Posts for October 2011

Thank You to Our September Sponsors!

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We would like to take a quick break from our daily posting to thank our sponsors for the month of September. These are the people that make all our publishing possible, so check them out!

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    Williamsburg Every 2:nd Friday aids and encourages the public presentation of local and international art in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Every second Friday of the month, Williamsburg galleries and alternative art spaces stay open late and offer special nighttime events including cutting-edge exhibitions, performances and conceptual soirees.

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    Fred Torres Collaborations is an artist management and project space founded in 2005 that collaborates with artists, galleries and museums in producing and promoting exhibitions in New York and around the world. Riot of Life, a collection of Detroit-based artist George Rahme’s large-scale collage landscapes is on display until October 8, 2011.

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    Dia:Beacon which houses the Dia Art Foundation’s collection of art from the 1960′s to the present, has an exciting line-up of shows this fall. In celebration of the non-profit Electronic Arts Intermix‘s (EAI) 40 anniversary, Dia:Beacon presents Circia 1971, a selection of video and film works by key figures in early video art from the EAI archive. The exhibition is on view until September 4, 2012. Dia: Beacon’s retrospective of minimalist artist Blinky Palermo also runs until October 31, 2011.

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    FIAF: Crossing the Line Festival, produced by French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) with leading New York cultural institutions, presents diverse and dynamic new work from significant artists who are revolutionizing artistic practices on both sides of the Atlantic. The Festival takes you from Central Park and Museum Mile to an historic Gilded Age-era mansion, as well as to some of the city’s most notable arts venues. Crossing the Line 2011 is curated around three principle themes: Fiction & Non-Fiction; Lecture ...

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Artist Profile: Marina Zurkow

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Mesocosm (Northumberland, UK), Fall (2011), Flash standalone application

You describe your work as making psychological narratives about humans and their relationship to animals, plants, and the weather. It might seem surprising that this relationship to the natural world is depicted via computer animation. How do you perceive the use of technology in order to describe the natural? What does the computer offer you specifically when thinking about nature or the natural?

All representations employ some form of technology—start with burnt charcoal on cave walls.

Why the computer? Why suck all this electricity out of the wall to make inquiries into the representation of climate change? Why pick animation, which is a most unnatural form? There are tools and aesthetic choices that I naturally gravitate towards—in this case, scalable vector graphics that I can make move.

 My work started as pictograms and cartoons, leveraging the language of signage and the cute, because cartoons and info graphics are sly. Animation has freedom from verisimilitude, and warrants the fantastic. I’ve remained interested in making work that leaves you (and me) unsure if it’s clip art or hand-drawn, work that sits between the handmade analogue and the digital.

Much of the work I make is keyed to internet research, obscure stories, contradictory data, and highly circulated media. The Poster Children was made in 2007 when the polar bear became the poster child for global warming (Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth) and the poster child (again) for the cutest (Knut, born at the Berlin Zoo), and it was also the year of the Virginia Tech shooting which spawned copycat killers’ electronic press kits on YouTube, anti– and pro– gun law campaigning, and racism (questioning whether an Asian has the right to perpetrate this sort of massacre which has historically been ...

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General Web Content: Cinematic FUIs

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[The Net, 1995]

Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) are the primary means through which most users interact with computers; but while GUIs help us make sense of complex computational data and allow average users to navigate and manipulate computer systems, human-computer interaction does not easily translate to other visual media such as film and television. It is difficult to dramatize database queries or the kind of intensive and prolonged engagement many describe when programming and writing code. These actions exists on a different scale and in a different time frame, and when dramatized they seem awkward at best, if not simply dull and uninteresting.

Perhaps it is for this reason that film has invented its own form of computer visualization, a kind of visual language of computation that speaks to the language of film. This often involves a very particular set of visual tropes that are intended to signify computation: login screens, chat rooms, loading bars, criminal or business profiles, copying data (often clandestinely), large legible typefaces, 3D interfaces, wireframe models, maps and floor plans, voice interaction, etc. On film the failures of interface design are almost always absent, as protagonists are capable of using almost any UI, data can be transferred and read across multiple systems with ease, and intuition is often enough to accomplish the most elaborate tasks.

In some cases films will use existing GUIs and operating systems, particularly when funding is available through product placement. Often, however, movies will invent entirely new GUIs that accomplish the simple goals of filmic computation, or which appear sufficiently futuristic and foreign from the types of graphical interfaces we are accustomed to. In fact there is an entire sub-field of the graphic and interface design industry that produces Fake User Interfaces or FUIs, both for software mock ups and for the film industry. Below we've collected a series of images taken from the site Access Main Computer File, "a visual study of computer GUI in cinema" run by Steven Huynh. Spanning over four decades, these images not only point to this cinematic visualization of computation, they also serve as the promise of and inspiration for future technologies.

 

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Intern Roundup part 1 of 3

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We've recently had some additions to the Rhizome team - I'd like to introduce you to Rhizome's newest intern: Thor Shannon. Thor is an undergraduate student studying art history at NYU. Over the course of the next few months, he will be helping to catalog the ArtBase - a process of improving the quality of our metadata, deepening the level of description, and making records more accurate and searchable. This significant work is not easy, and we are so glad to have Thor helping us out. Welcome, Thor!

 

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This is Marshall McLuhan

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This is Marshall McLuhan is the transcript of Alex Kitnick's opening remarks preceding the screening of This Is Marshall McLuhan: The Medium Is the Massage, that took place at the New Museum as part of Rhizome's New Silent Series.


Anthony McCall, Long Film for Ambient Light, 1975

Tonight we’re going to look at a 16mm print of This is Marshall McLuhan: The Medium is the Massage, which begins with a brief shot of a light bulb. A few weeks ago as part of its programming at Dia, Light Industry presented Anthony McCall’s Long Film for Ambient Light (1975), which consists of a lone, if rather large light bulb, hanging in an otherwise empty room, with a wall of windows covered over in scrim on one side to modulate the light coming in and out. Over a 24 hour span, reaching from noon one day to noon the next, the natural light of the sun and the artificial luminescence of the bulb were put in constant tête-à-tête, projecting forwards and back, contrasting and comparing and facing off with one another. In this play of light and shadows, various social interactions took place, different at different times of the day and night. Occasionally, the bulb was the center of attention—literally highlighted—with people clustering around it, while at other moments its light seemed to match the daylight and not draw much interest at all. Alone and isolated in a cool white space, the bulb’s plain power, usually used as an aid to display, was itself illuminated.

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 1964

The light bulb was always McLuhan’s first example when explaining what he meant by his famous mantra “the medium is the message” since it communicates no information itself but rather facilitates a range of behavioral possibilities: “The electric light is pure information,” McLuhan wrote in 1964’s Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. “It is a medium without a message…

 

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Frank Benson’s “Human Statue (Jessie)” at Taxter & Spengemann

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Frank Benson, Human Statue (Jessie), 2011, bronze.

All this is the product of digital photography and 3-D reproduction. But while it is a wonder of contemporary technology, it also harks back to the art of the Ancient Greeks, who, in their bronze sculptures of divine beings, began a tradition of subordinating metaphysics to empiricism to which we still are beholden. Once we might have prayed to such a goddess. Now we meditate on time and timelessness; the ideal and the real; the quick and the dead.

Ken Johnson review at the New York Times.

Human Statue (Jessie) is a new work by New York–based artist Frank Benson. The life-size bronze figure of a woman was first designed digitally using photographic scans of the model, which were then used to construct a virtual model that was fabricated in bronze.

More discussions on relationships between Greek art and new media here:

Put a Corinthian Column on It

and

It's Only Humanist

 

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New Museum MakerBot Challenge

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Showcasing the endless possibilities of the Thing-O-Matic, the New Museum MakerBot Challenge is open to the entire creative community. Embodying the New Museum’s mission of “New Art, New Ideas,” this interactive and experiential Challenge aims to push the concept of the “derivative,” by improving on or personalizing established design conventions. From the banal toothbrush to complex bicycle gears, how can 3D printing help to develop the world around us?

PRIZES

The winning design will be printed on a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic on display in the New Museum Store's window. The winning designer will receive a New Museum Deluxe membership ($400 value), a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic® Kit ($1299 value), and a special invitation to the New Museum MakerBot Challenge launch party.
Five runner-ups will have their designs printed by MakerBot and sent to them.

HOW TO ENTER

1. If you are not already registered, sign up for an account at Thingiverse.com
2. Upload your 3D files, and tag them with NewMuseumChallenge by October 31, 2011
3. In the description, write a statement about your design. What is the design a derivative of? How does it improve on or challenge existing design conventions?

RULES

1. Designs may be one single part or multiple parts that are each smaller than 4 x 4 x 4 ¾ in (100 x 100 x 120 mm) and printable on a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic.
2. Different parts can be made in white, yellow, orange, red, UV reactive red, UV reactive nuclear green, camping green, blue, black, and glow-in-the-dark.
3. The design may require multiple builds, however no more than three builds are allowed.

WHO'S IN THE JURY?

A team from MakerBot, Rhizome, and the New Museum will select the final designs. The jurors are looking for designs that utilize the unique ability of 3D printing to personalize and improve on the world around us.

 

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In need of a Heroine: Angela Washko's "Heroines with Baggage (How Final Fantasy Shaped My Unrealistic Demands for Love and Tragedy)"

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Heroines with Baggage (How Final Fantasy Shaped My Unrealistic Demands for Love and Tragedy)

 


 

Heroines with Baggage is a video essay using footage taken directly from the famous early 90s role-playing SNES video game Final Fantasy III. The video deconstructs the game, creating a non-linear narrative that follows the trajectories of two of the three playable female characters in the fourteen-character game. Washko describes that she was interested in the female characters that she used to play as a child not because of their sparsity in the game, which can be explained by the fact that reportedly, far fewer females than males played these games in the early 90s, but rather, due to the way these characters were presented.

Washko's video reveals a game where the characters show a certain teenage sentimentality with no real emotional depth, where a princess sings "Oh my hero / So far away now. / Will I ever see your smile?" And another female character gasps at the sight of a male character, "You…saved me?" According to Washko, the female characters constantly mention their desire to experience love, unlike the male characters who do not mention the concept of love at all, resulting in the fact that even though these characters are playable, meaning, have strengths and plot focus, they remain projections of archetypal powerful-yet-victimized women. 

Featuring the game's fantastic original soundtrack and the old-school video game aesthetics, the video cuts out the battle and search scenes, usually the game's focal point, in order to look at the game's background story and draw attention to the way it portrays femininity and the model this had served to women like Washko herself, who played the game as young girls. Not that the result was their ultimate subjection to heroes who would save them ...

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Another Book on the Bookmarks Shelf: BooksOnLine

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BooksOnLine is an experimental free access library initiated in 2006 by artist Pierre Hourquet. The website features more than thirty books by a variety of artists, with titles such as Honey blood (by artist Suzanna Zak), Slow (Flemming Ove Bech), Not in that Particular Order (Grégoire Grange), or Homeless Caravan (Damon Way), hinting at the book's content, but not revealing a thing about the artist or the designer.

"In the beginning, I wanted to publish books. Designing books and printing them is very easy. But distributing them would be a full-time job. So I decided to publish books online.

The first books were made with friends—artists or photographers—then, after making a few books, I decided to contact artist I like. Every artist I've contacted has been very glad and enthusiastic to contribute. Some of them became good friends.

I like to design the most basic book I could, a very simple one with a colored cover and few pages. So the books have the same shape, the same number of pages, and all use the same font. The layout is more specific for each book."

 

 

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Artist Profile: Krist Wood

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Top: Still from Siix, 2009. Bottom: Still from Mausoleum, 2009.

Looking at your work online is a process of discovery by links. It unfurls in a number of different websites, like Computers Club, Begin Records, both of which you set up, and Internet Archeology. Could you talk about the character of these initiatives and whether you see a cohesive element in them?

I will state what I think they are and describe an aspect of my interest in each. Computers Club is a set of identities that derive from computer users. The concept of identity in the context of the internet has been my principle interest as a computer user. To me, an identity on the internet is a fascinating system of information that gives rise to a character embodying a unique kind of shape and form. These forms can be arranged into a super-structure of information that itself has a kind of identity. The way that these characters synthesize, capture and release information; make choices, and exert influence gives rise to a higher order identity, as a grouping, that shifts and evolves over time. Computers Club is such a grouping. What shape will it take and how will it feel? That's what I wonder.

Begin Records is a preservation for the creative works of individuals who have a polymathic way of life. My philosophy of art is rooted in an idea that the core of one's person is unique and different from that of any other. People could journey inward, venturing as close as possible to that core or center, then endeavor to rearrange their environment to reflect what they've discovered there. That is my personal definition of art; something that I think has many definitions. The general act of rearranging one's environment could encompass ...

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