Posts for July 2011

Weekend Clicking

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Stardust and Betelgeuse ESO, Pierre Kervella (LESIA, Observatoire de Paris), et al. via @esalor
  • Harrison Ford explains how he got the role of Hans Solo (Image Oscillite)
  • Performa Announces Next 4 Performa Commissions & First 2 Performa Premieres for Performa 11. Performa Commissions are Simon Fujiwara, Mika Rottenberg and Jon Kessler, Frances Stark, and Ming Wong. Performa Premieres will be presented by Robert Ashley and Boris Charmatz.
  • Last Year at Marienbad is 50. awarded the Golden Lion at the 1961 Venice Film Festival and nominated for an Oscar, but also branded an 'aimless disaster' by Pauline Kael; lauded by some as a great leap forward in the battle against linear storytelling and a worthy successor to Hoffmann, Proust, and Borges (Mubi Notebook)
  • On archaeology and the "philosophy of recording" Why do we choose to record the sites, monuments and artefacts that we do? Why do we select the units of information we choose to record about them? How have the things we record and the attributes recorded changed over time?
  • Japanese secret B-2 Stealth Bomber 1988 From Wikipedia (redacted):“From 1989 to 2004, the South Dakota Air and Space Museum located on the grounds of Ellsworth Air Force Base displayed the 10-short-ton ”Honda-Stealth”, a 60% scale mock-up of a stealthy bomber which had been built by Honda in 1988 for an advertising campaign. Although not an actual replica of a B-2, the mock-up was close enough to the B-2’s design to arouse suspicion that Honda had intercepted classified, top secret information, as the B-2 project was still officially classified in 1988. Honda donated the model to the museum in 1989, on condition that the model be destroyed if it was ever replaced with a different example. In 2005, when the museum received a B-1 Lancer for display (Ellsworth being a ...
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    From the Rhizome Artbase: %20wrong (2000)- JODI

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    In this series of posts, we will be blogging recently updated content from Rhizome's Artbase.

    Founded in 1999, the Rhizome ArtBase is an online archive of new media art containing some 2503 art works, and growing. The ArtBase encompasses a vast range of project by artists all over the world that employ materials such as software, code, websites, moving images, games and browsers to aesthetics and critical ends.


    %20wrong (2000)- JODI

    %20wrong (2000), JODI (Screen Shot)

    This work has been restored and is now being permanently hosted on the Artbase. More recently repaired works from the ArtBase can be found here.

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    Review: Oliver Laric's Kopienkritik at Skulpturhalle Basel

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    Kopienkritik, German artist Oliver Laric's summer solo project at the Skulpturhalle Basel, waxes upon the politics of the reproduction of images while drawing upon the Swiss museum's collection of plaster cast copies of sculptures from classical antiquity. Laric collaborated with the museum's staff to reinstall and arrange their collection of casts, interspersing his own sculptures and video works shown on monitors and projectors throughout the museum. That Kopienkritik largely comprises works of art not created by but rearranged by Laric calls into question the functionality of the artist as not a maker of things, but a producer of ideas.

    Kopienkritik (“copy criticism”) is the process of analyzing copies of classic sculptures —typically Roman reproductions of lost Greek versions — to arrive at a greater understanding of the originals. Within the art history community, the practice is seen as a last-ditch way to study ancient Greek sculpture — and one bearing many discontents. For example, ancient Greek sculptor Polykleitos, active in the 5th and early 4th century BCE, made major contributions to sculptural practice with his “invention” of contrapposto, but as his works are all lost they may only be studied and understood through lesser-quality Roman copies. To illustrate this principle, Laric grouped sculptures together similar in appearance and posture, creating visible aesthetic lineages between each work. These groupings are put into a theoretical framework by Laric's essay-video Versions, projected onto two similar plaster casts in the Skulpturhalle installation, the video attempting to fast forward discussions surrounding the authenticity and proliferation of images to an internet-sensitive context...

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    Dan O'Hara on Skeuomorphs, JG Ballard, Transhumanism, and the "eradication of individual identity" Through Technology

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    A skeumorph is "a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original." Dan O'Hara, lecturer in English and American Literature at the University of Cologne, and editor of the forthcoming book Extreme Metaphors: Selected Interviews with J. G. Ballard, 1967–2008, (co-edited with Simon Sellars, London: Fourth Estate, 2012), studies skeumorphism. Transcript from a Knowledge Centre livechat conversation with Dr. O'Hara:

    How does skeumorphism relate to the ideas of post- and trans-humanism? Do you think our bodies will once become skeumorphs?

    Certainly Stelarc does! And Orlan, the French performance artist who has plastic surgery under local anaesthetic, suggests that we're already skeuomorphic.

    Is the human appendix a skeuomorph?

    Already so many parts of our bodies aren't biologically necessary. Yes. Though the appendix isn't ornamental... But hair, nails, pierced nipples, all get used to express a style. In the same way as, in evolution, we have exaption: the repurposing of an obsolete function.

    Dan, would you mind telling us how your work with JG Ballard intersects with that of skeuomorphs?

    Sure. I see Ballard as the key author, philosopher even, of the age of technology. He's always managed to live five minutes into everyone else's futures, and has focused on the way our natural world has increasingly become a technologized domain we don't fully understand. So skeuomorphs, as a kind of 'memory' capacity of artefacts, can show us the processes that guide the evolution of the forms of technology. And I feel that Ballard affirms the moral necessity of this kind of understanding.

    Does that suggest to you that we are already skeuomorphs? All, mind and body?

    No, we're not. There are many linguistic skeuomorphs: take for example on line 'newspapers'. Which is more ...

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    Old School Color Cycling with HTML5

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    Joe Huckaby writes about his HTML5 rendered color cycling, the 8-bit visual effect used typically to animate water or fire:

    Unfortunately, more often than not this looked terrible, because the artist simply drew the scene once, picked some colors to be animated and set them to cycle. While this technically qualified as "color cycling", it looked more like a bad acid trip. For an example, just look at the water in this game.

    However, there was one graphic artist who took the technique to a whole new level, and produced absolutely breathtaking color cycling scenes. Mark J. Ferrari, who also illustrated all the original backgrounds for LucasArts Loom, and some for The Secret of Monkey Island, invented his own unique ways of using color cycling for envrironmental effects that you really have to see to believe. These include rain, snow, ocean waves, moving fog, clouds, smoke, waterfalls, streams, lakes, and more. And all these effects are achieved without any layers or alpha channels -- just one single flat image with one 256 color palette.

    Unfortunately the art of color cycling died out in the late 90s, giving way to newer technologies like 3D rendering and full 32-bit "true color" games. However, 2D pixel graphics of old are making a comeback in recent years, with mobile devices and web games. I thought now would be the time to reintroduce color cycling, using open web technologies like the HTML5 Canvas element. This demo is an implementation of a full 8-bit color cycling engine, rendered into an HTML5 Canvas in real-time. I am using 35 of Mark's original 640x480 pixel masterpieces which you can explore, and I added some ambient environmental soundtracks to match. Please enjoy, and the source code is free for you to use in your own projects

    via Tim Maly

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    Fatima Al Qadiri's Global .Wav Channel

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    Global .Wav is a "weekly presentation by Fatima Al Qadiri of attention-worthy music videos from around the world." Among recent findings, a Tanzanian heartthrob, a "tween trance act from Iran," a Kazakh boy band, a Moroccan pop singer Snooki doppelganger and a "super-hot" Mongolian rapper ("all the machinations of an obvious gangsta rap video: a cage containing an agitated (jailed?) homeboy, gang signs/tattoos, appropriated hood styling via bandana and XXXX-L tees, etc. On closer inspection, however, the beat and the melody are actually sick.")

    Tanzania - Pasha - Ni Soo

    Farsi=Tajiki=Dari (Dj negor)

    Silhouette Khorshid Khanoom

    Gee- Sanaa tavi

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    Rhizome Commissions 2011

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    Rhizome is thrilled to announce the eleven projects that will receive grants in this year’s commissions cycle. Nine of the commissions were determined by a jury consisting of Tina Kukelski, Associate Curator of the 2013 Carnegie Internationale; Candice Madey, founder and director of On Stellar Rays gallery; Domenico Quaranta, curator and writer; and Lauren Cornell, director of Rhizome. Two awards were determined by Rhizome’s membership through an open voting system, in which hundreds of votes were cast. Rhizome will award $30,000 in total towards the projects, which represent diverse approaches to art engaged with new technology. See below for descriptions on each, all written by the artists.


    Jury Selections:

    Title: Dust
    Artist: Aram Bartholl

    Dust is a 1:1 scale replica of one of the most played computer game maps in the world. The idea is to build the 3D model of ‘de_dust’ the map of the first person shooter game ‘Counter Strike’ as a permanent ‘building’ from concrete, making this map accessible as a large scale public sculpture. Computer games differ from other mediums such as books, movies or TV, in that spatial cognition is a crucial aspect in computer games. To win a game the player needs to know the 3D game space very very well. Spatial recognition and remembrance is an important part of our human capability and has formed over millions of years by evolution. A place, house or space inscribes itself in our spatial memory. Made from concrete in 1:1 scale, the map becomes an art piece and a museum for a game at the same time. Visitors are invited to take a walk in materialized virtuality and experience the loaded game space in the physical reality. In a level of abstraction all parts of the map will be made from concrete (no color or textures) and will represent a petrified moment of cultural game space heritage.

    Title: THE GMO FINDER
    Artist: Beatriz da Costa, Rich Pell (Center for Postnatural History), Jamie Schulte

    The GMO Finder, is a combination web, smart-phone and photo-essay framework, encouraging participants to identify, map and document the presence of genetically modified crops throughout the United States. GMO food and energy crops have permeated the American agricultural system over the past 15 years and a lot of the early public debates surrounding this topic have slowed down. The novelty is gone, and so is the interest of the media. However, questions regarding the configuration of life in an age of transgenics are continuously evolving, and should still be demanding just as much of our attention as they did in the mid-nineties. Rather than promoting or contesting fears of ‘franken-food’ and ‘monster-weeds,’ it seems that today we need a more subtle, fine-graded form of public investigation and presentation. With the GMO Finder, we propose to build a platform to facilitate such activity, and create a shared knowledge base and representation of the American agricultural landscape through the lens of transgenics.

    Title: Small Crowd Gathers to Watch Me Cry
    Artists: Seecoy, Tao Lin, Jon Rafman

    SCGTWMC is a short animated film (currently in pre-production) written by Tao Lin and realized by the directing team of Jon Rafman and Seecoy. In the film, a writer attempts to improvise his new novel in Second Life: a recursive tale where banal meets mysterious and the virtual becomes real. The film is made exclusively within Second Life—a virtual world that is built by its users.

    Title: iParade: Unchanged when Exhumed
    Artist: LoVid (Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus)

    iParade#2: iParade is a locative media project produced as a free smart-phone and tablet computer application (App). The App uses GPS data and includes video, sound, and text that are accessible only in specific geographic locations. The content is inspired by, and recorded in particular places such as a street, a building, or a city park. To watch the work in full, visitors must physically relocate themselves to upload segments linked with each particular location. Our long-term vision for iParade involves a series of Apps that will unfold with episodes in different places, each of them standing on their own as independent works while being a part of the larger structure. We are interested in expanding narratives, visceral content, and media theories that link virtual and physical spaces while incorporating multiple points of view. We are also excited to work in this genre as a new form of expanded cinema and public art.

    Title: DIS IMAGES
    Artists: DIS

    DISimages.com will be a fully functioning stock image library dedicated to our ongoing investigation in the realm of stock photography. The purpose of a traditional stock photo is to be a “code without a message,” making it the ultimate image commodity: visual content that, without explicitly articulating anything, can be used for any number of purposes. By adopting the standards already established by stock photo websites to distribute the images, DIS will explore the overproduction of images in the commercial photography market and the oversaturation of imagery in search engines and user-generated sites. Through creating alternative scenarios and new stereotypes, we will question the medium and homogeneity of stock photography. And through co-opting certain aesthetics from commercial photography, we hope to infiltrate the marketplace, thus broadening the spectrum of lifestyle portrayal. As these images disseminate, they will be decontextualized and removed from the art context entirely. Images will be available for free with the DIS Images watermark or for purchase without it. DIS images will proliferate online and in different contexts such as brochures, PowerPoints, etc. Available for multiple—and hopefully conflicting—purposes, the images will circulate and adopt multiple meanings through their contexts and transformations.

    Title: African Metropole: Sonic City Lagos
    Artists: Mendi and Keith Obadike

    This sound installation is the first in our series focused on African cities, an aural update or reimagining of the 1920s city symphony films by Rutman, Strand, Vertov, and others. The sounds of the Lagos, Nigeria will be the source for this work. Our multi-channel sound installation will make use of a center cluster of speakers and flat panel ultrasonic speakers that will project a narrowly focused and an extremely unidirectional beam of sound. These speakers, placed at key nodes in the gallery, will be mounted on an automated servomechanism and will give the illusion of sound following the participant through the space. The project will also include a mobile app that will allow listeners to stream audio in realtime. The first phase of these installations will premier at the Pascal Gallery at Ramapo College in New Jersey.

    Title: Tunnels
    Artist: Tabor Robak

    Tunnels is a 3D interactive virtual environment navigable with mouse and keyboard that places the viewer in a never ending sequence of tunnels each vividly depicting a certain time, narrative, genre, or trope. Perhaps we are in the subways of New York: dirty tile, lights barely flickering, and the distant rumbling of a train. Walking on the tracks we turn into a utility door and find ourselves in the caves of Lascaux, the rocky ceiling is quietly dripping drops of water that echo through the dark cave with horses and bulls accurately depicted on the walls. We are in Jetson's like tube in the sky overlooking a futuristic city disappearing into the clouds. We are in the flashing red hull of a submarine that is slowly filling with water through spraying cracks around bolts. The hallway of a luxury hotel. A mud filled trench. The foggy freezer of a butchers shop with hanging sides of beef on hooks. And on and on. This piece is about the emotional feeling of living in hyperreality, spending an equal amount of time in places physical, mental, and virtual and valuing them equally. It is about forgetting you are in the theater when watching a movie, staying inside on a sunny day to play Crysis 2 on the PC, reading a whole book in one night, running everyday errands, and having Wikipedia on your phone.

    Title: Blind Mist
    Artist: Brad Troemel and Jonathan Vingiano

    Blind Mist is a platform that relies on participants to submit their URL to an open database. From here, the website scrapes every image off the URLs participants offer and adds those images to another archive. There is no limit to the number of URLs/images a participant may add. A stream of images from this archive is presented at random on the Blind Mist homepage. Each image functions as a link back to its original website, allowing users to continue exploring content they found interesting. Through Blind Mist, we intend to offer an alternative to the dominant blogging format of aggregated or self-selected digital media and open possibilities for new, unforeseen juxtapositions in visual content. Additionally, we are interested in promoting a platform that mixes 'high' and 'low' artworks, allowing any and all content to be viewed in the same, uniformly context-free space for further investigation– hence the name's reference to a 'blind draw'. Blind Mist is an attempt to offer a chance for the discovery of our peers artwork in a way that sidesteps the troubled subjectivity associated with curating. By allowing everyone to mutually benefit through exposure and contribution, Blind Mist is currently the beginning of an artistic commonwealth, fulfilling the artistic potential of a decentralized population only feasible in our digital age.

    Title: Image Objects
    Artist: Artie Vierkant

    Today the work of art lies equally in the version of the object one would encounter at a gallery or museum, the images and other representations disseminated through the Internet and print publications, bootleg images of the object or its representations, and variations on any of these as edited and recontextualized by any other author. Image Objects is part of an ongoing thread in my practice examining our relationship to images in a vastly networked society. I am interested in employing this plasticity and the sheer amount of potential venues for image dissemination as aesthetic strategies within my work. Image Objects will begin as a set of works which exist ontologically somewhere between physical sculptures and augmented documentation images. The initial series will comprise somewhere between 12 and 15 large format digital prints mounted to MDF. Each piece of cut MDF will be matched with a print conforming to the same shape, adding a "layer" or "skin" over the physical substrate to create a unified object. This will be procedurally and aesthetically similar to an earlier work, RGB Icon. However, each time the pieces are documented officially (i.e., by myself or by a gallery), any released documentation will be edited first to create a new form which does not accurately represent the physical sculpture.

    Member Awards:

    Title: Prairie
    Artist: Shawn Decker

    I have recently just finished a project called Motion Studies (Prairie). This piece is a prototype for a much larger installation. The final version of the work will be a 40' x 80' installation and will simply be titled Prairie. The prototype for the project Motion Studies (Prairie) is a 12’ x 12’ grid of speakers that are mounted on thin rods , with vibration motors attached near the base. The speakers are sent various combinations of pulses, causing them to click, buzz, chirp, and sputter in various insect-like patterns – with these same pulses being sent to the motors. In this way then, the clicks and buzzes heard through the speakers are also manifested in a physical shaking and vibration that is visual in nature, and exactly coincides with the sounds being produced. The 12’ x 12’ scale of this piece allowed for a grid of 36 (6x6) of the speakers, and served as a protoype for a larger scale piece. The patterns in the piece contrast more formal “theatrical” patterns, which seem to resemble dialogues between groups of these “grasses”, with more “naturalistic” indeterminate patterns of various characters, which are much more reminiscent of wind, water, or insects. In the full version of the work (which would be just titled Prairie) an open space as large as 50’ x 80’ would be covered with multiple grids like this one – as many as 6 or 8 of them, with space between them to allow for people to walk among them. This space would have as many as 200 to 300 separate small speakers, each playing unique sounds that are coordinated among all the speakers. This would allow large coordinated group activities and gestures – waves of motion and sound traveling through the large space.

    Project: Fantastic Futures
    Artists: Led by Huong Ngo, Or Zubalsky, Andrew Persoff, and Ali Salim Abood

    Fantastic Futures is collaborative group of students, artists, and educators from Iraq and the United States. It is also an online platform that we have been developing since November 2010 that allows for the mixing and sharing of recorded sounds and stories across cultures. It is a tool for collaboration, critical engagement, and live performances. As a social medium, it is aimed towards connecting citizens from nations in conflict in an open dialogue based around the sharing of field recordings, songs, and interviews. Our goal is collapse the barriers of physical space that contribute to the misunderstandings between cultures and to emphasize the subversive value of sharing experiences across political borders.

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    Lisa Oppenheim's Heliograms with Galerie Juliette Jongma at Art Basel

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    Installation view of Lisa Oppenheim's Heliograms at Galerie Juliette Jongma at Art Basel

    Gold is the element most closely associated with the sun. This connection has been alchemical, visual and metaphorical: The sun as that which produces power, gold it’s symbol. The relationship between photography and gold can be traced to the medium’s roots, in the 1840’s it was used as an alternative to silver as a sensitizing agent. Oppenheim refers to this technique in Heliograms.

    An image of the sun from July 8th, 1876 is exposed at different times of day to sunlight, starting at dawn and continuing through dusk, beginning with the vernal equinox and extending through the following months. The intensity and quality of light between hours and between days changes sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically. There are times of the day when the artist cannot make an exposure, times when life gets in the way. These moments appear as blank spaces on the wall, making physical a fractured temporal experience. Each wall represents the months in which the work was produced, March, April and May 2011. Through the installation of the photograms, Oppenheim thinks about how the physicality of the exhibition space can stand in for these temporal moments, much like the grid of days on a calendar.

    If much time has passed between a frozen image of the sun in 1876 and Oppenheim's new prints, time runs through the duration of her project. As a picture fades, materially and in memory, it takes on the additional meaning of all the moments between when it was created and when it is viewed or remembered. In Heliograms, Oppenheim points towards these invisible histories by exposing a 19th century photograph of the sun to sunlight over and over again, as if through repetition something ...

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    Yoshi's Fauvist Island

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    In Kill Screen, Kyle Chakra finds the plumb line from Fauvism and Yoshi’s Island:

    Fauvist pictures burn into your retinas. Derain’s The Turning Road at L'Estaque (1906) is a dusky mix of reds and oranges, but the shadows of the trees set into the road cast deep-blue shadows, tinged with green. It’s the light of an intense sunrise or sunset.

    The favored technique to create this burn was to set two complementary colors against each other. The classic combination is red-orange on blue (clearly apparent in The Turning Road referenced above), but any opposites on the color wheel—pink and green, yellow and purple—all pack the same punch. Derain’s same technique is clear in Yoshi’s Island: check out Level 1-1 and see the yellow hillsides dotted with cool-blue rock outcroppings, jutting out into a pale-blue sky and clouds tinged subtly with orange and pink. The trees of 6-1 are bright orange-red, but their shadows, silhouetted in the sunset, are deep blue. In 3-2, yellow leaves stick out against a dusky purple background. The palette is strikingly similar to that of The Turning Road.

    It’s not just the game’s colors that recall Fauvism. Yoshi’s Island’s aesthetic is painterly, displaying individual brushstrokes. Neither the paintings nor the game display a need for gloss or perfection; they’re messy, embracing a loose sense of serendipity, colored collisions. Shigeru Miyamoto, the iconic Nintendo designer who has noted the influence from Impressionism on his games, pushed Yoshi’s Island to look hand-drawn, emphasizing the scratchy crayon strokes that make up the game’s backgrounds and the rough outlines around its sprites.

    Gamers don’t need to just take my word for it that Yoshi’s Island was influenced by Fauvism and its contemporaries. Just ...

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    Tauba Auerbach's New Large-scale Pop-up Book

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    Tauba Auerbach has recently teamed up with Printed Matter, Inc. in New York to create an oversized, colorful, and intricate pop-up book titled [2,3].

    For [2,3], Auerbach has created an oversized pop-up book featuring six die-cut paper sculptures that unfold into wonderful, elaborate forms. While much of Auerbach’s work has previously dealt with compositions staged in the flux state between 2D and 3D,[2,3] represents an expansion for the artist towards a more sculptural medium. Engineered by the artist, each “page” opens into a beautifully constructed object, intricately conceived so that the large-scale paper works—some up to 18” tall—can be collapsed totally flat.

    The six sculptures in [2,3] take their cue from a range of geometric forms—the pyramid, sphere, ziggurat, octagonal bipyramid (gem), arc, and möbius-strip. The use of a bright, contrasting palette is familiar from Auerbach’s previous work across a range of materials, including acrylics, etchings and C-type prints. This groundbreaking project stands as an astonishing art-object, part bookwork and part sculpture, and represents an advance in the field of pop-up technology.

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