bottles, and small, often overlooked colorful trinkets to assemble into what often feel like synthetic life-forms. A series of neon zip ties become a prickly spine for a shrimp-like character, while glowing wire tendrils embody other sea creatures' tentacles. Throwing in a little colored water, some LEDs, and plastic bags that appear to breath (earth, wind, and fire, anyone?), Huang gives us a candy-coated reflection of the media ecology many of us fail to see. In his current solo exhibition, entitled, "Connected: Eject before disconnecting," at the RISD Museum of Art through June 21st, the artist invokes the kind of right-under-our-noses, generally unspoken yet totally commonplace messages associated with personal computing. By doing so, he connects the ...


Rhizome's "The Long Gallery" at Why + Wherefore



Rhizome's Curatorial Fellow Brian Droitcour organized an online exhibition, which went live last night, for Why + Wherefore's series "7 x 7." Titled "The Long Gallery" the show brings together works that horizontally exceed the standard-sized frame of the browser. Artists include Justin Kemp, Christy Matson, Brenna Murphy, Bennett Williamson, Petra Cortright, Peter Baldes, and Daniel Eatock. The show is the sixth installment of seven separate online exhibitions curated by seven websites with seven works each. (Whew! So many 7s.) Apparently it was a pain to code too, sorry W+W!


Chapters 1-12 of R. Kelly's Trapped In The Closet Synced and Played Simultaneously (2006) - Michael Bell-Smith


Chapters 1-12 of R. Kelly's Trapped In The Closet Synced and Played Simultaneously (2006) by Michael Bell-Smith. Courtesy EAI. from Why + Wherefore on Vimeo.

Work originally posted to Why + Wherefore's Vimeo playlist for "This One Goes Up to 11" curated by Hanne Mugaas


John Latham on


Image: John Latham, Speak, 1968-69, 16mm (Screengrab, Original 16mm)

Image: John Latham, Erth, 1971 (Screengrab, Original 16mm)

John Latham's films Erth (1971), Britannica (1971), Talk, Mr. Bard (1968), Unedited Material from the Star (1960), and Speak (1968-69) are now on view at See below for a short excerpt from the curatorial statement.

The influence of John Latham (1921-2006), an artist whose work includes painting, performance and film to mention just a few, has extended far beyond the boundaries of the art world. Interested in theoretical physics, Latham developed an opposing cosmology which rejected the primacy of space and matter and favour of time and event. The body of work and concepts which developed out of this way of thinking still challenge the way we conceive of art as event and of the place of the artist within society. Notions of event can be seen as transversal to Latham's whole oeuvre. Indeed, a pioneer in the use of spray paint in the 1950's, Latham started spraying black dots on canvasses. For him, such a gesture and the resulting pictorial effect was similar to the structure and the functioning of the cosmos. "Least events" (the spray burst occurring in time) produce beings (the black dots) out of nothingness (the blank canvas).

His impact on conceptual art can be best appreciated in his opinions concerning language. For Latham, since language stems from objects, it is unable to grasp a reality based on events. According to Latham this results in the lack of a common conception of the world, which is itself responsible for the division of people. In his practice Latham attempted to transpose the unseizability of events through objects into art, thus coining the term "event structure".


Call for Submissions: Location One Virtual Residency Project


Image: Work by 2008 Location One Virtual Residents Andy Deck, Susanne Berkenheger, and Hidenori Watanave

Downtown New York art non-profit Location One are seeking submissions for their Virtual Residency Project. The program is in its second year, and is one of the few residencies of its type out there. Deadline is April 15, 2009. More info below:

Location One presents its second Virtual Residency Project in the form of a call to artists and other creative individuals with the purpose of fostering collaboration and creativity across geographical expanses and areas of expertise. The goal of this residency is to find two participants who are not physically proximate but who are willing to work with someone they've most likely never met before using some form of non-F2F (face to face) interface such as webcams, email, chat, video, blogs, telerobotic prostheses, Second Life, MIDI, skype, social networks, walkie-talkie, snail mail, mental telepathy, radio, networked video gaming, POTS (plain old telephone service), tin cans on string, or any other means of collaboration to develop a project that will be presented at Location One in the Fall of 2009, either on our web space or in our exhibition space. The theme of this project is "Levels of Undo".

The two participants will also use a blog set up expressly for the Virtual Residency Project to discuss ideas, possible projects and to track the progress of the work. The conversation will be public and open for public comments and will be considered an intrinsic part of the Virtual Residency.


Turn On, Tune In, Zoom Out


DREAMCAPTCHA #006 from blackmoth on Vimeo.
Video: Dreamcaptcha #006, 2008

Kari Altmann is a Baltimore-based artist who initiated the collaborative project Netmares and Netdreams. She agreed to do an interview ahead of the project's residency on Sunday March 15th at Capricious Space in Brooklyn as part of the program In Real Life. - Brian Droitcour

Netmares and Netdreams is going to be featured "in real life" at Capricious Space in Brooklyn. How is this going to be different from the first incarnation of Version 3.0, at Current Gallery in Baltimore? What were some of the challenges you encountered when displaying an online project in physical space?

The opportunity to do version 3.0 of the show arose very suddenly. Current gave us just two weeks to put everything together. But I knew that if we didn't accept that challenge, we might never do the show at all. It wasn't ideal, but it was also perfect luck, because it needed to happen in a space like Current while we had some momentum. We just said yes and pushed through the limitations, which is how we do a lot of things.

Some netdreamers were confronted with the question of how to present things offline for the first time, and they needed to experiment with the options. We didn't have computers for the show, which I was okay with, but we also had zero budget and very limited gear. We wanted to make it the most “real” show we could without all the resources. A lot of things ended up as prints or videos. We debated over whether or not certain pieces still functioned in the way they were presented. If someone didn’t answer an email or send their piece in time, it would affect the way everything ...


Delta 1 - Ron Hays


The New Television Workshop at WGBH supported the creation and broadcast of experimental works by artists. One of their projects was the Music Image Workshop, which was primarily a project of Ron Hays, who used the Paik-Abe videosynthesizer to create elaborate visual scores set to music. It was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts from 1972 through 1974. Hays worked closely with WGBH producer and director, David Atwood, to create both live broadcasts and finished works. Additionally, works by other artists were presented under the auspices of the Music Image Workshop.