Required Reading

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Angelo Plessas, TheHistoryOfADecadeThatHasNotYetBeenNamed.com (still), 2007

Greek-Italian artist Angelo Plessas’ interactive websites (Angeloplessas.com) integrate elements of drawing, sound, Flash animation and innovative HTML coding. Each of his online two-dimensional “sculptures” is sealed with a domain name that playfully evokes the language of philosophy, literature and drama. Challenging concepts of space and ownership on the Internet, Plessas’ websites are, like graffiti bombed on a public wall, the acts of a guerrilla artist intervening in public space.

Plessas has come a long way since his first and ongoing aesthetic project: documenting face-like compositions he discovers in random configurations of objects and architecture (InternationalPortraitGallery.com). He officially launched his artistic career in 2001 when artist and curator Miltos Manetas selected his work for the Internet-inspired group show Biennale.net at Deitch Projects, New York. Now, the artist is exploring projects that take on a curatorial scope, including the recent one-day video projection extravaganza Bring Your Own Beamer at the Kunsthalle Athena.

With the lines between his online and offline work becoming increasingly blurred, Plessas is evolving in the manner of his medium. As the Internet expands, so does Plessas’ practice, and as the artist matures, perhaps he might shed light on where the Internet might take us. Sitting at his seaside apartment in Athens, Plessas takes me on a journey through his virtual universe, which ultimately leads right back to reality itself…whatever that might be, or could become.

-- FROM THE INTRODUCTION TO "ANGELO PLESSAS: LIFE THROUGH A WEB BROWSER" BY STEPHANIE BAILEY IN ART LIES, ISSUE 67

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Required Reading

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This rich pamphlet grew out of The Internet as Playground and Factory, a conference organized at The New School and held in November 2009. In this seventh pamphlet in the Situated Technologies Pamphlets Series, Trebor Scholz and Laura Y. Liu reflect on the relationship between labor and technology in urban space, where communication, attention, and physical movement generate financial value for a small number of private stakeholders. Online and off, Internet users are increasingly wielded as a resource for economic amelioration, for private capture, and the channels of communication are becoming increasingly inscrutable. The Internet has become a simple-to-join, anyone-can-play system where the sites and practices of work and play, as well as production and reproduction, are increasingly unnoticeable.

Norbert Wiener warned that the role of new technology under capitalism would intensify the exploitation of workers. For Michel Foucault, institutions used technologies of power to control individual bodies. In her essay “Free Labor” (1999), Tiziana Terranova described what constitutes “voluntarily given, unwaged, enjoyed and exploited, free labor on the Net.” Along these lines, Liu and Scholz ask: How does the intertwining of labor and play complicate our understanding of exploitation and “the urban”?

This pamphlet aims to understand “the urban” through the lens of digital and not-digital work in terms of those less visible sites and forms of work such as homework, care work, interactivity on social networking sites, life energy spent contributing to corporate crowd sourcing projects, and other unpaid work. While we are discussing the shift of labor markets to the Internet, the authors contend that traditional sweatshop economies continue to structure the urban environment.

The pages of this pamphlet unfold between a film still from Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer on the front cover and an image by Lewis Hine on the back. Set in the near ...

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Interview with Jan Robert Leegte on CONT3XT.NET

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Jan Robert Leegte, Scrollbar, 2002

Contemporary media art collective CONT3XT.NET posted an interview with Amsterdam-based artist Jan Robert Leegte. Leegte discusses his practice, and how his physical sculptural works engage the virtual. See the introduction below, full interview here.

Between reality and illusion, between abstraction and the ornament, between the virtual and the real, between architecture and art - the main focus in Jan Robert Leegte’s artworks are the spaces inbetween. The Amsterdam-based artist continuously deconstructs the experience of architecture and sculpture by questioning the perception of space and material which is alternately brought into relation to the real as well as to the digital space. Since the mid-1990s the academically trained sculptor and architect works on the transfer of digital media into expanded installative arrangements. Very early he started exploring the multifaceted formal possibilities of the Internet-browser for its sculptural feature: buttons, scrollbars and table borders were used for real space installations which had the same quality as his previous studio and computer work. The elements of the browser appear to have a striking physical reality mostly gained by the large public daily use, interactivity, animation and especially the three-dimensional extrusion.

The experience-based way of testing physical reality defines the choice of material in his installations and Internet-based work, which has often been said to have late-modernistic tendencies. Ultimately he develops so called single-serving-sites, which are defined as “web sites comprised of a single page with a dedicated domain name and do only one thing.” In Blue Monochrome .com (2008) for example Jan Robert Leegte makes use of the tools of Google-Earth to transform satellite images of the globe’s water surface into ready-mades. Geographic coordinates are linked to the coordinates of a website, the real space is linked to the virtual; the title of the artwork represents ...

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Interview with Artist and Filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson, Laureate of the d.velop Digital Art Award 2010 (from VernissageTV)

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In this clip, Wolf Lieser, Director of the Digital Art Museum [DAM] and initiator of the d.velop Digital Art Award, interviews artist Lynn Hershman Leeson about her life and work. This year, Leeson won the 4th develop digital art award [ddaa] for lifetime achievement in the field of new media art.

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Group Chatting with gli.tc/h Organizers from Bad At Sports

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In this clip, Nicholas O'Brien interviews via tinychat the organizers behind the gli.ct/h festival (going on right now in Chicago) for Bad At Sports. The festival organizers - Nick Briz (not in the video), Evan Meaney, Rosa Menkman, and Jon Satrom - are all artists themselves, and they aimed to create a collaborative, creative space in their programming for this event, a motivation that comes across in the conversation, as well as larger issues, such as the genre's historicization, facing glitch culture.

Note: Tom McCormack is at the festival right now, and he'll be writing it up for Rhizome's blog soon!

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Now at the Daniel Langlois Foundation

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David Rokeby, Very Nervous System, 1983-

Montreal's art and science organization the Daniel Langlois Foundation announced a new collection of online materials for Canadian artist David Rokeby's work Very Nervous System (1983-), an interactive sound installation that reacts to the movement of visitors. The work has developed over the years, and has exhibited in many contexts. This particular collection of documentation is interesting because they bring in the audience's response to the work, through a series of interviews. You can read more about the project and their approach in the excerpt below from the "Introduction to the Collection" by Caitlin Jones and Lizzie Muller.



This is the second documentary collection that we have created for artworks by David Rokeby. In 2007 we produced a collection for the artwork Giver of Names (1991-), through which we developed a documentary approach to media art that captures the relationship between the artist’s intentions and the audience’s experience or, as we have described it, “between real and ideal” (1). The aim of this strategy is to acknowledge the fundamental importance of audience experience to the existence of media artworks and to create a place for the audience within the documentary record.

We believe this approach offers a productive way to reconcile how media artworks exist in the world and how they are represented in an archival context. In recent publications, we have begun to refer to the product of this approach as an “Indeterminate Archive”: a collection of materials that provides multiple perspectives of the work, as well as multiple layers of information, held together with—but not secondary to—the idea of the artist's intent (2). This indeterminate archive, we have argued, captures the mutability and contingency of the artwork’s existence, creating a more, not less ...

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Required Reading

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YoHa (Graham Harwood and Matsuko Yokokoji), Coal Fired Computers, 2010.
(Installation view at Discovery Museum, Newcastle, courtesy the artists. Photograph: Louise Hepworth)

This interview follows on from a project called “Coal Fired Computers (300,000,000 Computers - 318,000 Black Lungs)” carried out in Newcastle in spring 2010 for the AV Festival. The project, by Graham Harwood, Matsuko Yokokoji with Jean Denmars involved a means of producing a physical diagram between components in production as they undergo transformations across different kinds of time, politics, matter, knowledge, and vitality. The project found a way of working with such things that was particularly powerful. The interview begins with a discussion of CFC but also moves off into databases and a certain understanding of their material force. One thing we don’t cover in the interview is the detail of the Coal Fired Computers project’s work with miner activists, including the inspirational Dave Douglass. (See information on his memoirs here ). More of this can be found in a booklet about the project here, including links to all the groups involved. The interview was carried out by email in May and June 2010.

-- EXCERPT FROM "PITS TO BITS, INTERVIEW WITH GRAHAM HARWOOD" BY MATTHEW FULLER

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A Conversation with Samson Young and Yao Chung-Han

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The exhibition "Resonance" was initiated in early 2010 as an experiment in the conceptual underpinnings and practical manifestations of sound art as a genre and form in contemporary greater China. Growing out of a series of readings and conversations in Hong Kong with artists as varied as Yan Jun, Feng Jiangzhou, and Zhou Risheng, the final exhibition program included two installations by artists Samson Young, an artist and composer based in Hong Kong, and Yao Chung-Han, a sound artist based in Taipei. This selection of artists allows the experiment to step beyond the mainland sound art and experimental music scene, which is largely incoherent in its current free-for-all exploration of new sonic forms--a site of artistic freedom indeed, but also a difficult territory in which to reflect on the modes of sound already in use in the contemporary art community. Samson Young contributed a piece entitled Beethoven Piano Sonata, nr. 1 - nr. 14 (Senza Misura) (2010), a series of open circuit boards hung in rows on the gallery wall. Each board houses two LEDs and a speaker, each marking the tempo of a single movement of fourteen of Beethoven’s early piano sonatas. In the second gallery room, Yao Chung-Han installed an audiovisual piece entitled I Will Be Broken (2010), a suspended column of circular fluorescent lamps tied together with power cords that illuminates in a semi-random fashion and emits a prerecorded sequence of sounds. The two pieces engage in a dialogue of light and sound that confronts the tension between sound as aesthetic spectacle and sound as conceptual material, opening a productive conversation between styles and historical developments in the trajectory of sound in art. "Resonance" is on view at I/O Gallery in Hong Kong until September 5, 2010.

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Takeshi Murata Interview on the Creators Project

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Intel and Vice-affiliated media channel The Creators Project speak with video artist Takeshi Murata in this short clip. They provide a snapshot of his practice, touching on his unique approach to animation. There's a brief interview with Murata on their website as well, here.

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In-Game Chat with Jason Rohrer from Bad At Sports

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Another great interview by Nicholas O'Brien for Chicago-based contemporary art blog Bad At Sports! In this clip, O'Brien speaks with game designer and artist Jason Rohrer. For this series of interviews, O'Brien captures media artists within the medium in which they work - whether it be Second Life, Video, or in the case of the above, Rohrer's game, Sleep Is Death. Rohrer was a panelist for the Rhizome New Silent Series event on indie gaming "Next Level" a few years ago, if you want to watch a video of that talk as an addendum to this interview, go here.

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