Street With A View

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In Street With A View, artists Robin Hewlett and Ben Kinsley take a fresh approach to the age-old practice of street theater. Working in tandem with the Google Street View team and the surrounding community of Sampsonia Way in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, they staged a number of playfully silly scenes, ranging from the laboratory of a mad scientist to a seventeenth century sword fight, which now appear in Google Street View. These acts introduce a vibrancy normally omitted from the utilitarian Google Street View feature, while also opening up the possibility of collaboration between artists and the company.

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Self Portrait With Dog (2008) - Carlo Zanni

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The Disagreeing Internet (2008) - Constant Dullaart

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THEINTERNETOVEREXPOSED.COM (2008) - Jan Robert Leegte

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The Death of Google's First Server (2008) - Jon Rafman

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"the server is played by Rutger Hauer"

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Last Breath in Alaska (Found Object) (2008) by Pascual Sisto

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In this work by Pascual Sisto, a plastic bag obstructs the Google Maps Street View of Minnie Street in Fairbanks, Alaska. Discovered while researching Google Maps Street View, Sisto preserves this "found object" by redirecting it to its own url, lastbreathinalaska.com, as well as capturing it as a back-up video, in case Google decides to reshoot the location. Swirling on a constant panoramic loop, the movement of the camera gives the abstract image an almost 3D-like quality. The piece documents Google's fraught attempt to supply an accurate representation of Minnie Street, and, as such, Sisto sees Last Breath in Alaska (Found Object) as a response to the purportedly omniscient eye of the Street View feature, and the issues of transparency and privacy it raises. - Ceci Moss

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Google Stockholm by Yorit (2007)

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Google Street view van by Joe McKay (2008)

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This Google "steet view" van image by Joe McKay is created entirely from reflections of the van in store windows in San Francisco.

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Bidding and the Beat

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Sex and teletext, e-commerce and elektronische tanzmusik collide in The Sound of eBay, the latest internet intervention (and a 2008 Rhizome Commission) from Ubermorgen.com, which generates unique low-fi electro tunes from individual users' eBay data. Visit the project's site, generously decorated with 8-bit teletext porn, and enter your (or anyone's) eBay moniker and an email; a specially-tailored mp3 arrives in your inbox in a matter of hours. According to Ubermorgen.com's own account, an invisible army of bots scours the World's Largest Online Marketplace (tm) to scrape data and bring it back to be transformed into music. How a given user's actual data corresponds to the structure and content of each tune is not evident to the listener, but relates to the eBay-Generator application's own idiosyncratic system of producing and processing hashsums from user-to-user transactions: more frequent eBay bidders may receive denser compositions, and two different songs created from the same username can differ. In the future, the creators of eBay-Generator plan to release the application under a GNU Public License. The Sound of eBay concludes a trilogy of works by Ubermorgen.com--otherwise known as the artists Lizvix and Hans Bernhard--including GWEI (Google Will Eat Itself), an economic ourouboros that generates money off Google text ads then uses the income to buy Google stock, and Amazon Noir, which exploited Amazon's "search inside" function to create pirated versions of full books. Unlike these latter acts of digital ju-jitsu, the parasitic Sound of eBay has a relatively benign relationship to its host organism. Celebrating with only partial irony the auction giant's peer-to-peer distributed capitalism, the Sound of eBay offers a way to shake one's booty to the hidden rhythms of electronic commerce. - Ed Halter


Ubermorgen.com, the Sound of Ebay "Visuals" (Screengrab ...

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All the World's a Datastream

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The Rencontres Internationales is an international festival now enjoying its 15th edition, in Madrid. But you don't have to fly to Spain to surf through its compelling exhibition, "Data Meanings." (Installed at Complejo El Aguila through May 14th.) While the RI's programs do boast a roster of over 150 respected artists and arts professionals, the festival is distinct in that it is less driven by the art market and more driven to critique practices (creative and professional) within the contemporary arts community. In particular, this year's events are designed to explore the relationship between "new cinema and contemporary art" and, unsurprisingly, new media is at the center of the debate. "Data Meanings" thus chimes in as an intellectually rigorous show presenting nine artists engaging with data sets of various sorts. Mindaugas Gapsevicius's Bookshelf (2006) places computer monitors on shelves as their screens flash text that visualizes network traffic. Shown adjacent to shelves containing real books, the installation questions the status of reading, the narrativity of protocol and data streams, the relative invisibility of data, the permanence of print versus the impermanence of digital archives, and the role of the human memory in retaining this information. Christophe Bruno describes his Dadameter (2002-2008) as "a satire about the recent transmutation of language into a global market ruled by Google et al." He's essentially created an elaborate system for analyzing text surveyed by Google and mapping its linguistic similarities to Dada forms; particularly the writings of Raymond Roussel. Dada geeks will appreciate the irony of conflating these rule-based systems. On an even more playful note, JODI's Composite Club (2007) exploits the point of view of "cameras" in Playstation games by triggering them with prerecorded videoclips while Ubermorgan's The Sound of Ebay (a 2008 Rhizome Commission) uses ...

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