Craig Kalpakjian

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Craig Kalpakjian, Monitor II (1999)

Craig Kalpakjian, Stair (2000)

Craig Kalpakjian, Unlearning Object Permanence (2009)

Craig Kalpakjian, Dear Tech Support Operator (2004)

In my earlier sculpture and installation work, I used found and fabricated elements–barriers, detectors, and security devices. I was interested in the technology of deterrence and passage, movement and restraint as well as crowd control and traffic flow. This is what I was thinking about with the work involving bullet-proof barriers and waiting line stanchions.

One of the things I wanted to do with these sculptures and installations was to call into question notions of safety, security, protection and vulnerability, and to confuse the sense of inside and outside. While I always liked producing slick and seductive objects, in some sense I was more interested on their effects, both physically and psychologically, on the space around them. This charged mental space is already, in a sense, virtual, so working with 3-D software (at first just to arrange and visualize installations) seemed a great way to explore these ideas.

Narrative and cinematic movement were always important to me, and the first 3-D works I did were in fact animation loops that were output to video. Nevertheless I quickly became fascinated and obsessed by the great detail possible in still images. The sense of imminence and the implication of the covert, of a beyond just out of reach, is of central importance to me. This is what leads me to say that the spaces I depict are in a way haunted. I do love the almost cheap or tongue-in-cheek sense of mystery involved, but the emptiness of the images speaks to a sense of absence and loss that works on many different levels, and I think loss is very important to technology in general.

Although they are often seen ...

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John Young and Deborah Natsios (Cryptome.org) Interviewed in DOMUS

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The founders of Cryptome.org, architects John Young and Deborah Natsios, are interviewed in Domus magazine as part of their open source themed issue:

How did Cryptome begin?

Deborah: Our collaboration started some time late in 1993. We went online in the Internet's early infancy, its seminal moments. Quite quickly we became involved in these new online environments and communities that were positioning themselves on the front line of the politics of information. John's involvement with the Cypherpunk Listserv was a transformative moment—Cypherpunk was dealing with issues of cryptography and freedom of information, and was way more advanced than anything that architectural practice was interested in at the time. For a long time we were the only architects in a milieu of technologists, cryptographers, hackers—we experienced a very peculiar kind of isolation in those years.

John: Cypherpunk was completely different from anything that existed at the time. It was all about taking over the world by undermining institutions and authorities. Cypherpunk did not have any interest in design, or had never heard of it, or possibly just didn't care. On the other side, we were surrounded by architects and designers who were not interested in anything that might disturb the opportunity of getting work, anything that might hinder their careers. It was then that it started to dawn on us that the Internet was going to become an advertising medium, as it has become for designers and architects. Even today, there are thousands of websites about getting work and showing portfolios, but nothing even remotely disruptive. Cypherpunk was out to undermine precisely that.

What made you perceive the disruptive potential of the Internet in relation to the politics of information as something necessary at that time?

Deborah: I think the politics of these "new technology" people in the design world is very problematic. Architects are by and large engaged in a kind of ornamental politics—a telegenic, photogenic and glossy politics that is unerringly safe. They won't put their careers on the line, they won't be visited by the authorities, they won't be subpoenaed for a federal criminal trial—all of which has happened to us. Is your work pulling the tail of the tiger? Are the authorities appearing at your door with warnings? Very few architects can say that. There is a certain abdication of engagement in the circles of mainstream production as tools of change—exhibitions, magazines and so on play their own role in this game.

John: We are not aware of anyone else in the design world who is engaged in the sort of practice we are engaged in. And even if they were, you would never find out about them through the architectural and design media—they would be too bizarre to be associated with. What the architecture world does have is a particular breed of architects who are highly practised at being embraced for their "outsiderness". Being a professional outsider as a promotional schtick: they are welcome and there are budgets for them. So one option is to be mildly controversial, and get invited to places to give talks and do museum shows. The other is to actually do something that will really piss people off, to the extent they will never want to invite you again or have anything to do with you

via Adrian Chen

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1954 (2004) - Bojan Sarcevic

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Images from Bojan Sarcevic, 1954 (2004)

The collages’ vague sense of time and place is located somewhat more precisely by their title, 1954 (all works 2004), which refers to the 1954 edition of the German architectural journal Baumeister, from which the pictures are taken. Germany in 1954, after two lost decades and the horrors of war, was tentatively starting to rebuild its traumatized national morale (helped in no small measure by the country’s unexpected World Cup victory that same year.) And, despite the absence of the country’s greatest modern architects, Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, architecture flourished in the steady rebuilding of cities reduced to rubble by Allied bombing, and was characterized by a cautiously optimistic Modernism. This was the year that Mies began his monumental Seagram building in New York, but the pictures Sarcevic collects here are more modest examples of a socially oriented Modernism, felt at the time to be not only an expression of, but also a form of active participation in, the creation of Germany’s new democracy. - Kristy Bell, Frieze magazine

via A Sound Awareness

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Interview with James Voorhies of Bureau for Open Culture

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Opening reception for "Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven" on April 5, 2011 at Bennington College

James Voorhies is the Director and Chief Curator of Bureau for Open Culture (BOC). BOC operates through exhibitions, screenings, performances, and informal discussions that happen in and outside of the gallery space. Working with a variety of collaborators, Voorhies has sought to question the role of institutions in the dissemination of various art practices. I got to know Voorhies when we collaborated on the BOC’s The New Administration of a Fine Arts Education, a conversation series with leading individuals of contemporary art that took place at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. This spring and summer, BOC will present two projects. Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven, from April 5-29th at Bennington College, and I Am Searching for Field Character, presented at Mass MoCA this summer. Incorporating a series of public conversations, performances, installations, workshops and a beer garden, BOC will be bringing artists, writers, designers and thinkers to North Adams, Massachusetts to explore the economic and social character of the cultural laborer. I took this opportunity to talk to him about BOC and his hopes for the future of his organization.



How would you describe the mission of Bureau for Open Culture?

The mission is to reconsider the art exhibition as a new kind of learning site. We don’t necessarily prioritize the gallery as a site for engaging with art or seek to provide an absolute conclusion to the ideas exhibitions raise. To do this, BOC welcomes people from disciplines outside of the usual visual arts⎯landscape architecture, literature, philosophy, design and activism⎯to intermingle. We produce projects that take place in storefronts, gardens, libraries and unused industrial spaces within a wider consideration of the nature of contemporary art and culture.

The exhibitions are made with an awareness of the effect that an art institution⎯as a physical space and a concept⎯has on how art is produced and how people experience it. A lot of my interests in the structural behavior of the art institution come out of watching organizations like Office of Contemporary Art Norway, Shedhalle in Zurich and IASPIS in Stockholm. These are institutions of critique that have taken up the kind investigations of institutions found in artistic practices like those of Michael Asher, Hans Haacke and Andrea Fraser. These institutions were not long ago categorized loosely within a term called “New Institutionalism.” But, I don’t think that term is used so much today.

Using alternative spaces, Bureau for Open Culture tends to mediate more strongly or maybe less didactically between visitors and art. Moving the action out of the gallery is one way we do this, but I also care about what viewers will get out of a connection with a visiting artist or a talk. For example, the collective artist Claire Fontaine participated in the exhibition Descent to Revolution. Part of their contribution to the exhibition was to give a talk related to Lyotard’s Libidinal Economy. I organized a weekly reading group for Lyotard’s book with about 10 to 12 participants who discussed the book, which is really difficult to grasp, alongside images of work by Claire Fontaine. We had participants from all sorts of backgrounds⎯students of philosophy and comparative studies, activists and visual artists. We did this over the course of five to six weeks in a kind of preparation for Claire Fontaine’s visit to Columbus. While we did not devour the book as much as one could, the reading group created an investment and interest in Claire Fontaine. We had an incredible turnout for their talk, a great conversation. The talk took place in an unused storefront space where other projects and actions were occurring during the course of the exhibition. It was late October and the rundown space with its leaking ceiling and lack of heat helped reduce the formal effect of the institution to put audience and artists on closer levels. I really liked the whole experience.

There are also lots of private moments between visiting artists and the community. Those moments, to me, are as important as the public engagement. So, all of this combined is what I mean by rethinking the exhibition as a new kind of learning site.

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Terminal Convention Takes Flight

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Exterior of the Cork International Airport (Credit: Mike Hannon Media)

What is an airport? There are few buildings as strictly controlled, commercially exploited and emotionally embedded in the contemporary word. Junctions of humanity, they are sites of equal boredom and threat. Airports are dynamic spaces, with flows of people and capital yet they are as susceptible to the effects of socio-economic and political changes as they are to extreme weather changes. Filled with ubiquitous surveillance, continual identification and suspicion, what happens when they loose this function and just become buildings again?

Terminal Convention was a contemporary exhibition and symposium housed in the decommissioned terminal building of Cork International Airport in the Republic of Ireland. The old terminal stands in the shadow of its new, bright, open and airy, off-the-shelf 21st century airport successor, and the decommissioned terminal has remained a virtually untouched unknown wonderland for international artists to transform.

What is striking about this particular airport ex-terminal is its friendly persona, at times more akin to a bizarre extended living room than an airport, with its fireplaces and fish tanks in the baggage reclaim area. Striped of its function and control, the space is deadened and immobile without the continuous hums and flows of international travel. The description ‘decommissioned’ implies something more than simply the staff moving out and locking the door – the building has been stripped of all its symbolic authority. The new freedom to roam, unchecked, through the once tightly controlled spaces provides a small thrill, the ‘no entry’ signs remain in place, but are now rendered obsolete.

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Highways Connect and Divide

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JODI, GEOGOO, 2008-2011 ongoing, screenshot. (From Foxy Productions)

Highways Connect and Divide,” an exhibition on display at Foxy Productions featuring work by Cory Arcangel, Tauba Auerbach, Bureau of Inverse Technology, I/O/D, JODI, Nam June Paik, Sterling Ruby, and Kerry Tribe, considers how the structure of information influences its transmission, reception, and legitimacy. Using the highway as a metaphor, the show constructs a dialog concerning the geography of transmission and the role of the artist in reimagining the systems that impact our lives.

Nam June Paik & Jud Yalkut, Beatles Electroniques, 1966-7. (Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix, New York.)

Highways, or channels of transmission are playfully interrupted in Nam June Paik's pioneering work Beatles Electroniques (1966-1972), where a TV broadcast of the Beatles’ A Hard Day's Night (1964) is disrupted by a magnet, rendering the familiar images into abstractions that reveal the underlying technological structure of the electronic signal. In a similar vein, though nearly forty years later, JODI's Geo Goo (2008-2011, ongoing) obstructs Google maps with failures and errors, stripping it of functionality and turning the ordered maps into chaos. The result is a disorienting and emphatic challenge to the technology’s authority and power. In both works, the technological architecture is given precedence over the intended distribution of content.

Kerry Tribe, North is West / South is East, 2001 (Photo: Mark Woods)

Maps are also the subject of Kerry Tribe's work North is West / South is East (2001), where the geography of Los Angeles is redrawn from memory by random individuals approached at the LAX Airport. The resulting maps, framed and mounted on the gallery wall, elevate the personal and unique realities over the legitimate cartographic version. Legitimacy and authorization are challenged further by Bureau of Inverse Technology's (BIT) video Bit Plane (1997), where ...

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Lowlands (2010) - Susan Philipsz

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HOME / LAND STUDIES #2 (2011) - Nicolas Sassoon

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Originally via Computers Club

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Darkgame (2008-Ongoing) - Eddo Stern

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Darkgame head gear

Currently in the prototype stage, Darkgame is a sensory deprivation computer game. The user wears custom made head gear, which triggers sensations. For more information about the project as it progresses, check the site.


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Originally via CreativeApplications.Net

iRiS (Immediate Remote Interaction System)

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By combining a recently developed mobile software application with the multimedia facade of the ARS Electronica building we intend to lower participation barriers for end users when interacting with such facades. We developed two prototypes: in the first application, users can paint interactively on the building using touch input on the mobile device. In a second application, users are able to solve a jigsaw puzzle displayed on the facade. iRiS (Immediate Remote Interaction System) is a joint research project from the University of Saarbrücken, Germany and University of Munich, Germany.


-- FROM THE PROJECT SITE


Originally via Mediaarchitecture

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