Artist Profile: Heather Phillipson

(0)

The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have a significant body of work that makes use of or responds to network culture and digital technologies.

Heather Phillipson, immediately and for a short time balloons weapons too-tight clothing worries of all kinds (2014). Image courtesy the artist and Bunker259.

When I saw your recent solo exhibition, immediately and for a short time balloons weapons too-tight clothing worries of all kinds, at Bunker259, I curled up in an inflatable birthing pool to watch a video suspended from an engine hoist. The video depicted a series of domestic, public, and online spaces, with a voiceover from you. At one point, you leaned over the camera and appeared to give me a facial. I broke down in laughter because it suddenly became clear that I had become a participant. When you show Zero-Point Garbage Matte, you use a similar strategy: the viewer climbs up a ladder and looks down on the monitor to view the video, a position that is reflected in its content. Which idea comes first, the video or the physical participation of the viewer?

The video usually precedes its final sculptural form, but not always. With the video suite I'm working on at the moment, for example, I have a really clear idea of what will be going on around it. Regardless, I produce multiple "versions" of each installation, so the video ends up inhabiting quite different physical structures at different times. It's like a built-in contrariness mechanism—the capacity to change the context, and therefore the work, and my mind. But, in general, the one constant is how the viewer is con/figured in relation to the video. So, with immediately and for a short time balloons weapons too-tight clothing worries of all kinds, as you mention, the viewer is recumbent with the video overhead. The video deploys regular POV shots alongside dispassionate observations, and mixes interior monologue with direct address, so there are these shifting perspectives. You're the eye/I of the camera, or its eye is turned on you…positions get conflated. For me, the physical relationship between body and screen is crucial to this formulation, although the rationale might only be revealed sporadically. It's a bastardised literary device, that semblance of inhabitation and activation—one minute you're in first person then second person or third person, then slapped back into first.

READ ON »


Eli Keszler's Piano Wire Works

(0)

eli keszler : cold pin from eli keszler on Vimeo.

New York-based musician and artist Eli Keszler integrates piano wire into his compositions in a way that falls between installation and improvisation. For Cold Pin, motorized beaters controlled by a generative sequence struct 14 piano strings hung across the wall of Boston's Cyclorama in 2011. Keszler then invited Ashley Paul, Greg Kelley, Reuben Son and Benjamin Nelson to play off the work, improvising alongside the randomized clunks, scraps, and bangs emanating from the wall.

His recent L-Carrier at Eyebeam complicated this format by activating the motors in tandem with a changing visual score designed by Keszler. Hosted on a dedicated website commissioned by Turbulence, these images evolved when visitors tripped up "targets" on the site that interfere with the code, modifying the pattern of the motors. On June 7, Keszler again played in a seven piece ensemble in conjunction with the installation, including musicians Ashley Paul, Anthony Coleman, Alex Waterman, C Spencer Yeh, Catherine Lamb, Geoff Mullen, and Reuben Son.

In both compositions accompanying Cold Pin and L-Carrier, the installation serves not as a simple backdrop, but a central element. On their own, the installations continue to have a commanding presence. Unlike the extended resonating tones of Ellen Fullman's Long Stringed Instrument, which meditatively fill a room, Keszler's approach to auditory space reveals his training as a percussionist, where the plucks are akin to hits - busy, feverish and complex. Taken out of an enclosed environment, such as in Collecting Basin, piano wire is not only responsive to the whims of the motor beaters but also the wind and the elements. Here, Keszler hung the wire from a large water tower, transforming an industrial space into an open air instrument.

Eli Keszler Collecting Basin from eli keszler on Vimeo ...

MORE »


Hidden Information: The Work of Jim Sanborn

(1)


 Jim Sanborn's cryptographic sculptures, pieces on atomic energy, and large-scale projections might already seem familiar. Installed in front of the CIA headquarters, the ciphers in his sculpture Kryptos have puzzled many a code-cracker (three out of four of the coded sections have been solved), and he has been the subject of several museum shows. The artist answered a few questions we had on his work via email:     

There's often something hidden in plain sight in your work.  In public installations like Kryptos (at the CIA plaza) and A Comma, A in Houston, among others (I'm thinking also of the Covert Obsolescence andArcheotranscription pieces), it's letters/word/code.  How does written communication affect your work?  Is there a background story that drives these pieces?

Prior to the Kryptos commission my work documented hidden or invisible natural forces, Earth’s magnetic field etc. For the Kryptos piece and for the 20 years since, the hidden forces/content in text and language have taken over.

For most of my life both of my parents worked at the Library of Congress, My father as the Director of Exhibitions and my mother as a photo researcher, this privileged access to the historic record was tremendously enabling. The texts I chose for my public projects were heavily researched at the L.C. and in these works in particular the International, Classical, and Native American texts were used to encourage collaboration among cultures to fully decipher. Like Kryptos, the other public works are designed to exude their information slowly.

The “background story” is either above, or resides in the following: The Archeological record offers us a frustratingly fragmented view of the past. Though fragmentary, this archeoview is pregnant with secrets yet to be discovered and is thrilling in its potential. Secrecy is power even if it is just a little something kept from view, buried, so to speak, in the matrix of everyday life...

READ ON »


Hello World, Christopher Baker's collection of 5000 video diaries, at The Saatchi Gallery

(0)

The Saatchi Gallery's screening room opens January 3rd with Christopher Baker’s video installation, Hello World! Or: How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Noise(via FAD)

Hello World! or: How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Noise from Christopher Baker 

Hello World! is a large-scale audio visual installation comprised of thousands of unique video diaries gathered from the internet. The project is a meditation on the contemporary plight of democratic, participative media and the fundamental human desire to be heard.

On one hand, new media technologies like YouTube have enabled new speakers at an alarming rate. On the other hand, no new technologies have emerged that allow us to listen to all of these new public speakers. Each video consists of a single lone individual speaking candidly to a (potentially massive) imagined audience from a private space such as a bedroom, kitchen, or dorm room. The multi-channel sound composition glides between individuals and the group, allowing viewers to listen in on unique speakers or become immersed in the cacophony. Viewers are encouraged to dwell in the space.

LINK »


EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL - AntiVJ/Joanie Lemercier (2011)

(3)

The China Millennium Monument Museum of Digital Arts opened last Saturday. Among the installations — Eyjafjallajökull by AntiVJ (Joanie Lemercier). "Painted directly onto a large wall, a wireframed scenery is slowly revealed by gentle light effects. The audience’s sense are progressively challenged as optical illusions question their perception of space."


Here's a video on the construction of the work for the  onedotzero festival at EMPAC in upstate New York. The artist tells Creative Applications, "The original plan was to fly to empac to do a 3 weeks residency, to develop a new project from scratch, which would involve projection mapping onto objects, a sound track by minimal techno producer Sleeparchive, and potentially a live performance on the day of the opening. As the video explains, the original idea and schedule felt apart when the volcano erupted, and the 3 weeks long residency turned into just 5 days on site, to setup the installation and prepare a live performance…"

via Creative Applications

LINK »


PRISMA 1666 - Wonwei and Super Nature Design (2011)

(3)

PRISMA 1666


In 1666, Sir Isaac Newton conducted a famous experiment that has been widely considered as a landmark discovery in the study of optics and color theory. Inspired by this discovery, PRISMA 1666 is an interactive light installation consisting of 15 triangular crystal blocks distributed randomly on a clean white surface. The projection of colorful graphics is refracted and dispersed by these crystal blocks, creating a fascinating visual experience and ambiance. The installation enables interaction with the projected colors, angles, and shapes through a touch interface, creating an opportunity to experiment with these elements like Isaac Newton did so many years before us.

The installation is a collaboration between Wonwei and Shanghai-based design studio Super Nature Design. It was first exhibited at the 2011 International Science and Art Exhibition in Shanghai where it received the Best Creative Design Award. 

via i like this art

LINK »


Samson Young: Signal Path (Homage to Alvin Lucier), 2011

(0)

Signal Path is a site-specific sound installation for one performer. Sensors monitor eight electroencephalographic signals (brainwaves) while performer focuses his/her attention. Each EEG signal generates one tone. Each tone occupies a specific frequency range. When the artist’s attention level is above a certain threshold, tones will begin to stabilize and collectively produce an approximation to the harmonic series. Paradoxically, the moment that the artist becomes aware of the alignment he/she is distracted. This constant focus-distraction constitute a perpetual signal feedback loop that turns the artist into a cyborg and “short-circuit” the sense of hearing.

LINK »


Mark Leckey at the Serpentine Gallery (19 May – 26 June 2011)

(0)

The difficulty in making work now is that there’s this model of how a distributed kind of collective work could be made (i.e., through the Internet), but it can’t be made in a gallery. The nature, or structure, of the gallery doesn’t allow for that; it needs certain kinds of forms, certain objects. There’s this term I like, “stigmergy”: an ant goes out, lays a path of pheromones; the other ants follow that path, and then that path gets built up until it becomes a pathway. They use this term in open source to describe a programming language that has being continually added to and amended so that the original code has been lost or forgotten, but you’re left with a structure that everyone can use. As an idea of making art, that seems really interesting—something made with the benefits of technology. At the same time, that idea is a long way from the art being made now, and a long way from Benjamin’s idea of art’s aura. The aura is still there; it still surrounds artworks, massively. The trouble is that more you start to distribute art or disperse it, the more mutable art becomes, until finally, it dissipates into just “LOLCats” or something. - Mark Leckey in an interview with Mark Fisher (Kaleidoscope, Summer 2011)

Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London
(19 May – 26 June 2011)

 

 

Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999.) Installation view

 

 

Previously: Brian Droitcour's interview with Leckey for Rhizome (2009)

 

MORE »


Anthony McCall Revisited

(0)

In addition to Light Industry's recent restaging of Anthony McCall's 1975 Long Film for Ambient Light, they also curated a gallery of images related to the installation on their website. Here are a few images that highlight the process of creating a large-scale conceptual piece like this one:

Images courtesy of Light Industry from their Anthony McCall portfolio (2011)

LINK »


Cao Fei "Play Time" at Lombard Freid Projects

(0)

Cao Fei "Play Time" at Lombard Freid Projects:

Play Time Fingerboard Park Installation, 2011

East Wind, 2011 video (still)

Shadow Life, 2011 video (still)

With Shadow Life, a work composed of three distinct narrative sequences Cao Fei invokes the days of childhood. The narrative draws upon the remembrance of a Chinese Spring Festival Gala celebration that ran on China’s official Central Television...In East Wind, the charmingly naive smile of Thomas, the British cartoon train engine, is superimposed on the front of a Chinese-manufactured Dong Feng truck (literally “East Wind” truck), which barrels across urban highways and overpasses with a single mission: to deliver refuse from a construction site in the city to a trash dump on its outskirts. The title of this work has clear historical overtones centring on Mao Zedong’s famous declaration that the east wind prevails over [the] west wind. This statement is associated with Mao’s so-called Third Front strategy, which sought to protect China from invasion by foreign powers by building industrial installations in western China. China’s “East Wind” (Dong Feng) automobile was founded in 1969 as a part of this campaign. But today, as this Western face is married to the Dong Feng truck, the power relationship between the two take on an indeterminate quality, just like the plight and pattern we see in the real world...

With a reconstituted urban model, Cao Fei’s installation work, Play Time perpetuates the open space created in RMB City, which offers a mode and mentality for more people to enjoy and participate in. In this fingerboard skate park sculpture, the buildings that Cao Fei uses as references come from all over the world. They are all charged with authoritarian and mystical connotations and take the form of some sort of belief. In this ...

LINK »