"Art in the Age of Terrorism" Panel, Steve Kurtz at Eyebeam Tonight

(0)

In a special panel hosted by Eyebeam, artist Steve Kurtz will speak openly tonight about his experience in federal court and the claims of bioterrorism filed against him. This is his first public appearance since his case was dismissed. He will be joined in discussion by science writer Carl Zimmer, bioethicist George Annas and author Eugene Thacker. The talk is free, open to the public, and it begins at 7pm. This event is co-organized by the 2008 World Science Festival and the Berkeley Center for New Media.


Link »


MORE »


We Heart Our VCRs

(0)


It's been said that necessity is the mother of all invention. That is, that true innovators were often responding to a lack of materials in crafting their art. This seems particularly true in the field of filmic media, where art history offers us so many examples, ranging from the Soviet KINO school's use of rearranged bits of paper to fine-tune the practice of montage to Britain's early-80s Scratch Video movement. The latter is the subject of an exhibition at London's Seventeen Gallery, May 28th-June 28th. "SCRATCH" presents work by intimate colleagues George Barber, The Duvet Brothers, Goldbacher & Flitcroft, and Gorilla Tapes, each of whom participated in this movement that involved sourcing material directly from existing broadcasts and other moving images sources, and often reprocessing them with what were then the latest in video editing techniques and tools. While all of the these artists' work responds largely to the new creative possibilities afforded by the birth of the VCR, Seventeen points out that they took this work in two distinct directions: politics and aesthetics. (Not that the two are mutually exclusive!) The Duvet Brothers and Gorilla Tapes directly engaged the Thatcher/Reagan new world order of conservativism and the ongoing issues in Northern Ireland with an anti-establishment ethos that marked all of their works. Their peers in the show explored visual styles ranging from dreams to pop music videos, imbuing their sources with rhythm, pulse, and a new life. If you're in the area, come check-out this often under-recognized work whose copious imitators, in the last two decades, are a testament to its influence and staying power. - Marisa Olson


Link »

MORE »


Erase You

(1)


As a compact but cogent set of explorations on governmental secrecy, censorship and other forms of knowledge control, the exhibit "For Reasons of State" consequently doubles as a menagerie of information technologies: projects on display feature microfiche, voice mail, tape recording, 16mm educational film, printed books, photography, surveillance video, card catalogs, typewritten documents, and good old pencil and paper-- though, perhaps significantly, there's not a computer monitor in sight. Ben Rubin's Dark Source (2005) comes closest via perverse analogy: a bank of microfiche readers displaying copies of documents that appear to be nothing but hand-scrawled bars. During a 2002 security snafu, Rubin was able to acquire the software code for Diebold's controversial voting machines, but then blacked out each line--in accordance with corporate trade secret laws-- before exhibiting it. Rubin's self-imposed censorship mirrors Jenny Holzer's Redaction Paintings (2006) mounted nearby, comprised of enlargements of classified US government documents released via the Freedom of Information Act, still containing large swathes of darkness. Other pieces deal less with active suppression of facts than their effective loss through lack of proper indexing: Lin + Lam's Unidentified Vietnam (2003-Present) series recreates a sloppy card catalog from the Library of Congress's collection of hundreds of propaganda films produced with the help of the American government for use in South Vietnam, while Mark Lombardi's Neil Bush, Silverado, MDC, Walters and Good c. 1979-90 (2nd Version) (1996) serves as an example of the late artist's obsessive sketches of conspiracy-style flow charts linking together powerful individuals, government bodies and corporations in tightly-bounded nests of sometimes inscrutable interconnections. The more exhibited and obvious choices for the show's theme (Trevor Paglen's photos of "black sites," Julia Meltzer and David Thorne's oft-programmed video essay "It's not my memory of ...

MORE »


Private Lives

(0)


Sophie Calle, Unfinished, 2005

The New Normal, an exhibition currently on display at Artists Space, assembles works from thirteen practitioners, all of which were made after 2001 and are somehow representative of the emergent conditions of public and private life in America and beyond. Curator Michael Connor borrows his exhibition title from Dick Cheney's notorious post-9/11 speech, in which the vice president characterized the forthcoming encroachments on citizens' private lives as "the new normalcy." What makes Connor's exhibition truly revelatory, however, is the way it proposes this "rise of state and corporate surveillance" to be as definitive, in the shaping of the private sphere, as the willingness of millions of members of the populous to voluntarily make their private lives public, by means of online venues for personal blogging, image and video diaries, and social networks. This trend, if anything, indicates that for the twenty-first century public, "private information is not always something to fear." To the contrary, Connor argues that the power entailed in this type of public disclosure can be harnessed in the service of new forms of cultural production and new "tactics for political critique."



Sharif Waked, Chic Point, 2003

Support for this point can be found throughout the exhibition. Bangladesh-born, U.S.-based artist Hasan Elahi's 2002 airport interrogation by FBI agents, for example, prompted his developing Tracking Transience, a personal website monitoring his spending, calls and location, with photo documentation for support. Elahi's project serves a pragmatic end - as virtual alibi - but does so in a conceptually telling fashion: requiring the artist to internalize state power and subject his life to the degree of scrutiny the government reserves for suspected terrorists. In a similar vein, Palestinian artist Sharif Waked's single-channel video Chic Point (2003) shows a parade of men ...

MORE »


The Shadow of Right Now

(0)


On June 4th, the second iteration of the 01SJ Biennial will open in San Jose, CA. One of the most compelling components of this major international new media event directed by venerable curator Steve Dietz will be an exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art, entitled "Superlight." The show opens May 10th and appears to offer a very powerful message. Taking on such "light" topics as global climate change, terrorism, the history of colonialism, global outsourcing, pervasive war, inescapable poverty, failing educational systems, and failed relationships, the show encourages viewers to get serious about considering our future. The lineup of artists in the exhibition (including Cory Arcangel, Jim Campbell, Paul DeMarinis, Kota Ezawa, Amy Franceschini, Graham Harwood, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Shih Chieh Huang, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Eddo Stern, Marina Zurkow, and others) could very easily be assembled with no greater purpose than surveying the most significant new media art of this moment. Instead, Dietz pushes viewers (and perhaps the artists themselves) to think further ahead. His curatorial statement fleshes out the fundamental "collision" encapsulated by the notion of "innovation": A face-off between the present and the future, in which one makes proactive decisions about the changes they want to see and the tomorrow they want to craft. Those working in new media are arguably extremely well-positioned to make such articulations, as they are at home on this temporal precipice. Recognizing this scenario charges both artists and audiences with a new sense of responsibility. As Dietz says, "In this contemporary context, 'what's next?' the age-old question at the intersection of art and technology takes on a new urgency." The works he's selected for their address of the aforementioned weighty topics often use light as a medium, if not the real or conceptual sheen of the popular vernacular ...

MORE »


Blank Spots on a Map: State Secrecy and the Limits of the Visible

(0)


For the next New Silent Series program at the New Museum, Blank Spots on a Map: State Secrecy and the Limits of the Visible, geographer and artist Trevor Paglen will explore the network of hidden budgets, state secrets, covert military bases, and disappeared people that military and intelligence insiders call the "black world." Over the course of his talk, Paglen will lead the discussion from "non-existent" Air Force and CIA installations in the Nevada desert to secret prisons in Afghanistan and to a collection of even more obscure "black sites" startlingly close to home. Using hundreds of images he has produced and collected over the course of his work, Paglen shows how the black world's internal contradictions give rise to a peculiar visual, aesthetic, and epistemological grammar with which to think about the contemporary moment.

BUY TICKETS
Friday May 9th, 7:30 PM
the New Museum, New York, NY
$8 general public, $6 Members (Rhizome and New Museum)

MORE »


Voice Lessons

(0)


What's in a voice? In these days of texting one's "vote" for their favorite singer on American Idol, the relationship between politics and using one's voice seem to have become estranged. Sure, the ability of siren's songs and golden throats to entertain us has an important cultural position, but the voice has also been used to convey oral histories, to negotiate terms, to speak for those who cannot, and even to lure, summon, and cast spells. Taking place all over New York City, the upcoming Creative Time program "Hey Hey Glossolalia" takes a closer look at (er... listen to?) the voice in a medley of programs as wide as Mariah Carey's vocal range. Interesting highlights include a conversation about truth and language between artist Rigo 23 and Black Panther Party member Robert King Wilkerson, who will discuss the "use of speech under pressure of complete isolation" during his 29 years spent in solitary confinement in Angola Prison. At Brooklyn's Pratt Institute, Chris Evans will orchestrate the first iteration in the United States of his Cop Talk project, in which art students meet with a police recruiter to consider a new career option. Carey Young will present a performance called Speechcraft, a subtle revision on a traditional Toastmasters meeting in which the assembled rhetors are asked to speak before an audience of 250 "about objects that Young finds artistically inspiring" and are subsequently "evaluated by fellow members in a cycle of inspiration, review, and reward." In a concert entitled "The Voice (After Mercedes McCambridge)," artists No Bra (Susanne Oberbeck), Genesis P-Orridge, Rammellzee, and Ian Svenonius will present performances inspired by the actress who dubbed the voice of a demonically-posessed character in the film The Exorcist. The pieces promise to "skirt the boundaries between information-giving and ...

MORE »


No Holds Barred

(0)


After a standout contribution to Postmasters' summer 2007 group show - which caused even tough cookie critic Roberta Smith to advise New York Times readers to "take notice" - Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung returns to the gallery this month with an accomplished solo turn, "Residential Erection," running through May 10th. Spanning the space's two rooms are the artist's recent video contributions to his brand of twenty-first century baroque, Residential Erection (2008) and Gas Zappers (2007), as well as digital prints and monumental pop-up displays, all deriving imagery from Residential Erection. While the pop-ups offer interesting translations of Hung's collage-heavy video practice into the sculptural realm, they ultimately feel secondary to the videos themselves, which interpolate political hubris and prop-like flatness with a greater level of sophistication, evoking theater sets, commercial advertisements, image search refuse and one-on-one combat video games. All of these references (and countless others) make a turn on Hung's digital stage, collectively giving a performance as critical of contemporary American politics as it is symptomatic of the artist as capitalist-schizophrenic par excellence. In one of the choicer scenes from Residential Erection, for example, an infantile Barack Obama suckles from the teat of mega-advocate Oprah Winfrey (in Virgin Mary attire), only to transform into a variation on Ali G's Borat, emblazoned with the logos of Verizon, UBS and a handful of his other corporate campaign sponsors. At another moment, a cadre of conservatives roll out the "Straight Talk Express," led by Republican cheerleader John McCain - replete with tutu - and proceed to erect a chain-link fence, hoard burritos and manufacture "Minutemen Salsa." Hung's garishly Pop take is thus no disguise for our nation's unsavory realities, but rather uses the aesthetics of mass-culture to dispel the sleek, rhetorical surface of American politics and tease out its dirty ...

MORE »


Election '08: How the Internet is Re-shaping National Politics

(0)


"Election '08: How the Internet is Re-shaping National Politics" is the next program in Rhizome's New Silent Series at the New Museum. See description below and mark your calendars for Friday, April 11th at 7:30pm.

Grassroots organizations like MoveOn.org and Meetup.com played a significant role in the lead-up to the 2004 presidential election. Campaign '08 has thus far been a very different project, with some of its most crucial points playing out across YouTube.com, viral marketing, and blogs. For Election '08, leading critics, artists, and media strategists will address the increasing role the Internet and digital technologies have come to play in national politics and focus specifically on the ways new media have been used for advocacy in the run-up to the election.

The panel will be moderated by Jason Pontin, Chief Editor of the MIT Technology Review; Panelists include Farai Chideya, host of NPR's News and Notes, and founder of PopandPolitics.com; Jonathan Askin, a strategist on Barack Obama's Technology Advisory Board and Professor at Brooklyn Law School; Beka Economopoulos, artist and founder of The Change You Want To See; and Liza Sabater, founder and publisher of Culture Kitchen and Daily Gotham.

Link »

MORE »


Watching the Watchers

(0)


The third in a series of roundtable discussions at the New School co-organized by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics and Index for the Disappeared, "Agency + Surveillance" assesses the rhetoric of watching in a post-9/11 environment, partly by examining how a handful of engineers, artists, and activists have responded, in their own work, to the increasing state of national security. By inverting the top-down power structure conventionally associated with the act of surveillance, these practitioners are engaging in "sousveillance": a method of "watching the watchers," whereby visual and other data, habitually obscured from public knowledge, finally becomes apparent. Panelist Jenny Marketou's series Flying Spy Potatoes (2003-2004), for example, consists of digital recordings made in New York City public spaces declared to be high-risk targets for terrorist attacks, including Grand Central Station and the World Financial Center. The artist mounted a wireless camera and radio receiver on a helium balloon -- an innocent enough prop to make her infiltration a success. Urban pedestrians are provided with an interface for mapping and avoiding closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) in iSee, a web-based application from the Institute for Applied Autonomy and member/panelist Tad Hirsch. Since its inception in 2001, the application has evolved to provide maps of several cities, a handheld counterpart, and other functions, such as the ability to correlate crime statistics with surveillance camera locations. These projects draw few, if any, boundaries between aesthetic, conceptual and pragmatic agendas, as if to suggest that a phenomenon like surveillance, which affects every aspect of our everyday lives, requires comparably broad-reaching counter-methods. "Agency + Surveillance" takes place on Monday, March 31st at 6:30 pm in Arnhold Hall. - Tyler Coburn

Image: Jenny Marketou, Flying Spy Potatoes (video still), 2003

Link »

MORE »