Posts for 2012

Inkjet Modernism: Wade Guyton at the Whitney

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Untitled, 2010. Epson UltraChrome inkjet on linen; eight panels, 305 x 69 in. (774.7 x 175.3 cm) each ; 305 x 586 in. (774.7 x 1488.4 cm) overall. Collection of the artist. Photograph by Lothar Schnepf.

The language of Wade Guyton’s mid-career retrospective at the Whitney emphasizes that, like any other user, Guyton approaches technology unenlightened as to its inner workings. Choosing to make his printer drawings, in which images from books and magazines are printed on, Guyton rendered simple marks in Microsoft Word. Unlike other users, perhaps, Guyton is aesthetically excited by technologies limitations and preconditions, viewing them as an element of chance in his work.

The exhibition, made up mostly of inkjet on linen paintings, aptly shows Guyton’s modernist collaborations with new technologies, reinscribing the greatest hits modernism within a different context. Transparency, monochrome, and the readymade all make their expected appearances. A four panel transparent window, with printer drawings of works by Frank Stella, Duchamp himself, and others, emphasize his investment in 20th century modernism while referencing obliquely computer technology as a low-tech window and bulletin board.

The printer drawings play with material images from books and magazines. This emphasis on origin and location contrasts with his engagement of technologies that have done so much to dematerialize our engagement with images. One inkjet painting does come from a “source file”: it contains an image of Kenneth Noland’s True North (1961), scanned, printed, and disturbed by five runny black disks. More explicitly minimal works—an inverted woodpile or inkjet on wood sculpture—round out the show.

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Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: nOdalisque

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Uncomposed (after Titian after Giorgione) by Georgie Roxby Smith [GIF by PK]



A collection of items from the Prosthetic Knowledge Tumblr archive and around the web, looking at a Fine Art archetype today.




Uncomposed (after Titian after Giorgione) by Georgie Roxby Smith
 

Uncomposed (after Titian after Giorgione) from Georgie Roxby Smith on Vimeo.


Renaissance art piece composed as contemporary New Media machinima, a 21st Century Venus

3D machinima, video, found image, found sound

Made specifically for Composite at Gallery One Three Uncomposed (after Titian after Giogione) deconstructs Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus, itself a composite, the landscape and sky being completed by Titian following Giogione’s death in 1510. The work was a landmark of its era, reflecting a new shift in modern art with the inclusion of a female nude at its centre. Employing three-dimensional computer graphics and elements of Giorgione’s original masterpiece, Roxby Smith replaces his stylised renaissance figure with a fantasised digital body transplanted into an augmented hyper real landscape. In the likeness of her present day artist, the 21st Century Venus will not lie still for her voyeurs, obstinately returning the male gaze from her new digital paradigm, Sleeping Venus awakes.

Video link | PK Link

Machina by Claudia Hart

 
 

Framed digital art piece is a 3D animation of a sleeping female nude subject in the classical pose of Venus / Odalisque - a two minute example of the twenty minute work:

"Machina" (2008) by Claudia Hart from bitforms gallery on Vimeo.

“Machina” is a 3D animation portraying the compressed time and space of painting, shows a dreaming character whose slow, drowsy movements articulate all of the minutia of a single moment. “Machina” uses the most advanced techniques of virtual reality simulation, and a series of animations that result in a representation that is sensual and organic. Occasionally, Machina ...

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Five Videos: Jennifer Chan's I Like To Watch

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Five Videos is an online series "hosted" by Rhizome, in collaboration with FACT, responding to the Liverpool Biennial's theme, The Unexpected Guest. Each week throughout the Liverpool Biennial, a new artist will curate five videos about hospitality. This week, Jennifer Chan considers web videos before and after the age of Youtube:

The notion of hospitality prompts me to think of radical openness— an approach that accounts for anomaly, dissent, and oddity. Openness is widely associated with participatory nature of the Web 2.0, but by nature of the longtail, not all information on the web is useful. As the use of “YouTube video” has become interchangeable with “online video”, I’m going to explore what amateur video looked like before and after YouTube’s advent in 2005.

“All Hail The Necrowizard!”

In the early 2000s, simple Flash animations like Stick Death and Return of the Necrowizard were a source of cathartic entertainment for bored youngsters on the internet. These animations could be found at game portals and entertainment websites like Newgrounds and AddictingGames.com. Originally hosted on Stickdeath.com — which is no longer active — Stick Death included short animated webisodes that depicted stickmen performing antisocial gestures to themselves and each other.

StickDeath, Auto Thefts, (2002)

Return of the Necrowizard (2006) is a fan video for an acoustic Black metal band called Impaled Northern Moonforest. Promoted through their hokey website and online video, the DIY music project consisted of Josh Martin and and Seth Putnam (now deceased), who are former members of a grindcore band Anal Cunt. In this video, poorly drawn witches, frowny moons, and upturned crosses satire the androcentric sadness of Black metal.


Author Unknown, Return of the Necrowizard, 2006.


V is for Vernacular

Within an art context, “vernacular” is employed to describe something as “referential” to a ...

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Inside the Prosthetic Imaginary: An Interview with Sara Hendren

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Gloves for Two, Sandie Yi Crip Couture (2001)

 

Sara Hendren is an artist, researcher, and writer who explores how design and art practices can inform techno-scientific research and knowledge-building. She is the writer-editor of Abler, an online ‘think space’ where art and design are linked together with high and low-tech prosthetics, both practical and speculative, to explore questions about ability, disability, the normalized and medicalized body, and more. Abler juxtaposes posts featuring assistive technologies normally relegated to the field of rehabilitative medicine with questions concerning smart cities, cyborg transhumanism, and the future of democratic communities.

I Skyped with Sara about the politics of abled and disabled bodies, the artist as amateur, and our hopes for a cyborgian future.


 

Ana Avarez: You’ve written that Abler is one big umbrella project for your work. Can you talk about the ideas driving the site?

Sara Hendren: Abler brings together four streams of interest: First, an interest in the innovations of the high-tech prosthetic fields. Second, I’m interested in tracking the tradition of artists who have been working on prosthetics very broadly defined—a more metaphorical notion of the “prosthetic” as an extended tool that becomes a proxy, or a substitute for experience. For artists, the prosthetic becomes very subtle and associative, pointing to tools for needs we don’t even know we have. Third, I’m looking at ideas about the cyborg and the future of bodies: how we negotiate our dance with machine parts of all kinds, and whether the enhancement and augmentation they promise is tempered enough by good critical conversations. And then fourthly, I’m pointing to what are commonly called “assistive technologies”—the very medicalized devices that lots of people use but that don’t get much analysis as design or culture. Everything from crutches, to wheelchairs, walkers, ankle braces.

Those four fields tend to exist in more or less separate worlds. But all these things have much to say to one another. Abler puts them in adjacency online, along with critical writing, in a form that juxtaposes these ideas against one another and creates cross commentary to try to mix those categories. And ultimately to ask: Who is being assisted by what kinds of technologies? And what kinds of assistance do we want in the future?

The whole project has been to create a blog that’s not just a story-chaser, a popularizer of technology; neither did I want it to become an academic exercise, denouncing the politics of technology development as inherently oppressive. I wanted to take some of the really interesting questions about normalcy and abnormalcy, dependence and independence and look at artworks, design, and engineering work that all address these issues. I wanted all those conversations to exist in one place, to be rich and generative and ultimately really exciting because of what they provoke in the imagination and also the critical conversations they spark about abled and disabled bodies.

It seems like we are going to be using the words “disabled” and “abled-bodied” quite a bit. I want to first ask you, not necessarily for a definition but more of a complication of these terms: what does it mean to be able or disabled and how is that tension addressed in your work?

People who work in disability try to keep raising the idea that being “disabled” is not a fixed and assigned identity. It is not about a body status or a capacity level, but much more about this very complex, changing, evolving, and perhaps temporary, perhaps longer term, political state—in some ways, similar to how we’ve come to understand the slippery designations of race and gender. The built environment and socio-political institutions all make allowances and disallowances for certain kinds of bodies and capacities, and those affordances have ripple effects in cultures, creating abled-ness and disabled-ness. And disability is a status that is always in flux: you enter into different seasons in your life where you are more or less bodily and cognitively able to access those institutions, avenues of social mobility, and so on...

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Stories from the New Aesthetic: Oct 11 at the New Museum

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"This letter was sent to a Russian student by her French friend, who manually wrote the address that she received by e-mail." Mojibake diacritics translated to Cyrillic by the postal employees via The New Aesthetic

On Thursday, October 11, please join us for the upcoming event: Stories from the New Aesthetic:

The New Aesthetic is an ongoing research project by James Bridle, investigating the intersections of culture and technology, history and memory, and the physical and the digital. For this event, Bridle will be joined by Aaron Straup Cope and Joanne McNeil to discuss stories related to these ideas.

James Bridle is a writer, publisher, and technologist. He writes a regular column for the Observer (UK) and his writing has also appeared in Wired, Domus, Icon, and widely online. He speaks worldwide on the intersections of literature, technology, and culture, and writes about what he does at booktwo.org.

Aaron Straup Cope is currently Senior Engineer at the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Before that, he was Senior Engineer at Flickr focusing on all things geo-, machinetag-, and galleries-related between 2004 and 2009. From 2009 to 2011, he was Design Technologist and Director of Inappropriate Project Names at Stamen Design, where he created the prettymaps project.

Joanne McNeil is the editor of Rhizome. She is a 2012 USC Annenberg-Getty Arts Journalism Fellow. Her writing has appeared in Modern Painters, Wired (UK), the Los Angeles Times, and other web and print publications. 

Thursday, October 11th, 2012 7 p.m.
at the New Museum Tickets

For more information on the project, check out Will Wiles' "The Machine Gaze" for Aeon Magazine.

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3D Printed Weaponry

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Meet Defense Distributed, home of the Wiki Weapon — "A collaborative project to create freely available plans for 3D printable guns." They've just been granted $20,000 in funding from an angel investor. As outlined in an explanatory Youtube video, Defense Dist.'s goal is not to arm the populace, but to liberate information. As explained in their video, if the instructions for 3D printed gun are seeded online, then "any bullet becomes a weapon."

It's good that open-source information is Defense Distributed's major goal, because Stratsys, the company that makes the 3D printer used by Defense Dist., seized the printer from Cody Wilson. Producing a whole weapon, claimed Stratsys, would break laws against home weapons manufacturing. In July, Extreme Tech reported on a user named HaveBlue from the AR-15 forum. HaveBlue used a mid-90s era Stratasys brand 3D printer to make the body of a .22-caliber pistol. HaveBlue's creation utilized a commercial chamber fused with a 3D-printed body. Said HaveBlue: "It's had over 200 rounds of .22 through it so far and runs great!" HaveBlue went on to remind readers that manufacturers have been using 3D printing for modeling and design purposes for a while. His gun was simply the first with 3D printed plastic parts to be tested by someone at home.

 

HaveBlue's 3D printed gun.

Anab Jain of Superflux told the magazine Dezeen that Defense Dist. is a symptom of the transforming dynamic between consumers and manufacturers: “The old rules and regulations about who is the designer, who is the manufacturer and who is the distributor change when people have the tools and opportunities to become the designer, manufacturer and distributor themselves."

It's all too easy to imagine a future where rebels or criminals rely on 3D printing to produce weapons ...

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INSERT DISC: a digital flaneur’s guide

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For the traveler who desires a journey through space and time, a visit to Long Island City is highly recommended. The second iteration of Aram Bartholl's DVD Dead Drop project is available at the Museum of the Moving image until October 27th. Titled INSERT DISC (produced in collaboration with Robert Sakrowski), the project presents a journey to the heyday of artist produced interactive CD-ROM's: the 90’s.

⇸ Around the corner from the main entrance of MMI, one will find a CD / DVD sized slot carved in the side of the museum. Come equipped with a blank DVD-R. Insert the disc. After roughly seven minutes, your disc will be returned – its heat sensitive dye freshly encoded with a complex package containing relics of the past.

⇸ After returning to your personal computer, mount the disc on any Mac or PC (Linux or Windows) with at least a 2.2 Ghz processor and 8 Gb of free hard drive space. The DVD contains a virtual disk image (.vdi) virtual machine compatible with Oracle’s free and VirtualBox software. Following the simple setup instructions in the DVD’s README.txt, one will find themselves booting up a Ubuntu desktop...

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Laura Poitras Among 2012 MacArthur Fellows

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Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras is among the 2012 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" award winners, announced yesterday. Her 9/11 Trilogy was included in the 2012 Whitney Biennial film program. My Country, My Country (2006), followed a Sunni Arab doctor running for office in Baghdad. The second film, The Oath (2010) is set in Yemen and Guantanamo. Select footage from her upcoming film on domestic surveillance, which profiles William Binney "a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency who helped design a top-secret program he says is broadly collecting Americans’ personal data" is available to watch on the New York Times' site.

Worth watching her appearance on Democracy Now, discussing how "how she has been repeatedly detained and questioned by federal agents whenever she enters the United States."


As Glenn Greenwald wrote earlier this year:
Poitras is now forced to take extreme steps — ones that hamper her ability to do her work — to ensure that she can engage in her journalism and produce her films without the U.S. Government intruding into everything she is doing. She now avoids traveling with any electronic devices. She uses alternative methods to deliver the most sensitive parts of her work — raw film and interview notes — to secure locations. She spends substantial time and resources protecting her computers with encryption and password defenses. Especially when she is in the U.S., she avoids talking on the phone about her work, particularly to sources. And she simply will not edit her films at her home out of fear — obviously well-grounded — that government agents will attempt to search and seize the raw footage.

That’s the climate of fear created by the U.S. Government for an incredibly accomplished journalist and filmmaker who has never been accused, let alone convicted, of any wrongdoing whatsoever. Indeed, documents obtained ...

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The Download: Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain

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Screenshot of Pond Type interface

This month on The Download featuring an interactive software piece by Brazilian artists Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain.

Pond Type (2012) transforms the QWERTY keyboard into a hauntingly beautiful musical instrument for digital poetry. Inspired by Brazilian concrete poet Augusto de Campos's "Pulsar," the artists Detanico and Lain designed a ripple typeface for an exhibition of the poet's work for the Elisabeth Foundation for the Arts. For The Download, they combined the typeface with sound to create an interactive version of Pond Type.

After selecting any text or poem, the viewer is instructed to type slowly and wait for each word to vanish before typing the next. By deliberately slowing down the urge to type quickly, the artists delay gratification and encourage careful listening.

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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Five Videos: Anahita Razmi's Exile TV

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Five Videos is an online series "hosted" by Rhizome, in collaboration with FACT, responding to the Liverpool Biennial's theme, The Unexpected Guest. Each week throughout the Liverpool Biennial, a new artist will curate five videos about hospitality. This week, Anahita Razmi the open secret that is satellite "exile TV" in Iran.

“Iran: one of the fastest developing consumers markets in the Middle East…” That’s how the video clip “Why advertise on PMC“ starts. PMC is the acronym for Persian Music Channel, an MTV equivalent for the Iranian population. The channel is broadcast via satellite and is very popular. I remember watching it several times with friends when visiting Iran.

The clip “Why advertise on PMC" was uploaded just 4 months ago, a significant time as this is amid threats of war and heavy sanctions on Iran. By highlighting the TV advertising possibilities for western brands in the country, the clip gives a particular insight into Iran’s consumer market and media landscape. At the same time, it is leaving essential things unsaid. Most notably in comparing state TV to satellite TV, it neglects to mention that satellite TV itself is completely illegal in Iran.

Official TV stations in Iran are all state owned and mostly show little entertaining, untempting propaganda. The counterparts to these are “exile” TV stations broadcasting from outside of the country via satellite. PMC is broadcasting from Dubai, other Iranian channels are based in London and California. The list of these channels is long, the audience is large.

Despite their illegality, satellite dishes can be found everywhere in Iran. When I was filming last year on the rooftops in Tehran, I saw a sea of dishes more or less hidden on every roof. Mohammad Rasoulof’s documentary “The Dish”  is a very informative piece to watch about this subject. 

I find this teaser from MBC PERSIA, showing mostly western movies and productions with Farsi subtitles, a very entertaining example of a channel advertising their programming. “You have an opportunity. This is a rebirth,” says George Clooney to the music of David Guetta’s “Titanium.” It might also be seen as a reflection of the producers themselves about Iran’s media reality, as well as the channel’s own working conditions.

The clip also shows that watching satellite TV in Iran might not be so much of an underground political issue as some would like to see it: people want to get entertainment and Hollywood is there to provide it.

Other examples of popular channels fulfilling this need are FARSI1, mainly showing soap operas and game shows, or MANOTO1 that is producing formats like “Googoosh Music Academy” and a Persian version of “Come Dine with Me.”

Even without understanding any Persian, one easily gets what these teasers are about; the formats are standardized and one-to-one resembling western channels.

The decision of the Islamic Republic to ban these channels does not affect their popularity, even though police forces frequently come to private homes and roofs to destroy or take down the satellite dishes.

Furthermore, many channels are forced to repeatedly change their frequencies as the state regularly tries to jam the signals of unwanted media. BBC PERSIAN, a channel broadcasting from London, is very much affected by this chase. This clip was aired as a teaser for the launch of the channel in 2009:

Alongside other formats, the channel is showing news in Farsi, tackling Iranian political issues from a designated non-ideological point of view. Last year, they broadcasted an interview with Hillary Clinton, offering Iranian viewers the opportunity to pose questions via the internet. Also last year, the Iranian authorities arrested six filmmakers, accusing them of having worked for BBC PERSIAN.

Here the fear of the authorities over satellite broadcasting seems to come into play when entertainment is mingling with information:  a fear that — while eating popcorn — the revolution will be televised.

— Anahita Razmi

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