Posts for April 2010

Civilization in 3D

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Installation shot of Ouroboros (Image: ArtLab Video Projects)

In 1931, Sergei Eisenstein described montage as "an idea that arises from the collision of independent shots" wherein "each sequential element is perceived not next to the other, but on top of the other." This layering of images allows them to combine, producing a third meaning that was not present before their combination. "Ouroboros" - a video exhibition currently on display at the ISE Cultural Foundation - takes the aesthetics of early montage and hits fast-forward in 3D. By modifying a version of chromadepth into a process they call COLORSPACE, art collective SWEATSHOPPE achieves a layered 3D effect in which red, green, and blue (RGB) are each visible at a different depth from the surface on which they are projected. The effect is a complex sequence of images projected simultaneously and layered on top of one another to create an almost literal manifestation of Eisenstein's montage aesthetic.

The sequence combines over 30,000 images selected by artist Ali Hossani, and is meant to tell the story of cosmic evolution, "from the Big Bang to Lady Gaga." The images read more like the infamous montage sequence in A Parallax View (1974) than a statement on the rejoinder of art and science where "knowledge, desire, and energy meets the limits of human freedom," as the artist's statement suggests. Still, the effect is mesmerizing, and showcases one of several new possibilities for 3D technologies in the creation of a new digital aesthetic.

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Gallant Apparatus: Three Reinstalls After Yayoi Kusama (2010) - Mitch Trale

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Interview with Isla Leaver-Yap

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Meredith Monk, 16mm Earrings, 1966, performance. (Courtesy The House Foundation)

THE VOICE IS A LANGUAGE, a film and performance program revolving around the work of Meredith Monk, kicks off this week at Tramway as part of Glasgow International. The event series will begin with a live performance of a newly commissioned work by artist Cara Tolmie on April 15th. This will be followed by daily screenings, through April 25th, of work by Sophie Macpherson, James Richards, Cara Tolmie and Sue Tompkins, as well as rare films by Monk. I had a chance to speak with the curator behind THE VOICE IS A LANGUAGE, Isla Leaver-Yap, about Monk’s career, the correspondence between her practice and those of the artists involved in the series, as well as the informative online reader organized especially for the project.



How did you first become interested in Meredith Monk's work?

Last year I was involved in a project at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, called Talkshow, which was a season of performances and events that looked at speech in relation to contemporary art. We were working with a lot of music/art crossover figures like Robert Ashley, Simone Forti, and Joan La Barbara. By way of Talkshow research, I came to see Peter Greenaway’s fantastic Four Composers television series, which was originally broadcast in the UK in 1983, and which included an episode portrait of Meredith Monk. Perhaps I wasn’t looking at it so closely at the time because Meredith Monk was less invested in the speech act and more in the possibilities within the human voice. When I moved to New York in October of last year, I watched the Greenaway film again out of a kind of local interest - a lot of the performances Monk was talking about in ...

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Kodak (2006) - Tacita Dean

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After discovering that the Kodak factory in Chalon-sur-Saone, France, was closing its film production facility, Dean obtained permission to document the manufacture of film at the factory with the soon-to-be obsolete medium itself. The 44-minute-long work Kodak constitutes a meditative elegy for the approaching demise of a medium specific to Dean's own practice. Kodak's narrative follows the making of the celluloid as it runs through several miles of machinery. On the day of filming, the factory also ran a test through the system with brown paper, providing a rare opportunity to see the facilities fully illuminated, without the darkness needed to prevent exposure.

-- DESCRIPTION FROM UBUWEB

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The Object Whisperer: Shana Moulton's Whispering Pines

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Found objects have had a place in art for nearly a century, but the practice has seemed particularly pervasive in recent years, as approaches from both contemporary and historical perspectives have attempted to redefine it as appropriation, nonmonumental, unmonumental, or "combining crap with crap." Fascination with old or overlooked marginalia could be regressive melancholia spawned of the Bush era's resigned cynicism, or sympathy for the poor objects in spite of high-tech consumption. Whatever the case, the sensibility saturates Shana Moulton's Whispering Pines, a series of videos and performances. While sculptural assemblage clusters objects in space, Moulton spreads her thrift-store and gift-shop finds over time. Rather than tracing the artist's web of references through stationary contemplation, the viewer of Whispering Pines is led through the process as Cynthia, the heroine, interacts with the things she has chosen to surround herself with. A Magic Eye 3D poster transports her to a zone of free movement. A swamp-colored facial mask opens a green-screen gateway to a forest clearing. If, in a readymade or sculptural assemblage, the artist endows objects with totemic power by isolating and emphasizing their formal properties (or the subjective associations they evoke for her), then Moulton gives that principle a radically literal interpretation in Whispering Pines, where objects' properties and associations acquire the power to shape the narrative.

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Required Reading

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Mader, Stublić, Wiermann, Façade, 2007 (Electronic Projection) 2007

The received notion of the public sphere in fact melds an array of narrative and structural elements into a domain of expressive possibility whose center of attention serves both aesthetic and intersubjective concerns. This commingling entails two dynamic affordances that have been especially open to manipulation through new media art: the presence of architecture as sculptural object, and the use of projective strategies for pluralistic communication. The latter works as a new branch of street performance, not for actors, but for media. The sense of novelty here is more than mechanical; it compacts the distance between human and machine, the latter increasingly assuming roles played by the former, but organizes both in a new coordinate space that is neither entirely physical/real nor virtual/technological.

-- EXCERPT FROM "SPATIAL ENGAGEMENT'S CHRONOTOPE IN ELECTRONIC ART AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE" BY FRANCISCO J. RICARDO

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Sunset Solitaire (2005) - Joe Mckay

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[Video clip of "Sunset Solitaire" here]

In this performance/video I've written a program on my computer that lets me mix the sunset live. I have three gradient fields that I can constantly change with specially devised hardware. I then project from my computer onto a garage in a field behind my studio. I did this a few times - each time I went back to the studio and messed with the software, and each time I got a little better at the game.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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Exposure Adjustment on a Sunset (2009) - Artie Vierkant

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Video of a full sunset altered so that the brightness level remains constant from beginning to end.

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Eternal Sunset (2006) - Adriaan Stellingwerff

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"Eternal Sunset" in Athlone, Ireland

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"Eternal Sunset" in Athlone, Ireland

Eternal Sunset endeavours to ensure you can enjoy the sunset live from any location, at any time. As the sunset moves westward, Eternal Sunset continuously tunes into different webcams, chasing the sunset around the globe. This service is currently provided through the use of 198 west-facing webcams across 39 countries.

Eternal Sunset is a virtual space where time is passing but where the daily cycle of day and night has come to a freeze at sunset; a space where the sun is always going down but never goes under. Complementing the increased efficiency and productivity associated with the internet, Eternal Sunset celebrates the romantic beauty enabled by that same technology.

-- DESCRIPTION FROM THE "ETERNAL SUNSET" SITE

[Eternal Sunset was a 2006 Rhizome Commission]

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Sunset Scam (2009) - Duncan Malashock

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