Lyfe, Labor, Lunch

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Lunch Bytes began as a series of panel discussions on the topic of art and digital culture in Washington D.C. in 2011 and 2012. Curated by Melanie Bühler and supported primarily by the Goethe Institut, it expanded across the European continent from 2013 to 2015, partnering with local institutions in nine cities and bringing together 112 “artists and experts” for 24 events. As a final hurrah to conclude the series, in March of this year 24 past participants were invited to a conference at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, with four panel discussions each corresponding to one of the overarching themes that quartered the series: Medium, Structures and Textures, Society, and Life. Bookending the conference panels were keynotes by art historians David Joselit and Melissa Gronlund, plus a summary panel at the end.

While in previous events each of these large headlines possessed a sub-heading and a detailed focus text for the panelists to address, the conference took much broader strokes, allowing freer interpretation of those topics. Content therefore took shape horizontally through the confluence of individual perspectives, geared by participants rather than through top-down direction.

I moderated the final themed panel of the conference, “Life;” interpreting this title became a springboard into the discussion. In my introduction I emphasized the fact that anything “life”-like can also be construed as a form of labor: particularly the practices of artistic representation, self-representation, and representational politics presumably at stake in this conference on digital society.

The first speaker, Cornelia Sollfrank, provided a historical context to those practices in relation to cyberfeminism, while simultaneously critiquing the generational position she felt she represented and the ahistoricism of contemporary practice that could imply. Second, Cecile B. Evans re-routed the expectation of artistic self-narrative by converting the platform into a “live ...

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Artist Profile: Hannah Black

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The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have developed a significant body of work engaged (in its process, or in the issues it raises) with technology. See the full list of Artist Profiles here.

 

Hannah Black, My Bodies (2014). Digital video.

Your work concerns bodies, or the condition of being bodied. Your last video Fall of Communism (2014) feels like a sculpture in the sense that as a viewer, one's own body is pulled into relief, as with an object in space. I felt pulled into the space of the video, vertiginous. At your show at the Legion TV gallery in London, one half of what was on display was a hand-cut latex the color of skin. Is the work an analog for the body, or otherwise, where does the body (of the maker or the viewer) intersect or interact with the body of the work for you?

It's true that if you look at a lot of my work there is an interest in viscera, in the interior of the body—but it's not a Paul McCarthy guts and blood thing, it's a stand-in for interiority in general, for the inside being outside and vice versa. The phrase "being bodied" could mean "getting killed" as well as "being embodied" and I think that tension is one of the ways that I'm interested in what it means to have, or not have, something called "a body." I tried to write about how our concept of the body might one day, in a utopian way, be replaced by the framework of lifetime or different concentrations of experience. My wildest idea was that this reinterpretation of sensory experience would "render death merely chronological," a phrase I still love, though it's hard for me to recall exactly what I meant by it. Something about placing yourself in the long flow of time, allowing your self-conception to accommodate more than just your own conscious physical experience, I think. In the end it was too sci-fi an idea and didn't work out as an essay, so instead became the video My Bodies. I wanted to say something about how there is no generic body, no such thing as "the body"; bodies are raced, gendered, and assisted differently in the world. I collected images of white business executives, and you hear the voices of African-American female singers—Aaliyah, Beyonce, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson, and many others—all singing the phrase "my body." I also use Ciara's song "Body Party." There is a whole tradition in black philosophy of trying to think about to what extent white thought is able to conceptualize black people as having bodily integrity. Hortense Spillers says that the enslaved body, for example, becomes just flesh; Frank Wilderson picks up this train of thought. This is part of the black critique of white feminism: the latter assumes, absurdly, that all women have bodies in the same way. The first part of the video presses on this tension. The second part of the video imagines a realm in between lives where someone is considering whether or not to be born again into a new body, knowing all of the implications of that, knowing how many people in this world have bodies that are racialized or impoverished or perhaps don't, in some senses, fully have bodies at all. It's like the famous romantic scene in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where they realize they have had their relationship before: would I do it again? Would I choose to be embodied again?

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Index of Rhizome Today for August

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Rhizome Today is an experiment in ephemeral blogging: posts written and published each morning, and unpublished within a day. The latest post can always be found at http://www.rhizome.org/today.

After some discussion about the best way to wrap up each month's posts, we've decided to publish a list of topics and people covered on Today during the preceding month. Here is the index for Rhizome Today in August, 2014. 

Topics

  • Amazon (8-Aug, 11-Aug, 26-Aug)
  • ARE.NA (20-Aug)

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Artist Profile: Kimmo Modig

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The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have developed a significant body of work engaged (in its process, or in the issues it raises) with technology. See the full list of Artist Profiles here.

"In the distance I see Kimmo Modig. He's walking around Helsinki with his iphone, grumbling about bad art."
Antagon 2013: Proceedings (2013)

Age: 32

Location: Helsinki, Finland.

Jesse Darling: How/when did you begin working creatively with technology?

Kimmo Modig: I remember doing sound collages with boomboxes in my early teens, you know, like having two of them playing something I’d recorded earlier as a backtrack while the third one recorded whatever I was doing live on top of that. I’d repeat this process again and again until the signal-to-noise ratio was heavily weighted towards noise. But already at that time I always wanted to use my voice, to have a narrative of sorts. I’ve lately been returning to a way of being that I had in my teens, when I was dressing to provoke and performing nude on stage with my childhood friends.

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Performance GIFs 10: Paul Kindersley

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This is the latest in an ongoing series of performance GIFs curated by Jesse Darling. Previously: Maja CuleLegacy RussellJaakko PallasvuoCreighton BaxterGenevieve BelleveauJennifer ChanMarisa Olson, Dwayne Strike.
 

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Performance GIFs 6: Genevieve Belleveau

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This is the latest in an ongoing series of performance GIFs curated by Jesse Darling. Previously: Maja CuleLegacy RussellJaakko Pallasvuo, Creighton Baxter

VOMITING VINES 

Genevieve Belleveau: 

Now we are vomiting Vines. Suffocating gardens of earthly delight incite immersive, daily make believe.  Do you trim your Vine or let it grow wild? Is it adornment or is it a weed? Sign-on in #selfieaffirmation of the you we now incessantly see.  When you are watching me you are consuming desire, pink paste fills your feed. In the absence of product, what do you need?  Your urgency is currency, eat and release, eat and release. Perpetually purging, this need to feed, this need to feed the feed.  

Eat the unfold @gorgeoustaps 

Click here to view work.

Image by Laura Lachman. Body Mod by Mike Mabes at The Garden Of Earthly Delights

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Performance GIFs 5: Creighton Baxter

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This is the latest in an ongoing series of performance GIFs curated by Jesse Darling. Previously: Maja CuleLegacy RussellJaakko Pallasvuo

Image from Jessica Borusky, The Posture Grid! (2013)

Ring Around Rogue Bottom
Creighton Baxter, 2013

Ring Around Rogue Bottom is a queer and lonely joke actuated through a crooked game of ring-toss. The performance is a spectral type of child's play; obsessivelly rummaging through a language of trauma that employs humor, endurance and repetition. It is a no-top-needed type of situation. 

Ring Around Rogue Bottom was performed within the post-performance installation of Jessica Borusky's seven-hour durational work The Posture Grid! Baxter thinks of her engagement with Borusky's performance detritus as a fragmentary moment of an evolving dialogue between the two artists; exploring points of collaboration and critical engagement with each other's artistic practices surrounding themes of sexual trauma/survival, body fascism and queer histories within the United States. Baxter and Borusky comprise one half of the creative collective The Highest Closet, with artists Sarah Hill and Hayley Morgenstern.

Click to view artwork.

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Performance GIFs 4: Jaakko Pallasvuo

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This is the latest in an ongoing series of performance GIFs curated by Jesse Darling. Previously: Maja Cule, Legacy Russell

Still frame from Conan O'Brien Finger Wave (reaction GIF).

Jaakko Pallasvuo:

I asked Jake to mimic a bunch of reaction gifs I found online. This one turned out the best. I like functional gifs that can be injected into conversations and gossip blog comment sections. This is a gesture you can copy+paste into interactions that require sass. You can forget about this gif's brief foray into art territory. No glitch. No new media. 

I've often asked Jake to be in my work because he is a tragic beauty. I've never met him IRL. I like sending people directions and seeing how they execute them. It's never what I think it will be, which is the reason to do it. I don't want to have control over images. I want to have transatlantic sporadic virtual working relationships. 

He looks focused and slightly concerned. His accessories are sassy but he doesn't exude sass. The gesture is not backed up by the corresponding emotion. There is a distance between who you are and who you want to be. The GIF exists in the space between those things. 

Click here to view work. 

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Performance GIFs 3: Legacy Russell

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This is the second in an ongoing series of performance GIFs curated by Jesse Darling, which began last week with a work by Maja Cule

Still frame from the music video for Love You Down by INOJ.

Social Sculpture: In Remembrance of Poise and a Choreography of Loving You Down, 1:58am, Plastic People, London 
Legacy Russell

Social Sculpture: In Remembrance of Poise and a Choreography of Loving You Down makes parallel the histories of social sculpture and the gendered and ritualized cultural practices found in dancehalls or nightclubs. The artist is in her studio, positioned on a chair, dressed in disco shorts and a snug-fitting shirt, indistinguishable from the white background striped in shadow behind her. Oscillating between a cross-legged, poised position that projects the stereotypical poses of flirtation, femininity and nightlife "peacocking," and a collapse that suggests a body exhausted by—or disinterested in—the scene around her, the artist shifts between "visible" and "invisible," "public" and "private," "on-" and "off-stage." Not quite loved, nor ignored, this female body—sculptural in its own right—remains stuck on loop, hoping to be recognized, as INOJ's 1997 hit "Let Me Love You Down" envelops her. 

Click here to view artwork.

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Performance GIFs 1: Curator's Introduction

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Over the next few weeks, Rhizome will present a series of performance GIFs curated by Jesse Darling. Darling's introduction is below; the first work (by Maja Cule) will be on view from Thursday May 16. 

2012. The year of the doomsday apocalypse. The world didn’t end, though some of us thought it might, and perhaps we even hoped it would, if only to give us something to look forward to. Žižek, paraphrasing Jameson, famously said that it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism—and this was in a speech given at Zucotti Park during Occupy Wall Street, in which we tried, and failed, to imagine the beginning of something else.  

But following the natural order of events, as well as what Jameson called “the temporal paradox” (in which history stops but time grinds remorselessly onward in a continuous, cyclical production of “newness”), 2012 came and went and we all kept on doing what we were doing. A perky 25-year-old acronym beat the competition – teeth-grindingly zeitgeisty notables such as YOLO, superstorm and Eurogeddon – to become the Oxford Dictionary’s US Word of the year. You probably know that. What you may not know is that the OUP award went to a verb, rather than a noun: not to the name of a file format, but to the act of making one. To GIF.

To GIF is defined, somewhat redundantly, as “to create a GIF file,” but what would it mean to decouple the verb from its referent? To GIF: to capture a moment on an endless loop.

Now it’s 2013, though nothing has changed. Seeping, soul-level post-Fordism and the precarization of the labor market mean that most of us never stop working: socializing bleeds seamlessly into networking, and meanwhile, each ...

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