Interview with Olga Goriunova, Curator of Fun with Software

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Humor, fun and nonsense often figure greatly in the current modes of communication on the web, whereby memes and sardonic blog comments are commonplace -- if not expected. Such trappings have found their way into media art practices from Cory Arcangel’s cover of Arnold Schoenberg’s op.11 Drie Klavierstucke using cat videos on YouTube to F.A.T. Lab’s Kanye West Interrupt bookmarklet. The question that these works and others like it raises is this: does humor appear to be a synergistic outgrowth of technology (and how does it relate to its development)?

In the latest exhibition "Fun with Software" at Bristol’s Arnolfini, curator Olga Goriunova seeks to document and explore how humorous approaches to software lead to innovation. Working with early net and media artists from JODI to Graham Harwood, the exhibition is a retrospective of peculiar approaches to computation. I sat down with Goriunova to talk about the show’s premise and how that premise contextualizes and contrasts the current era of humor and technology.

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Different Strokes: A Report from Abandon Normal Devices 2010

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The latest edition of Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival has jumped across the Northwest UK from Liverpool, where it debuted last year to Manchester. In its second major urban manifestation, after a small rural retreat in the Peak District, the festival followed its previous format and presented exhibitions, performances, cinema screening, talks and workshops across cultural venues in the city. Seeking to agitate, AND’s theme of questioning normality in various forms was represented in Manchester with a focus on identity.

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Performing Participation

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MTAA, Automatic for the People ( ) Voting Kiosk, 2008 (Photo: M.River)

In the fall of 2008, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art invited several artists to create a new work for the exhibition "Art of Participation: 1950 to Now." One such invitation was extended to MTAA, a Brooklyn-based duo comprised of Mike Sarff and Tim Whidden, alternately known as M.River & T.Whid Art Associates. In response, MTAA constructed a poll-based project entitled Automatic for the People ( ), which asked the audience to vote upon the parameters for a theatrical performance executed at the conclusion of the exhibition (the title’s empty parentheses refer to an undetermined subtitle). Technically, the voting consisted of ten different electronic ballots addressing such creative and procedural elements as duration, space, and props, with each being accessible for one week at a museum kiosk and remotely online. All ten ballots contained ten options, and the most popular selections were incorporated into the live finale. During the summer of 2009, I enlisted MTAA in an email-based interview regarding the practical consequences and conceptual implications associated with producing their participatory poll and performance for SFMOMA.



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Automatic for the People ( ) Performance
(Photo: Aimee Friberg; Courtesy of SFMOMA. )

DAVID DUNCAN: Let’s begin with the project’s finale. Can you give an overview of the performance— the staging, players and performers, costumes, and actions?

MIKE SARFF and TIM WHIDDEN: We began with the idea that the live work should come together as a unified whole; we felt that a series of unconnected actions would feel untrue to the vote process. We also wanted the audience to participate in the performance. To achieve this, we established three boundaries— installation, duration and action. For the installation we had a location outside the museum’s freight elevator that was selected by vote. The performance’s duration (the same length as the REM album Automatic for the People) was also selected by vote. The action involved two teams competing to create the best robot costume—again, an element determined by vote. Lastly, we included interruptions to the robot costume building competition. These we called interludes and digressions—they were essentially acts between acts that helped to pace the performance. The goal was to make it all seem solid even if an audience member did not know anything about the whole of the AFTP: ( ) voting process.

DAVID DUNCAN: Beyond the audience’s participation, did MTAA conceive AFTP: ( ) in cooperation with the SFMOMA staff?

MIKE SARFF: Yes, it was conceived for this space and institution. It would be good to note here that although the vote kiosk installation and ...

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VisitorsStudio

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VisitorsStudio is a real-time, multi-user, online arena for creative 'many to many' dialogue, interviews, networked performance and collaborative polemic. Through simple and accessible facilities, the VisitorsStudio web-based interface allows users to upload, manipulate and collage their own audio-visual files with others', to remix existing media. Providing a platform for the exploration of collective creativity for both emergent and established artists from a diverse array of geographical locations and social contexts. Designed so anyone in the world can access it from a 56k modem. Participants upload sound files and still/moving images (jpg, png, mp3, flv, swf) to a shared database, mixing and responding to each other's compositions in real-time. Individuals can also chat with each other and are located in the interface by their own dancing-cursors.



Congratulations to Furtherfield.org and Furtherstudio.org for winning the Grand Prize for netarts 2009 from the Machida City Museum of Graphic Art.

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Stephanie Syjuco's "Copystand: an autonomous manufacturing zone" on VernissageTV

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In this video from VernissageTV, San Francisco-based artist Stephanie Syjuco discusses her project for Frieze this year Copystand: an autonomous manufacturing zone, where Syjuco facilitated a workshop producing copies, handmade by artists, of 3D work on sale during the fair by other artists. In the clip, she terms the process "object karaoke" - suggesting that the artists involved contribute their own voice to their duplications. In a way, it seems like a sculpture-based version of Copyshop, B'L'ing or Werkplaats Typografie's copy station at the NY Art Book Fair. Maybe the time has come for someone to bring all of these bootleggers together in a group show?

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Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival Report

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Image: Abandon Normal Devices logo

The debut Abandon Normal Devices (AND) launched in the North West of England, 23rd -27th September 2009. The inaugural festival was centred in the city of Liverpool with satellite events taking place in Manchester. AND, a collaboration between FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) in Liverpool, folly in Lancaster and Cornerhouse in Manchester positions itself as a mixture of new cinema, digital culture and media art, showcasing work in partnership with galleries, venues and public spaces around the city. Over five days, the festival featured a broad array of conferences, talks, exhibitions, screenings, performances and online works, with artists and practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds including, The Yes Men, MARIN (Media Art Research Interdisciplinary Network), Blast Theory, DJ Spooky and Michael Connor. FACT acted as the central hub for the festival and hosted the majority of screenings, talks and events; it also celebrated its 20-year anniversary on the opening night.

In line with its snappy title, the festival set out to discard all that is typical, regular or average, seeking to question normality in an array of forms. There was a particular focus on exploring disruption to traditional methods of production and distribution in cinema and media art. Interfering and interrupting the familiar and ordinary were played out in public space, on screen and through performance.

The festival opened with a new performance/lecture by Carolee Schneemann, renowned for her performance work of the 60’s and 70’s that challenged the normalised perceptions of the body, sexuality and gender. In a work which took the format of a lecture, titled Mysteries of the Iconographies, Schneemann went on a journey through the creative products of her life from early childhood drawings, through painting, to performance and video installation. The performance was accompanied ...

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Interview with Ele Carpenter

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Image: Open Source Embroidery Window Display at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art
(Photo credit: Travis Meinolf)

The exhibition “Open Source Embroidery” opens tonight at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco and it will be on view until January 24, 2010. The show is part of an ongoing project, initiated by Ele Carpenter in 2005, which examines how both embroidery and code can be used as tools in participatory, open source production and distribution models. “Open Source Embroidery” brings together artists, crafters, and programmers to explore this topic in the form of workshops and exhibitions. I spoke to curator Ele Carpenter further about the evolution and multiple realizations of the Open Source Embroidery project. - Ceci Moss

How did your larger research into socially engaged art and new media art evolve into Open Source Embroidery?

Socially engaged art and new media art practices share the language and concepts of social networks, participation and collaboration but they also have distinct histories and operate within very different social spheres. In the world of media arts people have been excited about the potential of the internet to be used to connect communities of interest for a long time. But new media didn’t invent participation; people who work with social networks on the ground already knew how much time and genuine involvement is needed to facilitate meaningful interaction. New media seems to have pulled ‘participation’ into the culture of ‘cool’ technology. But the most radical impact is the politicized culture of digital media testing the legal and ethical frameworks of production and distribution.

I was looking for a way to make tangible some of these ideas: to make visible older forms of collaborative production such as patchwork, and newer collaborative projects such as open source software. I wanted to ...

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WarMail (2008) - Jeremy Bailey

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Warmail is a live, collaborative software performance, led by Jeremy Bailey, commissioned by HTTP Gallery in London, UK. Warmail uses the audience's latent song and dance potential to write and send an email to my mother while simultaneously directing a space war campaign

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S DESCRIPTION

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Conflux 2009 Festival Schedule

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Rhizome is a proud media partner of New York's annual psychogeographic festival Conflux, which kicked off yesterday evening. See below for the festival's jam-packed schedule this weekend, you can also download a pdf version here or check out their interactive schedule here. All the events are open to the public, and they suggest a $5 donation.

Friday, September 18 11:30am-8:30pm

Unless otherwise noted, all workshops begin in NYU Steinhardt’s Barney building (34 Stuyvesant Street).

11:30am

Christina Ray & David Darts . Opening Remarks (Commons Gallery, Barney building)

12:00pm

Tianna Kennedy . Swimming Cities of Serenissima

Jessica Thompson . mobile performance device

Marc Horowitz . NYCommercial

Jeff Stark . Subway Theater

Joseph Grima . Storefront for Art and Architecture

2:00pm

Transportation Alternatives . POP.Park: Reclaim Your Street

College of Tactical Culture (CTC) . College of Tactical Culture

Leon Reid IV . An Afternoon With Leon IV

What We Know So Far . Probability

Waterpod . The Waterpod: Life afloat, on the edge of the grid *Begins off-site

4:00pm

Caroline Woolard . OurGoods

Not an Alternative . Occupations and interventions on the urban/cultural landscape

Eve Mosher . Insert _____ here

6:00pm

Theodore Bouloukos . Memes and Temes

Mark Shepard . Sentient City Survival Kit

7:00pm

Elizabeth Streb . PopAction

Andrea Reynosa & Kevin Vertrees . Time Based Landscape Studies *Begins off-site

7:30pm

Carlos J. Gómez de Llarena . Urballoon *Begins off-site

8:30pm

Starting at Conflux headquarters in the Barney Building, Conflux and Foursquare present Foursquare @ Conflux, an interactive iPhone-driven social networking event that will lead participants on a tour of hidden East Village locations.

Saturday, September 19 10:00am-6:00pm

All workshops begin in NYU Steinhardt’s Barney building (34 Stuyvesant Street).

10:00am

Dara Greenwald, Olivia Robinson and Josh MacPhee . Spectres of Liberty

Julia kaganskiy & An Xiao . E-Derive: Psychogeography and the Digital Landscape

Matt Knutzen . Rebuilding the Historical City

Meredith Johnson . Creative Time

12:00pm

Natalie Jeremijenko . Fish ‘n microChips

Sal Randolph . Free Money & Other Urban Money Actions

Brooke Singer . Demolition Drugstore!

Kurt Braunohler . Urban Disorientation Game

Britta Riley & Rebecca Bray . Windowfarms and R&D-I-Y;

2:00pm

Sharilyn Neidhardt . Human Scale Chess Game

Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga, L.M.Bogad & Andrew Boyd . Fantastic Politics: Art as Political Campaign

Marc Horowitz & Peter Baldes . Google Maps Roadtrip (NYC)

Andrea Reynosa & Kevin Vertrees . Time Based Landscape Studies

Jason Eppink . Adventures in Urban Alchemy

4:00pm

Greg Trefry . Gigaputt: The City is Your Golf Course

Reverend Billy & Savitri D. . Breaking in to Public Space

Tom Angotti . Reclaiming the City, Community Organizing, and Planning

Moses Gates . What’s Your City Horoscope?

Cassim Shepard . Urban Omnibus

7:00pm

From 7-10pm Conflux Founder and Producer Glowlab hosts a party at their 30 Grand Street location in SoHo to coincide with a related exhibition entitled Modern Ruins by artist Emily Henretta.

Sunday, September 20 10:00am-6:00pm

ConfluxCity - city-wide!

Sunday, September 20 from 6-10pm at the Delancey Lounge (168 Delancey St, www.thedelancey.com), a chance to unwind, connect with other Conflux participants and reflect on the weekend’s happenings.

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The Internet Mapping Project (2009) - Kevin Kelley

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The internet is vast. Bigger than a city, bigger than a country, maybe as big as the universe. It's expanding by the second. No one has seen its borders.

And the internet is intangible, like spirits and angels. The web is an immense ghost land of disembodied places. Who knows if you are even there, there.

Yet everyday we navigate through this ethereal realm for hours on end and return alive. We must have some map in our head.

I've become very curious about the maps people have in their minds when they enter the internet. So I've been asking people to draw me a map of the internet as they see it. That's all. More than 50 people of all ages and levels of expertise have mapped their geography of online.

-- STATEMENT FROM THE PROJECT SITE

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