Posts for 2013

The Week Ahead: Cross-Strait Edition

(0)

Ming Wong, Making Chinatown (II & III) (2012). On view as part of "Cross-Strait Relations" at Parsons.

A roundup of opportunities and goings-on from Rhizome's community.

Online

Right now: Reading Club proposes a text and an interpretive arena to 4 readers. These readers write together their reading of a text inside the text itself. 

Bubblebyte currently has two ongoing website takeovers (projects in which they introduce artworks into existing institutional websites). Through October 20, every few days, one moving image artwork from 16 international artists will be added to Art Licks Weekend website, slowly revealing a larger collaborative collage. Through November 10, Nuovo Nuovo Vecchio introduces work by 8 of the artists in this year's Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition into the website of Spike Island Gallery in the UK.

READ ON »


The Impossible Music of Black MIDI

(1)

The machine on which Conlon Nancarrow created his player piano rolls. Photo by Carol Law, 1977. Collection: C Amirkhanian.

In 1947, the composer Conlon Nancarrow—frustrated with human pianists and their limited ability to play his rhythmically complex music—purchased a device which allowed him to punch holes in player piano rolls. This technology allowed him to create incredibly complex musical compositions, unplayable by human hands, which later came to be widely recognized by electronic musicians as an important precursor to their work.

A similar interest in seemingly impossible music can be found today in a group of musicians who use MIDI files (which store musical notes and timings, not unlike player piano rolls) to create compositions that feature staggering numbers of notes. They're calling this kind of music "black MIDI," which basically means that when you look at the music in the form of standard notation, it looks like almost solid black:

 

Blackers take these MIDI files and run them through software such as Synesthesia, which is kind of an educational version of Guitar Hero for the piano, and bills itself as "piano for everyone." It's kind of brilliant to imagine a novice piano player looking for some online tutorials and stumbling across, say, this video of the song Bad Apple, which reportedly includes 8.49 million separate notes. 

READ ON »


Artist Profile: Rachel Reupke

(0)

Rhizome's Artist Profiles are interviews with artists that have developed a significant body of work engaged (in its process, or in the issues it raises) with technology. See the full list of Artist Profiles here. Rachel Reupke's solo exhibition Wine & Spirits is on view at Cell Project Space in London through 27 October.

Rachel Reupke, Wine & Spirits (2013). 20 minutes, HD video

LMF: For several years now you have been working within the aesthetics of advertising imagery and the style of stock image photography. In Wine & Spirits (2013), your new film, the two characters (who are in a variety of situations involving the consumption of alcohol) are posed stock-still for long, drawn-out moments. Occasionally, I wondered if I was watching a freeze frame, until I saw a twitch or a flicker of a tendon. As with your previous work, there is a feeling of epic flatness and the constant suggestion that the gestures of the actors will be used to sell something. Yet it is partly we as viewers who are transforming the film into advertising—and imagining the context in which these bodies or objects might be used, such as in a brochure for a pub or hotel. How did you arrive at the particular choices that you made here in terms of the romantically-framed couple, the date-like drinking context?

RR: Each of the five scenes is based on a still image, some from print advertising and some photojournalism. The still reference is used quite literally in that the actors rarely move out of a posture and the camera rarely moves. Each scene has a slightly different aesthetic, in part dictated by the reference (art direction and lighting) and in part by the nature of the relationship between the couple. Initially, I was going to use different actors to play each scene, but in the end I decided to use the same actors throughout, opening up the possibility for the viewer to attempt to follow a thread. Ultimately, though, as we are actually watching five different couples rather than one, the relationship fails to develop. The drinking contexts are all English (except for one which is pretty much a dream sequence), so it is grounded in pub culture and pint after pint.

READ ON »


Paranoid Reading: Notes on the Young-Girl and the Man-Child

(0)

This text is re-printed with permission from a publication released in conjunction with the exhibition The Politics of Friendship (Anicka Yi / Carissa Rodriguez / Jordan Lord / Lise Soskolne) at Studiolo in Zurich. 

Jordan Lord, Carissa Rodriguez, Lise Soskolne, Anicka Yi, Man-Child, Young-Girl, Girl-Child, Man-Girl (2013).

Not having read Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl —or, to be honest, any texts by the French collective Tiqqun—I am hesitant to comment on the figure of the "Man-Child," which was developed in response to that of Tiqqun's "Young-Girl." Instead, pleading lack of time and putting a little faith in contingency, I offer up some thoughts from Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's final book, Touching Feeling, which I just happened to be reading at the time a friend sent me a link to Moira Weigel and Mal Ahern's essay, "Further Materials Toward a Theory of the Man-Child." 

READ ON »


Who Sleeps? Jonathan Crary's "24/7"

(2)

Andy Warhol, Sleep (1963). 

Labor Day is supposed to be a day that honors those of us who work for a living with an extra day of rest. I'm writing this on Labor Day, at home on my own laptop, avoiding a long list of other tasks I need to attend to in order to keep my work, and my life, manageable. That work happens all the time and increasingly also at the worker's own expense isn't news, but it helps bring into sharp, urgent focus the arguments in Jonathan Crary's terse, polemical new book, 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep.

READ ON »


The Week Ahead: Alien She Edition

(0)

A roundup of opportunities and goings-on from Rhizome's community.

Pittsburgh

Opening Friday at the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon is Alien She, the "first exhibition to examine the lasting impact that Riot Grrrl, a pioneering global punk feminist movement, has had on artists and cultural producers working today." Curated by Astria Suparak and Ceci Moss, the exhibition features work by Tammy Rae Carland, founder of Mr Lady Records and Video and my undergraduate thesis advisor and all around art hero, as well as Miranda July. This photograph is published on the Miller Gallery website, which tantalizingly suggests that July may be presenting the hugely influential but still underrecognized multimedia performance work The Swan Tool as part of the exhibition. Either way, the show looks like it's well worth a road trip.

READ ON »


Oh gURL: It’s so good to finally meet u IRL

(1)

Ann Hirsch stood fully nude at the head of the gallery, solidly on both feet. "I guess a lot of people are 'over' nudity in performance art," she said.  "Like it's been done before... so we should stop doing it or something."

"I'm able to do this…" she continued. "Because we're all girls, er, women here. So there can be no misconception that I'm like doing this for attention or something. When there are men in the room, that is what we all think."

It wasn't that I had forgotten that this event at Transfer Gallery in Brooklyn was for women—open only to those who identify on a feminine spectrum—but in that moment it was tangible, the room held a weight. 

The audience at gURLs. Photo by Marina Galperina.

Ann continued the monologue, as she began to get dressed at the end of the performance: "I'm always hungry for female intimacy. The kind that is platonic but bordering on sexual is my favorite."  

READ ON »


Sound is Here: An Interview with Barbara London

(0)

The Museum of Modern Art is making headlines in the wake of its recently opened exhibition, Soundings: A Contemporary Score (recently reviewed for Rhizome by Sam Hart). Organized by Barbara London, associate curator in the department of media and performance, and Leora Morinis, curatorial assistant, the exhibition stands as the museum's first major presentation of sound art.

Soundings thus marks a pivotal moment in the history of sound in the arts, as one of the world's most influential art institutions converges with a longstanding tradition of sound-based artistic practice for the first time. I met with London after seeing the show to discuss the exhibition and her curatorial process. The following is an extract from the full transcript of our conversation. 

Camille Norment, Triplight (2008). Microphone cage, stand, light, electronics. Courtesy the artist.

READ ON »


From the Rhizome Archives: 9/11 and its Legacy

(0)

Today, as we look back at a few of the reflections of 9/11 and its complex legacy that can be found in our archives and elsewhere, our thoughts are with all those in Rhizome's community who have lost loved ones to political violence. 

Still image from Wolfgang Staehle, Untitled (September 6-October 6, 2001). Still frame from two-channel live video projection based on still images recorded every four seconds from an apartment window in Brooklyn.

August 29, 2001 on Rhizome's Net Art News:

Wolfgang Staehle, a pioneer in the field of Net art, will have his first solo exhibition in New York in a decade at Postmasters Gallery, a venue that specializes in new media art... Stay tuned to see what Staehle will present to the offline public at Postmasters.

READ ON »


The Phantom Zone

(1)

The boundary between science fiction and social reality is an optical illusion.

Donna Haraway, A Cyborg Manifesto (1991) [1]

This is no fantasy... no careless product of wild imagination. No, my good friends.

The opening lines of Richard Donner's Superman (1978) [2]

In a 1950 film serial entitled Atom Man vs Superman [3] television executive and evil genius Lex Luthor sends Superman into a ghostly limbo he calls "The Empty Doom." Trapped in this phantom void, Superman's infinite powers are rendered useless, for although he can still see and hear the "real" world his ability to interact with it has all but disappeared. Over the following decades this paraspace [4]—to use Samuel Delany's term for a fictional space, accessed via technology, that is neither within nor entirely separate from the 'real' world—would reappear in the Superman mythos in various forms, beginning in 1961. Eventually dubbed "The Phantom Zone," its back story was reworked substantially, until by the mid 60s it had become a parallel dimension discovered by Superman's father, Jor El. Once used to incarcerate Krypton's most unsavory characters, The Phantom Zone had outlasted its doomed home world and eventually burst at the seams, sending legions of super-evil denizens raining down onto Earth. Beginning its life as an empty doom, The Phantom Zone was soon filled with terrors prolific enough to make even The Man of Steel fear its existence.

READ ON »