Magnetic Movie (2007) - Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt)

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Since 1999 UK artists Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt have worked with digital animation to transcend the constraints of time, scale and natural forces; they explore the world beyond human experience, questioning our very existence.

The secret lives of invisible magnetic fields are revealed as chaotic ever-changing geometries. All action takes place around NASA's Space Sciences Laboratories, UC Berkeley, set to recordings of space scientists excitedly describing their visualization techniques. Magnetic Movie delves into Earth's inaudible surroundings, revealing recurrent 'whistlers' produced by fleeting electrons. Are we observing a series of scientific experiments, the universe in flux, or a documentary of a fictional world?

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S SITE

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wrong setting (2009) - Logan Takahashi

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Constellations Corpo Real (2008) - Gerald Edwards III

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Flying down the back roads and divided four lane highways that cross the southern part of the United States has given me pause over the years to think about the rapidly shifting landscape. Granted being born in the mid 1980’s was like being dropped into the rushing river to maddeningly fast growth and development. When the first Best Buy came to my town it was like dreamland opened its gates right up, with the Sunday circular fueling my insatiable desire to get that fresh video game, or the hot discounted DVD player. As the time passed though, and I began to take these road trips with friends across the south, I realized what was eating me. The disappearing sense of regional diversity, passing through Dothan, Troy, Ozark, Alabama each town had become defined by its strip, the reconfiguring of Main Street, into a bypass road lined with the shiny, glowing colors of economic growth and progress.

Each constellation is a set of points on a laser etched map that correspond to photographed franchises of the projected logo. The first in the group is of Eighteen McDonald’s that spread across the beautiful city of Memphis, Tennessee.

-- FROM THE PROJECT STATEMENT FOR THE SERIES

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Thirty-four Parking Lots (2003-Ongoing) - Dave Dyment

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A proposal to remake Ed Ruscha’s classic bookwork, replacing the corporate lots with the private lots that spring up in my neighborhood once a year, during the Canadian National Exhibition. A folk-art archive of sorts.

-- THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival Report

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Image: Abandon Normal Devices logo

The debut Abandon Normal Devices (AND) launched in the North West of England, 23rd -27th September 2009. The inaugural festival was centred in the city of Liverpool with satellite events taking place in Manchester. AND, a collaboration between FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) in Liverpool, folly in Lancaster and Cornerhouse in Manchester positions itself as a mixture of new cinema, digital culture and media art, showcasing work in partnership with galleries, venues and public spaces around the city. Over five days, the festival featured a broad array of conferences, talks, exhibitions, screenings, performances and online works, with artists and practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds including, The Yes Men, MARIN (Media Art Research Interdisciplinary Network), Blast Theory, DJ Spooky and Michael Connor. FACT acted as the central hub for the festival and hosted the majority of screenings, talks and events; it also celebrated its 20-year anniversary on the opening night.

In line with its snappy title, the festival set out to discard all that is typical, regular or average, seeking to question normality in an array of forms. There was a particular focus on exploring disruption to traditional methods of production and distribution in cinema and media art. Interfering and interrupting the familiar and ordinary were played out in public space, on screen and through performance.

The festival opened with a new performance/lecture by Carolee Schneemann, renowned for her performance work of the 60’s and 70’s that challenged the normalised perceptions of the body, sexuality and gender. In a work which took the format of a lecture, titled Mysteries of the Iconographies, Schneemann went on a journey through the creative products of her life from early childhood drawings, through painting, to performance and video installation. The performance was accompanied ...

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I Love Alaska (2008) - Lernert Engelberts & Sander Plug

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August 4, 2006, the personal search queries of 650,000 AOL (America Online) users accidentally ended up on the Internet, for all to see. These search queries were entered in AOL's search engine over a three-month period. After three days AOL realized their blunder and removed the data from their site, but the sensitive private data had already leaked to several other sites.

I love Alaska tells the story of one of those AOL users. We get to know a religious middle-aged woman from Houston, Texas, who spends her days at home behind her TV and computer. Her unique style of phrasing combined with her putting her ideas, convictions and obsessions into AOL's search engine, turn her personal story into a disconcerting novel of sorts.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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Required Reading

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Art Fag City's IMG MGMT series is on a roll! This week they posted "The Nine Eyes of Google Street View" by Jon Rafman, a meditative photo essay on Google Street View, culled from the artist's personal collection of screen captures. See below for a teaser, full essay here.

One year ago, I started collecting screen captures of Google Street Views from a range of Street View blogs and through my own hunting. This essay illustrates how my Street View collections reflect the excitement of exploring this new, virtual world. The world captured by Google appears to be more truthful and more transparent because of the weight accorded to external reality, the perception of a neutral, unbiased recording, and even the vastness of the project. At the same time, I acknowledge that this way of photographing creates a cultural text like any other, a structured and structuring space whose codes and meaning the artist and the curator of the images can assist in constructing or deciphering.

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Brody Condon's "Without Sun" at Machine Project

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Image: Brody Condon, Without Sun, 2008 (Still)

Artist Brody Condon will be exhibiting and presenting a performance of his recent work Without Sun (2008) on July 18, 2009 at Machine Project in Los Angeles. Without Sun (2008) is 15-minute single channel videotape comprised of a series of performances found on the Internet. The tape displays several young people on psychedelic drugs, recounting and documenting, to the best of their ability, their experience for the camera.

The title, Without Sun is inspired by Chris Marker’s classic experimental documentary, Sans Soleil (1983), a film which examines the fallibility of human memory. For Condon, Marker’s piece invokes questions of “faulty and mediated” memory, as well as the theme of travel as a “travelogue [and] destabilization.” From here, Condon explains, the “relevance to kids taking inner journeys and recording themselves then posting the vid[eo] online to preserve the moment seemed clear.”

A transcript of Without Sun can be found on Condon’s website. It reads like a list of utterances without meaning. For instance, phrases such as, “it’s trying to spiral me all in it with it man. Oh. Uh uh. Ahhhh. What the fuck?” Or, “But there is something. Weird. This is weird. You can’t even begin. Everything feels nuts. Like touching stuff….” In another sequence, a young boy in his room explains to the camera, “I don’t even. I’m not controlling my hands. (laugh) this is going to be the best video ever I can already tell. Because. I mean. Ayyy. I forgot there was even …” The incomprehensibility of the phrases are just what you might expect from someone on such a psychedelic journey.

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Image: Brody Condon, Without Sun, 2008 (Still)

However, reading them as a transcription shifts the focus--when one reads one expects trajectory ...

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Moving Pixel Portraits (2006) - Oliver Laric

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Play Pause and Rewind: Sadie Benning Returns to the Whitney

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Image: Sadie Benning, drawing for Play Pause, 2001-06

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1973, video artist and musician Sadie Benning came of age in the art world in the 1990s with well-known journalesque-video tapes, experimental exposés made on the Fisher Price Pixelvision camera that her father, experimental filmmaker James Benning, had given her. Also a former member of the band Le Tigre, Benning is known for her bold and brazen style. Her works have previously shown in the Whitney Biennial in 1993 and in 2000. Her current installation Play Pause (2006), is also now on display at the Whitney.

Play Pause is a two channel video installation that projects images of thousands of hand drawn, gouache on paper, illustrations that Benning made between 2001-2006. Most of them are drawn in black and white with a light gray wash underneath, but a few of the images are also treated with a monochrome tint of red, blue, or green. The piece runs for 29 minutes on a loop. The illustrations were all scanned and arranged in this sequence for the piece. Coupled with surround sound, they tell a story of a “day in the life,” of an anonymous protagonist. Each image appears for only a few seconds, and then another similar image appears: from the first steps on the street, the stores, advertisements, shop fronts, anonymous people, night life, dance clubs, after hours sex, television, and scenes of departure from the train station and airport.

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Image: Sadie Benning, drawing for Play Pause, 2001-06

The title Play Pause alludes to the installation’s strange sense of detachment coupled with vulnerability. This tension arises in several ways: the rhythm and pace of the installation, the space itself, and the particular images displayed. The first juxtaposition occurs between the surround sound pulsing around slow ...

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