Last week, I met with artist Gareth Long at his Brooklyn apartment for a studio visit. I first became aware of his work through another artist Tyler Coburn, who wrote about him for Rhizome. After training in video for many years, Long turned to sculpture as a means to push video's formal qualities, illuminating the porousness of the category in relation to other mediums. His renderings of video into alternate forms, such as lenticular prints or digitally fabricated sculptures, often succumb to the faulty interpretations and limitations found in the slippage between languages. His book-based works pick up on this topic, functioning as artifacts of mistranslation.
In people, memory is the capacity to retain an impression of past experiences. In technology, memory refers to the parts of a digital computer that retain data for some interval of time. Computers now have the ability to save a lifetime of photographs, videos, audio and communications, changing the way that we reference personal memory. With this change, computers can archive and index memories in a way that we have never been able to do before. Computers have become machines for remembering. Using the most primitive form of digital storage, I have recorded all of the emails stored on my computer into thousands of punched cards. Each card contains fragments of communication layered one on top of another to form an analog representation of my collected digital communications. In the same way that information is stored on the computer, I have created indexes to reference the information. Each index is created by manually sifting through the information, word by word, creating unique directories of my personal communications.
In which 20,000 spammer aliases, collected between 2003 and 2008, are listed alphabetically (a possible resource for writers and moonlighters).
e-flux's online magazine e-flux journal announced that they will introduce print-on-demand, and, in addition, that they will allow readers to print the publication in a wide variety of formats, from posters to small booklets. Clearly a nod to the open circulation and transmission of information online, the editors hope to translate this logic to e- flux journal's distribution offline, saying, "...we realized that perhaps the most interesting and useful approach would be to let our readers determine its form, material, and channels of distribution and use." e-flux will develop a "modular print production platform" at their Berlin location with Francesca Grassi and Jeff Ramsey specifically for this purpose.
Italian new media magazine, Neural, has just celebrated their fifteenth anniversary. The publication was among the earliest tech-savvy page-turners and still has an appreciation for the importance of paper. In fact, to mark this special birthday, they've collaborated with S.W.A.M.P. (Doug Easterly and Matt Kenyon) for "a collective micro printing action." Subscribers will receive a limited edition piece of paper and envelope designed to commemorate the death toll in Iraq. They are then encouraged to send a letter or illustration to the White House, who are obliged by law to archive their mail, so that the stationary can act as "a Trojan horse slipping the unwanted and unacknowledged civilian body count data into official governmental archives." This is one of many exercises by S.W.A.M.P. in performatively exploring the machinery of control in post-industrial society. But (paper-cut possibilities aside) this project seems slightly less painful than their Improvised Empathetic Device (2005), which drove a blood-drawing needle into the flesh of wearers of their custom armband each time new wireless data was received regarding a rise in the war's death toll. While Neural's editorial direction is marked by broad coverage of the very diverse field of new media practice, hacktivism and tactical media are among their strong suits, so their collaboration with S.W.A.M.P. makes perfect sense. Another of their boldest strengths is their coverage of sound art and experiments in electronic music. Each issue is chockablock with CD reviews and engaging interviews, like the current issue's chat with Negativland. Neural may have an old school appreciation for the ancient medium of paper, but all this good pulp can also be found online, along with their archives and fresh feeds. - Marisa Olson
Image: Neural, Issue 31
In an essay hoisted upon every media studies student ever, Walter Benjamin argues that the mechanical reproduction of art works separates the viewer from the original object and therefore diminishes that object's "ritual value." Strangely enough, Stephanie Syjuco's work takes a different approach. She gives us all reproductions, all the time. From paper TV's to faux designer furniture, these readily-reproduced images and things comment on the importance of the originals in our daily lives and the cultural value we've built-up around the notion of originality. Her current solo exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, entitled "Stephanie Syjuco: Total Fabrications," is full of fake design objects pulled from circulation within the mainstream -- or culturally specific niches therein -- and recreated in a way that references their genesis as well as the contextual implications (or even clichés) of reproduction. In fact, Syjuco's work further delves into the processes of production itself, and it's ritualization. Her reconstructions comment on the origin of materials, their high and low statuses within culture, the technologies through which they operate, and their impacts on systems ranging from the environment to the visual vocabulary of the zeitgeist. This is highly manifest in her ongoing project, The Berlin Wall, in which she pulls what she calls "proxy chunks" of the famous wall out of spaces around the world. These are not souvenirs from the wall, but rather a different kind of facsimile, which Syjuco feels approximates the political and architectural situation of the wall and the promises offered in its deconstruction. The proxy chunks have embarked on their own roadshow, exhibiting in new cities under plaque-capped vitrines, so as to however-falsely invoke the aura of the wall and the hope its demolishedness represents. Her Towards a New Theory of Color Reading takes ...
Fanzine for Electronics and Aesthetics Junk Jet just released their second issue, which examines "Speculative Architecture." Published out of Stuttgart, Germany, each installment of Junk Jet pulls together a chaotic assortment of collage, text, art projects, lists, photographs, and much more. The term "speculative" is used to group "works of unpredictable architectures and volatile spaces within real and virtual environments." One such space could be the empty bedrooms found in booty dancing demos on YouTube minutes before the dancer enters the frame. Olia Lialina writes on Dennis Knopf's Bootyclipse which compiles fuzzy, webcam footage of these domestic interiors, while maintaining their original soundtrack. (This article also appeared as a section in her essay Infinite Seance 2.) The confused comments from non-art seeking YouTube users posted in response to Knopf's video entries draw out a sense of speculation in their attempts to understand what it is they're viewing. 0100101110101101.org's An Ordinary Building also toys with the viewer's expectations. They contribute documentation of this project, in which they placed a plaque on a nondescript building in Viterbo, Italy declaring that the structure "...was designed by an unknown architect in an irrelevant epoch and never belonged to an important person." The sign stands in contrast to others found throughout Italy which detail the history and importance of specific buildings. While Junk Jet's themes are generally quite open (JODI contribute a recipe to this issue), one salient strand seems to be the confusion and suspension which follow speculation, regardless of its architecture.
photocopier, photocopies, light bulb, extension cord, drill, electronics, 2007
Taking the train to class this morning, I had a somewhat curious encounter. A man standing next to me held up a NY Times paper with the headline IRAQ WAR ENDS. Having read the NY Times that morning, I knew that this was not the day's headlines, and over the course of the entire ride, I kept quizzically peeking over at his paper in an effort to figure it out. He held the paper up in such a performative way, that I sensed something was askew. As I walked from the subway, I checked my phone and read, in a mass email from artist Joseph DeLappe, that a group of artists had created a spoof version of today's times announcing an end to the Iraq War, and distributed it around New York City. Brilliant. And so perfectly serendipitous. You can view a website for the project here.
UPDATE: A number of artists organized the prank, including Rhizome-commissioned artist Steve Lambert, The Yes Men, the Anti-Advertising Agency, CODEPINK, United for Peace and Justice, Not An Alternative, May First/People Link, Improv Everywhere, Evil Twin, and Cultures of Resistance.