Last spring, Natacha Stolz, a performance artist and a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, performed a piece called Interior Semiotics at an apartment gallery in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood. Stolz had the piece videotaped, and soon after the performance it went up on YouTube, where it remained unnoticed for upwards of four months. On August 5th, someone posted the video to 4chan, and it started to spread.
POWEr is a performance based on high-voltage electromagnetic perturbations, by Alexandre Burton and Julien Roy. Using an audio-modulated Tesla coil as a live instrument, electrical arcs are generated and transformed in an ongoing, realtime audiovisual process. Electricity is used as a subtle yet intense material, manifested as an instrinsically synesthesic phenomenae.
It's ironic that Jin Sangtae learned computer repair working at a mammoth South Korean tech market, since he eventually applied those skills to creatively destroying electronics. One of Seoul's most important audio artists, Jin Sangtae creates glitched noise improvisations by manipulating exposed computer hard drive parts.
Jin produces his initial signal in Clanger Theremin, a digital theremin available as freeware designed for use on PDA devices. Controlling pitch, volume and modular effects with a stylus, Jin leads the signal through several exposed computer hard drives, each fed to a separate track on a mixer, a process that methodically undermines his instrument.
Jin's impressive level of control over hardware errors does generally overshadow the theremin signal. A repeated series of staccatos resembling vinyl skips can be gradually protracted into a striated drone and then diminished into a paper-thin hiss. High-pitched sounds are emphasized; although harsh noise artists Otomo Yoshihide and Merzbow are certainly influences on Jin, his squealing feedback evokes scientific, mechanical imagery rather than a nihilistic anti-aesthetic. Although Park's improvisations are structureless, his decisions of which ideas to develop at length and which to briefly interject reward deep listening.
Professionally, Jin Sangtae runs an audiovisual supplies distribution company, but Jin's office doubles as a small experimental performance space called Dotolim. Along with a few other venues in Seoul like Park Chang Soo's Houseconcert and Lee Han Joo's Yogiga gallery, Jin Sangtae's Dotolim concert has made him central to Seoul's experimental scene. While Houseconcert emphazises acoustic free jazz and Yogiga is a freeform sprawl, the circle of musicians surrounding Dotolim concerts is an erudite group of tech-savvy electroacoustic noise artists. The Balloon and Needle label, run by noise musicians Choi Joonyong and Hong Chulki ...
The concept of networked art, or art which relies on exchange and collaboration across great geographical distances, has had a rich history prior to the Internet's first rumblings (and is now, fittingly enough, being archived, reappraised, and 'blogged' all over that same Internet.) Unlike the "one to many" presentational modes of the museum, shop, or gallery, networked art pieces were comparatively intimate "one to one" experiences, absorbed by one recipient at a time. Whether we call the collected efforts of this culture "mail art," "correspondence art," or simply "networking," its history is unlike other 'art historical' narratives, insofar as few people feel qualified to act as a spokesperson for the admittedly varied intentions of other networked artists: there is an almost universal reluctance to promote oneself as the "head" of anything in this culture. Especially on the European continent, where the most radical art collectives (e.g. Surrealism) have splintered into warring factions while under the mismanagement of paranoid leaders, no one is particularly eager to waste their otherwise productive time on internecine squabbling about whom deserves what title. So, in these situations, those who are just the most enthusiastic about their work, and its place in a larger creative milieu, end up becoming "ambassadors" by default.
One such ambassador, Vittore Baroni, is an individual who makes introductory biographical surveys like this one such a daunting task: his work spans every conceivable medium from rubber stamps and "artistamps" [mock-'official' postage stamps] and stickers to novel fashion items, and his tastes run the gamut from sublime atmospheric music to graphics exhibiting an exaggerated 'comic book' sense of humor and horror. Other than a general disregard for the taxonomy of art genres, the defining characteristic of Baroni's artwork is the nurturing of paradox and contradiction (he tells me that "[the term] 'paradoxical' is for me a great compliment, and a very positive adjective.") However, I may be getting ahead of myself here, since Baroni disavows the word "artist" entirely. In an early manifesto for his TRAX 'networking project,' co-founded with Piermario Ciani and Massimo Giacon, Baroni demurs "we are not artists, because art is a word that means everything and nothing," and proceeds to apply this to more clearly defined creative categories: "we are not musicians, but we create sounds. We are not actors, but every once in a while we get on a stage. We are not writers or publishing houses, but we can print our own writings." So what exactly is Baroni - and who are "we"?
Inevitably, the fast pace of consumerism is accompanied by the tantalizing promise of slow time—Allen Ginsberg once complained of a heart attack en route to his weekly meditation.
Just as the arts were reinvented in the age of the camera, so too must they be in the age of accelerated time. If the internet and the touch screen represent the apparatuses of our age, then the material and the prolonged have become a niche for the discursive and formal role of the arts. Much like a spa, the arts play host to a malnourished subject eager to experience something nostalgically other. Slow time and tangible bodies become so rare experientially that their aesthetic value finds a home in the cul-de-sac of scarcity that is art.
Since the advent of mechanical production, the arts have been the space in which the hard-to-find seeks refuge. And while the art market has been much discussed, we now find another form of scarcity in forms of experience. At times in tension, at times in collusion with capitalist scarcity, the scarcity of experience encourages forms of art that are not as easily distributed as—and thus more distinguishable from—the mass produced goods of the broader market. Massive installations, sculptures, performance, civic institutions (the museum), time-based relational aesthetics all find value in their experiential distinction from larger markets. Museums offer special opportunities to experience the body in space. In this spasmodic era, we find the arts recalibrated as a temporal, spatial, and bodily escape.
This kind of shifted aesthetic disposition resists not only the pace of the information economy, but, perhaps more importantly, our very ability to consume our experience. If we are frantic, it is only because we need to ...
Greek-Italian artist Angelo Plessas’ interactive websites (Angeloplessas.com) integrate elements of drawing, sound, Flash animation and innovative HTML coding. Each of his online two-dimensional “sculptures” is sealed with a domain name that playfully evokes the language of philosophy, literature and drama. Challenging concepts of space and ownership on the Internet, Plessas’ websites are, like graffiti bombed on a public wall, the acts of a guerrilla artist intervening in public space.
Plessas has come a long way since his first and ongoing aesthetic project: documenting face-like compositions he discovers in random configurations of objects and architecture (InternationalPortraitGallery.com). He officially launched his artistic career in 2001 when artist and curator Miltos Manetas selected his work for the Internet-inspired group show Biennale.net at Deitch Projects, New York. Now, the artist is exploring projects that take on a curatorial scope, including the recent one-day video projection extravaganza Bring Your Own Beamer at the Kunsthalle Athena.
With the lines between his online and offline work becoming increasingly blurred, Plessas is evolving in the manner of his medium. As the Internet expands, so does Plessas’ practice, and as the artist matures, perhaps he might shed light on where the Internet might take us. Sitting at his seaside apartment in Athens, Plessas takes me on a journey through his virtual universe, which ultimately leads right back to reality itself…whatever that might be, or could become.
In case you're up at Dia:Beacon this weekend, on October 31st at 2pm, in celebration of the new publication Max Neuhaus: Times Square, Time Piece Beacon, the museum will host a performance by composer David Shively of Max Neuhaus' early concert realizations of works by New York School composers such as Earle Brown, John Cage, and Morton Feldman. A screening of rare Neuhaus films and videos, like Phill Niblock's Max and documentation of Drive-in Music, will follow the performance. More info here.
"The Built From Scratch Apparatus" is the general title for a series of projects by Pierre Gordeeff initiated in 2006. Composed of parts salvaged from the trash, yard sales and equipment purchased from bankrupt hospitals, schools and factories, Gordeeff's work has slowly evolved into an ornate sculpture and light show along with amplified moving parts fed into a mixer. This particular configuration of The Built-From-Scratch Apparatus, La Trombe, is performed alongside a duo with electronic musician Boris Jacobek on laptop and Bontempi keyboard.
La Trombe was built specifically for a performance at Lyon, France's DIY venue Grrrndzero and this video was shot during one evening of La Trombe's installation period at the space in June of 2008. Although it seems that throughout most of this improvisation the sculpture is obscured in shadow, spectators could observe the well-lit sculpture before and after the performance.
Initially, Gordeeff's pieces were a less complex juxtaposition of drawings, sculpture and found objects, often depicting images of dystopian angst. By 2004, he began to make use of light and motion as his work became more performative. He eventually added sound by amplifying various moving portions of the sculpture and in his recent musical performances, the process of obscuring and illuminating portions of the sculpture "becomes more detailed than if I were [merely] drawing or sculpting it." When asked about the sculpture's transformation into an improvisatory musical instrument, Gordeeff observes, "I used sound and motion as a tool to overcome my habits of plastic composition. I followed the technical bias of all the items I could find [rather than my own aesthetic decisions] to end up with hybrid objects and shadows of elaborate graphic design. Sometimes sound inhabits space ...
This video project is composed of a sequence of recreations of a 10 second scene from the television show, Full House, overlaid with a set of sound loops from the scene's original music.
The crews who re-shot the scene were recruited through Internet message boards and Craigslist, and each of the original 10 crews were paid $150, using a commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., for Networked Music Review. The project included participants from Austin, Cincinnati, Chicago, Dallas, Denton, London, and San Francisco.