Posts for 2011

Hello World, Christopher Baker's collection of 5000 video diaries, at The Saatchi Gallery

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The Saatchi Gallery's screening room opens January 3rd with Christopher Baker’s video installation, Hello World! Or: How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Noise(via FAD)

Hello World! or: How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Noise from Christopher Baker 

Hello World! is a large-scale audio visual installation comprised of thousands of unique video diaries gathered from the internet. The project is a meditation on the contemporary plight of democratic, participative media and the fundamental human desire to be heard.

On one hand, new media technologies like YouTube have enabled new speakers at an alarming rate. On the other hand, no new technologies have emerged that allow us to listen to all of these new public speakers. Each video consists of a single lone individual speaking candidly to a (potentially massive) imagined audience from a private space such as a bedroom, kitchen, or dorm room. The multi-channel sound composition glides between individuals and the group, allowing viewers to listen in on unique speakers or become immersed in the cacophony. Viewers are encouraged to dwell in the space.

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Spamm (Super Art Modern Museum)

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Curated by Thomas Cheneseau + Systaime, Spamm (Super Art Modern Museum) is a new online art gallery featuring an impressive list of artists — JODI, Françoise Gamma, Angelo Plessas, Mr Doob, Rosa Menkman, Jeremy Bailey, Petra Cortright, among many others

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RECOMMENDED READING: The Curse of Cow Clicker

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The January issue of Wired includes a long read on Ian Bogost's Cow Clicker:

Bogost threw together a bare-bones Facebook game in three days. The rules were simple to the point of absurdity: There was a picture of a cow, which players were allowed to click once every six hours. Each time they did, they received one point, called a click. Players could invite as many as eight friends to join their “pasture”; whenever anyone within the pasture clicked their cow, they all received a click. A leaderboard tracked the game’s most prodigious clickers. Players could purchase in-game currency, called mooney, which they could use to buy more cows or circumvent the time restriction. In true FarmVille fashion, whenever a player clicked a cow, an announcement—”I’m clicking a cow“—appeared on their Facebook newsfeed.

And that was pretty much it. That’s not a nutshell description of the game; that’s literally all there was to it. As a play experience, it was nothing more than a collection of cheap ruses, blatantly designed to get players to keep coming back, exploit their friends, and part with their money. “I didn’t set out to make it fun,” Bogost says. “Players were supposed to recognize that clicking a cow is a ridiculous thing to want to do.”

Bogost launched Cow Clicker during the NYU event in July 2010. Within weeks, it had achieved cult status among indie-game fans and social-game critics. Every “I’m clicking a cow” newsfeed update served as a badge of ironic protest. Players gleefully clicked cows to send a message to their FarmVille-loving friends or to identify themselves as members of the anti-Zynga underground. The game began attracting press on sites like TechCrunch and Slashdot.

And then something surprising happened ...

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Art or Not

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Art or NotHot or Not for the art world, created by OKFocus (Jonathan Vingiano and Ryder Ripps.)

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Oneohtrix Point Never and Nate Boyce's Performance at MoMA PopRally

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Photos by Kristy Leibowitz/elkstudios

This past weekend, MoMA presented a collaboration between electronic musician Daniel Lopatin—who records under the moniker Oneohtrix Point Never—and video artist Nate Boyce, as part of its PopRally series of art parties. While not an overly serious gathering, Boyce and Lopatin delivered an hour of strobing, structuralist-minded imagery over relentless digital throbbing. Each of the work’s sections was based upon a specific object in the MoMA’s sculpture collection and the overarching title, Reliquary House, suggested a congratulatory pat on the back for the museum. PopRally events are more often than not thematically connected to what’s concurrently on MoMA’s walls, while in this case the institution’s history was the tie-in.

The video screen displayed 3-D renderings of modernist forms by Isamo Noguchi, David Smith, Jacob Epstein, and Anthony Caro, which gyrated in “impossible” landscapes evoking the Panopticon look of the music video to Nine Inch Nail’s “Down In It.” To clarify their intention, Lopatin began each movement with details of the image being projected—dates, dimensions, curatorial texts—dictated by robotic voices a la Siri and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Within the foreboding visual environment, these came off as provocations of a sort, which gave way to beds of digital glitches and rollicking bass oscillations, positing a bleak underbelly to the neutrality of the subject material. Boyce and Lopatin, who often communicate a sense of humor about the austerity of contemporary tools and approaches in their work, perplexed the droll audience, who perhaps expected Lopatin to perform the angelic synthesizer music indicative of his latest record, Replica. Boyce and Lopatin stood ground side-by-side, facing their laptops, but more often were caught gazing up at the video screen.

Lopatin’s other recent art project, a zine ...

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Rhizome Editor-at-Large Picks Top 10 for 2011

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Looking back at and consolidating the year in exhibitions is one of the more challenging tasks an art writer faces. Tracking trips to shows throughout the year, and more importantly, the evolution of your feelings about them, is a daunting, sometimes insurmountable task. While in Europe this spring and summer, I was lucky enough to view some of the exhibitions I found more momentous and personally resonant. Starting in Italy with the 54th Venice Biennale, I traveled up to Switzerland through Geneva and Basel, heading next to the UK and landing finally in Berlin. The list below reflects both personal favorites and those that I felt to be important in the confluence of art and technology.  

Josephine Pryde, “Embryos and Estate Agents: L’Arte de Vivre” at Chisenhale, London

British artist Josephine Pryde bears the unique ability to successfully navigate both photography and sculpture, two mediums which seem almost diametrically opposed. Up until this year I’d only been familiar with Pryde’s sculptures of half-finished baskets precariously suspended by butcher hooks, shown at Galerie Neu in Berlin last year; as well as her strange, oversized macro photographs of fabric, featured at Reena Spaulings in 2009. For her presentation at Chisenhale, “Embryos and Estate Agents: L’Arte de Vivre,” Pryde presented two sets of photographs. The first takes medical images of fetuses, superimposing them in Photoshop against barren desert landscapes; the second stages stock photography-style portraits of young, alternative-looking women contemplating whether or not they’re pregnant. Beyond Pryde’s fascinating material practice is her confrontation of oft-taboo, extremely personal, female-specific issues generally elided in contemporary art discourse. 

Cory Arcangel at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York  / Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin

Arcangel Fever spread around early spring 2011 as his Whitney retrospective drew near, the artist being asked by a vertiginous number of New York media outlets to grace them with pre-opening press. The show sparked some lukewarm reviews

 

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Textured Elements (Extract) — Alexander Peverett & Travess Smalley (2011)

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An extended duration procedural video projection created in collaboration with Travess Smalley. Intended as a Perceptual Video wall hanging for galleries and residential interiors.

via Computers Club

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Excerpt from "Take This Book: The People's Library at Occupy Wall Street"

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An excerpt from Take This Book: The People's Library at Occupy Wall Street, an extended essay by Melissa Gira Grant, forthcoming in print, epub, and as a Kindle single. Available to support on Kickstarter.

Instagram Photo by Melissa Gira Grant

Remove everything but the books. The librarians who were most versed in direct-action tactics—from participating in various peaceful and spirited disruptions, at street protests against the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004, or while bringing cheer to Wall Street police barricades as a roving brass band—had worked out a plan for what they would do in case of a raid. Whoever was in the library would grab the laptops, the archives, the reference section—countless signed editions among them—and ferry them to safety. 

"Philosophically," Jaime, one of the librarians, said, "the books stay with the occupation."

There had been a dry run, too, the night the Occupiers prepared for the city to evict them. On October 13, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that Brookfield Properties, which legally owned the park, wanted to clean Zuccotti, and the Occupiers anticipated that the mayor would also send in the New York Police Department to remove them. So the Occupiers took this order both graciously and defiantly: They would clean the park themselves, and early in the morning, when the cops and the cleaners were to arrive, the Occupiers would refuse to leave. Someone posted an invitation to Facebook on the day of the cleanup, calling people to gather before Wall Street's opening bell, and to bring brooms and mops and pails. All day, wearing ponchos and latex gloves, Occupiers scrubbed the stone steps of Zuccotti, swept the grounds, and straightened their camp's stations. As night fell, some of the camp's infrastructure was 

 

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EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL - AntiVJ/Joanie Lemercier (2011)

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The China Millennium Monument Museum of Digital Arts opened last Saturday. Among the installations — Eyjafjallajökull by AntiVJ (Joanie Lemercier). "Painted directly onto a large wall, a wireframed scenery is slowly revealed by gentle light effects. The audience’s sense are progressively challenged as optical illusions question their perception of space."


Here's a video on the construction of the work for the  onedotzero festival at EMPAC in upstate New York. The artist tells Creative Applications, "The original plan was to fly to empac to do a 3 weeks residency, to develop a new project from scratch, which would involve projection mapping onto objects, a sound track by minimal techno producer Sleeparchive, and potentially a live performance on the day of the opening. As the video explains, the original idea and schedule felt apart when the volcano erupted, and the 3 weeks long residency turned into just 5 days on site, to setup the installation and prepare a live performance…"

via Creative Applications

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Technology is Not Enough: The Story of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program

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4th Floor of ITP at 721 Broadway, photo by Jason Huff

NYU’s ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program) celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2009, but much of the program dates back to forty years ago. The graduate program is “dedicated to pushing the boundaries of interactivity in the real and digital worlds.” This year is also a landmark year as founder Red Burns is starting to archive the program's history. The archive is beginning just as New York City, with its thriving startup scene, is starting to feel geeky enough to be a natural home for the innovative program.1 Beyond its original intentions, the program is pioneering in "physical computing," as coined by a faculty member. It has even managed intellectual property policies that let students keep full ownership of their ideas.

As I sat down for an interview with Burns in her office at 721 Broadway, she searched for a copy of the first grant proposal she wrote to set up the Alternate Media Center (AMC) in 1970-71, which later—in 1979— would become ITP. “If I could find that—I would die to find it. It must be the worst proposal, but it was original and it was fresh,” she declared. That lost proposal is what started everything; it helped secure grant money from the Markle Foundation, workshop space in the two floors above Bleecker Street Cinema in Greenwich Village and essential equipment.

Bleecker Street Cinema circa 1970, photo by Robert Otter via Soho Memory Project

The year the AMC started was the same year Sony introduced the first portable video recorder—the Portapak. The units cost around $1500 to buy, but according to a New York Times article from that year, they could be rented for $75 a day. Burns and her collaborator, George Stoney, with

 

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