Posts for May 2012

From Basel to Hong Kong, Don’t Miss These Dreamy Exhibitions and Events

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Katja Novitskova and Timur Si-Qin, Installation view at the Center for Curatorial Studies: Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

I'm going to imagine a time in which post-internet megabucks are really rolling in, and I'm equipped with a private Rhizome Vistajet. If that time happened to be this week, I’d be sure to hit up these exhibitions and events, ranging from Katja Novitskova and Timur Si-Qin's upstate New York exhibition to Robin Peckham's new art fair excursions in Hong Kong. Check out the upcoming exhibitions listed below, with a couple outstanding shows not to be missed. 

“Bcc 9: Das Ei ohne Schale.” at Oslo10, Basel, Switzerland
Opening Thursday, May 10th at 7PM.

Is Bcc the new BYOB? Oslo10, a new exhibition space in Kunstfreilager/Dreispitz, just outside of Basel, Switzerland, will host the ninth edition of Bcc. Originated by Aurélia Defrance, Julie Grosche and Aude Pariset, who have also curated this edition, the exhibition format mandates that all artists submit their work digitally, rather than physically. Artists in this round include Harm van den Dorpel, Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff, Stephen Lichty, Sara Ludy, Mélodie Mousset.

Kate Steciw, “Live Laugh Love” at The Green Room, London
Opening Friday May 11th at 6:00pm, runs through June 17

Surprisingly, this is Kate Steciw’s (much belated) first exhibition in Europe. Green Room programmer Ché Zara Blomfield seems to be aggressively bringing the work of American “internet-related” artists to London, her last exhibition mounting the work of Artie Vierkant, and previously showing Petra Cortright.

Rhizome Benefit – New York, NY
May 9th at 7pm, VIP Cocktails with a silent auction and DJ set by Venus X, 9PM, Afterparty with LE1F and Extreme Animals

Alright, this is a shoo-in, but come party with us! Support Rhizome, drink some drinks, and enjoy ...

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Frieze New York: The Art Outside the Tent

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Joshua Callaghan’s Two Dollar Umbrella (2011)

As far as art fairs go, Frieze New York was better than most: the booths were spacious, the tent well lit, and the amenities for visitors excellent. The quality of the work on view, too, was a vast improvement over the first round of fairs this past March; many of the participating galleries brought impressive pieces by both emerging and established artists.

Supplementing the art lining gallery booths inside were a host of works presented outdoors, organized by appointed curators: Frieze Projects, a series of site-specific commissions curated by Cecelia Alemani, and the Sculpture Park curated by Bard CCS director Tom Eccles—technically separate, though physically intermingling with the Frieze Projects commissions.

The Sculpture Park was largely composed of the sorts of dull, oversized abstraction typical of corporate plazas and civic commissions—inoffensive, vaguely industrial, often colourful (Katja Strunz, Gabriel Kuri) or shiny (Tomas Saraceno, Jeppe Hein.) In short: perfectly positioned to move swiftly from the fairgrounds at Randall’s Island to the backyard of some collector’s summer home. Indeed, each work was labelled not only with the artist’s name, title, and date, but also the gallery representing it—all of them participants in the fair—making it essentially an extension of select gallery booths.  

Others read merely as oversized gimmicks. For Subodh Gupta’s Et Tu Duchamp? (2009–2010), the artist translated Duchamp’s famous moustachioed reproduction of the Mona Lisa, L.H.O.O.Q., into three dimensions, casting it as a large-scale bronze. The title of Gupta’s work suggests that his intent was to replicate Duchamp’s gesture of comically appropriating a canonical work—in the twenty-first century, Duchamp is as recognizable as Da Vinci—but Et Tu Duchamp? is less a subversive violation of a masterpiece than a self-aggrandizing, one-note gag. Likewise, Joshua Callaghan’s Two Dollar Umbrella (2011) presents the titular object amplified to monumental proportions; with its loose spokes pointing skyward like Laocoön’s outstretched arm, Callaghan’s pathetic umbrella has its own odd pathos—given the overcast skies during much of the fair’s run, discarded umbrellas littering the city’s street were a common sight—but elevating an everyday inconvenience to the status of mythic tragedy is neither new nor compelling.

Works that engaged the setting more directly fared somewhat better...

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Shu Lea Cheang on Brandon

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Shu Lea Cheang, Brandon, Bigdoll interface, 1998

In 1998, the Guggenheim Museum launched its first web-based art commission, Shu Lea Cheang's Brandon. Over the course of a year, the collaborative, dynamic piece would look at the complexity of gender, sexuality, and identity through the life and death of Brandon Teena/Teena Brandon, a Nebraska youth who was raped and murdered after his biological sex as a woman came to light in 1993.

Oft-cited in new media art history as one of the first widely recognized pieces of net art, the Brandon site has been offline for the last year or so; the Guggenheim plans to restore the work in the very near future.

I spoke to the artist about Brandon, 14 years after its launch: 


YH: How did you first come to conceptualize Brandon? What were the circumstances for its commission?

SLC: Brandon was conceived at a time that I moved from actual space to cyber/virtual, claiming myself a cyber-nomad. It was around the mid-90s, and there was high hope for a super-highway, for a virtual world where race/gender does not matter any more. (I think it was the ad copy of MCI communications?). Meanwhile, two articles came out at Village Voice, one about Brandon Teena's rape/murder case by Donna Minkowitz and the other Julian Dibbell's A Rape in Cyberspace. I had been experimenting with boundary crossing between the actual (state/nation) and virtual (anonymous/avatars), which needed to take up a durational performative format.

By 1995, I wrote out a proposal which was to be a one-year web narrative project following my feature film Fresh Kill (1994). At the time, I guess it was unusual to conceive a durational web work, to be unfolded by episodes, by staged virtual performance 'events' supported by actual space installation. At the time, David Ross was the director of the Whitney Museum. He had the vision to expand the museum into cyberspace. Curator John Hanhardt (who has exhibited three of my major works: color schemes (a solo show in 1990), Those Fluttering Objects of Desire (1993, Whitney Biennial), and Fresh Kill (1995, Whitney Biennial)) took up the curation of Brandon. By 1998, Hanhardt had moved to the Guggenheim Museum and took Brandon with him. At the Guggenheim, Matthew Drutt, Associate Curator for Research, helped realize the curatorial admist the Guggenheim's venture into the virtual museum with Asymptote Architects...

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Art from Outside the Googleplex: An Interview with Andrew Norman Wilson

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The Inland Printer – 164, 2012

Through webinars, installations, power points, performances, audio meditations and videos, Andrew Norman Wilson's interventions into the brands and infrastructures of Silicon Valley and other worldwide tech corporations question the roles of labor, power and capital; instigations, integral to understanding the movement of information economies in the global marketplace as well as the power relations that emerge from within them.  

ScanOps, titled after the internal department for Google's onsite book scanning contractors, is Wilson's latest series of works that reveal the software distortions and hands of ScanOps employees found in the photographic scanning site.

During June, ScanOps will be on view at both American Medium in New York City and Document in Chicago. A ScanOps subscription service and book will be published by Art Metropole later this year.

 


 

LD: Workers Leaving the Googleplex, responded to two versions of the film Workers Leaving the Factory: one by Harun Farocki and the other, the original by the Lumière brothers. The premise of your own video of course was to make a work that captured the shift in labor from the industrial proletariat into the informational proletariat. The yellow badge workers were presented in parallel to Lumières' workers and have become the focal point of another series of works, ScanOps.  Could you first talk about the meta-hierarchies that existed at Google, specifically the perks, benefits, opportunities or lack thereof that existed between various color badges?

ANW: Using Workers Leaving the Googleplex as an illustration of these hierarchies, white, red, and green badge workers on the left side of the image are seen passing by, entering, and exiting a variety of buildings at the Googleplex. Some of them ride the Google loaner bikes, some of them enter a luxury limo shuttle headed towards San Francisco. Some of ...

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Artist Profile: Bunny Rogers

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Sister Unn's, 2011

A lot of your work seems to explore the transitional moments of adolescence into adulthood through sexual introductions like Dotyk and Waiting for Anne, as well as through sentimental mementos like the embroidered letterman jackets of Sister Jackets and even the webpage Dad’s Big Socks. With this type of memorialization, there’s also this recurrent fascination with animals as self-identifying symbols: Bunny Rogers, PonesA Very Young RiderLambslut, etc. I wonder where these animal identities intersect with this loss of naïve youth and what your relationship to them is within these transgressive adolescent shifts? Why concentrate on the prepubescent stage? What role do animals play within this shift? 

I am interested in deconstructing the comfort felt regarding how we view the transition from girlhood to adulthood.  I do not think I concentrate on the prepubescent stage, at least in the biological sense of the word. When my work is categorized with that term it sets up a discussion of a socially-familiar understanding of what [female] prepubescence means, the definition of which is confusing and contradictory. We build value systems based on that understanding. These terms are applied in an assessment of my work and me. Some of my works try to make these terms unstable, by questioning how we arrive at them. The challenge is how to broaden the grounds on which these concepts are positioned as is evident by the limitations of phrasing we have even when trying to interpret the works investigating these concerns.  I see a lot of overlap in mass culture’s sexualization and exploitation of children and animals. 

i.e. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hix7Ie-IlYU [Dance Precisions / Single Ladies / Pomona]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RP19fnff_c [The Chipettes - Single Ladies [Put A Ring On It]

This ...

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Screen. Image. Text.

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Tauba Auerbach, RGB Colorspace Atlas. (2011)

I once heard Leon Botstein, the President of Bard College, compare books to stairs. “They’ve invented the elevator,” he said, “but sometimes you still walk up.” There are countless discussions on the future of the book—they are picked up in magazine feature articles, in trade conferences, and in academic roundtables—and in all of these, the future of the printed word seems certain: in a generation or two, print will become obsolete. In this age of changing habits, if print is the stairs and screens the elevator, then what could the escalator be?

This moment in time, and the awareness of the possibilities electronic publishing grant, affect the manner in which we relate to texts in a way that is under constant scrutiny. But images prove to be a different problem. The separation between text and images has a long history. In fact, images have posed a challenge for publishers from the early days of print—be it the cost of printing them; the payments for illustrators, photographers, and designers; or simply contextualizing the images and their relation to the text—but they have become crucial to our understanding of texts. When the Illustrated London News, the world’s first illustrated weekly newspaper, began publishing in 1842, the relationship between the text and the engraved images in the paper was such a novelty that it took the weekly about a decade to stake a hold in that era’s news distribution channels. Once it did, it became one of the most widely circulated newspapers in Victorian Britain. The marriage of text and the engraved image marked a new level of fluency in communication via images, which does away with staples of early print day, even though the separation between image and text lasted for many decades later, and can still be traced today. (Think, for example, of the plate pages, where color images were glued onto the paper, so that the book or magazine would be printed in black and white, adding the color pages later in a way that saves money on printing, but also generates a wholly different relationship with images. These are often associated with encyclopedias, but a large number of artist’s monographs retained this design even after color printing became widely accessible, creating the odd text-image relationship where an artwork is described to the most minute detail, with a comment in parenthesis directing the reader to “color plate 3,” where the mentioned piece could be seen in glossy print.)

The generations to come of age in the days of digital publishing and reading on screens have a much more complicated relationship with images. The human eye-brain system is capable of reading a large number of high quality images in a matter of split seconds, and this, alongside the hand-eye coordination—think about the pleasure of a touch screen versus inky newspaper pages—is rapidly developing to mirror our changing habits of consuming information. So much so that the contemporary heightened sensitivity to the way we read images can lead to an ability to, at times, ignore the quality of the images when inserted into a text, the way our brain glides over a typo in the flow of reading. The way we read images online is only one thing these magazines deal with in the process of publishing, but it is surely an element that dictates a large portion of the reading experience of these publications.

 

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You'll (N)ever Watch Alone

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Still from Art21 Telethon, May 2012

There's performance: immediate, rehearsed and present; then there's television: distant, canned, and broadcast. One offspring of their coupling is the telethon. 'Telethon' became a recognized portmanteau of 'television' and 'marathon' with Jerry Lewis' aid in the 1950s. His telethons for the Muscular Dystrophy Association ran and ran: there'd be a song, a celebrity, a mail carrier, a joke, banter and filler. The marathon viewing sessions kept attention on the cause at hand by providing various entertainment in service of one goal: to raise awareness and funds for the organization. The camera was always on: in order to look away, the viewer had to hit the clicker to change the view (or turn off the box). Inside, the telethon continued.

Recently, Art21 held their own artist-led telethon. Hosted by Ronnie Bass, who had explored the format in 2007 in order to raise funds for his Performa TV piece, the event came to be after the NEA cut funding to the PBS art documentary program. Artists replaced entertainers to create some nine hours of durational broadcast performance streaming from Algus Greenspon Gallery to the Art21 site. It was telethon to its core, making up what it lacked in big-production finesse with performative sincerity, intimacy, and palpable camaraderie.

The telethon as a fundraiser makes less viable sense today: crowd-funding options are less time-consuming and presentation-intensive. What remains is its value as a style: the telethon as an experience that fills time with performance, and an endurance event in service of an objective.

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Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: Television

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X1795 by Max Capacity


A collection of items from the Prosthetic Knowledge Tumblr archive, around the theme of 'Television' 

 



de/Rastra by Kyle Evans 



An old television set is converted into a live performance instrument, an oscillographic synthesizer which "... allows a performer to generate visualizations intrinsic to cathode ray tube technology while simultaneously creating the acoustic analog of the displayed imagery ... " Project Home Page  (PK

LG Plasma Arc Display Panel - Burn Baby Burn 


A burned-out Plasma television, applied with excessive voltage, displays a slow yet spectacular visual disintegration which would make Gustav Metzger proud. (PK)



fuba_recorder


Japanese automated glitch image project, running since January 2009, creates random images from mixing various Japanese television feeds and uploads the results to it's Flickr account.

"I am a robot for generating abstract-images of Japanese TV programs requested by my followers"

クッキンアイドル アイ!マイ!まいん!「特集 



Flickr / Twitter @fuba_recorder 


1001 TV Sets (End Piece) 


Installation by David Hall at the Ambika P3 Gallery, London. Using television sets of various ages, all were running up to the 18th April which was the switch-off point for analogue television signals in the UK.



Here is a video from the University of Westminster of the piece - wait till the 2 minute 19 mark (PK)  


Television Test Cards From Around The World 


A Russian Livejournal entry from 2009 features a collection of television tuning displays (unnecessary for modern televisions) from around the world, which we can now appreciate for their geometric aesthetics.






More (in Russian) here. (PK)

Other Notables:

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Constant Dullaart on the Upcoming Performance "Terms of Service"

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Contant Dullaart: Premiere of Terms of Service will see the artist release a new series of works as a response to new Terms of Service conditions of several internet services.  The event is part of the New Silent Series at the New Museum on Thursday, May 24th, 2012 at 7 p.m. Rhizome spoke with Dullart over email in advance of the event:

Rhizome: The performance you will premiere on the 24th relates to terms of services of various websites. You've been working online for a significant amount of time, why are you focused on the politics of this now?

CD: A while ago a good friend compared http://therevolvinginternet.com to a (vertically) revolving library building. To continue with that analogy, my intention with this series of works was not to write a book to put in the library, but to change the perspective on that particular library (in this case Google Inc). The seeming lack of political positioning of these large corporate entities is something that benefits the approachability, the cleanliness of the image, emphasizes fake neutrality and the overall reputation that the companies build to gain the users' trust . But this does not mean that very important political decisions aren't being made by these commercially oriented multinational companies, involving everyone's access to information. The interests of corporations supplying tools that are used by everyone like water, but are being designed to make a profit have fascinated me for a long time. And the politics behind it become even more clear through vaguely described Terms of Services open to legal interpretation. Do we need to feel responsible for our online behavior in a context that is defined by enormous commercial interests, why wouldn't we stretch, bend, brake and play with these strange new laws that were put into action without any democratic process? 

Rhizome: So much of your work, whether it is a website, video or curatorial project as in Lost and Found contains a performance component. Can you describe your approach to performance, and how it will manifest in Terms of Service?

CD: Like JODI I too like to think of online artworks as sharing traits with performative art, as if the computers on the network are actively mediating the users experience in a manner that I designed and set to work, but have no final control over. As if I instructed an actor to go out into the streets and converse with strangers in a semi scripted manner. Most of my online works involve a sequence of actions that take place mostly within a personal atmosphere (at home or in an office cubicle) on a computer. And these activities function clearly and inseparably within a larger social and technical context (the rest of the internet), mostly within a short period of time where the technical options were available for these works to exist. Next to this my physical relationship to this ever evolving technical medium landscape interests me. What is my position in this whole thing, am i just an active user that is slaving away regurgitating content through these brave new media, or am I seeing myself, my online representation as material to perform with? And how does my body actually relate to all of this dissociation juggling? Can I humanize this perfectly designed fake neutral corporate online space? And what is my position in this social commodification process? Mixing the performative behaviors of online art, performing with online content, actual live performing, and performing on the social web, within the grey zones of many terms of service agreements.

 

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Two Poems by Cathy Park Hong

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Engines within the Throne

 

We once worked as clerks

            scanning moth-balled pages

into the cloud, all memories

outsourced except the fuzzy

            childhood bits when

 

I was an undersized girl with a tic,

they numbed me with botox.

            I was a skinsuit

of dumb expression, just fingerprints

over my shamed

 

            all I wanted was snow

to snuff the sun blades to shadow spokes,

muffle the drum of freeways, erase

            the old realism

 

but this smart snow erases

            nothing, seeps everywhere,

the search engine is inside us,

the world is our display

 

            and now every industry

has dumped cubicles, desktops,

fax machines into developing

            worlds where they stack

them as walls against

 

what disputed territory 

            we asked the old spy who drank

with Russians to gather information 

the old-fashioned way,

 

now we have snow sensors,

            so you can go spelunking

in anyone’s minds, 

let me borrow your child

 

thoughts, it’s benign surveillance,

            I can burrow inside, find a cave

pool with rock colored flounder,

and find you, half-transparent

with depression.

 

A Wreath of Hummingbirds

 

I suffer a different kind of loneliness.

From the antique ringtones of singing

wrens, crying babies, and ballad medleys,

my ears have turned

to brass.

 

They resurrect a thousand extinct birds,

Emus, dodos, and shelducks, though some,

like the cerulean glaucous macaw,

could not survive the snow.  How heavily

they roost on trees in raw twilight.

 

I will not admire those birds,

not when my dull head throbs, I am plagued

by sorrow, a green hummingbird eats me alive

with its stinging needle beak.

 

Then I meet you.  Our courtship is fierce

in a prudish city that scorns our love,

as if the ancient laws of miscegenation

are still in place.  I am afraid

I will infect you

 

after a virus clogs the gift economy:

booming ...

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