100% Fun

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Claude Closky is a French artist living in Paris. He works in a variety of media, including painting, installation, video, and net art, in a signature style that revolves around the concept of conveying information and the connection between ideas and objects. The artist maintains three personal websites and a YouTube channel, each of which is copious in its offerings and yet mysteriously evasive in synthesizing his practice. What one can tell--almost instantly upon looking at his work--is that Closky has a serious sense of humor. He is best-known for his paintings of pie charts and other graphs but has impressed audiences beyond the art world with public installations like his 100% which tallied percentage points, one at a time, in a series of silkscreened flags, or his collaboration with Adidas and Colette, which looked like he'd taken a Sharpie to a blank white slate to convey the brand by making the simplest marks possible. The latter was a poetic gesture of giving back to the visual language of advertising whose vocabulary his work often critiques. He's by no means the first to do so, but whereas many such bodies of work revolve around autobiography or accounts of commodity fetishism, what is unique to Closky's commentary on this lexicon is his sharp analysis of language itself. Whether through an inversion of the relationship between word and image or the hyper-literal illustration of one-liners, this is Closky's most discernible signature and it is best played-out in his use of the list as a medium. By alphabetizing, counting-down, running odds, and exploring exhaustive variations on various categories of categories, he produces the wittiest possible metacommentary on the bond between form and content. And he is certainly not afraid to give viewers myriad examples of the beauty of saying nothing at all. In this interview, Closky discusses his internet art work and his love of both language and numbers games. - Marisa Olson

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Series of Interviews on the Financial Crisis and New Media Art on Artsblog.it

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Salvatore Iaconesi posted on Rhizome's Announcements yesterday that Artsblog.it will be publishing 3 interviews dealing with the financial crisis and new media art over the next month. The first, an interview with Turbulence.org's Helen Thorington and Jo-Anne Green, breaks down government funding for arts non-profits in the United States, and underscores the limitations facing organizations that fund non-traditional arts. Marc Garrett of Furtherfield will be interviewed for the next installment, which goes live January 1st, and a discussion with Simona Lodi, of the Torino Share Festival, will conclude the series on the 6th of January.

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Interview with Lisi Raskin

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Now that progress is as predictable as an automatic software update or higher resolution in a camera phone, the idea that technological advancement holds the key to a better future -- and the fear that it could be abused as a tool of world domination -- seem like quaint relics of the 1950s and '60s. Lisi Raskin's exaggeratedly ragged, hand-crafted reconstructions of military command centers evoke the thrall such spaces held over the public imagination during the Cold War even as they reinforce the contemporary viewer's distance from that feeling of awe. Over the past year, Raskin's installations on this topic have surfaced in several locations as stages of an ongoing project titled Mobile Observation. This year's incarnations began with Command and Control, an installation at the Park Avenue Armory in February, and continued with Mobile Observation (Transmitting and Receiving) Station at Bard College's Hessel Museum of Art, for which she embarked on a road trip to military sites across the United States and sent back materials to be exhibited. Mobile Observation will peak on Friday with Tipping Point, a performance at the opening of "Soft Manipulation" at Casino Luxembourg, where the resulting carnage will remain on view through the exhibition's run. Here Raskin, who works at studios in Brooklyn and Oakland, California, discusses her newest work and how it represents a change in her perception of Cold War mythology.

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From Bell Labs to Best Buy

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"PREDRIVE: After Technology" (currently on exhibition at The Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA November 14-April 2, 2009) features new works by six international artists including Takeshi Murata, Paper Rad, Gretchen Skogerson, Antoine Catala, and Brody Condon. The exhibition was conceived with a very specific group of artists in mind -- artists who placed both the dysfunction and arrogance of ever-changing technologies at the center of their work. In a sense, these artists are working in the shadow of a technological dystopia (and euphoria) that had begun as early as the Industrial Revolution -- as expressed in the vacant, vectored glances mapped out in Edouard Manet's The Balcony (1868-69) or the absolute pleasure of stop-motion animation in Georges Melies' An Up-To-Date Conjuror

Below, I speak with two of the featured artists in the show, Takeshi Murata and Jacob Ciocci (of Paper Rad) -- we cover everything from readymade software aesthetics to the dream of the perfect collector -- someone willing to take the risk of simply buying an idea.- Melissa Ragona

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Interview with Daniel Pianetti and Renato Zulli of FAUND

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Image: FAUND #2, November 2008

FAUND is a magazine comprised of images found on the internet. For their first issue, which debuted last month, Switzerland-based editors Daniel Pianetti and Renato Zülli invited artists Peter Sutherland, Guy Meldem and Constant Dullaart to submit their finds. Their second issue comes out today, with images collected by artists Oliver Laric, Samuel Nyholm, Chris Coy, Sorryimissedyourparty, and Justin Kemp. As a seemingly natural extension to sites such as ffffound, the magazine spotlights the curatorial taste and direction of each individual artist. I asked Daniel Pianetti and Renato Zülli a few questions about their project via email. - Ceci Moss

How did you come up with the idea for FAUND?
We noticed that we were spending more and more time surfing for images on the Internet for pleasure, that's how we discovered sites where people can collect found images (ffffound, flickr, as-found...). We often focus our attention on the person who's finding, we think that you can understand a lot about this person judging by his finds. That's why we decided to create a paper magazine that highlights finders by inviting and spotlighting them as guests. Also, by printing the found images they become more durable.

How did you solicit artists to contribute?
Usually we choose the artists judging by their approach to general appropriation art. We simply ask them to send us any amount of image links, without imposing a specific theme on them. The only rule is that they can't submit images that they've modified. We select the guests after considering the creativity of their finds. Until now, we've had a good response because it's an unusual request.

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Image: FAUND #2, November 2008

Do you plan to continue publication on a monthly basis?
We never intended to ...

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Interview with Harm van den Dorpel on Club Internet's "Free Fall"

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The online exhibition space Club Internet opened its fifth show "Free Fall" earlier this month with a party at Mediamatic in Amsterdam. I interviewed artist and founder Harm van den Dorpel about Club Internet and the current exhibition, which will remain up until November 15th. - Ceci Moss

How did Club Internet begin?

It started by buying the domain name www.clubinternet.org -- I eventually wanted to make money with it because Club Internet is a major telecom provider in France. But then I started playing with it and put a script online that enabled people to upload images. I got intrigued by the idea of forming a group of people like in a surfing club, with an exclusive and mysterious character found in societies like the Freemasons. Following that model, Club Internet is a society with membership, as well as being an online gallery.

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Image: Jesper Carlsen, Squirrels, 2006 (Still)

The title for the latest Club Internet exhibition is "Free Fall." What is the concept behind this title?

Works for Club Internet are chosen because they are best viewed online, rather than making a transformation from the screen to a video projector in a gallery. Television programs are best viewed at home, and not in a cinema, I believe the same often applies to Internet art.

The previous shows sometimes dealt with the subculture of internet artists or were referring to some (technical) knowledge usually available only to the more Internet aware visitors. These were valid and interesting prerequisites, often found in clubs, but I wanted this new show to curate works that required no particular interest or knowledge about the technology behind the Net nor infrastructure of the online art world. This show was also the first with an 'official' opening event in a physical space, bringing the online ...

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Interview with Aaron Levy

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This week I spoke with Aaron Levy, Executive Director and a Senior Curator of the Philadelphia-based interdisciplinary non-profit art space Slought Foundation, about his participation in the U.S. Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia, 11th International Architecture Exhibition. Working in a team with William Menking and Andrew Strum, the exhibition, titled "Into the Open: Positioning Practice," investigates contemporary socially-engaged architectural practice in the United States. Sixteen practitioners were selected for the exhibition, including The Center for Land Use Interpretation, the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), Design Corps, Detroit Collaborative Design Center, Gans Studio, The Heidelberg Project, International Center for Urban Ecology, Jonathan Kirschenfeld Associates,Project Row Houses, Rebar, Rural Studio, Spatial Information Design Lab/Laura Kurgan, Studio 804, Smith and Others, The Edible Schoolyard/Yale Sustainable Food Project, and Estudio Teddy Cruz. Levy, along with William Menking and Andrew Strum, will discuss the exhibition at Columbia University on October 13th and downtown at Studio-X on October 14th. - Ceci Moss

Ceci Moss: The title for the U.S. Pavilion is "Into the Open: Positioning Practice." Considering the wide range of approaches represented in this exhibition, I'm wondering if you can discuss why you selected this title, and how it speaks to the premise of community involvement through architectural practice.

Aaron Levy: What should our place be in this world, and how should architects help shape our sense of place? These are two of the questions that our exhibition gestures towards, through a new American taxonomy of conflict and urgency that takes visitors through some of the richest and the poorest neighborhoods of North America. The sixteen practices we have selected embody an expanded definition of architectural responsibility, whereby architects and designers become activists, developers, facilitators of a more inclusive urban policy, and producers of unique urban research. The exhibition ...

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Interview with Sarah Cook

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Image: JooYoun Paek, Not Bicycle Cover, 2008 (Image courtesy of Eyebeam)

Sarah Cook kindly took a moment to speak to me this week about the exhibition she curated, "Untethered", which opens tonight at Eyebeam in New York. The group exhibition, which takes the form of a sculpture garden and explores "everyday objects deprogrammed of their original function, embedded with new intelligence, and transformed into surrealist and surprising readymades", includes 15 artists, many of whom are current or former Eyebeam fellows or residents. "Untethered" will remain up through October 25th. - Ceci Moss

Ceci Moss: How did you first begin working on "Untethered"?

Sarah Cook: Preamble: I am an inaugural curatorial fellow at Eyebeam through my work with CRUMB (Curatorial Resource for Upstart Media Bliss). My position was enabled by a three-year grant received by CRUMB, which allows me to use Eyebeam as a site for research into curating new media art, the question of how collaboration works through international networks, and how curators can work in lab environments. I arrived in New York in April; before that Amanda McDonald Crowley and I had been discussing whether I should take advantage of an opportunity to curate an exhibition as part of the Fall program as one way to put my research into practice, given that exhibition practice is my strength. Eyebeam was interested in challenging that and allowing me, through my fellowship, to think about curating in a different way.

Together with Liz Slagus, Director of Education and Public Programs at Eyebeam, I visited with all of Eyebeam's resident artists and fellows (I had participated in the juries which had selected them) and got to know what they were working on in the labs. At the same time, I tried to learn about Eyebeam's exhibition history, its use of its ...

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See Me, Hear Me: A/V Circa 2008

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American Music Center recently published a new issue of their web journal NewMusicBox, titled "See Me, Hear Me: A/V Circa 2008," which attempts to take stock of current audio/visual practice. Towards this end, the issue features four lengthy interviews with the A/V artists Scott Arford, Betsey Biggs, R. Luke DuBois, and the duo LoVid (Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus). While the editors admit the difficulty in establishing an overarching conclusion given the diversity of the practitioners interviewed, they do underscore the increasing presence and significance of "musical art" following the democratization of technology and tools. - Ceci Moss

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Harm van den Dorpel and Damon Zucconi on their work

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From Right to Left: Damon Zucconi, Untitled (SONY), and Harm van den Dorpel, Reconfigurations (Ostrich), 2008


This week, I Heart Photograph published an interview with artist Harm van den Dorpel which, however brief, offers insight into his process. In response to the first (of two) questions, van den Dorpel describes the series from which his image above is excerpted: "this work is part of my project 'semantics'. it is a series of manipulated found images. after applying one action or manipulation i put them back online. in computer programming 'semantics' is opposed to 'syntax'. when i look at media i am always struck by the (stupidity of) visual conventions and expectations; these are these syntactic rules. purposely i generate a syntax error in the visual language of the photos. after the images are processed on a lower layer, they become mine, and carry completely other meaning or emotions. " Also check out this interview from NY Arts Magazine with van den Dorpel and Damon Zucconi, a dynamic artist who shares some of van den Dorpel's concerns. Zucconi's varied and fast-growing body of work includes browser-based projects such as Sometimes Red, Sometimes Blue, video such as Untitled (SONY) as well as inter-disciplinary installations and expanded performances, all of which interrupt the marketing campaigns of everything from ideas to TV shows and, in so doing, interrogate the production and circulation of visual information. The format of their conversation: a straight transcription from gchat allows them to vacillate between casual conversation and more thoughtful reflections on their work -- all interesting and valuable to read. -- Lauren Cornell

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