Focusing on a wide array of themes such as the context of a rapidly changing planet, our evolving human / natural ecosystem, the growing global strain on natural resources, and the advancement of artistic methods on potential of technological infrastructures, the 10th edition of the FutureSonic festival spanning 14 years integrated a wide and impressive array of international speakers, workshops, exhibitions, and performances. Scattered around the bustling city of Manchester in the United Kingdom, the festival took into account both its local strengths and its global outreach to encourage debate and showcase a wide arrange of artistic projects that examined just how far we have come in these debates and how far we have to go to make sense of the evolving technological apparatus that surrounds us.
On any given day, the average web user may log into as many as a dozen different social web services. Interaction with these sites could involve any number of activities including browsing photography, commenting on blog posts, planning trip itineraries, looking for a lover or updating a resume. While the sequential (or parallel) manner in which we navigate these databases and the generic aesthetic of the web 2.0 interface might suggest these sites form a unified network, that is simply not the case. In engaging the social web we voluntarily fragment our interests, social ties and demographic information in order to make them "machine readable" and allow us to participate in these communities. With these rules of engagement in mind, several recent projects speak to these conditions and explore the notion of web inventories in relation to identity, aggregation and as binding legal agreements.
An almost all too perfect follow-up to the 24 Hour Program at the Guggenheim this evening, this online exhibition hosted by Utrecht's Impakt also examines time, but through the lens of the internet. Time and technology have a long history together, a fact the curatorial statement acknowledges, and "It's About Time" organized by Sabine Niederer shifts its focus to the present with two projects that specifically attend to the contemporary reality of the web (such as 2.0 technologies) and time. The first, titled A Tag's Life and produced by the team George Holsheimer, Mirjam ter Linden, Daan Odijk, Patri Sadiqah, and Raoul Siepers, indicates trends by visualizing the lifespan of tags used on Flickr over time. The tendencies that emerge are generally expected, like the exponential use of the tags "politics" and "Obama" around this year's U.S. Presidential election. With the plethora of data visualization projects out there, this one isn't exactly groundbreaking, but could prove to be a useful tool to access Flickr. Unfortunately, you must "suggest" tags in order to generate graphs, which limits one's ability to take full advantage of the site. The second project, World At Work by Theo Deutinger, extends the boundaries of the clock to include both the macro level of the universe and the micro level of the working day on Earth. The site opens up on the Milky Way, and the visitor must zero in on Earth in order to draw up the number of people globally working 9-5 shifts by location. By showing how many people in the world are at work simultaneously, the site reveals the rhythm of labor worldwide, at any given moment. Deutinger, an architect, created the project as ...
Processing, the open-source programming language and production environment developed by Ben Fry and Casey Reas, turned 1.0 yesterday. While it started off as tool for sketching and teaching the fundamentals of programing, Processing has developed into a full-fledged alternative to expensive proprietary software for the creation of everything from data visualizations and interactive installations to music and video. In just 7 years, Processing has grown into one of the primary tools used by contemporary artists working on digital projects, and stands as one of the finest examples of the power of open-source development.
Visit the Processing website to download the 1.0 version and start making things!
Read more about the 1.0 Release on Casey Reas' blog.
"Assembly Instructions" is a visual thought map, comprised of over 120 small framed black and white xeroxed collages, by Brooklyn-based artist Alexandre Singh. Each collage represents an idea, which the artist connects to other collages via a network of dotted lines. The city of San Francisco is the originating point for the series, and the visitor can follow Singh's train of thought related to this subject by following the intricate and tangential maze of images, which spread throughout the gallery. In a sense, this project is almost a tactile answer to the visual sequence of ideas encountered on sites such as FFFFOUND!, while also drawing on the older practice of free association. The exhibition is up at Jack Hanley Gallery in San Francisco until the end of November.
Image: Marius Watz, Sound memory (Oslo Rain Manifesto), 2008 ...
Codemanipulator is a Polish artist whose work revolves entirely around code and the pleasurable binary between the latter as text versus its ability to constitute an image. He makes "coded paintings," interactive installations, and data visualizations that address such topics as architecture, urban planning, and that public space we call the internet. While these themes coalesce around physical models, the work is intended to inquire about the impacts of seemingly immaterial code on creativity and social interaction. In a broader sense, this entails a consideration of the ways in which binary models of thought have further polarized or developed, following the emergence of network culture. For his show at Krakow's Foto-Medium-Art Gallery, entitled "I am code" (open May 9-June 20, 2008), Codemanipulator will present "CodePainting, CodePoetry, CodeMovies, CodeSculpture, CodeArchitecture...CodeEverything." That is, he takes the same sequence of code and explores how different machines and systems--from web browsers to video processors--interpret it differently, manifesting in a variety of forms. Judging from the gallery's photos of the exhibition's opening, the most popular manifestation was an installation of printed tiles resembling large-scale magnetic poetry. Despite the simplicity of these shingles laid out on a table, it was the ability to interact with and manipulate the code--physically and syntactically--that made it so popular. Take this as a reminder of the ongoing importance of playing language games. - Marisa Olson
Image Credit: Codemanipulator, Codemanipulator's Toybox, 2007
Jennifer Dalton's work very often takes up the art world as its subject matter. Art about art--and the world that revolves around it--can often be cheeky at best, but Dalton manages to pull it off with grace, wit, and originality. She also tends to merge newer and more traditional media in doing so, ranging from internet art to paintings to temporary sculptures. On March 8, Brooklyn-based alternative art space Smack Mellon will open a solo show of her work, entitled "Jennifer Dalton is a Scientist--Not!". This moniker comes from an entry written by a gallery visitor on one of the surveys Dalton facilitated over the last year, in preparation for the show. As the gallery notes, the project puts a unique spin on the concept of site-specific art by revolving the work around the space's audience. The show will include a Powerpoint-style DVD infographically presenting the results of a survey entitled What is the Art World Thinking? (2007-Ongoing), in which "this particular slice of New York's art-going public has been invited to take a short anonymous survey consisting of a few simple questions on topics ranging from art to feminism to philanthropy to politics." The results of a previous poll, entitled How do Artists Live (2006) will also be presented in a slide show, along with a new "'insta-survey" asking viewers to respond to a pressing question by taking a candy." These questionnaires raise interesting unspoken questions about the attention spans and consumptive habits of contemporary artists and patrons, as well as the lack of demographic information we have about these individuals, despite the fact that we now live in what many have called a "database society." If you can't make it to Brooklyn but want to participate in the Q&A festivities, check out Artsurvey ...
Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) Technical Coordinator