Of course, there was certainly a long history of machines and technology inspiring 20th century artists. The path of geometry, technology, and art was in part formed by the late paintings of Kandinsky, Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie, and the machine aesthetic of artists like Charles Sheeler and Gerald Murphy. I was also influenced by the work of artists who were currently involved with imagery of machines and technology. For example, I loved the graphics of the London-based avant-garde architectural group, Archigram, and the Pop Art prints and paintings of the Scottish artist, Eduardo Paolozzi. There were also contemporary collaborative experiments like E.A.T—Experiments in Art and Technology—at MOMA, and Art and Technology, an exhibition of collaborations between artists and engineers, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
A small but international group show organized by Mireille Bourgeois and Anais Lellouche, "They Told You So" takes its inspiration from the Situationists’ concept of détournement, reusing existing media to convey an opposing or alternate viewpoint. Here sound installation and video are the primary forms utilized. Purporting to address and ensnare the viewer, and using deliberate miscommunication to examine rhetoric and technologies that are oriented towards control, the works achieve varying degrees of success.
Algorithmic simulation of Mondrian’s painting Composition With Lines created with pseudorandom numbers. When xerographic reproductions of both works were shown to 100 people, the computer-generated picture was preferred to Mondrian by 59.
Considering the evolution of video game consoles (seven generations and counting), the cultural significance of the Atari VCS alone would justify another book-length appraisal. However, Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost's collaborative text Racing the Beam, published this past spring by MIT Press, was developed with a broader mandate in mind. The book is the first in a new series dedicated to a "platform-focused" approach to media scholarship. A cultural reading of the Atari VCS would address aesthetics or "reception" to the console and Bogost and Montfort argue that it is possible to drill down from that strata of analysis to interface, then form/function (narratology) through to code. The scholars acknowledge that while code has become a nexus within media scholarship in recent years, it is possible to dig deeper still to platform - "the basic hardware and software systems upon which programming takes place... the foundation for computational expression." The subsequent analysis of the Atari VCS is firmly grounded in the technical capabilities of the system. Under this scrutiny the figure of the console melts away. Racing the Beam surveys six seminal cartridges in relation to key components which include the MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor, the Peripheral Interface Adaptor chip (PIA), memory and the pivotal Television Interface Adaptor (TIA) - the operation of which inspired the moniker of the book. This sounds dry (and at times it is) but the duo do a remarkable job of providing a close, nuanced reading of the design decisions, play and game space of the titles in relation to the assemblage of electronics that underpins the system.
A modified black and white hairdryer of the same brand are installed on a grey platform. Directed towards each other they get into a direct relation, blowing with hot air at the opponent. The circuits and the plastic cover heat up until a decision is made: Either, one breaks earlier than the other, leaving a „winner“, both break at the same time or, being equally weak, none breaks, leaving the situation in a vital draw.
This video is a TV show made about the software Ivan Sutherland developed in his 1963 thesis at MIT's Lincoln Labs, "Sketchpad, A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System", described as one of the most influential computer programs ever written. This work was seminal in Human-Computer Interaction, Graphics and Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs), Computer Aided Design (CAD), and contraint/object-oriented programming. While watching this video, remember that the TX-2 computer (built circa 1958) on which the software ran was built from discrete transistors (not integrated circuits -it was room-sized) and contained just 64K of 36-bit words (~272k bytes).
Sixteen Candles is an experiment in physical computing. As a candle is burning, it is being captured and processed live by a computer. The computer copies the live image onto a 4x4 grid and projects it onto 16 mirrors. The mirrors, rapidly tilted up and down by custom solenoid apparatuses, throw the images of the candle across the room.
This month I’m traveling through southeastern Europe from Venice to Athens, where I’m looking at art and blogging. Part two of the travelogue is about Zagreb, Croatia. Part one is here.
Zagreb’s center has more street names than streets; the names change every few blocks so meters can be allotted to every worthy Croatian hero. And many names differ from the ones streets bore twenty years ago, since a different history needed to be inscribed in Zagreb’s map after Yugoslavia dissolved and Croatia became independent. “The Renaming Machine,” an exhibition currently on view at Zagreb’s Galerija Miroslav Kraljevic, addresses the obsession with names. Sanja Ivekovic’s contribution is inspired by Zagreb’s Street of the Unknown Heroine—a name that is both unsettling and appropriate when virtually all other streets are named for men—which takes the form of a poster with maps, e-mails, and other supporting documents describing the artist’s attempt to give the same name to a street in Utrecht during her retrospective at Van Abbemuseum.
Just as street names reflect political values, so do the uses of buildings on them. After arriving in Zagreb and settling in the Angelina Jolie room at The Movie Hotel, I met with Tomislav Medak, director of Mama, an organization that was founded in 1999 as a center for internet activists and artists, but in recent years has shifted its attention to urban development, specifically the use of former industrial sites that abound in Zagreb (as they do in many other large, formerly socialist cities). Mama lobbies the municipal government to reserve abandoned factories for public use—whether cultural activities or low-cost housing—rather than handing them to private investors ...