Posts for 2011

Weekend Clicking

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"I dropped my book and now I can’t read my book" (alex_lee2001) via The New Aesthetic

  • Agata Pyzik writes about Ostalgia in Frieze, brilliant from start to finish: "Just as Žižek has already published 30-odd books, in which he calls for a reevaluation of the idea of Communism, one might well ask: is this an infinite project, serving only the perpetual Ostalgie business? How many times is the same ‘Idea of Communism’ (the title of a book by Tariq Ali) being sold to us?"
  • This week's must read: The Social Graph is Neither by Pinboard's Maciej Ceglowski
  • Douglas Rushkoff at Occupy Wall Street
  • Social Media in the Age of Enlightenment (Open Culture.) "Europeans living in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had to deal with their own version of information overload. Emerging postal systems, the proliferation of short letters..and the birth of newspapers and pamphlets all pumped unprecedented amounts of information — valuable information, gossip, chatter and the rest — through newly-emerging social networks, which eventually played a critical role in the French Revolution" ...

 

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Artist Profile: Artie Vierkant

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Artie Vierkant, Image Objects 2011

You are continuing to explore your Image Objects series for your Rhizome commission, which seems to deal with new elements of the age-old difficulties with representation and the power of images. In your statement, you say you introduce distortion in an attempt to intentionally "not accurately represent the physical sculpture" which seems to imply that a photograph, straight out of the camera, will 'accurately represent' the physical sculpture. Do you think that this is true, or possible?  What do you think that your distortions introduce to the images?

The thinking behind Image Objects has always been that by introducing distortions (and layers of other imagery) into the images I can make the viewing experience on the Internet or through other mediated sources fundamentally different from viewing the objects in an installation setting. It also allows me to make a lot more pieces than I could otherwise. These all start as digital files, so ultimately it's rather arbitrary at what point I decide that a file I'm working on is ready to be physically produced—any one of these could easily have undergone more changes, had more or less layers, &c. So by having a piece produced physically and then splitting it into all of these different variations I have the opportunity to sort of go back into it and reshape it into all of the other shapes it could have been.

All of this does stem a bit from, yes, feeling that for the most part installation photographs very accurately represent what a physical sculpture looks like. When I see documentation of works before I visit the exhibition, usually the act of visiting does little more than produce a sense of deja vu. Even if not, install photos are usually an idealized version ...

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Community Campaign 2012 Limited Edition Artworks

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A New Age Demanded (Kline #2), Jon Rafman

Rhizome's Community Campaign is currently underway! Today, we're offering eight excellent reasons to make a contribution this year - the fantastic artworks generously donated by artists Anamanaguchi, Extreme Animals, DIS, Paul Chan, Ofri Cnaani, Kärt Ojavee & Eszter Ozvald, Joe Hamilton, and Jon Rafman.

Make a donation today at the following levels and you may choose to receive the following works:

Anamanaguchi and Extreme Animals, images courtesy of the artists

For donations of $25, we offer limited edition ringtones from the bands Anamanaguchi and Extreme Animals. Load these ringtones on your phone to ring with noise and chiptune style!

Contemporary Internet Lifestyles (2011), DIS

Contributions of $50 will receive this large photographic print titled Contemporary Internet Lifestyles by DIS. Featuring performer Paris Gotti, this photograph is a perfect piece to expand your growing collection.

 

Sade for Sade's Sake (2010), Paul Chan

A donation of $100 receive Sade for Sade's Sake (2010), a data CD containing 21 type fonts and a collection of digital artwork by Paul Chan. Each data CD is signed and editioned; it's fantastic gift for any collector, artist, or designer.

 

Slideshow #15 (no title, 1988) (2011), Ofri Cnaani

Donations of $500 include a lush digital print entitled Slideshow #15 (no title, 1988) by time-based media artist Ofri Cnaani. This print was donated by the artist specifically for Rhizome's Community Campaign.

 

SymbiosisC (2011), Kärt Ojavee and Eszter Ozsvald

A $750 donation will receive SymbiosisC, a heat responsive soft sculpture by Kärt Ojavee and Eszter Ozsvald. SymbiosisC is a unique decorative object that changes color with your body's warmth. Its cushion-like size will fit perfectly in any home or apartment.

 

Hyper Geography Print Set (2011), Joe Hamilton

For a $1,000 contribution, you can receive a ...

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Occupy the Internet

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This essay was originally published in N+1's Occupy! An OWS-Inspired Gazette

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images via The Big Picture

A Tumblr of user-submitted handwritten signs with bleak personal testimonies first captured the internet’s attention. Presented are the lives of real people, unmistakable hardships, ready to reblog and retweet. But implied—by the faces, the faces, the faces —is that to sympathize you must show up. This time a Facebook “like” is not enough. 

There is something twisted and belittling about the momentary act of tapping on Tumblr’s like button — a heart icon — when you are looking at the face of someone who has itemized his debt in magic marker for you to calculate. How much we have and what we owe is what we are typically raised never to discuss openly in polite company. These images of persons denuded of financial mystery request from the viewer something just as human; not a thoughtless mouse click. To properly commiserate with the enormity of this curated series of individual misfortunes, one must in person participate.

Around the globe, the “99 percent” sloganing rings effortlessly. This is a generation accustomed to encapsulating arguments into 140 character messages. It is also a generation experienced in negotiating private entities for public means. Zuccotti Park’s tenuous standing as a privately owned public park seems an inevitable metaphor for the questions of free speech, assembly, and property rights posed by so many virtual spaces. Brookfield is like Facebook, Bloomberg like Zuckerberg: their threatened park closure is like the ever-present possibility that Facebook will suspend activist accounts and group pages used to plan rallies and activities, for vaguely specified reasons.

"We must occupy real and virtual spaces,” Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa tweeted, quoting an occupier at the second Washington Square park General Assembly. Without one there couldn’t exist the other.

 

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Artist Profile: Jill Magid

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I Can Burn Your Face, neon, transformers. Installed at Yvon Lambert Paris, 2009.

Much of your work takes place off site as a performance or engagement with a public entity outside of the confines of a typical artist’s studio. What are your thoughts about the artist’s studio in contemporary art practice? Do you feel you spend more time generating work outside of your studio or are the private space of the studio and the public space of the commons one in the same?

I do a lot of research in my studio that prepares me for engagements with the public or private institutions I explore. The studio is also where I reflect and build upon those engagements, drawing from the raw material that I have acquired. 

Works like Article 12 / The Spy Project and Evidence Locker produce narratives in the multitude and variety of objects they generate. You create beautiful custom websites for some of your projects, videos, prints, and even novellas. Do feel particularly drawn to one medium as your body of work has developed?

The media I work with fluctuates depending on the system I am exploring. Some systems offer up their own visual or textual media, which I’ll then use or incorporate into the work I make. For instance, Evidence Locker mainly consisted of videos and a novella. This is due to the system: CCTV cameras produce video footage; to access the footage a citizen must fill out a Subject Access Request Form. In the Spy Project I was only allowed to record my meetings with agents through writing. While I used a multitude of media (neon, drawing, a book, video, sculpture) writing is clearly at the heart of the work.

Over the past decade the role of the artist has become a more ...

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A Thousand Eyes: Media Technology, Law and Aesthetics

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Production stills from Judy Radul, World Rehearsal Court, 2009.


A Thousand Eyes: Media Technology, Law and Aesthetics is an anthology published by Sternberg Press and Henie Onstad Art Center in Oslo, accompanying Judy Radul’s exhibition “World Rehearsal Court.” Radul’s work is a research project into the model of the International Criminal Court, complexly considering the effect technology and new media have had on our justice systems. Her work is a four-hour, seven-channel video installation that includes a courtroom staged and shot in a gymnasium, with a scripted text that takes the forms of vignettes, so that “you never get a whole picture” (Judy Radoul in an interview for Artforum), while including the viewers, who are filmed and projected onto screens that form part of the installation.

Edited by Radoul and Oslo-based curator and art historian Marit Paasche, A Thousand Eyes introduces a different way of discussing the idea of law and the modern justice system in a way that is different than commonplace representation of law and lawmaking in the visual arts. Whereas the form of the trial has been commonly used in artworks, performances, and symposia in the contemporary art world (I am thinking, for example, of Hila Peleg’s film documenting Anton Vidokle and Tirdad Zolghadr’s A Crime Against Art [The Madrid Trial], where the artist and curator put themselves on trial for “collusion with the bourgeoisie and other serious accusations”), the discussion of law and lawmaking in the arts has largely focused on subjects of intellectual property, artistic freedom, and censorship (for example, in Daniel McClean’s (ed.) excellent book The Trials of Art [London: Ridinghouse, 2007]). This book introduces and promotes an intricate web of ways of thinking about the relationship between visual media and the law.

In the introduction to the book ...

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Community Campaign 2012: The Download features Ryder Ripps

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In-process screenshot of Ryder Ripps's Facebook, courtsey of the artist

Last week, we kicked off our annual Community Campaign with the announcement of a new program for Rhizome members called The Download. Through The Download, Rhizome members are invited to get a first look at a new and significant artwork by one artist every month. Artworks will come in a variety of ubiquitous file formats such as .gifs, .html, .mov, and .jpegs. All works will be delivered as a .zip via The Download page. Once the artwork is downloaded, it is yours to collect, share with friends, and display on the screen of any suitable device. The Download is a premier opportunity to become a collector of great digital art!

For the first Download, we are highlighting a new work by conceptual artist Ryder Ripps (Internet Archaeologydump.fm and OKFocus). Ryder Ripps's Facebook (2011) is a copy of his entire personal Facebook history including all of his photos, private messages, chats, and wall posts. The viewer is invited to explore all of Ripps's Facebook activity, exposing some of the most intimate and private information. As with previous works, this project confronts issues of privacyFacebook, and fetishization of technology. Read more about Ripps's work on The Download page.

Next month, we will feature a new work by video artist Sabrina Ratté including music by Roger Tellier-Craig, aka Le Révélateur. Look out for more information about upcoming featured artists in the next few months.

The Download is supported by the Artist Fund, a pool of financial support generated by our members that is divided evenly among the participating artists. You can learn more about The Download and the Artist Fund on the FAQ page.

If you would like to be able to receive The Download first-hand and directly support artists, please contribute to Rhizome's Community Campaign and the Artists Fund today!

 

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Stranger Interactions with Kio Stark

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Last month, I visited the BMW Guggenheim Lab for a talk by my friend Kio Stark, author of the novel Follow Me Down. Kio is interested in cities, technology, and intimacy; the intersection of which is explored in the class she teaches at ITP on stranger interactions.

"Cities are machines that produce interactions," she explained at the outdoor lecture hall. While most of us go out of our way to avoid having to acknowledge persons we do not know, she argues the presence of strangers is probably why you live in a city in the first place. "The culture of cities is a culture of strangers." 

Stranger interactions can be emotional and meaningful. Most of us can recall some insight gleaned from a fleeting interaction with someone at a coffee shop or queuing up for a train. Kio says it's actually "good for your brain" to talk with strangers as we become more creative when our frame of references grows wider. Stranger interactions make us more tolerant people, and also expand "our sense of the group we belong to."

She concluded the talk with practical advice on how to go about initiating and/or welcoming stranger interactions. Much as I appreciated the lesson, as a hardnosed introvert, I was still not so inclined to put it all in practice — intending to step out for the interactive portion of the event. But before I could stealthily exit out the side, I was paired with an enthusiastic freshman at NYU. As part of the assignment, we struck up conversations with people and asked "what are you afraid of?"

While the answers from these strangers we met were thoughtful and the experience of meeting them randomly was empowering, in the end, the conversation I had with the girl I was partnered with ...

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Weekend Clicking

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Yogi Proctor, Canon (2011) via Border Studies

  • Leigh Alexander writes about Ian Bogost's Facebook satire Cow Clicker that unintentially gained an audience not in on the joke (It was supposed to be silly, insultingly simple, a vacuous waste of time, and a manipulative joke at the expense of its players-–in other words, everything Bogost thought that Facebook games like the Zynga-made hit). The article also discusses his series of "game poems" A Slow Year.
  • What CNN thinks hacking looks like (Betabeat)
  • The Movie Set That Ate Itself. Fascinating story of the ongoing (since 2006) filming of Dau in Ukraine, a massive built to scale undertaking even more absurd than Synecdoche, New York or Tom McCarthy's Remainder, with the "institute" taking strict measures to avoid an inauthenticity or anachronism. Guards even impose fines if you use words that are inauthetic to the time period ("Google" is now "Pravda," as in "Pravda it.") More on writer Michael Idov's Tumblr.
  • The Paris Review considers the "high art fanzine" with one exceptional example. In 1997, Johanna Fateman was the twenty-two year old author of the fanzine Artaud-Mania. (the syphilitic and schizophrenic Artaud, an enfant terrible of French arts and letters, was an unlikely idol for the feminist punk scene that Fateman had been a part of and was reacting against—post–Riot Grrrl publications that rarely ventured beyond subjects like the DIY music scene, grassroots organizing, and personal politics. Her appreciation for Artaud came through artists and writers like Nancy Spero and Kathy Acker. Like them, she was inspired by his fierce articulation of what Spero once termed a “sense of victimhood”; Fateman put it more bluntly when she wrote approvingly that Artaud was a “crazy bitch with male authority.”)
  • QR maleware (via Beyond the Beyond.)
  • A murmuration of starlings ...

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Stop the E-PARASITE Act

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CNET has a great analysis of SOPA ("Stop Online Privacy Act"), also known as the E-PARASITE Act ("Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation Act."): 

House leaders assured Silicon Valley they would correct serious defects in the Senate bill. Unfortunately, SOPA does just the opposite. It creates vague, sweeping new standards for secondary liability, drafted to ensure maximum litigation..

The House bill, for example, dubbed the "E-PARASITE Act," proposes alternative versions of several provisions from Protect IP, including new authority for the attorney general to cut off access and funding for "parasite" foreign Web sites. (SOPA requires the U.S. copyright czar to determine the extent to which these foreign infringers are actually harming U.S. interests, data collection that logically should precede such sweeping new powers.)

Once the Justice Department determines a site "or a portion thereof" is "committing or facilitating" certain copyright and trademark violations, it can apply for court orders that would force ISPs and others who maintain DNS lookup tables to block access to the site.

Search engines (a term broadly defined that includes any website with a "search" field), along with payment processors and advertising networks, can also be forced to cut ties with the parasites. Operators of innocent sites have limited ability to challenge the Justice Department's decision before or after action is taken.

SOPA also includes its own version of another Senate bill, which would make it a felony to stream copyrighted works. The House version allows prosecution of anyone who "willfully" includes protected content without permission, including, for example, YouTube videos where copyrighted music is covered or even played in the background.

While supporters deny that such minimal infractions would meet the bill's definition of "willfully," the actual text suggests otherwise. Prosecutors need only demonstrate ...

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