Art in Your Pocket 2

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In the summer of 2009, I wrote an article here at Rhizome about the burgeoning activities of media artists creating new works or updating versions of their older interactive screen-based projects for Apple's iPhone and iTouch mobile devices. As the article made its way throughout the blogosphere, comments surfaced ranging from criticism of the "closed world of Apple's App Store and iPhone devices" to a championing of the availability of inexpensive multi-touch technology now available to artists who had been waiting for a platform that could adequately display and allow for the type of interaction their projects demanded. A year after the article came out, the draw of these devices and their potentially expansive audience has become even more irresistible to artists enough so that several more "apps" have surfaced. The following article catalogs several new iPhone works which have emerged over the past year, works that are pioneering the next generation of portable media art.

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Sampling #1 (2009) - Eva Paulitsch and Uta Weyrich

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Image of Sampling #1 from flickr user 7pc

Since 2006, the two artists have been collecting films from mobile phones in the public sphere. It is the mixture of amateurish documentation of your own life, of a direct, unhampered view on your own reality, of unmotivated, unguided camera movements as the expression of boredom but also of directed little scenarios that aroused our collector's instincts. Paulitsch and Weyrich are accepting all films into their archive uncensored. This is increasingly developing into a fascinating document of our times, to a sort of evidence-gathering on and siting of the present. Above all, however, it resembles a bizarre album of weltering digital imagery.

For the exhibition YOU_ser 2.0 in the ZKM | Media Museum, the two artists make their mobile film archive accessible for visitors via mobile tagging. The mobile films are concealed behind the colourful QR codes, which visitors can decipher with their own WLAN-mobiles or with the mobiles provided by the museum. In this way, the content of the films Paulitsch and Weyrich are collecting on the street and publishing on the Net returns to the private sphere and into the medium where they originate. The video blog serves to show new extracts from this archive and offers a platform to films currently being collected.

-- FROM THE DESCRIPTION OF "SAMPLING #1" FROM THE EXHIBITION "YOU_ser 2.0: CELEBRATION OF THE CONSUMER"

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Google Portrait Series (2007-2009) - Aram Bartholl

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Each code represents a visual enryption of a search on 'Aram Bartholl' in a specific language on Google.

A Google Portrait is a drawing which contains the Google URL search string of the portrayed person in encoded form. Any camera smart phone is capable to decode the matrix-code with the help of barcode reader like software. The result points the mobile phone browser to a search on the portrayed person's name at Google.

A large number of people can be found by name on Google today. Everyone who is working on a computer and uses the internet regularly can be found on Google. Even people who don't use computers can be found sometimes because their names appear in 'old' media (i.e. books) on the net.

'Egosurfing' is a popular way for a user to find out what websites and information Google returns on his/her name search.

How many hits does Google show on my name? Am I popular? Do I want to be found at all? Who writes about me? What do people find out about me when they google my name? Am I in concurrence to other persons with the same name? Do I rely on the results Google shows me on a person's name? In which way do I relate to someone which I only known by Google results?

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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You Are What You Buy (2007) - Michele Pred

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Michele Pred Explains You Are What You Buy

I chose to create an embroidered version of a barcode to represent how technology has become interwoven, fused with our lives and our identity- to represent how we have become one and the same with technology.

Through new technology cell phones are now capable of scanning and decoding barcodes. However, these barcodes are a little different than the ones you see scanned at the grocery store: they are called 2D barcodes and are composed of black and white squares that encode the URLs to any website of creator's choice. In other words, these Data Matrix format barcodes are a physical hyperlink. Through my research I have learned how to create and program 2D barcodes with embedded text messages. I have also discovered that these barcodes can be reproduced in a variety of materials and are still capable of being scanned/read with a mobile phone.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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N Building (2009) - Teradadesign and Qosmo

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N Building from Alexander Reeder on Vimeo.

N Building is a commercial structure located near Tachikawa station amidst a shopping district. Being a commercial building signs or billboards are typically attached to its facade which we feel undermines the structures' identity. As a solution we thought to use a QR Code as the facade itself. By reading the QR Code with your mobile device you will be taken to a site which includes up to date shop information. In this manner we envision a cityscape unhindered by ubiquitous signage and also an improvement to the quality and accuracy of the information itself.

-- PRESS RELEASE FOR "N BUILDING"

Originally via Networked Research

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TXTual Healing (2006 - Ongoing) - Paul Notzold

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TXTual Healing was created in the early days of 2006 by Paul Notzold and has become a collection of interactive public projections and performance formats that encourage creation of dialog through text messaging from mobile phones. Whether interacting with custom digital signage, or live performers TXTual Healing builds community through public story telling via the mobile phone.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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Graffiti Markup Language Gets An Upgrade

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F.A.T. Labs have declared this week "Graffiti Markup Language Week" on their blog - and each day they've posted GML-related updates. What exactly is Graffiti Markup Language? It's an XML file type developed by F.A.T. Labs that stores the motion data created by tagging -- allowing graffiti writers to share, study, and catalog their tags. Check the below for a brief overview:

GML = Graffiti Markup Language from Evan Roth on Vimeo.

What has GML week brought us so far? Over the past few days, F.A.T. Labs introduced:

► An iPhone version of Graffiti Analysis DustTag v1.0 - this handy App allows users to trace their tags and add them to the GML database http://000000book.com/ using an iPhone.

► Graffiti Analysis 2.0 - the new and improved Graffiti Analysis includes the aforementioned iPhone App DustTag v1.0, along with updates to the tracking, playback, controls and graphics, as well as previously unreleased source code and downloads to Windows, Mac and Linux versions of the playback and capture applications.

► FatTag Deluxe - the Katsu Edition - an updated version of the Fat Tag App made in collaboration with graffiti legend Katsu.

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OMG (2009) - Valentin Ruhry

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TextBild MMIX curated by Agnes Altziebler, Werner Fenz, Evelyn Kraus & Birgit Kulterer.

Text plays a special role in the complex make-up of the public space - even if it is often barely perceptible in all the densely packed visual overlaps. The “TextBild MMIX” project liberates it from different contexts, isolating it and thus helping it achieve its own effect: A sentence appears in the form of neon writing on a single day in a single place in Styria - then the van, vehicle of this unfamiliar, foreign text, which is a synonym for strangeness as a social source of irritation, vanishes again. In this way, Styrian artists and writers inscribe their own specific texts into the various places, thus seeking to achieve a radical concentration. The subject is strictly the present: MMIX are the Roman numerals for the year 2009.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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Call for Applications

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Brighton-based interactive media artists' group Blast Theory posted a call for both their residency and internship program. Interns will have an opportunity to work in Blast Theory's studios on specific projects while residents will be given space to research and develop new work in a supportive and collaborative environment. For the residency program, Blast Theory are looking for individuals working in:

- Pervasive & location based gaming & interactive media
- Mobile & portable devices in cultural & artistic practice
- Games design and theory
- Interdisciplinary and live art practice

The deadline for applications is January 31, 2010. More information can be found on Blast Theory's site.

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Required Reading

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Never mind that the decade really ends in a little over a year, it's time to take stock of it. Today's post looks back at the decade just past while tomorrow's will look at the decade to come.

As I observed before, this decade is marked by atemporality. The greatest symptom of this is our inability to name the decade and, although commentators have tried to dub it the naughties, the aughts, and the 00s (is that pronounced the ooze?), the decade remains, as Paul Krugman suggests, a Big Zero, and we are unable to periodize it. This is not just a matter of linguistic discomfort, its a reflection of the atemporality of network culture. Jean Baudrillard is proved right. History, it seems, came to an end with the millennium, which was a countdown not only to the end of a millennium but also to the end of meaning itself. Perhaps, the Daily Miltonian suggested, we didn't have a name for the decade because it was so bad.

-- EXCERPT FROM "A DECADE IN RETROSPECT" BY KAZYS VARNELIS

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It's time for my promised set of predictions for the coming decade. It has been a transgression of disciplinary norms for historians to predict the future, but its also quite common among bloggers. So let's treat this as a blogosphere game, nothing more. It'll be interesting to see just how wildly wrong I am a decade from now.

In many respects, the next decade is likely to seem like a hangover after the party of the 2000s (yes, I said party). The good times of the boom were little more than a lie perpetrated by finance, utterly ungrounded in any economy reality, and were not based on any sustainable economic thought. Honestly, it's unclear ...

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