Posts for June 2011

Proun, an abstract indie 3D racing game

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Proun is an abstract indie 3D racing game by Joost van Dongen (who named the game after El Lissitzky, and points to Kandinsky, and Mondrian as other inspiration.

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Homebrew Electronics: A Studio Visit with Pete Edwards of Casperelectronics

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Pete playing his homemade synth

I met with artist, musician, educator and circuit-bending guru Pete Edwards last week, as he was preparing for his exhibition “Specter Flux” at Long Island City’s Flux Factory, where he is currently an artist in residence. The show opens on June 30th and will run until July 3rd. Since 2000, Pete has sold his handmade electronic instruments through his company Casperelectronics, and performed with his creations under the same name. Over the span of his career, he’s created unique and special instruments out of a variety of unusual items, such as a Jack-In-The-Box Toy, an Amazing Ally doll, megaphones, and a BarbieKaraoke Machine. His work on Casio SK-1s and Speak&Spells; have been an inspiration for many in the world of circuit-bending, and no doubt his output has helped popularize these objects as ideal for these sorts of projects.

Circuit-bent Barbie Karaoke by Casperelectronics

More recently, Pete has begun incorporating plastic orbs into his practice, producing them as standalone interactive, color-mixing lights or as components to his machines. These orbs will be central to his installation at Flux Factory, and he showed me a few of them during my visit, as well as a nifty analog synth he built from scratch. Both will be used in “Specter Flux”.

Pete mentioned that he enjoys the mesmerizing quality of the orbs, and the fact that they immediately captivate an audience, regardless of context. Each orb is individually tuned to respond to volume and tone, so that viewers must play with them in order to gauge their sensitivity. The orbs were installed in an elevator at the Tang Museum last year, and Pete recalled, with delight, that despite the seeming privacy of the elevator, that the sounds of visitors clapping, singing and yelling at the orbs travelled throughout the building.

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General Web Content: Netflix's Three Wolf Moon, "Example Short 23.976"

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Youtube rip of Example Short 23.976

In May of 2010 Netflix posted what appeared to be two internal test movies shot around the Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, CA. Titled Example Short 23.976 and Example Short 24, the films could not be found by simply browsing the Netflix site, but were instead picked up by users of unofficial twitter feeds and websites that update with each new streaming title. At slightly over 11 minutes long, the film features a kind of in-house stock footage intended to demonstrate a variety of audio-visual effects, such as time-lapse and looping. The short film also includes a series of strange, non sequitur scenes featuring a hand running through a fountain, a toy train set running on a loop, a man moonwalking while holding a laptop, the same man running erratically between trees, and finally the man reciting Marullus' speech from Act I, Scene I of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar before shifting to a series of popping and clicking mouth noises. The film ends with a blinking white dot and a series of gridded test patterns.

The films can be difficult to find using the Netflix site, but each version of the movie has its own page and is open to view and review. Much as with the Three Wolf Moon "power animal" t-shirt that gained massive popularity on Amazon.com in 2009, users began rating and reviewing the films sarcastically as artistic works rather than technical footage, praising the symbolism of hand-in-fountain or critiquing the film's "blatant liberal agenda." Other reviewers seem to have missed the punchline, rating the film poorly and demanding an explanation for the film's otherwise glowing reviews. Netflix has subsequently released the short in a variety of forms and at various lengths, in one case looping ...

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Julian Lynch - "Ground" (2011)- Zahid Jiwa and Miko Revereza

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Zahid Jiwa and Miko Revereza, Julian Lynch - "Ground" (2011)

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Comment: There’s No Such Thing as a Compulsory License for a Photo

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My friend Andy has a terrific post up about his ordeal settling with the photographer Jay Maisel over the threat of a copyright lawsuit. Chances are if, you’re reading this, you know about that. If you haven’t ready Andy’s story, go and read it and then come back.

There’s one pointed question I’ve seen crop up in a number of conversations about the settlement:

Isn’t it wrong that Andy chose to pay the licensing fees for the music but not for the photograph?

This question makes the assumption that Andy could have paid the licensing fees to Maisel like he did for the music. He couldn’t have. This is because Jay Maisel refused to license the image and there’s no compulsory license for photography like there is for musical compositions.

A compulsory license is what it sounds like: the owner of the underlying musical composition is required, by law, to license it to anyone who wants to use it at a predetermined rate. This prohibits song writers from picking and choosing who gets to perform their works. It also allows Andy to license, at a fair rate, the underlying song compositions from a Miles Davis album to make a new album of original recordings (remember, copyrights to recordings are different from copyrights to the compositions of a song).

The copyright of photographic works, unlike works of music composition, is not subject to a compulsory license.

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Thank You to Our June Sponsors!

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We would like to take a break from our daily posting to thank our sponsors for the month of June. These are the people and places that keep us publishing, so be sure to check them out.

  • Artwrit is an independent quarterly and monthly publication committed to excellence in art writing. Artwrit’s June issue features a conversation with Kevin Gonzalez-Day plus reviews of Fred Sandback at Whitechapel, London and Anish Kapoor’s installation at Le Grand Palais in Paris.

  • Dia Art Foundation is presenting a retrospective of minimalist artist Blinky Palermo at its Dia:Beacon location, at 3 Beekman Street in Beacon, New York, and CCS Bard. The exhibition runs through October 31, 2011.

  • LUMEN is an international video, performance, and sound festival held in Staten Island at the Lighthouse Museum. LUMEN 2011 took place on Saturday, June 25.

  • NADA Hudson is a site-specific art exhibition hosted by the New Art Dealers Alliance July 30 and 31. Located in a 19th century foundry and forge on the banks of the Hudson river, the exhibition will feature over 30 projects by NADA affiliates.

  • Saatchi Online is an online social marketplace created to buy art, sell art, and get inspired by art. Founded to make art accessible and affordable to everyone around the world, the website helps collectors find artists and artists find fans.

  • Fundación Telefónica has made a commitment to technological innovation related to art as the central focus of its activities, showing special interest in support to forums around art, science and technology. Their Vida 13.2 Art & Artificial Life International Competition is open for entries until July 27. The Vida contest gathers inter-disciplinary projects that respond to new development in artificial life. Defying the boundaries between existing practices, these projects offer new ways of reflecting on what we understand as life.

  • Verge: Art Miami Beach is an art fair that forms an international platform for the most exciting and interesting in new and emerging art. This year’s fair will take place from December 1 to 4 and is currently holding an open call for artists and galleries.

Rhizome provides an invaluable resource to the world of new media and digital art as an archive, exhibition space and daily blog. Our sponsors know that too. Once a month we introduce our sponsors to our readers and let them know a little more about who they are and what they do. You can say thanks to the companies that support Rhizome by tweeting them or following them on Facebook.

Interested in becoming a sponsor? To find out more about sponsorship/advertising opportunities, visit Nectar Ads, the ad network for art.

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Popular Unrest (2010) - Melanie Gilligan

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This past Migrating Forms festival opened with a screening of Melanie Gilligan's feature-length film Popular Unrest, which is also available as five episodes on Gilligan's website. Set in a fictional future London, not unlike the present, Popular Unrest seizes upon the modern preoccupation with systems, data, and constant technological improvement. The story revolves around the influence of the "World Spirit," a technological system that controls all transactions and social interactions with the aim of boosting productivity and increasing profitability. The world of the Spirit is a rational existence where everything is monitored, quantified, and rationally controlled.

At the film's opening a mysterious disembodied knife brutally commits murder, while the 24 hour media cycle, punctuated by television advertisements for the spirit drones on in the background. Equally mysterious as the violent murders, people around the world are being inexplicably drawn together into what have been termed "groupings." The plot of Popular Unrest centers on one such grouping, comprised of twelve individuals, from diverse backgrounds with nothing in common other than their overwhelming desire to come together. While the closeness the group feels towards each other is inconceivable in the rational terms of system transactions that govern their reality, they find comfort in their connection.

When a group of scientists approach them to conduct a study of their group and hopefully provide a scientific explanation for the phenomenon, they agree to participate. The biological causes of their behavior and the dehumanized and technological control of the spirit that approaches the world in terms of data and profit margins are pitted against the humanity of the grouping and the irrationality of life. They are, as the scientists tell them, like a snapshot taken by the system, a frozen moment of social exchange. They represent the Spirit's reflexivity.
Ultimately, however, Gilligan is uncertain in the power of our humanity to resist the faith, comfort and often overwhelming power we invest in the quantifiable, data driven systems we ourselves have created.

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In Praise of the Sci-Fi Corridor

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Corridors make science-fiction believable, because they're so utilitarian by nature - really they're just a conduit to get from one (often overblown) set to another. So if any thought or love is put into one, if the production designer is smart enough to realise that corridors are the foundation on which larger sets are 'sold' to viewers - Martin Anderson





via Autodespair

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Dial-up Modem Sound 700% Slower

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via Cinetrix

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Jane Pinckard on Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Rez and Children of Eden

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Children of Eden
Jane Pinckard writes about Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 game Rez:

There have been other game designs since that have stimulated those emotionally-charged pleasure centers-–Rock Band comes to mind-–but Rez remains unique in its ambition to create synesthesia as a playable experience. It was the first mainstream art game (and it wasn't that mainstream, as it turned out.) The creators of the game moved on to other things, the studio was merged with other corporate units, and that was that...the game was by no means a hit when it was released. It was recognized by a small circle of aficionados as something quirky, beautiful, and different. In the years since, Rez has captured more mindshare; partly because more people accept the idea of art games, partly because maybe it just took that long for people to discover it and play it. By 2008 there was enough of a movement to convince Microsoft to release Rez HD as a downloadable game for the Xbox 360. It got rave reviews from game critics, but, seriously, it was the exact same game, redone graphically to look pretty in HD. It was the same game, so you didn't get to relive that moment of intense anticipation and discovery of playing it for the first time.

Rez

Pinckard says Children of Eden, released this month for Kinect, was the game she "waited a decade" to play:

I played it for the first time at a friend's house, after a day of barbecue in the sun, accompanied by several excellent glasses of wine. He insisted I put on the headphones. I lifted my right hand to begin. And then I was suddenly falling upward through a liquid field of stars. I don't really know how else to describe it. It was exhilarating, because for the first time in a very long time I felt again that excitement of experiencing something utterly new and strange and beautiful. I started dancing subtly to the beat as I played without even really realizing it.

Children of Eden

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