Posts for October 2009

Interview with Ele Carpenter

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Image: Open Source Embroidery Window Display at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art
(Photo credit: Travis Meinolf)

The exhibition “Open Source Embroidery” opens tonight at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco and it will be on view until January 24, 2010. The show is part of an ongoing project, initiated by Ele Carpenter in 2005, which examines how both embroidery and code can be used as tools in participatory, open source production and distribution models. “Open Source Embroidery” brings together artists, crafters, and programmers to explore this topic in the form of workshops and exhibitions. I spoke to curator Ele Carpenter further about the evolution and multiple realizations of the Open Source Embroidery project. - Ceci Moss

How did your larger research into socially engaged art and new media art evolve into Open Source Embroidery?

Socially engaged art and new media art practices share the language and concepts of social networks, participation and collaboration but they also have distinct histories and operate within very different social spheres. In the world of media arts people have been excited about the potential of the internet to be used to connect communities of interest for a long time. But new media didn’t invent participation; people who work with social networks on the ground already knew how much time and genuine involvement is needed to facilitate meaningful interaction. New media seems to have pulled ‘participation’ into the culture of ‘cool’ technology. But the most radical impact is the politicized culture of digital media testing the legal and ethical frameworks of production and distribution.

I was looking for a way to make tangible some of these ideas: to make visible older forms of collaborative production such as patchwork, and newer collaborative projects such as open source software. I wanted to ...

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Monument (1967) - Ture Sjolander and Lars Weck

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Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival Report

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Image: Abandon Normal Devices logo

The debut Abandon Normal Devices (AND) launched in the North West of England, 23rd -27th September 2009. The inaugural festival was centred in the city of Liverpool with satellite events taking place in Manchester. AND, a collaboration between FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) in Liverpool, folly in Lancaster and Cornerhouse in Manchester positions itself as a mixture of new cinema, digital culture and media art, showcasing work in partnership with galleries, venues and public spaces around the city. Over five days, the festival featured a broad array of conferences, talks, exhibitions, screenings, performances and online works, with artists and practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds including, The Yes Men, MARIN (Media Art Research Interdisciplinary Network), Blast Theory, DJ Spooky and Michael Connor. FACT acted as the central hub for the festival and hosted the majority of screenings, talks and events; it also celebrated its 20-year anniversary on the opening night.

In line with its snappy title, the festival set out to discard all that is typical, regular or average, seeking to question normality in an array of forms. There was a particular focus on exploring disruption to traditional methods of production and distribution in cinema and media art. Interfering and interrupting the familiar and ordinary were played out in public space, on screen and through performance.

The festival opened with a new performance/lecture by Carolee Schneemann, renowned for her performance work of the 60’s and 70’s that challenged the normalised perceptions of the body, sexuality and gender. In a work which took the format of a lecture, titled Mysteries of the Iconographies, Schneemann went on a journey through the creative products of her life from early childhood drawings, through painting, to performance and video installation. The performance was accompanied ...

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growing up on the internet (2009) - Arend deGruyter-Helfer

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NY Art Book Fair

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While combing through the tables and displays set up by artists, book publishers, periodicals, small press bookstores, non profit arts organizations, collectives and presses who participated in the NY Art Book Fair over the weekend, I could not help but recall this past summer's No Soul For Sale festival. Both events succeeded in fostering a feel good environment, while also serving as an inspiring reminder of the number of independent, DIY initiatives out there.

I managed to take some photos yesterday, below. Even if I had camped out in P.S.1 for the entire fair, I would not have been able to see everything. Perhaps the subheader for this post should be "Incomplete Highlights" or "Some Stuff I Saw." As always, if readers want to share information or link to projects I missed, please do so in the comments section.

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Artist Amy Prior playing the record from the book/record set Slumber Party she produced with Lucky Dragons at the JUNCTURE booth. Slumber Party is "a book and music about sleep - from dozing to waking. Made during an economic crisis, 'Slumber Party' imagines the ultimate easy escape; it is really only during sleep that nothing can get bought or sold."

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Close up of the Slumber Party book.

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Two prints from Brett Ian Balogh's A Noospheric Atlas of the United States on view at the free103point9 booth. The work aims to "map the hertzian space created by the United States' mass media broadcast stations."

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Artist Gareth Long and friend at work illustrating Flaubert's Dictionary of Received Ideas while seated at the Invented Desk for Copying, a desk/sculpture derived from the unfinished pages of Flaubert's incomplete last novel.

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Table for Chicago shop Golden Age.

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Golden Age launched Jon Rafman's book "Sixteen Google Street Views" during ...

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Tiny Sketch

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Driving through Iceland (2009) - dotlassie


Recently, Rhizome partnered with OpenProcessing to launch Tiny Sketch, an open challenge to artists and programmers to create the most compelling creative work possible with the programming language Processing using 200 characters or less. The submission and voting phases are over and the results are in! We are proud to announce that the winning sketch, as determined by Rhizome's membership, is Driving through Iceland by OpenProcessing user dotlassie. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in Tiny Sketch -- it was a real success and we couldn't have pulled it off without your support. The collection will be on permanent display in two locations; it will exist as a closed archive containing all of the entries that were submitted to the original contest in Rhizome's ArtBase, and as an open collection at OpenProcessing where people can continue to submit sketches that follow the Tiny Sketch rules.

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Constellation (2006) - Chu Yun

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Stars (2007) - Ilia Ovechkin

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Forever Heath Death (2009) - AIDS 3D

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Notes on Going Under

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But the whole discourse of noise-as-threat is bankrupt, positively inimical to the remnants of power that still cling to noise. Forget subversion. The point is self-subversion, overthrowing the power structure in your own head. The enemy is the mind's tendency to systematize, sew up experience, place a distance between itself and immediacy... The goal is OBLIVION. - Simon Reynolds, "Noise"

Replace the word OBLIVION with DE-EVOLUTION and you have encapsulated the essence of the strangest art-music project that ever emerged from Akron, Ohio. While a quintet of jerky ectomorphs in hazmat suits (seemingly) singing about sadomasochism breaching the Billboard Top 20 in 1980 seemed unlikely, the legacy of DEVO is fraught with such contradiction. Formed in 1973, DEVO began as a polemical performance project, became a major buzz band and then crumbled under the weight of the attention they had cultivated. Outside of influencing a generation of musicians and artists, a surface reading would suggest the band only registered a few blips on the broader pop culture radar—"Whip It", their pioneering music video work and a legendary Saturday Night Live performance—but tracing the dramatic arc of DEVO reveals a fascinating back story. While the group might be most easily read in relation to their 1970s Ohio peers Pere Ubu, The Dead Boys or Chi-Pig, more enduring points of reference may be found in the deadpan, dour and decidedly humorless synthpop of Telex, Gary Numan and Kraftwerk. Comparisons notwithstanding, DEVO defied categorization and their creative exploration of emerging technology, hermetic logic and contentious relationship with the mass market make them quite relevant to new media artists—they're just the band you want!

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