Posts for June 2010

The Migration and Conflation of Forms

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What has happened to “underground” film after the advent of Netflix, file-sharing and the Internet? This veritable, thriving counter-cultural force, building community by way of the distribution of cultural artifacts, has definitely undergone some changes as hard-to-find movies have become easier to locate and view. The transformation of underground film in the face of these factors emblematizes the shift in perspective defining the New York Underground Film Festival (1994-2008), from its offshoot Migrating Forms, programmed by NYUFF veterans Kevin McGarry and Nellie Killian, now in its second year. Migrating Forms shouldn’t be understood as NYUFF with a facelift—such would imply a new identity covering up an old ethos. Rather, if NYUFF combated the poor distribution of alternative cinema with a punk sensibility, Migrating Forms broadened its scope to celebrate works made in the preceding year by artists and filmmakers, somewhat in the vein of an (annual) art world biennial.

Its title, taken from a James Fotopolous film, further evinces the slippery character of pictures shown within McGarry and Killian’s program. Anything on video or film is fair game. The disparate line up includes work of contemporary video artists, anthropologically inclined documentaries, and formalist ruminations by an array of artists and filmmakers. Also shown was a mini retrospective of Godard collaborator Jean-Pierre Gorin and the only two, extremely rare films ever produced by Ed Ruscha. The festival brochure touts its ten day massive program, “Across 23 programs, Migrating Forms showcases films and videos by 62 artists living and working in 21 countries—plus 9 special retrospective screenings and special events.”

The conceptual and physical vastness of Migrating Forms’ programming makes it difficult to identify any concerted or intentional leitmotifs. McGarry and Killian composed the festival with no obvious overarching theme other than the charge of presenting new film ...

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Call for Proposals

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free103point9, a nonprofit arts organization in Upstate New York supporting transmission arts, is offering fellowships through their AIRtime program for the 2010/2011 year. The deadline is July 15, 2010. Details below.

The AIRtime program provides artists with valuable assistance with which to concentrate on new transmission works and conduct research about the genre using free103point9′s resource library and equipment holdings. Fellows present their work in conjunction with WGXC: Hands-on Radio, a FM radio station and media project in Greene and Columbia counties, upstate New York. Fellows receive an honorarium of $1,000, and technical and administrative support from free103point9 staff. Participating artists are encouraged to archive recordings and other digital media with the free103point9 Transmission Art Archive project.

free103point9 defines “Transmission Arts” as a conceptual umbrella that unites a community of artists and audiences interested in transmission ideas and tools. The genre is informed by an intentional use of space—often the airwaves. Transmission Art manifests in participatory live art or time-based art including radio, video, light, installation, and performance.

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Screening Screens

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Kate Mondloch’s first book, Screens: Viewing Media Installation Art (University of Minnesota Press), is a welcome study of the cathode ray tubes, liquid crystal and plasma displays, and film, video and data projections that “pervade contemporary life” (xi). The author reminds us that screens are not just “illusionist windows” into other spaces or worlds, but also “physical, material entities [that] beckon, provoke, separate, and seduce” (xii). Most importantly, however, Mondloch’s approach is that of an art historian. She does not merely use art as a case study for media theory, but rather makes the contributions of artists her central focus in this, the first in-depth study of the space between bodies and screens in contemporary art.

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Byte to Mass Conversion Calculator (2010) - Michael Guidetti

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Untitled (2010) - Brody Condon

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In coordination with Saks Fifth Avenue and the PS1 Greater New York Exhibition, Brody Condon was invited to contribute a project to be displayed in the Saks window on 50th St. Brody’s proposal was to film a performance inside Saks itself. To his surprise Saks was familiar with his work and agreed.

The piece, a modification of the Trisha Brown work Accumulation (1971), is a floor-based dance performance based on various seizure-like movements choreographed by Stephen Lichty, who is himself familiar with movement disorders.

-- DESCRIPTION FROM DIS MAGAZINE

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Laptopogram (2010) - Aditya Mandayam

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Laptopograms are images made by pressing photosensitive paper onto a laptop screen and flashing an image in a manner not unlike contact printing or photograms.

‘Laptopogram’ is a misnomer - I reckon they can be made with pretty much any monitor. Perhaps ‘Luminous Screen Emulsion Transfers’ is a better.

Here, however, the negative is a digital image - and is flashed for a little time onto the paper before developing the image in a darkroom.

These prints were made with an IBM R51 Thinkpad running Lucid Lynx with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels.

All prints were developed on Ilford Ilfospeeed RC Deluxe 5 Glossy paper using Tetenal Neofin Blau with water as a stop bath and a fixer of unknown provenance.

-- DESCRIPTION FROM THE "ABOUT" SECTION ON LAPTOPOGRAM

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Samson Young's Hong Kong iPhone Orchestra / Performance at ART HK 10 (from VernissageTV)

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As part of the supporting program of ART HK, Hong Kong International Art Fair, I/O (Input/Out) and I/O Off-Site presented a performance by Hong Kong artist Samson Young. VernissageTV was on site to document Samson Young leading the iphone musicians through a music score of matrix notations on the opening day of the art fair. Everyone owning an iPhone and battery powered computer speakers could apply to participate in the performance after an hour of rehearsal. The participants were given instructions and the necessary free iPhone software.

-- DESCRIPTION FROM VERNISSAGE TV

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Images in the Sky (2005) - Marc Kremers and Damien Poulain

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200 images from the Internet were released into the sky via red, green and blue helium filled balloons on the 2nd of October 2005 in Victoria Park, London. For all we know they could all just fall into the Channel. But we hope that if someone finds an image they will get back to us and let us know where they are, and participate by sending us an image or message of their own.

-- DESCRIPTION FROM THE "IMAGES IN THE SKY" SITE

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Capacitive Body (2008) - Martin Hesselmeier and Andreas Muxel

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The installation "capacitive body" is a modular light system that reacts to the sound of its environment. Each custom built module consists of an electroluminescent light wire linked to a piezoelectric sensor and a microcontroller. Through its modular setup it can easily be adapted to various urban spaces.

-- DESCRIPTION FROM THE "CAPACITIVE BODY" SITE

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Piotr Kamler Day

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I discovered the world of Polish animator Piotr Kamler after searching on YouTube for films scored by composer Bernard Parmegiani, whose music I came across via UbuWeb. Parmegiani and Kamler were both colleagues of musique concrète mastermind Pierre Schaeffer, and they participated in the experimental research arm of the French television station O.R.T.F. founded by Schaeffer in 1960. Some have dubbed the abstract films and animations created under Schaeffer's management of the O.R.T.F. "concrete cinema." Today I will be posting films by Kamler produced during his tenure in this department as well as some examples of his later work. These clips originate from the 2007 DVD Piotr Kamler, à la recherche du temps.

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