Ready to Rumble

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[via -rumblr]

Rumblr is a new web application that allows users to pit Tumblr blogs against one another by placing randomly selected images from two or more blogs in juxtaposition with one another. Users then select the preferred image and after a certain number have been judged a winner is declared. The site launched in alpha about a month ago alongside TUMBLR_WRS, a party held at Home Sweet Home in New York City.

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[via Feminine Itch]

The site capitalizes on the decontextualization and random juxtaposition of images that Tumblr is known for and attempts to objectively judge the taste of users and the quality of sites through a competition or brawl. This random selection often produces unexpected, odd, and beautiful combinations which are frequently screencapped and placed back on Tumblr. These same screencapped images might then appear as standalone images in yet another Rumblr battle, producing a kind of Russian Doll effect.

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[via -rumblr]

Rumblr in still in beta and the site's producer, Benjamin Lotan is hoping to add additional features that quantify and visualize user's decisions in new ways, such as producing average color gradients based on the images selected. Check out the site to pit your favorite Tumblrs against each other.

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Animated Gif Mashup 2.0 (2010) - Evan Roth

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Evan Roth's Animated Gif Mashup 2.0 allows users to mash-up animated gifs found on the web into a collage and add sound. It's a bit like YTMND except you can pile on an unlimited amount of gifs.

Roth launched Animated Gif Mashup 2.0 last week at SPEED SHOW vol.1: TELE-INTERNET curated by Aram Bartholl.

Originally via F.A.T. and today and tomorrow.

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Room (2009) - Brenna Murphy

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bronzino1.jpg (2009) - Hexagram

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2010: A Small Odyssey

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2010, Francesco Bonami and Gary Carrion-Murayari’s Whitney Biennial, is essentially a Whitney Biennial calibrated for the times: small at 55 artists and altogether humble. This humility, and the fact that one needn’t contend with an overwrought curatorial concept, allows viewers a more cogent experience than past, sprawling, thesis-driven Biennials could offer. Several works, rooms and motifs make good impressions. Not many are impressive enough to make an indelible impact—but a few are. Judging by the past couple decades, the task of this biennial of American art seems insurmountable, and there is no urgency to fault this edition for hitting the target and missing the bulls-eye. While the levelness here is exciting as an indicator of a playing field for post-boom artistic production, the devil’s advocate wonders, perhaps unfairly, if there isn’t something ultimately more exciting about a splashy Biennial that fails stupendously.

In the absence of an overarching conceit, why not start with a premise that did precede itself a bit: the third floor as a dedicated space for film and video. Considering the continued expansion of film and video practices throughout the art world, the idea seemed gimmicky at best—easily the curators could fill a floor, but why ghettoize? Then, come February 25, visitors stepping off the elevator and onto floor three were greeted by a tapestry by Pae White, freezing a frame of interlaced wisps of smoke in a vast expanse of fabric. Mercifully this is not a plain LCD screen (as it turns out, the floor showcases a variety of mediums), but as a piece that meditates on materiality, medium and time, it serves as an excellent banner to welcome visitors to the area of the exhibition that is most concentrated on media. The projects therein attending to these matters soar.

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Super Multiverse Online (2010) - Tabor Robak

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Lisi Raskin's "Warning Warum" on Dia's Artists' Web Projects

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Lisi Raskin, Warning Warum, 2009 (Screengrab)

Lisi Raskin, an artist known for her whimsical military command centers and her cross-country information gathering van (official title: Mobile Observation (Transmitting and Receiving) Station), has produced a new project for Dia's ongoing Artists' Web Projects series. Titled Warning Warum, the website is a nuclear control panel that allows visitors to "bomb" locations of their choosing. The playful interface recalls Raskin's signature childlike style, complete with construction paper collages and handwritten buttons. The accompanying audio of the artist also reminds one of a kid at play, with Raskin chirping "beep beep" to replicate the sound of morse code or "oooeeewwwww" for the missile launch. Raskin's style of interface aesthetics emerges from her own upbringing in 1980s America, where the Cold War and the fear of a nuclear blast were in the air. Her low-fi reconstructions can be understood as an intentionally imprecise attempt to come to terms with the threat of nuclear disaster, an event so horrific and overwhelming as to be almost outside the realm of human comprehension.

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Illuminated Manuscripts

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The metaphor of the brain as a database (or, if you prefer, the database as a brain) flatters and anthropomorphizes the machine more than it explains the mind. Gray matter doesn't seem to be organized in a way that makes the storage and retrieval of information easy; rather, the classification and categorization that characterize the database are pre-digital technologies invented to manage the ever-increasing amounts of information that civilization requires citizens to master. Cicero used a "memory palace" when delivering orations. As he spoke, he would imagine moving through a house where each room and object represented points he needed to make in his speech and the supporting evidence he needed to make them. The antithesis of such memory systems might be the dream, the mind's nightly refresher that reconfigures the day's events and data in disjointed, symbolic narratives. Both the memory palace and the dream are based on irrational elements: subjective experience, arbitrary connections, and word play. That the memory palace is created under the thinker's deliberate control only highlights the conscious mind's eagerness to do what the unconscious mind does automatically. Even as Cicero publicly performed the constructs of reason, his brain was circumventing them.

Last July, in a New York University faculty residence on West Houston Street where Picasso's sculpture and I.M. Pei's architecture face off in a courtyard invisible to Google Earth, Alexandre Singh delivered an installment of his Assembly Instructions Lectures, a series of talks illustrated by a pair of overhead projectors. After introducing his audience to Matteo Ricci, a sixteenth-century Jesuit missionary who taught the memory palace technique to Chinese officials to convince them of the superiority of Western (and by extension, Christian) thought, Singh launched into a detailed recounting of a dream he supposedly had, in which Ingvar Kamprad, founder and principle shareholder of Ikea, announced that the master floor plan implemented in every Ikea store around the world encodes a classification of all human knowledge. For instance, the arrangement of shoes, hangers, and sweaters in a display closet, as Singh demonstrated, represented the kingdoms and phyla of life on Earth. What's more, the Ikea system of Singh's dream world does not merely encode--it controls. If something changes in a store--say, a new couch model is introduced for the new season, or a passing child moves a prop coffee-table book around a fake living room--the fabric of reality is altered.

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Interview with Samara Golden

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Image: Samara Golden, Yes no party, 2009 (Installation at Sculpture Center, Spring 2009)

Samara Golden’s colorful, multifaceted video and sculptural installations have been popping up quite a bit in New York City recently. Earlier this year, the artist’s "Yes no party" was set up within an alcove in the basement of the Sculpture Center in Queens as part of the group exhibition “In Practice Winter '09.” Golden then presented her sculpture "There's more but it's invisible" at Columbia University’s 2009 M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition, and this piece is now on view at the Project Room at Marvelli Gallery in Chelsea until June 27. I spoke with the artist at the Sculpture Center and then at her studio, where we discussed her interest in combining video and sculpture, her incorporation of images culled from image searches on the web into her installations, and more. - Chloe Gray

You surf the web for images to incorporate into your installations. Can you talk about your surfing methodology?

Sometimes I start by typing in a broad term like “messy room,” and when I find a good picture I take elements out and print them, such as a lamp or a vase that I like. In other cases I use the "messy room” picture to help me figure out what I’m looking for; I like the mirror in the picture, so I search for “unique wall mirror” and see what I can find. It's very fun, like making an immediate wish list for a 2D thrift store.

On another level, I’m interested in what photographers call “gaining access”: the ability to have access to other peoples lives. Using the internet allows me access without interfering. Photographers often have to consider these issues because there is an implied ...

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Untitled Video Painting 02 (2009) - Borna Sammak

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