Posts for July 2010

Required Reading

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The Nam June Paik Center is dedicated to the artistic and intellectual legacy of Nam June Paik, the renowned Korean-born artist who transformed visual art worldwide. In addition to its function as an exhibition space, the Nam June Paik Art Center developed a new publication, NJP Reader. The aim of the NJP Reader is to recontextualize Nam June Paik’s artistic thought and his ‘random access’ strategies in a topical discursive practice. Leading questions are: What is the meaning of Nam June Paik’s multi-medial experiments, performances, and sculpture for our current artistic practice and discourse? What new dimensions for re-imagining notions of technology, ubiquity, and human experience do Nam June Paik’s thinking and practice suggest? How does his practice potentiate paradigm shifts in broader understandings of the potentialities and characteristics of alternative processes of participation afforded by the introduction of media technology into artistic practice?

Obviously, Nam June Paik’s work requires a conceptual framework that goes beyond an art historical narrative. Therefore, for Issue #1, NJP Reader conducts an inquiry into the novel concept of artistic anthropology in art discourse as an invitation to produce new conceptual systems. The NJP Reader intends to be an open platform for generating novel ideas, connections and concepts (this intention is also reflected in choosing to use Nam June Paik’s initials for its title, rather than his full name). To this aim, the first edition of the NJP Reader is based on a questionnaire that as many artists and intellectuals as possible were invited to contribute responses to. Through this conceptual inquiry the NJP Reader hopes to help in creating novel lines of thought and conceptual schemes. For the questionnaire three questions were formulated:

1. Artistic anthropology intends to produce novel models of relationality and connectivity. Could - Nam June Paik ...

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Dying Gauls (2007) - Sophie Ernst

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The Dying Gauls are plaster casts of Hellenistic sculptures on which video interviews of young men from Lahore are superimposed. The men are asked about their view of heaven, hell, death and dying.

The casts used here are Dying Gauls. The Dying Gauls were commissioned in commemoration of the victory of the Greek over the Galatians, Celts from Asia Minor. They are part of a larger group of defeated enemies made up of Gauls, Amazons, giants and Persians. Unique in the representations of these Greek enemies is that they are depicted without a triumphing victor.They are seen as defeated but heroic warriors.

-- DESCRIPTION FROM ARTIST'S PRESS RELEASE

Via VVORK

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Crito (2001) - Dimitris Fotiou

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[Plaster cast heads, video projection.]


While influenced by the technique of other video artist's such as Tony Oursler, I projected Plato's ancient dialogue, 'Crito', onto casts. The dialogue refers to obedience to the law. When Socrates receives the death penalty by the Athenians, Crito, a friend of his, powerful in Athens, tries to convince him to save his own life and avoid the punishment. The dialogue lasts 40 minutes.

-- DESCRIPTION FROM THE ARTIST'S SITE

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Digital (1997) - Tony Oursler

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Displacements (2005) - Michael Naimark

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Displacements is an immersive film installation. An archetypal Americana living room was installed in an exhibition space. Then two performers were filmed in the space using a 16mm motion picture camera on a slowly rotating turntable in the room’s center. After filming, the camera was replaced with a film loop projector and the entire contents of the room were spray-painted white. The reason was to make a projection screen the right shape for projecting everything back onto itself. The result was that everything appears strikingly 3D, except for the people, who of course weren’t spray-paint white, and consequently appeared very ghostlike and unreal.

-- DESCRIPTION FROM ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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The Chill Zone

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"Time doesn't exist when you're... just chilling!" Topping an administrative page on the site of curatorial collective Jstchillin, this slogan rephrases a familiar bit of folk phenomenology: Time flies when you're having fun! But in denying time's existence, rather making its perceived acceleration a metaphor for losing yourself in the moment, the slogan suggests a swap of the trinity of past-present-future for something else -- a sense of time that (until the end of this essay, at least) I will call "chill time." Jstchillin is concerned with the internet, and my description of chill time will be, too. It entails an awareness of parallel threads of messages, ordered by clock-time sequence and subjective assignments of importance (cf. Facebook's feed settings: "Top News" and "Most Recent"), and the knowledge that these messages will wait until you find them (in your e-mail, in your RSS aggregator, etc.) but might be irrelevant when you do if you wait too long. Chill time is simultaneity of the recent past and lagging present, the sum of attempts to track some threads into the past and push others toward the future. Awareness of physical surroundings tends to be fuzzy as you sift through old layers of digital sediment and deposit new ones. Jstchillin founders Caitlyn Denny and Parker Ito describe it like this: "[T]o chill is to live in a constant state of multiplicities, a flow of existence between web and physicality."

Jstchillin encompasses a number of initiatives, including the gallery show "Avatar 4D," but its flagship project is "Serial Chillers in Paradise," an online exhibition that has featured a different artist every other week since October 2009. Chill time, I think, is the central theme of "Serial Chillers," one that many commissioned artists have approached through conventional associations with chilling. Video games were the subject of an illustrated short story/film treatment by Jon Rafman, and Jonathan Vingiano's browser add-on Space Chillers was a game. Ida Lehtonen's contribution folded soothing ocean sounds into a video of exercises that computer laborers can do to stay limber during breaks, while Eilis Mcdonald's sent you scrolling through bits of pat, New-Agey advice and then to a page with equivalent visuals; both artists drew on packaged relaxation. Zach Schipko and Tucker Bennett's feature-length movie Why Are You Weird?, parceled into YouTube uploads, is a story of art-school students who spend almost all of their onscreen time at parties or hanging out in their dorm rooms, rehashing crits.

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Call for Applications

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Netmage 11, an international live media festival which takes place in January 2011 in Bologna, Italy, is seeking applications for their live media floor. The main section of their program, the live media floor is a platform for "generating and/or mixing images and sound of every type and format." Download the application here. Deadline is September 20, 2010.

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In-Game Chat with Jason Rohrer from Bad At Sports

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Another great interview by Nicholas O'Brien for Chicago-based contemporary art blog Bad At Sports! In this clip, O'Brien speaks with game designer and artist Jason Rohrer. For this series of interviews, O'Brien captures media artists within the medium in which they work - whether it be Second Life, Video, or in the case of the above, Rohrer's game, Sleep Is Death. Rohrer was a panelist for the Rhizome New Silent Series event on indie gaming "Next Level" a few years ago, if you want to watch a video of that talk as an addendum to this interview, go here.

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untitled (30.III.2010) (2010) - Aleksandra Domanovic

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As a memorial for the ".yu" domain - subject of conflicts during the war, now switched off as of the end of March 2010 - she developed a series of paper sculptures. They consist of several thousand printed A4-sheets. Stacked, they make a picture appear, showing nationalist Ultras in Belgrade’s football stadium.

-- DESCRIPTION FROM THE EXHIBITION BOOKLET FOR "SURFING CLUB"

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A Visit to Babycastles

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The setup downstairs at the Silent Barn.

Yesterday Ceci and I went out to Silent Barn in Ridgewood to meet with Kunal Gupta and the other guys who run Babycastles. Babycastles is a DIY arcade space with a rotating set of independent games curated by local artists and game designers. The space is usually set up for play during shows at Silent Barn, but they'll turn the machines on and let you play if you come by any time they're around.

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Dismantled laptop for a costume in Babycastles "Indie Game Cosplay Music Video Shoot Machinima" party

When we arrived, the guys were prepping for a big "Indie Game Cosplay Music Video Shoot Machinima" performance/dance party with CHERYL that they are throwing this Saturday, part of Game Play at the Brick Theater. Upstairs they were disassembling old laptops so that could be attached to the costumes of cyborg dancers that would double as playable arcade games. While they tinkered with soldering guns and laptop guts we played a few rounds of Tristan Perich's 1-bit game KILL JET on a small portable TV about the size of a car battery. The game is operated using two buttons, one to move the plane up and the other to move it down. For previous installations the game was played on a larger TV with the buttons attached to the back, so that the player had to hug the screen in order to play. Kunal showed us some of their costumes in progress and discussed some ideas for interactive dancing machinima gifs before we headed downstairs to see the arcade.

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Jacob playing Tristan Perich's KILL JET

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Glamour shot of Tristan's circuit board for KILL JET

The current series of games on display at Babycastles is curated by Zen Albatross ...

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