Highlights from 2008

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In lieu of a "Best of" we've decided to pull together projects, events and developments within the field of art and technology that we felt were noteworthy. Like all year-end reviews, it would be impossible for this list to be entirely exhaustive, however we do hope that it is, at the very least, indicative of some of the most compelling directions and ideas in circulation over the past 12 months. Rhizome staff John Michael Boling and Ceci Moss assembled this list, with input from Caitlin Jones.


  • Heavy Light Screening Organized by Takeshi Murata at Deitch Projects August 23rd
    I (Ceci) viewed this screening at Deitch, but the same program was also organized at the Mattress Factory as part of the exhibition PREDRIVE: After Technology. While curated by Murata independently of the PREDRIVE show, the program serendipitously hits on some of the same themes. It featured new work by Yoshi Sodeoka, Ben Jones, Devin Flynn, Eric Wareheim and Tim Heidecker, Eric Fensler, Ara Peterson and Dave Fischer, Melissa Brown and Siebren Versteeg, Billy Grant and Takeshi Murata. The videos were followed by live performances by Nate Boyce and Robert Beatty. Murata also screened a number of films on 16mm by experimental animator Adam Beckett, whose work has had little public exposure.

    See "From Bell Labs to Best Buy: Takeshi Murata and Jacob Ciocci in Conversation with PREDRIVE: After Technology Curator Melissa Ragona" on Rhizome
  • Snow Canon (1981) from crystalsculpture

  • Javier Morales's crystalsculpture: 2 /3 /4 YouTube accounts.
    Morales brings together a diverse selection of bootleg art videos, vintage commercials, and other video oddities all culled from his extensive VHS and Laserdisc collection. After watching his uploaded videos, be sure to check out his YouTube favorites on each account.
  • Club Internet, Netmares/Netdreams, Why + Wherefore
    In a recent essay for ...
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    Nile Studies (2006 - Ongoing) - Michael Aschauer

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    From the artist's statement: Nile Studies is an artistic research and investigation project, an experimental photographic and cultural mapping survey by digitally (slit)scanning Nile's long coastlines and landscapes along with its long and complicated history and politics.

    More work by Michael Aschauer

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    bluemonochrome.com (2008) - Jan Robert Leegte

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    More work by Jan Robert Leegte

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    Google Is Not The Map (2008) - Les Liens Invisibles

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    Statement: Since ancient times cartography has been used to describe the world as a geometric ensemble of measurable points, lines, areas and data-labels on a plane. While the world slowly fades away in an increasingly multiplication of self-representations, the map making process - missing its real reference - becomes nothing more than an empty-meaning abstract practice: so, what do all those maps stand now for?

    In order to disclose this contradiction - or just to give a paradoxical point of view about it - the imaginary art-group Les Liens Invisibles has explored the world along its self-referential techno-linguistic layers, moving through its hidden mechanisms and forcing the grammar of its public-released API code.

    This project was commissioned by LX 2.0 - a project by Lisboa 20 Arte Contemporãnea and curated by Luis Silva

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    Laps (2008) - Art of Failure (Nicolas Maigret and Nicolas Montgermont)

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    LAPS 2008 from art of failure on Vimeo.


    Artist's statement: Laps is an audio and visual installation that uses Internet as an imaginary space where sound echoes, reverberates throughout the Web. Based on transmission errors, the sound material is shaped by the virtual acoustic space of the network. Sound streams broadcasted within the installation structure gradually echoes the activity of the Web in various locations of the globe. Its analysis in these various points is used to progressively draw the contours of an imaginary landscape inside the installation.

    (via Network Research)

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    Self Portrait With Dog (2008) - Carlo Zanni

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    More work by Carlo Zanni

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    One Mile Scroll (2008) - Daniel Eatock

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    "The One Mile Scroll transforms virtual space into an actual, physical distance. Take your computer for a scroll."

    More work by Daniel Eatock

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    Tools of the Trade: Albert Hwang's WireMap

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    In this installment of Tools of the Trade, tech writer Melody Chamlee describes Albert Hwang's project Wiremap. - Ceci Moss

    In a combination of software development and 3D interface design, Albert Hwang's Wiremap is a multi-view map created with strands of fishing wire that refract 3D projector scenes and bounce back the revolving imagery to viewers - producing a representation of an object in 3D space.

    According to Hwang, from the projector's single-point perspective (at the very front of the installation) all the wires appear evenly spaced. Move off to the left or right however, and by degrees the randomized dimension of depth settles on the wires at different angles to create a topographical form.

    Hwang says he would like to explore wire displays in a broad range of new installations and is already working on expanded tweaks on the current design to have a bigger, more detailed display framework. In his Wiremap installation at the the 2008 Last Hope Conference in Midtown Manhattan, he was able to produce a green and blue globe with topography and directional changes according to keyboard and mouse input.

    To create Wiremap, Hwang used the open source programming language Processing, and says it was an ideal platform for the project:

    "When I began...I had very little computer programming experience. Knowing what I needed, I waded through Java GUI tutorials only to be continually faced with frustratingly confusing Java jargon - I needed a programming environment designed to give graphic feedback instead of visual feedback. Processing, an open source programming environment built on top of Java turned out to be a perfect fit for the project."

    Since this is open source, Hwang provides his downloadable source files on his site and encourages others to develop their own Wiremaps and contribute to the evolution of ...

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    Last Breath in Alaska (Found Object) (2008) by Pascual Sisto

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    In this work by Pascual Sisto, a plastic bag obstructs the Google Maps Street View of Minnie Street in Fairbanks, Alaska. Discovered while researching Google Maps Street View, Sisto preserves this "found object" by redirecting it to its own url, lastbreathinalaska.com, as well as capturing it as a back-up video, in case Google decides to reshoot the location. Swirling on a constant panoramic loop, the movement of the camera gives the abstract image an almost 3D-like quality. The piece documents Google's fraught attempt to supply an accurate representation of Minnie Street, and, as such, Sisto sees Last Breath in Alaska (Found Object) as a response to the purportedly omniscient eye of the Street View feature, and the issues of transparency and privacy it raises. - Ceci Moss

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    Google Street view van by Joe McKay (2008)

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    This Google "steet view" van image by Joe McKay is created entirely from reflections of the van in store windows in San Francisco.

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