Posts for August 2012

Thoughts on Wikipedia's Future

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A page from David Horvitz's A Wikipedia Reader,2009

“Very few people are being promoted into the humble, hard-working positions which make Wikipedia work.”
- Robinson Meyer via The Atlantic

Earlier this month Wikipedia held its annual summit in Washington, DC. Afterwards, The Atlantic summarized the event in an article outlining how Wikipedia is slowly running out of admins to edit the site’s content. A trend is emerging. Fewer people are applying, and the current editors are slowly leaving. The long-term future has a flicker of uncertainty. To spark some discussion, I surveyed four artists and writers about the decline. We can all speculate what effects a decline in editor participation will have on Wikipedia as a global knowledge-base, but what are the implications for artists who use it as a tool for research and making work?

Lori Emerson
A healthy creative practice in the 21st century demands a baseline level of unencumbered access not just to information but to a broad range of cultural practices in general. While some of the most successful artists of the digital age are, as Mark Amerika has put it, 'remixologists' of information and culture, such a practice isn't sustainable without grassroots archives to draw from such as Wikipedia. For my own work, Wikipedia has long been a crucial entryway to information on the history of computing and digital art - Wikipedia pages on these topics are remarkably detailed and informative in ways often unmatched by books or print-based articles. I fear that the potential decline of Wikipedia would not only severely impact creative-critical practices but it also indicates more broadly that while we have made tremendous strides in opening access to information, we do not yet have any strategies in place for a long-term curatorial practice of maintaining and preserving this access ...

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Artist Profile: Simone Giordano

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Bete, 2011 oil on canvas on board 5 pieces 25cm x 15cm

What do you feel is revealed in your utilization of rigid digital pixelated form in the medium of painting?

A constant in my oeuvre is my attempt to create works that have several layers of meaning, most of my choices are open to multiple interpretation and I think none of them are wrong. My paintings want to be the starting point for a thought rather than the embodiment of a thought. First of all, rigid digital pixelated forms attempt to create an order, give meaning to chaos, bring clarity and simplification. It is a tribute to the wonder of color, too, its power, its importance in our life. My colors in a pixelated grid most of the time represent objects, but only if you look at them from the right distance, as you move closer to them the only thing they portray are colors: how they work together and how they react between themselves, how they affect us and how we react with them. But those forms are also something that carries us back to the most synthetic, most artificial part of out lives. I refer, no matter how obsolete the definition, to the virtual sphere of our experience, a part of out lives now merged. It seemed like something I had to talk about.

You've stated that "Consoles, joysticks, cables and wires that litter the desks as a contemporary reinterpretation of the genre scene, aiming to capture the climax of the information society, to consider a digital alternative point of view and tell what lies behind his cold surface, because if you stop to it what we expect is just a miserable future." I wonder if you can talk a little bit about this miserable future ...

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Thank You to Our July 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

  • Asia Society Museum - Current exhibition of ink paintings by Wu Guanzhong, considered one of the most important Chinese artists of the twentieth century, April 24th - August 5th
  • Parrish Museum - The Parrish Road Show is  an off-site creative summer series that will feature artists' projects and related programs that will be sited in atypical public spaces.
  • Art Southampton – The Premiere International Contemporary & Modern Art Fair in the Hamptons, July 26th - 30th
  • Saatchi Online – Online gallery that connects artists and art lovers directly

Network Sponsors

  • Art Systems – Professional art gallery, antiques and collections management software
  • The Wassaic Project - Summer Festival - Free annual celebration of art, music, dance, and community featuring over 100 artists, 25 bands, film screenings, and dance performances, August 3rd - 5th

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

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The Download: Elna Frederick

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Still from Art Gallery

This month The Download features Elna Frederick's screensaver triptych Birth, Art Gallery, Death (2012).

Birth, Art Gallery, Death is a minimalist triptych in the form of a screensaver package. With white as life and black as death, each screen saver panel marks a stage in the cycle of consciousness. Birth is the genesis of consciousness through a birth canal of white arriving out of darkness. Art Gallery, where black is conspicuously absent, is the finite enclosure of a lifetime. Its contents are the thoughts and creations arising in consciousness; representations of life. Death, represented by black slowly descending upon a white screen, is ultimately a representation of life.

The Download is accessible to all Rhizome members. Start your digital art collection by becoming a member today.

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Interface Aesthetics: An Introduction

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Image from CMD SHIFT 3 .NET by Emilio Gomeriz

Everyday we use digital tools to create, edit, and document our work. We click fastidiously into the graphical user interface (GUI) of applications, seeing expected results while trying to ignore the friction of bad design, failed UX, and glitches. Most actions are conducted successfully and the interface holds its transparent position. But despite the GUI’s seemingly innocuous presence, its aesthetic leaches its way into our own. How we view our creative process and documentation is minutely and incrementally shifted by the frame of the interfaces we routinely use.

Douglas Engelbart's 1968 demo of NLS (online system)

The current paradigm of the user interface had its first introduction on December 9th in 1968 when Douglas Engelbart demoed his famous NLS (online system) at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in held at the Convention Center in San Francisco, CA. Engelbart and his team at Stanford had an innovative vision driven by desires to improve the ways people communicate and interact with each other and computers. It was the public debut of the mouse. The work produced by his group went on to inspire the most basic interactions used in Xerox’s Star graphical user interface and almost every operating system since...

 

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Introducing the Rhizome Tumblr

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We're pleased to announce that Rhizome is now on Tumblr! Over the last 16 years, Rhizome has amassed an incredible collection of images, videos, and more from memebers of our community. On RHIZOME DOT ORG we we'll bring to light this great content and more right to your dashboard.

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Artist Profile: Michele Abeles

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Red Rock Cigarettes Newspaper Body Wood Lycra Bottle

Your Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: series makes inventive use of the male nude. Many 
of the images seem to have a humorous consciousness of the history of
the female nude in painting and photography. Can you talk a little bit
about your use of the male nude and the context in which you place it?

When I decided to start working in way that combined the nude and the still life genre, I quickly found I wasn’t comfortable treating women as objects, so within that series I worked exclusively with men. Using male bodies has the advantage of the fact that the male is the agreed-upon neutral subjectivity for our culture—a “default” setting. The male body therefore can be a blank slate in a way the female can’t.

As for painting, in Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: I was primarily focused on the nude in popular media and not really thinking about the history of painting. Of course painting has informed photography throughout its history, so a certain dialogue between the two is built in.

What's the process behind your Recent Work (2012)? Do you consider these a post-camera form of photography as opposed to a more traditional collage?


In the pictures you’re referring to, about 10% of the elements in the pictures are appropriated or solely generated by computer, without a camera.  Examples include the grid backgrounds in Reverse Wallpaper and Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: and the two appropriated images of football players in the latter picture. What appear in the rest of the series are things I photographed specifically for this body of work or for the previous series--I appropriated my own work. What I did here actually questions what “postcamera ...

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Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: Computed Fashion

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Virtual Clothing Touch 'Heatmap' Feature Of CLO 3D

A collection of items from the Prosthetic Knowledge Tumblr archive and around the web, around the theme of 'Fashion'.

 




Glitch Embroidery by Nukeme 

Clothing with embroidered logos whose sewing machine file has been purposefully corrupted, creating glitched outputs: 

 






CLO 3D 

South Korean 3D CAD software developed specifically for industry-class clothing design:






CLO 3D is Easy-to-Use 3D Apparel CAD, enables you to design, to view 3D samples in real-time and to communicate easily with partners. It is possible to create a virtual sample photo-realistically within 1 hour using your 2D pattern. You can send 3D clothing data in network to colleagues, and it�ll enable you to communicate effectively with your team members across the globe. You can view in real-time the impromptu changes in patterns, designs, colors, fabric design with others

[PK Link]

Netstyles

Limited edition T-Shirts designed by net artists:



Triangulation Blog has an interview with Netstyles' creator, Stirling Crispin: 

What is the idea behind Netstyles? How did this project come to your mind and when did you start it? Where you inspired by the bad smelling boy tumblr or other artists?
Netstyles is a digital aesthetics fashion line which translates virtual art into physical form. The clothes act as hyperlinks in physical space to emerging concepts developing in contemporary culture. I launched Netstyles on February 6th of 2012 but had been researching and doing tests since at least August of 2011. Many artists working today have adopted a post-internet sensibility and create far more digital objects than physical objects. Netstyl.es was created to provide a common platform for contemporary artists to experiment with, and make physical what would otherwise remain as digital forms. Bad Smelling Boy and Body By Body were two influences, both of which are included in ...

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The Piracy Project at Printed Matter Aug 17-18

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A pirated Vargas Llosa novel bought in Lima, Peru in 2010, that went on sale a week before the official version arrived in bookshops.


On Aug 17th at Printed Matter in New York, The Piracy Project is holding a panel selecting books from the HELP/LESS exhibition to include in their collection, along with Rhizome editor Joanne McNeil, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento (Clancco), David Senior (MoMA Library), and Anthony Huberman from the Artist's Institute. The following day, they will host a workshop making copies of the books selected to go back to their library in London:

The Piracy Project (Andrea Francke & AND Publishing) will host a panel discussion and book pirating session on August 17th, 6-8, and Saturday August 18th, 3-7PM, respectively.

In a public presentation/discussion, Andrea Francke and Eva Marie Weinmayr will introduce The Piracy Project. Panelists Joanne McNeil (Rhizome), Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento (Clancco) and David Senior (MoMA Library) and will present a selection of books from the exhibition that they would like to see inducted into the Piracy Project library, negotiating concepts of originality, copying, moral issues and taste as they defend their selections. At the end of the conversation, 3 books will be chosen as the winners.

On the following day, Saturday, August 18th, Eva and Andrea will make copies of the winning books to bring back to London to add to their collection. Anyone who would like to help us in the process of making the books is invited to join and find out more about the project.

 

right: No se lo digas a nadie by Jaime Bayly; left pirated copy with two extra chapters added by an anonymous writer. 


Check out the essay The Piracy Project contributed to Rhizome last spring, The Impermanent Book:

In the context of the Piracy Project, which we initiated ...

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When Machines Speak

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On display at The New Museum until September 30th, is the exhibition Ghosts in the Machine. Curated by Massimiliano Gioni and Gary Carrion-Murayari, the exhibition is described as having been “conceived as an encyclopedic cabinet of wonders: bringing together an array of artworks and non-art objects to create an unsystematic archive of man’s attempt to reconcile the organic and the mechanical.”1 Of the myriad works presented in the exhibition, there is one humble object that in so many ways embodies the complex history of technical abstraction, and the externalization of that which is inherently human. This object is called the VODER.

Short for Voice Operation DEmonstratoR, the VODER was an instrument or tool that provided its operator the ability to synthesize human speech. It easily predates the first cases of computerized speech synthesis, and represents the distinct end of an era for a particular type of metonymic device, along with the beginning of a whole other era of synthesized speech. The year was 1929. As the story goes, Bell Labs researcher Homer Dudley experienced an epiphanic moment, while laying in a hospital bed.

 

A pioneering researcher of voice communications technologies, Dudley was working to develop more efficient methods of voice transmission that could make better use of the Bell System’s bandwidth. His eureka moment was the realization that the human mechanisms of speech (the vocal cords, mouth, teeth, tongue and lips), resembled the mechanics of radio transmission2: the vocal chords create high-frequency vibrations that serve essentially as a carrier wave to the data encoded by the articulations of the mouth. He would go on to spearhead the development of  technology that enabled the invention of a device called the Vocoder3. By breaking speech down into ten low frequency bands, the Vocoder was able to send transmissions requiring far less bandwidth than the full spectral information produced by the telephone. By the mid-30s the team at Bell Labs had developed these technologies to successful ends, but would not see implementation outside of the lab for another decade or so.

 

 

It was this initial work on the Vocoder that led Dudley down a winding path toward the VODER. The key distinction between the Vocoder and VODER is that while the Vocoder was a tool through which to process speech, the VODER was a instrument with which one could synthesize speech. The Vocoder required its operator to only turn a few knobs, and speak into a microphone. The VODER was an instrument in a wholly other sense, providing fourteen keys, a bar controlled by the operator's wrist, and a foot pedal. The Voder was not spoken to – it was performed, or played. The operator's speech impulses would bypass their destination of the vocal cords and mouth, instead manifesting themselves through their hands, wrist and foot, and finally through the manipulation of the VODER’s controls. Complex combinations of keys would produce the requisite components of speech that a given letter, word, and sentence is composed of. The foot pedal controlled pitch, providing the essential subtle variations of intonation. The resultant sounds approached that of modern speech synthesis. Computers would not meet the expressive abilities of the VODER for another twenty years.

 

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