Posts for May 2010

Dispatches from No Soul For Sale

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Artist-run Reykjavik gallery Kling&Bang; exhibited Tower of Now in their space during NSFS. Created by Hekla Dögg Jónsdóttir and Sirra Sigrún Sigurðardóttir, the work consists of hundreds of bands of heat sensitive cash register rolls suspended from the ceiling, weighted down by Icelandic coins.

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Dispatches from No Soul For Sale

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I dropped by the section for non-profit contemporary art space Casa Tres Patios yesterday, based in Medellín, Colombia. Casa Tres Patios host exhibitions, run a residency program, and organize workshops. They are revolving a number of works in their space for No Soul For Sale, and yesterday they exhibited these small, delicate "breathing" machines by Colombian artist Camilo Restrepo, below, which operate on two motors, allowing them to "inhale" and "exhale" into plastic bags. The work is titled Figuritas en el Suelo (Figurines on the ground), and it is a commentary on the use of contact cement by street children, who huff the drug and collapse as a result of its effects. (More here.)

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Dispatches from No Soul For Sale

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James Alec Hardy Performing

London project space and publisher i-cabin showed a few works in their space for No Soul For Sale, by artists Lewis Amar, James Alec Hardy, Duncan McAfee, Darren Norman and Barry Sykes. This stack in the i-cabin section is by James Alec Hardy. Using a video synthesizer and other equipment, he's been manipulating footage from the music videos for chart toppers from the Tate Modern's first week open in 2000 in a series of daily performances. (No Soul For Sale is part of the Tate Modern's 10 year anniversary.) Apparently, there was a lot of Spice Girls back in 2000, I think I may have blocked that out!

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Dispatches from No Soul For Sale

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Lisbon-based curatorial team Filipa Oliveira + Miguel Amado exhibited a few works in their space, one of which is this project by Lindner & Steinbrenner titled Start Spreading the News (2010). According to the press release, the work, "consists of a printer connected to the Internet continuously printing on A4 sheets of paper everything that is worth being reported by Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading press agency. This device is located on top of a ladder, so every minute 2/3 sheets of paper will tumble into the ground, each containing absolutely unfiltered news from somewhere in the world. These are words that have no feedback from the audience, allegorically replicating the way most information is circulated on a global scale. Through the poetic image of “falling news” that they created, the artists question the power of the media in the shaping of the current visions of the world."

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Dispatches from No Soul For Sale

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Dropped by the booth for Green Papaya Art Projects today, an initiative based in Quezon City in the Philippines who support "tactical approaches to the production, dissemination, research and presentation of contemporary practices in varied artistic and scholarly fields." They are showing a bunch of works in their space, but the above by Conrado Velasco caught my eye. Titled Before the Future Comes the work is an "electronic scrapbook" that uses software to manipulate still images. I talked to Conrado a bit about his practice, he said he often does live video performances in a similar vein, often collaborating with DJs or sound artists. Here's a short excerpt from that artist's statement about the work, "Before the Future Comes is a glimpse of Manila's art sphere, seen through the glitched lens of digital technology. This audio-visual composition is an attempt to mirror the multiplicity, speed and difficulty of separating the layers of experience in an Asian ultrapolis."

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Dispatches from No Soul For Sale

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New York's e-flux set up a photocopier in their space, allowing visitors to print and assemble their own versions of their publication e-flux journal. I'm a big fan of e-flux journal, and I've reblogged quite a few of their articles to Rhizome before. It was nice to see them here, representing at No Soul For Sale.

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Dispatches from No Soul For Sale

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Howie Chen and Gabrielle Giattino's Dispatch, from New York, are representing here with a project called RE: RE: 1975-1976 New York Art Yearbook, pictured above. All of the posters depict images sourced from the publication New York Art Yearbook. You can read a bit about the show below, from the Dispatch site. To read an interview between Dispatch and the original editor of the New York Art Yearbook, Judith Tannenbaum, go here.

New York Art Yearbook is the subject and source for the exhibition, RE: 1975-76 NEW YORK ART YEARBOOK. As an anomalous publication commissioned by a scientific reference book company, the volume meticulously covers all solo artist exhibitions that occurred from September 1975 to June 1976 in New York City, with illustrations and descriptive text.

The Yearbook provides a unique insight into the artistic production, art scene, and concerns in New York during the year of the U.S. Bicentennial. It captures abstract expressionism, pop art, color-field painting, minimalism and conceptual art at the crossroads. With the notion of pluralism surfacing, it reflected the diverse styles, subject matter, techniques, and aesthetic concepts at hand. All this against the backdrop of the continuing downtown migration of artists with commercial galleries and alternative spaces in its wake.

As a source for an iterative curatorial project, the contents of the Yearbook become generative material for discussion and exhibition. This includes a discursive look at current contemporary art production, the persistence of conceptual/formal tropes, and the expanding global commercial ‘downtown.’ With each iteration of the project, the Yearbook will function as both historical document and image bank for the continual production of new visual arrangements.

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Dispatches from No Soul For Sale

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Hong Kong's Para/Site Art Space, who host exhibitions, screenings, talks and events, had a small group exhibition in their space. One of the works was a warm, enveloping sound piece Back into the Ether by Cedric Maridet which I listened to for awhile. The photo in the background, above, is also by Maridet.

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Demoscene Week!

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All this week we're focusing on the demoscene here on Rhizome. We've recruited a number of guest writers to cover multiple aspects of the scene -- from demos made on the MSX computer to diskmags and more. We're starting it off with an overview provided by Antti Silvast and Markku Reunanen of Demoscene Research.

[To read all the posts from this week, click the tag "demoscene"]

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The Demoscene -- an Overview

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1. Introduction

The demoscene is an international collective of programmers, graphics artists and musicians who create real-time audio-visual presentations with home computers. These people call themselves demosceners or just sceners. The real-time presentations are in turn called demos. Geographically the demoscene is a European phenomenon, with relatively little activity on other continents.

In this article, we want to introduce demos and the demoscene to the uninitiated reader.1 In the recent 10 years or so, social scientists, humanists and media researchers have written a number of texts that present the topic. These studies have been overviewed in our online research bibliography, Demoscene Research.2

Generally, the existing studies can be separated into two domains. In the first of these, the demoscene has been viewed as artistic activity. Secondly, many researchers have assessed demoscene culture as a particular way of life, for example as youth culture, counter culture, multimedia hacker culture or gendered community.

These existing works have opened up important and relevant points for discussion. But at the same time, they have often taken quite an abstract and an outsider perspective to demoscene practices. Having been active demosceners ourselves from the 1990s, we feel that the real live action of being in the scene should also receive its share of attention.

In this introduction, we thus focus on what demosceners do and the diverse artifacts they produce. We describe the basic concepts used by the sceners and explain the scene's key social conventions. The final section concludes with tips for further reading.

2. What Demosceners Do

As the name already suggests, the main activity of the demoscene is making "demos". A demo is a series of computer graphics effects with a music soundtrack. In most cases the demo -- short for demonstration ...

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