Artists often loathe living in the shadow of their older, more famous works. But it is difficult to begin an article about John F. Simon, Jr. without paying homage to his 1997 project, Every Icon. The brilliant algorithmic piece exists on a 32x32 pixel grid, in which any element of the grid can be colored black or white. As it crunches through the billions of possible illuminative patterns, it will--at least theoretically--eventually display "every icon" possible. The work, itself, has become iconic. It's often the first work of art shown in lectures about internet art, and while the code behind the work speaks volumes about the speed of behind-the-scenes technological development, the resultant display is a testament to the poetic beauty and creative potential of a few simple lines and squares. This marriage of sublime potentiality and mathematical complexity has continued to be the cornerstone of Simon's work over the last ten years--as we might expect from an artist who managed to snag the URL numeral.com! Simon is now enjoying his first Italian solo exhibition, in the form of a ten-year retrospective at Collezione Maramotti (Reggio Emilia, IT), entitled "Outside In: Ten Years of Software Art." The exhibit presents work from 1999 to the present and the title might refer both to the show's ability to "zoom-in" on an artist's oeuvre or the way in which Simon's relationship to code and form has changed over the years. After making a professional leap from science to art, Simon's early works treated code like a specimen. Akin to a microscope whose focus is pulled back to reveal the larger sample, his work has progressed in a way that now ...
Bicycle Built For 2,000 is comprised of 2,088 voice recordings collected via Amazon's Mechanical Turk web service. Workers were prompted to listen to a short sound clip, then record themselves imitating what they heard.
John Gerrard creates eerie landscape works in realtime 3D (a type of graphics usually used in gaming), seen recently at the Knoedler Project Space and Simon Preston Gallery. Eerie because their encircling viewpoints, afforded by slow moving, 360-degree camera pans, not only posit them between the cracks of photography, sculpture, cinema, and painting but also carry a whiff of surveillance. They operate in real time, showing their subjects both in daylight and moonlight, amid enormous, man-made constructions in remote country settings, thus imbuing 20th century industrial inventions with the ancient mystery of the pyramids or Stonehenge.
In 2008's Sentry (Kit Carson, Colorado) at Knoedler, Gerrard presents a red oil derrick continuously pumping oil. There are no people in sight, only telephone wires and a few silos barely visible in the background. It's a reflexive work, a virtual mechanism designed to run on its own in real time without human supervision (as is the derrick). The up and down movement of the pump provides a counterpoint to the lateral movement of the camera, while the camera's perpetual motion mirrors the derrick’s constant activity.
Sentry, which is silent, brings to mind Rashawn Griffin's installation of a real time transmission of sounds from a quiet country road in Kansas to a room in last year's Whitney Biennial, for its stark midwest milieu, and as an exercise in synchronicity. The piece is meant to be activated by the viewer by turning the monitor's frame, which will set the camera in either clockwise or ...!--more-->
The deadline for applications to Rhizome's 2010 commissions cycle is midnight April 2, 2009. That's only 2 and a half weeks away!
What is Rhizome's Commissions program? Since 2001, Rhizome's Commissions program has remained one of the few in the field of new media art to offer grants supporting the production of significant works by emerging artists, both in the United States and abroad. By new media art, we mean projects that creatively engage new and networked technologies to works that reflect on the impact of these tools and media in a variety of forms. Rhizome defines emerging artist as artists who exhibit great potential yet are not fully recognized within their field. Grant amounts range from $1,000 to $5,000 and can be applied to any aspect of the work, including labor costs, technology, or materials. In this funding cycle, Rhizome will award nine grants: seven grants will be determined by a jury of experts in the field, and two will be determined by Rhizome's membership through an open vote.
The Member Vote is a unique feature of Rhizome's Commissions Program. Emblematic of Rhizome's commitment to facilitating participatory programs, the Member Vote encourages Rhizome members to review submitted proposals, provide feedback to artists and cast a vote to determine which proposals should receive a grant. To vote in this year's Commissions Program, you must become a member by April 6, 2009. You can join below.
Join us Saturday March 21st at 3pm for this month's New Silent Series event:
Creative Time curator Nato Thompson will lead a discussion on Experimental Geography with Lize Mogel and Damon Rich, two artists who participated in his exhibition (for Independent Curators International) and book (Melville House) of the same name.
The discussion will focus on the creative use of landscape hacking, cartography, locative media, and radical urbanism as a means of engaging with the politics of contested spaces. In presenting work from the show and book, the panelists will explore the distinctions between geographical study and artistic experience of the earth, and the juncture where the two realms collide.
The panel is organized and hosted by Rhizome Contributing Editor and Columnist, Marisa Olson.
Addressing the American Association of Museums in 1941, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, then curator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, put forth a fundamental question: "What is an Art Museum for?" He proposes that the answer is contained in the term "curator," which implies that "the first and most essential function of such a Museum is to take care of ancient or unique works of art which are no longer in their original places or no longer used as originally intended, and are therefore in danger of destruction by neglect or otherwise." Significantly, Coomaraswamy's concept downplays one curatorial activity otherwise taken for granted today: "This care of works of art," he writes, "does not necessarily involve their exhibition" but if an institution does choose to exhibit works, "this is to be done with an educational purpose." Moreover, he adds, "it is unnecessary for Museums to exhibit the works of living artists, which are not in immanent danger of destruction."
Coomaraswamy's antediluvian pronouncements, predating both the development of the modern computer and the institutional embrace of contemporary art, nonetheless provide a way to think about the assumptions underlying the twelve essays in Christiane Paul's collection New Media in the White Cube and Beyond: Curatorial Models for Digital Art, recently published by UC Press. For even if Coomaraswamy's skepticism about the value of exhibiting living artists now strikes us as thoroughly outdated, his general concerns continue to inform the questions posed by Paul and her contributors. For new media, the problem of how to deal with artworks "no longer in their original places or no longer used as originally intended" remains salient -- albeit for technological rather than antiquarian reasons -- and all of Paul's essayists propose some version of what necessary "educational purpose" curators of new media must embrace.