In his current exhibition Jonathan Monk is showing fourteen different electronic devices from the area of home entertainment. Powered speakers, a flat-screen monitor, an iPod, a radio alarm clock or an interactive video game console - the new and functional brand name devices selected by Monk form a cross-section of the range of products to be found in an electronics retail store. However, the artist undermines their usability by presenting the individual devices in custom-fitted plexiglass showcases, therefore conserving them as objects.
Kate Mondloch’s first book, Screens: Viewing Media Installation Art (University of Minnesota Press), is a welcome study of the cathode ray tubes, liquid crystal and plasma displays, and film, video and data projections that “pervade contemporary life” (xi). The author reminds us that screens are not just “illusionist windows” into other spaces or worlds, but also “physical, material entities [that] beckon, provoke, separate, and seduce” (xii). Most importantly, however, Mondloch’s approach is that of an art historian. She does not merely use art as a case study for media theory, but rather makes the contributions of artists her central focus in this, the first in-depth study of the space between bodies and screens in contemporary art.
I visited ITP’s Spring Show on Monday, the open house for NYU’s graduate interactive technology program. Like years past, the kiosk-like presentation of projects makes the event seem a bit like a science fair, with artists and inventors on hand to answer questions. ITP’s student body is quite diverse - ranging from web entrepreneurs to roboticists to performance artists and more - and this aspect usually guarantees that you’ll come across something interesting. See below for some quick notes from this year’s show.
Enamel paint on light bulbs, electric cords, and control console
Born in Osaka, Japan, in 1932, Tanaka was a member of the Gutai Art Association, the major experimental postwar Japanese art movement founded by a group of young artists in Ashiya in 1954. She was best known for sculptural installations made from non-art materials, such as Electric Dress (1956), a wearable sculpture made of flickering light bulbs painted red, blue, green, and yellow. When originally worn, the sculpture both made the body the center of artistic activity and masked it in a mass of light and color.
Nowhere is a three-dimensional milling machine that carves a landscape relief on a 70x70x10cm large block of hard foam. The machine receives a stream of live search requests from the german search engines metager and metager2 (www.metager.de) via the internet. The users search movements erode rivers and canyons on the surface. Search requests that shoot through the internet just for a fraction of a second and generate an answer on the searchers screen, cause the machine to write a constant growing sculpture into the space. The continuous stream of changing search requests defines form and rhythm of this process.
The object that we call “monitor” is at once ubiquitous, obsolete, and in the end, perhaps a non-object because we gaze into its pixilated illusion, never directly at its shape and mass. Today the beige boxes adorn sidewalk trash piles because their cathode ray tubes have recently given way to the solid-state flatscreen. In a backwards alchemical shift, they have morphed from object of desire into “e-waste.” In this sense, they now monitor the speed of consumption.
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 ...
Vacuum, Monitor, Computer, Plastic Bag, Digital Timer Based on a statement provided by John Oswald.
Size: 200cm x 200cm x 100cm / 40" x 40" x 20".
In collaboration with Daniel Imboden / dim-tech (technical development).