Posts for November 2012

Scenes from the London 3D Printshow

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Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, Digital Natives (2012)

“The internet changed the world in the 1990s, the world is about to change again,” read much of the promotional literature for the recent 3D Printshow in London. The commercial exhibitors might have benefited from a far more modest tag line, but the art work exhibited, separate from the main trade section of the show, gave much new to think about regarding the the relationship between technology and craft.

 Frederik de Wilde, M1ne IIII (2012)

I was immediately intrigued by the two sculptural objects on display by Frederik de Wilde. The cobalt chrome models had been printed from data gathered from Belgian coal mines. They presented themselves as futuristic objects with a link to Europe's industrial heritage. The representations of the coal mines came to the 3D Printshow as seemingly abstract objects but, were actually formed by a much more political process. It had been a laborious process for de Wilde to get access to the data. He remarked that being granted permission to use a data source as an artist is almost an art form in itself. The Belgian government are protective over the information as the mines contain elements of interest to multinationals and other nations. De Wilde was not permitted in the work to reveal the location of the mines and had to abstract the forms so that interested parties could not gain commercial advantage. The custodians of the data had a large say in what the outcome of the piece would be. This is an intriguing collaborative process if it can be considered as such. The models of the coal mines had been stacked inside each other to create fragile vessels, that also further abstracted the context of the data. The production values of both objects were also noteworthy. I ...

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The Download: >get >put - an exhibition download

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Screen shot of >get >put – an exhibition download (2012)

This month, The Download presents >get >put – an exhibition download (2012) an installation of digital compositions produced by Alexandra Gorczynski, A. Bill Miller, Benjamin Farahmand, Giselle Zatonyl, Derek Frech, and Travess Smalley in tandem with their physical pieces for the exhibition >get >put at little berlin in Philadelphia, PA

>get >put is an exploration of the interplay between the physical, social and digital spaces of networked culture. Installed as a series of digital compositions anchored in spatiotemporal objects, the work focuses around the fundamental shared behaviors of ‘downloading’ and ‘uploading’ that support our networked world. The exhibition exists in two parts – as digital compositions installed in HTML for this download, and as physical pieces produced for the exhibition’s installation.

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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Artist Profile: Jesse Darling

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iKea [Stockholm Syndrome], Single-channel video, LCD TV screen, 2012

Can you talk about the body of work you've just finished? Where do you see yourself going from here?

My solo show (at Arcadia_Missa), Stockholm Syndrome and Other System Failures, felt like a manifesto as opposed to a showcase or retrospective. It was kind of a show within a show, a meta-installation; the work sat on plinths and IKEA cabinets placed alongside each other, and everything was painted thickly in shitty white vinyl emulsion (I feel like white paint is interesting as a symbol of structural violence - institutionalisation, gentrification, erasure). There were some discrete works in there - Padded Cell (Sultan), Please Let This Be Real, iKea, There's A Little Pre-911 Myspace In All of Us. But the other stuff on show was just what was generated in the labor of putting it all together: tools and detritus. The broom, the beer trolley, the paint pot. I didn't want to clean it up. I didn't want to make the distinction. Everything had a museum card and a price tag: post-fordism on speedy drugs [for enhanced pleasure and better performance]. I've had my blue period, like, my Facebook period, and I think I'm just about done with IKEA, but I'm still interested in the tension between the production of an art object and the collateral damage (material, financial, emotional) of that production process. I guess in my case the art object is an analogue for the subject in the world. Maybe even a self-portrait.

Your Tumblr is a great repository of images, videos, and texts that seem to commingle and collide in a way reminiscent of Benjamin's Arcades. Of course, there's something inherent in the structure and aesthetic of Tumblr that invites that comparison ...

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Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: Web Toys

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Online browser-based projects which you can play or create with from the Prosthetic Knowledge Tumblr archive:


 



YATTA!

Developed by Emilio Gomariz and Kim Asendorf (under the guise MAADONNA), you can drag an image from your desktop into the page to be transformed into a matrix of animated icons. There are various sets including classic animated emoticons (both Western and Japanese) and sprite blocks from old Nintendo games (such as Super Mario Brothers, pictured above).

You can try it out for yourself here.
[PK Link

Neticones


Similar to YATTA! is this piece which can convert your image into a matrix made up of Facebook icons (Webcam needed).

Try it out here.
PK Link

Streetview Stereographic


This webtoy takes Google Streetview photographic images and turns them into 'Little Worlds' style fisheye panoramas. It has even been used to create videos, here by Halcob

You can try it out here
[PK Link
]

ASCII Streetview




Another Streetview project, this one turns it's photographic panoramas into ASCII text characters (including new data which is captured inside buildings)

Texter




Made by Tim Holam, this tool allows you to draw with words, sentences and paragraphs. You can choose whatever text you wish to use, change it's colour, and save the results.


You can try it out here and view Tim's other projects here.

WebcamMesh


Fun webcam toy by Felix Turner turns your visual feed into a trippy 3D mesh, running on HTML5 in your browser (Note: Only works with Chrome and Opera).


Try it out here
[PK Link]

Webcam Displacement



Another webcam toy, this by Mr.doob (aka Ricardo Cabello) which turns the visual feed into pseudo-3D forms (Chrome required).


Try it out here
[PK Link]

Other Links:

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Artist Profile: Amalia Ulman

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Weeping Mountain (2010)




What prompted you to take an anthropological or almost ethnographic approach to studying the lifestyles of (in your words) contemporary middle class Southern Europeans? How do you find it to be a helpful or destabilizing methodology for subverting what might more typically be discussed as issues of class and taste?

Most of my contemporaries whose work I enjoy the most are American and I always felt like there wasn't too much of a discourse regarding Europe, especially not about countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece - their lower middle classes, youth and the NINI generation; because of their aesthetics being considered as bland, boring and unappealing.

Their lack of exoticism was the reason I started to feel attracted to these topics. As someone with dual-nationality, in England everyone would always try to exploit the Latin-American side of me and, even though my upbringing took place in Spain, this fact was always to be hidden and neglected in favour of an exotizised biography. Because Spain is a boring country, with most of it's population living on a welfare system which doesn't even come from its own government but from an idealised Europe, where youth is forever studying due to unemployment and lack of prospects, where everything is a simulacra. After being forced to drive my attention to an idealised, flashy and colourful idea of the third world, I decided to focus on duller representations of the second world, mainly because it is what I experienced throughout my life, what I know about and what I feel in the right to analyse.

I'm interested in class differences: how they affect social interaction, emotions, attraction and relations. I'm fascinated by class imitation, con artistry, and how humans utilise fashion to define themselves within a circle ...

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Guide to Future-Present Archetypes Part 5: Schematic Maps

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UCSD robot mouse.

When attempting to map out the Future-Present, there is not just one map to consider; there are three. These three categorical types of map—our mental maps, symbolic maps, and broken maps--are each a schematic layer in our effort to perceive the world, and it is in their dissonance that the world actually exists. We must identify not only what these maps are, but what they are when they fail. In the fractures, one sees the spidering web of weaknesses, the many possible scenarios of rupture that select without warning. Reality is unpredictable, bursting from its constraining archetypes. And yet it is uncannily similar to all the breaks we’ve seen before, like a river delta resembling a tree.

The first category of map resides somewhere in the brain, perhaps in the hippocampus. It is through these networks that our neurology gives us a sense of space that we might try to express, record, and share with others. In studies performed on mice, “place fields” have been identified in their hippocampal neurons. Everytime the mouse passes through a particular known place in its terrain, a burst of action potential fires through the same neurons. We know less about the human brain, but it is clear that our hippocampus is important to forming memories, and that larger hippocampi correlate with people who have more detailed place knowledge, London cab drivers, for example. Somewhere, lurking inside the chemical differences between the inside and outside of neurons, in the minor voltages and in the ever-changing and evolving cell pattern of our neuroanatomy, is a material record of what we mean when we sense our geography. We cannot read this map— we can only think it. We express this map’s imperfections via our senses. When this map fails, we feel lost.


The second map is spoken aloud, in the possibility of uttering a symbolic map. Humans are never content at forming schema and just keeping them to themselves. Our schemas are meant to be shared, explained, inscribed, and signified. But the topology of these symbolic maps are as complicated and multifaceted as our neurology. It was Alfred Korzybski who constructed the phrase so relevant to our contemporary times, as the second part of a statement first spoken in 1931:

A) A map may have a structure similar or dissimilar to the structure of the territory...

B) A map is not the territory.

...

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Five Videos: Angelo Plessas' Materialization

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Since the early days of the web, some of us have tried to re-contextualize materiality in the vast territory that is the internet landscape. But nowdays, it does not sound irrational to point out that online artifacts, like webpages, gifs, bots, software, or applications have material properties. Digital "objects" are physical because they are embedded either in "physical" and tangible containers such bits and bytes in local hard drives somewhere in middle America, or they take up server space in the cloud of virtual sandboxes during their journey of uploading or downloading.

Tim Berners-Lee envisioned the semantic web as the “‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize." In other words, the visionary founder of the World Wide Web was saying that the semantic web will enable users to find, share, and combine information more easily. Our machines are the intelligent agents. Since then, we all became hospitable to these "intelligent agents" using them to search for online content. Each one of us is linked with images, with associated stories, which are building a mental scape responding to our emotions.

The selection of these videos are an amalgam of these notions, offering a metaphorical and poetic view on materialization and existence either by their aesthetics, their creative process, or their conceptual meaning. Watching them in this sequence, the departure point is nature as physical reality continuing more spiritually with more metaphysical notions of life.


"The Solar Film" (excerpt) by Saul + Elaine Bass



An excerpt from the short movie created by the famous designer and his wife. A thoughtful and beautiful film about the sun and its meaning for the future. Although a film about energy and technology can be didactic or mundane, the directors did not use enviromental cliches and propaganda. Instead they used fascinating images which conveyed positive messages and thinking...

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Drone's Eye View: A Look at How Artists are Revealing the Killing Fields

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Jaar, Yemen, October 18 2012 / 7-9 killed.
Image from Dronestagram by James Bridle

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, has become one of the most potent weapons of contemporary warfare. Remotely controlled by operators thousands of miles away from the theatre of war, drones carry out aerial attacks which leave hundreds of people dead. The increasing amount of ‘collateral damage’ from US drone strikes on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, recently lead prominent politician, Imran Khan, to lead a high-profile protest against their use.

Drone Vision by Trevor Paglen

Artists have been actively documenting the impact of the use of drones in warfare for some years now.  Trevor Paglen’s Drone Vision, recently on show at Lighthouse in Brighton, provides us with a chilling “drones-eye-view” of a landscape, enabling us to see what drone-operators see.

Five Thousand Feet is the Best by Omer Fast

The utterly compelling and disturbing film installation, Five Thousand Feet is the Best by Israeli artist Omer Fast, tells the story of a former Predator drone operator, recalling his experience of using drones to fire at civilians and militia in Afghanistan and Pakistan. At one stage of the film, he describes the use of what marines refer to as “the light of god”, the laser targeting marker, which is used to direct hellfire missiles to their intended target.

“We call it in, and we’re given all the clearances that are necessary, all the approvals and everything else, and then we do something called the Light of God – the Marines like to call it the Light of God. It’s a laser targeting marker. We just send out a beam of laser and when the troops put on their night vision goggles they’ll just see this light that looks like it’s coming from heaven. Right on the spot, coming out of nowhere, from the sky. It’s quite beautiful.” (quoted from Five Thousand Feet is the Best).

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Blurred Images: Lana Lin at Gasworks

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Taiwan Video Club

Lana Lin’s work, on display at Gasworks in London, confronts us with a number of topics: translation, identity, cultural production, and familial reflection. In doing so, her films seek to destabilize our assured hold on what we imagine we understand. In Taiwan Video Club (1999), Lin presents a Taiwanese subculture that records, trades, and holds dear, video recordings of miniseries that are shown daily on television. As we watch a participant in this practice explain her life with her collection of recordings, Lin cuts in clips and sound from the series, providing insight to a specific time and place, not to mention a specific medium which dominated it. As we come to understand this unit of Taiwanese pop-culture, Lin engages in a running commentary of sorts, provided through visual metaphors and homonyms.

Recording from TV to VHS could be seen as an apt analogy for the process of translation and cultural production that Lin seeks to examine. The final “product” in each case is a copy of the original, inevitably tinged by the process. As anyone who has spent time battling with VHS can tell you, no copy is ever pristine; there remain in the copy the battle scars of mediation: warped sound and image, deterioration of picture, the familiar markings of “CUE”, “STILL”, and “CH-3” all mark the material as part of a process and mode of production unique to video. The lens of Taiwan Video Club operates as a check on the lens of the viewer. Though we come to understand a great deal about this world of VHS-naughts, and Taiwanese daytime television, Lin maintains a field of formal intervention never lets us settle on any one interpretation of what we see.

Mysterial Power (1998-2002) projects four different short films on each of four ...

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Rhizome's Annual Community Fundraiser

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Today, Rhizome kicks off the annual Community Fundraiser. Every year, we reach out to our community for a piece of financial support that is critical to our overall funding mix. This year, we need to raise $30,000 by January 14th and we ask that you consider making a contribution today to help us meet this goal.

 
This year marks a particularly exciting year for Rhizome, with new staff and new ideas that will help us to build on our rich history and programs. 

Your donation will help:
 
•Expand our editorial team – bringing in more writers from around the world.
•Host Rhizome events and exhibitions beyond NYC – reaching our international community.
•Secure crucial tools and equipment for preservation – preserving works of art with a strengthened conservation program.
•Commission new works of art – directly supporting artists through grants.
•Improve development of the Rhizome website – making it easier for you to use.
 
The biggest reward we can offer is knowing that you've helped Rhizome continue. On top of this, seven artists from the Rhizome community have generously donated limited-edition artworks for this year's fundraiser — a gesture of their support for the organization.

Donate now and receive as our thank you, works by Sebastian Schmieg and Silvio Lorusso, ReCode Project, Tabor Robak, Adam Harvey, Phillip Stearns and Matthew Plummer-Fernandez.

As a non-profit organization, Rhizome relies on the community to help realize our mission and goals. We are a small but extremely passionate group of people dedicated to supporting art engaged with technology. If you’ve visited the Rhizome website, discovered a new artist, used the Artbase to view seminal works, posted on the community boards, read and shared an article, come to our events, or engaged with Rhizome in any number of ways – please consider donating this year.

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