Posts for 2012

A Tribute to John Cage on his Centennial

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In tribute to John Cage on his 100th birthday, we've gathered a collection of archival footage, interviews, and collected works – presented in reverse chronological order, beginning with Cage's final work, and only feature length film.

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One11 with 103 (1991-1992) (via UbuWeb)

 

1992

 

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"American Masters" John Cage (1991) via UbuWeb

 

1982

 

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For The Third Time (1978) via UbuWeb

 

1973

 

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John Cage and Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Sound?? (1966) via UbuWeb

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Artist Profile: Julian Oliver

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Transparency Grendade (pre-assembly), 2012 by Julian Oliver

You've been participating in the tech and art community for over a decade now. You're work spans everything from establishing an artistic game-development collective to pushing the boundaries of privacy on public wireless networks with custom hardware. Just this past year you published the Critical Engineering Manifesto with Gordan Savičić and Danja Vasiliev. Was there a specific event or moment that inspired its creation and were their any earlier iterations of the ten statements that didn't make the final cut?

Danja, Gordan and I felt a long standing need to frame our respective practices a little more acutely, foregrounding the languages and cultures of Engineering, rather than Art, in the creative and critical process. We'd each found ourselves frustrated under the vague, ballooning term of Media Artist - like trying to swim in a bathrobe. This came up in conversation enough times to explore alternatives. Afterall, it didn't seem to matter whether we called what we made 'art', even ourselves 'artists', people were quick to do it for us anyway.

One thing that regularly came up in conversation between us is that Engineering, not Art, is the most transformative language of our time - informing the way we communicate, move, trade and even think. The reach of Engineering is so deep that it's hard to disagree it has become part of our environment, with vast impacts on human culture, the Earth and how we understand it. So it follows that to ignore the languages, logics and ideas that make up this thing we call Engineering is to assume a critically vulnerable position - we become unable to describe our environment.

As thinkers with technical abilities in several areas, we want to take on our built and increasingly automated environment by the terms in which it's given, opening it up for post-utilitarian conversation, for play and interrogation. If there's ever a time to be doing that, it's now, especially with opaque and hidden infrastructure in the telecommunications space deeply impacting diplomatic relations and civil liberties world wide.

The Critical Engineering Manifesto grew directly from conversations along these lines and was generally very well received, soon translated into 14 languages. A couple of people wrote in that they wondered why we didn't include or reference 'hacking' as a critical practice to draw upon. Admittedly none of us had an instinct to include it, as it is also a term that has an increasingly vague meaning. I think Danja and Gordan would agree that those that hack in a way we appreciate are already Critical Engineers!

The Transparency Grenade and Newstweek are projects that are designed to disrupt traditional systems of information distribution in news organizations, companies, and governments. Do they achieve your desired affects on the systems they are designed to criticize? Have you been satisfied with the results of the two projects?

It's true that both projects are real implementations with tangible and disruptive effects. That said Danja and I developed Newstweek primarily to spur critical attention to the vulnerabilities of our increasingly 'browser-defined reality', to return an eye to the network infrastructure that plays an integral role in the distribution of fact. If you can control the infrastructure, you can control what's understood to be fact. Newstweek has certainly achieved what we'd hoped in this regard, inciting plenty of productive, healthy paranoia - helped along by us releasing a full HOWTO so that others can build their own Newstweek devices.

The second dimension to the project surrounds an intervention on the top->down news distribution model. We know that our news is being 'tweeked' anyway - an endemic symptom of the (rather bizarre) fact we traditionally depend on privately owned news corporations to inform our summarial view of the world. Newstweek seeks to intervene on this model, an on the ground solution for civilians to have their chance to propagandise or simply 'fix the facts' they know to be untrue.

The Transparency Grenade has been a tricky project as all of sudden some people think I'm in the cyber-weapons business, which I'm not. Like Newstweek, it's first and foremost a conversation starter. It seeks to directly manifest the fears we have, whether state, corporation or individual, around the increased political volatility of data. Indeed it is an implementation that can be used but I'm not selling grenades to be used as weapons. In fact they're limited edition finely crafted objects that look enough like a grenade for you to /not/ want to take with you into a corporate meeting. The Android application I'm still developing will mimic much of the functionality of the grenade and is better suited for such purposes, though I certainly will never suggest it be used and nor will I use it myself. That would put me in a very different legal position.

Many of your works challenge the implicit trust people have in the wireless networks they use - from cell phones to public wifi. In that same way your pieces often blur the boundaries between gallery space and the public sphere. Why is revealing and breaking these boundaries of trust and perception important to you and your work?

Again it comes back to infrastructure and how our inability to describe and understand reduces our critical reach, leaving us both disempowered and, quite often, vulnerable.

Opacity is an important word here too, as is the term 'black box'. Most of our engineered communications infrastructure is not just extraordinarily abstract for people to come to grips with but is actively kept hidden. There are some valid reasons, of course, for keeping infrastructure hidden but the fact is it out of sight is being increasingly exploited in and out of supposedly democratic contexts, largely by surveillance initiatives we were never told about.

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The Download: Kristin Lucas

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Screenshot of The Sole Ripper in Google SketchUp, courtesy of the artist

This month The Download features Kristin Lucas's digital book The Sole Ripper (2012).

The Sole Ripper is a digital book containing a 1:132 scale architectural view of a fictional pedestrian roller coster modeled for an empty lot in Manhattan discovered by Lucas on Google Maps. The architectural plan arrives fragmented and out of order, given its shape through a process of software conventions and workarounds. It is a visual corollary to the download process in which files are broken down into packets and transmitted over internet pathways from one computer to another, and reconfigured at their final destination. Only, Lucas leaves the task of file reconfigurability open to the viewer, and opts for an alternative view that features a 352-page vertical drop and bears likeness to a filmstrip. Recalling Luis Borges's hyperreal map that was as large as the empire itself from "On Exactitude in Science," Lucas's plan for The Sole Ripper is too large to see in its entirety even when reassembled.

The Download gives a first look to great art for Rhizome members. Start your own digital art collection by becoming a member today.

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An Interview with Superlative TV

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As part of England’s nationwide switchover from analog to digital tele-broadcasting, London’s official analog signal went down on April 18, 2012. While dumpsters citywide filled with old TV sets, a flurry of commemorative activity sprung up in the art world. Most notably London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) staged Remote Control, a large survey show examining prominent artists’ responses to television; and across town pioneering British video artist David Hall staged 1001 TV Sets (End Piece), 1972 – 2012, an epic installation in which 1001 sets, tuned to one of five UK analog channels, gradually transitioned from color broadcasts to snow and noise.

Against this backdrop of retrospection and nostalgia the politicised London-based pirate television group Superlative TV formed. Set to begin broadcasting the evening of September 14, Superlative TV will be available to anyone in the city who can unplug a TV digital receiver and tune into the yet to be designated frequency. Inclusive, liberal, and egalitarian, the channel will run a program consisting of community led documentaries, artists’ works, performance, news, and film. Tackling subjects like the 2011 London riots – civil unrest that saw unprecedented looting, arson, and violence in the city – Superlative TV are distancing themselves from the post-modern tendencies of contemporaries like South London’s Auto Italia South East and Lucky PDF. In other words, it is not all about VHS generation loss and ironic distance. Instead Superlative TV seek to offer a politically active model of public access television: an enfranchising, free television service in dialogue with its users, as opposed to a paid for service that is not. Recently I spoke with Superlative TV co-founder Anne Tennor about the upcoming broadcast.


 

How did Superlative TV start and why?

I think it started because we saw a need. Not that there isn’t a lot of “art TV” out there, because there is a lot, but art TV seems to have almost become about a brand. A brand in which an individual’s voice might get lost in the crowd. So what we're facilitating is a kind of open platform that is missing from British broadcasting in general, and the idea is to fill the gap of open access television as well as produce art TV.

We have a background working with lots of artists in London, doing various projects with moving image and broadcasting whether that is radio or television. Then the digital switchover happened and it just seemed like the perfect time to subvert an old medium that people aren’t using anymore. We see it as a redundant space that can be completely free, completely uncensored, completely unrestricted. Not even the Internet can provide that opportunity, for artists especially. But if you look at last summer’s riots the government was trying to shut Twitter down. So we’re still being controlled, in spite of the idea that we use modern technology to have a voice.

It’s interesting that you’re talking about issues of control; because what you are doing you have to do covertly as it’s illegal. 

We’re hoping through our activity we’ll eventually not be seen as criminals, but as people offering something which should be made legal. Eventually the idea is to have an open access television station in the UK as there isn’t one, but it’s happening all over the world now, of course in America, but also in parts of Eastern Europe you’ve got artists who are offered half an hour on a local channel. That said, open access isn’t the extent of what we plan to program. We’d like to commission relevant programs that national TV doesn’t seem to cover. Also, given the current political situation in the UK, there’s a feeling that some parts of society are being targeted by Conservative policies and not being given a voice at all.  So this goes beyond just offering young artists, or people with nowhere to show work, a space.

I was thinking about the fact that it’s on analogue television, which means people will have to detune their sets to watch. First of all you’re getting an active and engaged audience, because their making a big effort to find out what we’re broadcasting; and second it’s like time travelling, which is how it feels in the UK at the moment. I just think that a lot of what’s happening has happened twenty, thirty years ago with Margaret Thatcher, and even before that. Things seem to go in cycles and it would be nice to offer some hope.

So can you tell me a bit about where you’re at with the project at the moment?

Well you’ve come towards the end of phase two. Phase one has been collecting content, practising camerawork, assembling equipment, and we’re ready to go live. We’ve been trying to collect shows together, and ideas for formats. We have a show that we’re advertising now, which is called Prime Time: we’re asking artists and curators to submit three videos to us, one that they’ve made, one they have influenced and one that has influenced them. We’ll screen those after we’ve launched piratically on the 14September.

We’ve also been filming and documenting events for the last year: working with PAMI (Peckham Artists Moving Image festival), and a radio show on Resonance FM called The Gravy.  They have a great bunch of weird and wonderful musical acts, that we filmed and put our live mixing over, and we have a whole catalogue of them now. We’re also commissioning new works with artists, so a lot of great young talent is going to be shown via our channel. On top of that we’re working on more documentary style content about the political situation now... 

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Rhizome in Brighton, Liverpool

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Joanne McNeil, the editor of Rhizome, will be in the UK over the next two weeks, speaking at these upcoming events:

 

Improving Reality, organized by the Lighthouse Foundation, part of Brighton Digital FestivalSept 6, 2012

Session 1. The Edge of Reality: How do speculative fictions, alternate realities, and radically new conceptions of time help shape our experience of reality? Today, writers, designers and artists are working with techniques and ideas which only a few years ago would have been considered science fiction. This sessions presents tales from the edge of reality, near-future designs, unlikely inventions, time travel and atemporality. Speakers include Warren Ellis, Anab Jain, Leila Johnston, and Joanne McNeil.

Artist Talk, organized by FACT, part of the Liverpool Biennial
Sept 13, 2012

Come and join artists Anja Kirschner, David Panos and Jemima Wyman who are exhibiting at FACT as part of Liverpool Biennial. Alongside Joanne McNeil, Editor of Rhizome, they will explore and respond to provocations set by the Biennial's 2012 exhibition, The Unexpected Guest

 

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Rhizome Digest: Best of Rhizome August

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The Universal Texture

Essays

Interface Aesthetics: An Introduction

Interviews

#etinterbro

Artist Profiles

Fiction

Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: Other Worlds

Series

Michele Abeles

More

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Thank You to Our Sponsors

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We would like to take a brief moment to thank this month’s sponsors. These are the organizations and companies that keep us publishing, so be sure to check them out!

Featured Advertisers

  • Brooklyn Museum- GO is a community-curated open studio project. Artists across Brooklyn will open their studio doors, so that you can decide who will be featured in a group show at the Brooklyn Museum. Voter Registration Deadline: September 9, 2012
  • School of Visual Arts – The NYC art and design school is offering continuing education courses to meet the diverse educational needs of the city’s professional art and design community.
  • Vilcek Foundation - Now accepting submissions for dARTboard, a digital art space that invites foreign-born artists living permanently in the United States and specializing in new media art forms to submit their work for exhibition. Submission Deadline: October 22nd 

Network Sponsors

  • Art Systems – Professional art gallery, antiques and collections management software

If you are interested in advertising on Rhizome, please get in touch with Nectar Ads, the Art Ad Network.

 

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Jonas Lund's Paintshop

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Psyche River by Jonas Lund

Since the launch of Jonas Lund's Paintshop project at the end of June, three paintings have been sold and over 2,000 have been completed. The Paintshop allows users to collaborate on paintings and complete, or sign, whenever they consider a work to be finished. Once signed, paintings are on sale in an edition of one. Prices are determined by the trademarked Paintshop Rank algorithm, calculated daily.

Lund explained the algorithm's inner workings via email:

The Paintshop Rank™ is calculating the price by analyzing a set of criteria, such as Artfacts ranking and Google Ranking of the author, the quality ranking in relation to the amount of views, the amount of Facebook likes and Tweets. The underlying assumption is that two general things matter for the price, the reputation of the artist and the popularity of the painting itself.

Shrimp Guarding Fertilized Egg by Fox

The project is somewhat reminiscent of Aaron Koblin's Sheep Market. Where that project crowdsourced its drawings via Amazon's Mechanical Turk and used a flat-rate payment, The Paintshop hosts a collaborative form of interactivity to create works with apparently arbitrary authorships. Collaborators who choose to complete and sign a work, though, will recieve the algorithmically determined value of any sold work, minus production costs and gallery comission.

CLOOOOOWN by Systaime

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Demiurge in the Cupboard by Bradley Benedetti

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Bradley Benedetti, Demiurge in the Cupboard, Circusology of Native Leadership Piece 1, 2012

 Orca Tears Turquoise( Wish'd We'd Ha'd) 

 "How can I retry when I was a watermarked birth? I was a global write, universally speaking. My only choice is to image search. rch, sea. Can you smell the past? It is yours. Commercial help gonna fix this Etc.?"

VAPOR STORIE

“Nostalgic For captivity…Scent of an orca's tears. Anti-virus wishing wells

 If you haven't had your first familiar encounter

please refer to the catalog.

now that I’ve slowed down your 3 dimensional momentarium

I can let you in on something.”

 

“Toyota arctic

sea u kiosk museum efficiency baby

free 

if you take your TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME . I’ll wait for

youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 

breeze and ufo- take your time

we were supposed to grow old together"

 

MySPHINX

 

Trademark Applesdottir

Sanrio Erikkson

Nintendo Cloud

Ancient Purell

Sarcophagus St.Chateau

Libra von Katzengiest

Pegasus Bromwell

Oreo Mitsubishi

Astrology DeCordova

 

“I just, I just, I just toed this rope, you know , I just tied this

rope three times, well 6 really because I said it and then did it, but I

mean I tied it while saying it, well hahah you know what I mean,

anyway, the point is it WORKED

This dimension is feeling stuffy

I’m tired of living moment to moment, GET ME OUT OF HERE

I feel really 3 dimensional, I’m looking for something more, I felt

nervous not knowing what came next

In the 4th dimension I get to see it all, people from the past, the

future, really its the continuous present ever flowing around me and

you into one big ball of energy.

5th dimensional living felt too complex, the text was fifth dimensional

5 feels really dark velvety, red, very red ...

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Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: Other Worlds

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Scene from 'Trip'

A collection of items from the Prosthetic Knowledge Tumblr archive and around the web, around the theme of 'Other Worlds', a collection of independent / student games that veer away from convention, either produced as 'experiences' in another environment, aesthetic exercises that the paths of commercial gaming did not tread.

Proteus




Indie video game with Zen-like experience, with ambient audio music and 3D Atari-cartridge-like visuals. An island is randomly generated for exploration, with no goal orientated action. (PK)

Zenith



Free game by Arcane Kids that celebrates ' ... speed, movement, and Twitter ...', acrobatic skating in a polygon world.
(PK)


Trip 




Abstract game environment made of gradient polygons - zen-like experience similar to Proteus (see above) where there are no objectives. Could be considered as a big virtual sculpture / gallery. (PK)
 
Perspective 

 




Experimental video game combines a first-person 3D environment to navigate a character in a 2D platformer.

Perspective is an experimental platformer. The player avatar moves in a 2D space that transforms when the player changes perspective in 3D space. The player needs to use this mechanic navigate the 2D avatar to a goal in order to progress from level to level. 

Currently unreleased, when available should be free for all. (PK)

Fotonica 



First-person one-button run-and-jump game with fantastic minimal wireframe graphics - by Santa Ragione:

A first person game about jumping, sense of speed and discovery. The key is timing, the goal is exploring and traveling flawlessly through the environment. The setting is an abstract - mainly duotone - outlined world, with a look referring to the geometrical abstractions from the 50s and the 3D low-poly gaming era. (PK)

 

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