Field Broadcast, which kicks off tomorrow and runs through May 17th, will present unedited, live streams of a series of artworks from thirty-three artists captured in fields (yes, the green, earthy kind) to your desktop. When I first read about the show on Networked Music Review, it reminded me a bit of David Claerbout's Present, a work he created for Dia's Artist Web Projects in 2000. Present is an application that allows the user to watch the full lifespan of a flower on their desktop. Like the Field Broadcast exhibition, it inserts a semblance of the natural or the organic into the virtual environment. With so many artists involved in Field Broadcast, it will be interesting to see how they interact with their surroundings -- if the fields will factor in as a component or simply become a backdrop.
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.
(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 ...!--more-->
hello process! shows a machine doing what it does best, deleting, copying and moving blocks of data. The installation consists solely of a computer and a printer. The computer functions as it usually does, as a black box theatre of processes. The only output comes through the printer, giving us clues about the activity inside, while in the background, the raw noise of the machine creates a sound scape, a sonification of this theatre of naive computation.
A file of 128 blocks is created. In this file, each block can be occupied by a small piece of code. Every piece of code has its own strategy. Some try to conquer as many blocks as possible, others simply target one specific piece of code or an unsuspecting neighbour. When the process is set in motion, all blocks are executed one after the other. This results in a battle between the file’s inhabitants. After forty iterations, a fresh file is created with a new combination of code.
Each piece of code has a special ID. This ID is sent to the printer every time the block is loaded in which the code is residing. Each printed line represents the result of one battle cycle. 128 small graphical representations of code are printed. This process repeats 40 times, creating a map of abstract patterns depicting the changes that took place. There is some duality in this theatre of naive and nonproductive computation. We like to think of processes as actors in a machine theatre, playing with anthropomorphism and metaphors to trigger the imagination. Each piece of code has a descriptive name such as copycat, eraserhead, destroyer, or swapmaster, and displays behaviour to match. But at the same time these programs are just mechanical low level operations, totally inhuman. In the end the ...
In 1966, Allan Kaprow made the following statement in the Manifestos pamphlet:
Contemporary art, which tends to “think” in multi-media, intermedia, overlays, fusions and hybridizations, is a closer parallel to modern mental life than we have realized. Its judgments, therefore, may be acute. “Art” may soon become a meaningless word. In its place,“communications programming” would be a more imaginative label, attesting to our new jargon, our technological and managerial fantasies, and to our pervasive electronic contact with one another.
Fast-forward to 2010, and one wonders what Kaprow would make of "Avatar 4D," an evening of performances -- or, more precisely, a happening -- by seventeen internet-based artists "set up as chaotically choreographed circumstances that exist in a reality of virtual proportions." Taking its cue from the dually alienating and revelatory push-and-pull of our hyper-connected lives, and the existence of "pervasive electronic contact" taken to the nth degree, artists will webcam, stream, project, and otherwise stage work in both San Francisco's NOMA Gallery and Richmond's Reference Gallery this Saturday, April 17th. The event is curated by the collaborative curatorial team JstChillin (Caitlin Denny and Parker Ito), who are also behind the original and often humorous online exhibit series Serial Chillers in Paradise. The press release describes the artists in "Avatar 4D" as "reality hackers" -- citing Petra Cortright’s webcam videos and Ben Vickers' disclosure of his personal usernames and passwords as examples -- who experiment with "the theoretical apparatus of struggle" in the context of "the ever changing modes of the net" and its impact on the self. It seems the artists behind "Avatar 4D" are attempting to insert "art" into a reality lived in anticipation of its constant representation and performance online, perhaps becoming a form of "communications programming" within a self-programmed reality. Whatever ...
THE VOICE IS A LANGUAGE, a film and performance program revolving around the work of Meredith Monk, kicks off this week at Tramway as part of Glasgow International. The event series will begin with a live performance of a newly commissioned work by artist Cara Tolmie on April 15th. This will be followed by daily screenings, through April 25th, of work by Sophie Macpherson, James Richards, Cara Tolmie and Sue Tompkins, as well as rare films by Monk. I had a chance to speak with the curator behind THE VOICE IS A LANGUAGE, Isla Leaver-Yap, about Monk’s career, the correspondence between her practice and those of the artists involved in the series, as well as the informative online reader organized especially for the project.
How did you first become interested in Meredith Monk's work?
Last year I was involved in a project at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, called Talkshow, which was a season of performances and events that looked at speech in relation to contemporary art. We were working with a lot of music/art crossover figures like Robert Ashley, Simone Forti, and Joan La Barbara. By way of Talkshow research, I came to see Peter Greenaway’s fantastic Four Composers television series, which was originally broadcast in the UK in 1983, and which included an episode portrait of Meredith Monk. Perhaps I wasn’t looking at it so closely at the time because Meredith Monk was less invested in the speech act and more in the possibilities within the human voice. When I moved to New York in October of last year, I watched the Greenaway film again out of a kind of local interest - a lot of the performances Monk was talking about in ...
Vancouver-ans will be noising it up this week, with the music fest Fake Jazz Festival as well as the two-day symposium Noise Not Noise, organized by Western Front Society's Exhibitions and New Music Department. The activities will cover the changing role of noise, especially in light of digital technologies and general information overflow. (One critical strand is the subject of a recent book, Caleb Kelly's Cracked Media: The Sound of Malfunction, which covers the historical development of music made with failed or broken electronics, reviewed on Rhizome by Greg J. Smith.) For those who can only attend in spirit, fear not, as the Western Front Society's Executive Director, Caitlin Jones, has curated an online exhibit, NOISEnotNOISE, in conjunction with the festivities, with work by Cory Arcangel, JODI, Guthrie Lonergan, Lee Walton and Aleksandra Domanovic. The show proposes to take on the "noise" of the online environment and the constant generation of data from sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. This dynamic surfaces in the cluttered confusion of JODI's My%Desktop (2002-2010) to the schizophrenic pastiche of Aleksandra Domanovic's Biennale (Dictum Ac Factum) (2009). To view the full exhibition, visit NOISEnotNOISE here.
On gaming, gear, and tech sites across the net one can find threads asking users for ratings and approval on their equipment. A simple search for "rate my rig", "rate my setup", "rate my collection", "rate my gear" will return hundreds of these images and videos. From snapshots of elaborate home entertainment centers to short videos displaying one's own modded gear, a sense of pride and showmanship pervades throughout. The threads and video clips speak to the social and performative nature of collection, as well as a competitive consumerist drive, and offer a glimpse into the lives, homes, and obsessions of geeks of all kinds.
Today and tomorrow are the last two days of art collective The Cave's week-long residency at La Mama gallery space in the East Village. The group has been running an series titled "SCULPTURE STORAGE" in which a small stage hosts a series of performances, screenings, workshops and lectures. Not only do the lectures themselves deal with the issue of storage and the archive, the series itself functions as a performance of the act of storage:
"The platform will start out empty, but will accumulate debris from each event as it takes place. The physical wear on the structure and the rubble left from the nine days will act as a living timeline of the events that took place there. Posters surrounding the stage will both advertise and memorialize the events as they unfold during the exhibition."
Events this evening include a lecture on "The Personal Website" by Travess Smalley of Poster Company and a tour of Kool-Aid Man in Second Life given by artist Jon Rafman. The full schedule can be found online at The Cave.
Home of the Brave is a 1986 American concert film featuring the music of Laurie Anderson, who also directed the movie. The film's full on-screen title is Home of the Brave: A Film by Laurie Anderson. The performances were filmed in Brooklyn during the summer of 1985.