Posts for June 2011

Kickstarter Projects We ❤

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In conjunction with Rhizome's brand new curated page on Kickstarter, we are featuring select projects from the site on the blog. If you would like to let us know about your fund raising efforts on Kickstarter, shoot us an email at editor(at)rhizome.org


►155 Freeman: Triple Canopy, Light Industry, Public School

This September, three New York-based nonprofits—Triple Canopy, an online magazine, Light Industry, a cinema, and The Public School New York, an open-source classroom with no curriculum—will launch a new arts-and-culture center at 155 Freeman Street, in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. Together, our groups will organize performances, classes, artist talks, readings, panels, workshops, concerts, and weekly film screenings—all of which will be open to the public. Most events are free or cost less than $7—and we like it this way!

By contributing to our Kickstarter campaign, you can help us establish this truly alternative space, supporting our first year of programming and the work of the many innovative artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, and educators with whom we collaborate.

Throughout 2010, Triple Canopy, Light Industry, and The Public School operated out of a formerly vacant storefront near Fulton Mall in downtown Brooklyn. We organized a robust and diverse series of nearly 100 programs, which attracted more than 5,000 people. They ranged from an installation of an interactive solar system by artist Matt Mullican; a staging of Melville's “Bartleby” by theater collective Group Theory; an evening with pioneering New York video collective Videofreex, producers of America's first pirate TV station; Urban Foraging, a workshop on the collection and preparation of wild weeds; and Disorganizing Sound, a class on improvised music facilitated by sound artists, musicians, and historians.

►Ghosts - large format giclee prints

This project is comprised of found images of ghosts ...

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Harely Cokliss - The Atrocity Exhibition (1970)

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Duration: 17 minutes

Directed by Harely Cokliss (no imdb page exists) and features Ballard talking about some of the ideas which would coalesce into his novel Crash, published in 1973. Intercut with footage of test motor crashes and Ballard himself are semi-dramatised scenes with actress Gabrielle Drake. Remarkably effective and disturbing. - UbuWeb

Gabrielle Drake in the TV series UFO

More on Gabrielle Drake from Ballardian.

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RECOMMENDED READING: The Dark Side of Metaphor: Fetish in User Interfaces by Alan F. Blackwell

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In a recent contribution to a symposium on universal conceptions of humanity [3], I reflected on the way that engineering logic requires the definition of standardised human components, and on the consequent reconception of the human body as a site of interface. I observed that this implicit rhetoric of standardisation (including clinical and technical repair of human interface deficits) is mirrored by an anxiety and adolescent fascination among many technology researchers, with the mechanical function of their own bodies. Whereas those tendencies are obscured and sublimated in HCI research, they become more open to analysis in science fiction, and this paper explores the nature of that critical opportunity.

eXistenZ, as with other films in Cronenberg’s oeuvre, owes much to J G Ballard’s book Crash, itself a gripping elaboration of the man-machine interface. Rather than the idealistic conceptions of Licklider’s human-computer symbiosis, or even the political systems critique of Haraway’s cyborgs, Crash portrays man-machine systems at a level every engineer can understand, not a mystical ‘hybrid of machine and organism’ [3 p.149], but an assemblage of components, with interfaces clearly marked. The point of interface between man and machine is the key concern of the engineer, but is also a site of transgression, to an extent that popular outrage at Cronenberg’s film recognised only deviance and sexual fetish. In the 20th century, the automobile has been the primary site of man-machine interface, emphasised in eXistenZ when the hero has an unlicensed bioport installed by the oil-stained mechanic at a local garage. I anticipate that in the 21st century, the mobile phone could replace the automobile as the most intimate and sexualised site of moral transgression.

— Alan F. Blackwell, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, "The Dark Side of Metaphor: Fetish in User Interfaces"

via Tabor Robak

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Weekend Clicking

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Photograph of Johannes Mehserle taken by Oscar Grant with his cell phone
  • Oscar Grant’s photograph of transit police officer Johannes Mehserle is rare: a portrait of the photographer’s killer. Unlike the recent photograph that a politician captured in the Philippines, Grant’s photograph, taken moments before Mehserle shot him in the back, was intentional. (It's Never Summer). See also: Radley Balko’s “The War on Cameras,” explaining misguided laws on "wiretapping" that make audio and visual recording of police officers illegal
  • LulzSec is still at it. Keep an eye on their Twitter account (and retweets).Who are they? Do they have your account info?
  • Focusing is about saying no - Steve Jobs at 1997 WWDC.
  • IBM turned 100 yesterday. Check out Errol Morris' Centennial Film.
  • DIY Weapons of the Libyan Rebels (The Atlantic)
  • Story behind the Vancouver riot kiss photograph (The Guardian)
  • Paola Antonelli, Geoff Manaugh, Alexis Madrigal, Bruce Sterling,Massimiliano Gioni, and others contribute to this month's issue of Domus with a special focus on the open-source movement in design.
  • Graham Harman explains speculative realism and object-oriented philosophy in an interview with Mute magazine
  • Internet in a suitcase prototype for dissidents abroad. Suitcase will rely on a version of "mesh network" technology, which can connect devices like cellphones or computers, creating a web without a centralized hub. Thus, each innocuous-looking suitcase acts as a mini-tower that can bypass the official network. (The Atlantic)
  • Stanislaw Lem's Solaris finally has a direct-to-English translation. Here it is on Audible
  • Ingmar Bergman directed soap commercial
  • New Jonathan Lethem story in the Paris Review, free to read online.
  • Not a parody: The Ayn Rand Guide to Romance (Open Culture)
  • I generally use “writer” [on my census form] because it’s more boring than “filmmaker”. I don’t want people to ...
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    Why + Wherefore in the ArtBase

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    Why + Wherefore is now a part of the Rhizome Artbase. Founded in 2007 by Summer Guthery, Lumi Tan, and Nicholas Weist, the collective has curated online exhibitions that explore questions of presentation and representation on the web. Over the past few years Why + Wherefore has brought together artists and curators to consider online culture across a variety of media. Their alternative and distinct approach to online exhibition has a distinct voice in the broad field of online curation.
    Colby Bird, Dave and Tim, 2007 (Screengrab from Why + Wherefore's "The Inaugural Invitational: Beginnings")

    For their inaugural show Beginnings, Guthery, Tan, and Weist addressed the uncertainty of a work between its conception and final completion, inviting a diverse group of artists, practicing both online and off, to submit entries around the process of beginning a piece.

    In PDF, Why + Wherefore organized an online exhibition in conjunction with more than 20 international venues. PDF was installed at each of its material sites for only one day, but a reproducible selection of specially commissioned PDF files were freely available on their website along with instructions for displaying a real life exhibition of the work.

    The Long Gallery, Brenna Murphy, reallybig, 2008 (fragment)

    Follow up shows like their 7x7 series, where seven websites were invited to curate seven separate online exhibitions featuring seven works composed around a theme, including Rhizome's entry "The Long Gallery" organized by Brian Droitcour, explored the variability of online curating. With entries as diverse as VVORK's Unititled sound show and I Heart Photograph's (Naturally Occurring Emoticons), each exhibition feels unique, yet unified within the exhibition's format.

    This One Goes Up to 11 (screen shot)

    Pursing online curation across media, in the 2008 exhibition This One Goes Up to 11, the founders and curator Hanne Mugaas, chose ...

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    The Ultimate Idoru

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    Eguchi Aimi is not a real person, but a composite from members of the J-pop group AKB48. Tokyo Hive explains, "The features of Eguchi’s face were taken from the members, which consists of Oshima Yuko (hair/body), Takahashi Minami (outline), Maeda Atsuko (eyes), Watanabe Mayu (eyebrows), Itano Tomomi (nose), and Shinoda Mariko (mouth). Twelfth generation AKB48 member Sasaki Yukari is confirmed to be the source of her voice as well.”

    via William Gibson, (of course)

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    John Young and Deborah Natsios (Cryptome.org) Interviewed in DOMUS

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    The founders of Cryptome.org, architects John Young and Deborah Natsios, are interviewed in Domus magazine as part of their open source themed issue:

    How did Cryptome begin?

    Deborah: Our collaboration started some time late in 1993. We went online in the Internet's early infancy, its seminal moments. Quite quickly we became involved in these new online environments and communities that were positioning themselves on the front line of the politics of information. John's involvement with the Cypherpunk Listserv was a transformative moment—Cypherpunk was dealing with issues of cryptography and freedom of information, and was way more advanced than anything that architectural practice was interested in at the time. For a long time we were the only architects in a milieu of technologists, cryptographers, hackers—we experienced a very peculiar kind of isolation in those years.

    John: Cypherpunk was completely different from anything that existed at the time. It was all about taking over the world by undermining institutions and authorities. Cypherpunk did not have any interest in design, or had never heard of it, or possibly just didn't care. On the other side, we were surrounded by architects and designers who were not interested in anything that might disturb the opportunity of getting work, anything that might hinder their careers. It was then that it started to dawn on us that the Internet was going to become an advertising medium, as it has become for designers and architects. Even today, there are thousands of websites about getting work and showing portfolios, but nothing even remotely disruptive. Cypherpunk was out to undermine precisely that.

    What made you perceive the disruptive potential of the Internet in relation to the politics of information as something necessary at that time?

    Deborah: I think the politics of these "new technology" people in the design world is very problematic. Architects are by and large engaged in a kind of ornamental politics—a telegenic, photogenic and glossy politics that is unerringly safe. They won't put their careers on the line, they won't be visited by the authorities, they won't be subpoenaed for a federal criminal trial—all of which has happened to us. Is your work pulling the tail of the tiger? Are the authorities appearing at your door with warnings? Very few architects can say that. There is a certain abdication of engagement in the circles of mainstream production as tools of change—exhibitions, magazines and so on play their own role in this game.

    John: We are not aware of anyone else in the design world who is engaged in the sort of practice we are engaged in. And even if they were, you would never find out about them through the architectural and design media—they would be too bizarre to be associated with. What the architecture world does have is a particular breed of architects who are highly practised at being embraced for their "outsiderness". Being a professional outsider as a promotional schtick: they are welcome and there are budgets for them. So one option is to be mildly controversial, and get invited to places to give talks and do museum shows. The other is to actually do something that will really piss people off, to the extent they will never want to invite you again or have anything to do with you

    via Adrian Chen

    READ ON »


    Art Intervention Planned Friday in Response to Strict Cuts to Cultural Funding in the Netherlands

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    On Friday the 24th June at noon local time, we need you to join this initiative in shrouding art locations across the world incoloured smoke. This visual act will be a sign of resistance against the growing disdain for the arts within societies and governments worldwide, and a sign of support for colleagues who face major cutbacks. Now is the time to act to show your appreciation and the necessity of the arts!

    ARTBOMB is a peaceful art intervention initiated in The Netherlands. The Dutch Government is about to cut 40% of all cultural funding. This will result in the disappearance of a multitude of organizations that excel internationally in their field. This loss will be felt not only by the Dutch public but by the international community.

    One signal, one moment, one act to show support. You can contribute visual ammunition against the disproportionate cuts to the arts budget. This visible intervention will rise up around the world where people value the arts and want to express their support for artists and cultural organizations.

    Everybody who joins the ARTBOMB intervention will become part of this chain reaction and is invited to upload the photos and films of their own intervention to the website www.artbomb.nl as a token of solidarity and a symbol of strength.

    WHAT IGNITE COLOURED SMOKE AND DOCUMENT THE EVENT

    WHEN 12 NOON LOCAL TIME, FRIDAY 24th JUNE

    WHERE ART LOCATION OF YOUR CHOICE

    AFTER UPLOAD YOUR IMAGES/FOOTAGE TO www.artbomb.nl

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    Photographing Screens

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    Lee Friedlander, Florida, 1963


    Wayne Bremser considers Google Maps Street View art, drawing an interesting comparison to 60s Americana photography capturing TV screens:

    One important process-related issue with GSV images that end up as photographs on a gallery wall is this: they are not screen grabs, but photographs of a screen. Whether the camera was employed to enable more megapixels for large printing, or as part of the conceptual artistic process, images created by the GSV device and compressed for the web are transformed somehow, perhaps with the air between monitor and camera. This is especially true with Rickard’s work. Spending time at the gallery, I noticed myself switching from paying attention to jpeg artifacts and evidence of the source, to finding the right distance and appreciating the colors and Rickard’s compositions.

    Photographs of screens with GSV scenes actually belong to a long tradition. How many families in America have taken photographs of the television? Of the moon landing, or the home team winning the World Series?

    The transformation is similar to what Rickard and the others are exploiting: a fuzzy TV signal on a crappy TV that makes its way into a Pittsburgh home, but becomes something different when captured by a decent Nikon lens. The resulting photograph doesn’t just capture the content of the TV screen, but the person’s desire to capture what was on the screen. Today GSV is just as fleeting as the World Series was in the pre-VCR or DVR era. There’s no way to know when Google will update a location and remove a scene.

    Robert Frank has a few television screens in The Americans, including one wonderful photo inside a television studio. Along with the insane pile of cables, at the same time the photograph shows both how ...

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    Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus (video)

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    Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus

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