If Don Buchla, mastermind of early modular synthesizers, was the technician behind the lysergically tinted spiritualism of countless ‘60s timbric explorations, Peter Blasser is an audio alchemist: technician, musician, and guru rolled into one. Blasser’s electronics company based in Baltimore, Ciat-Lonbarde, produces small runs on some of the most ingeniously quirky electro-acoustic audio systems on the market.
I visited the one-day exhibition “Sequence of Waves” last weekend at St. Cecilia’s Convent in Greenpoint. 40+ artists were included in the show, and it was a culmination of a two-week residency within the space. The building itself – a 19th century convent – is impressive, and it’s always a treat to see how artists respond to the environment. While “Sequence of Waves” was not exclusively a sound art show, many of the invited artists did work with sound.
Titled Lo Siento por Sonido by Victoria Keddie and Jessica Findley, this work was a playable zither instrument whose strings extended over two rooms, and fed through furniture found within the building. (You can listen to a sound sample here.)
Ben Wolf disassembled a boat and used the parts to complete a sculpture within the stairwell, which stretched out over three floors.
G. Lucas Crane piled amps in the basement, which amplified sounds from microphones placed throughout the convent.
Today we'll be turning the blog over to the many people involved with #hi11, a New Year's Eve happening produced by Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch. For the event, the organizers took over three floors of a house in Los Angeles, transforming it into an interactive, multimedia environment. (The full list of names of everyone behind #hi11 is available here on the 2240hill site.) The house was equipped with video capture throughout, which allowed live video feeds between the rooms and a broadcast online. One of the rooms was covered over entirely in green screen fabric, so video captured therein could be augmented. Inspired by the organizational design of IKEA, the rooms in the house were assigned a letter and a number, for example, B2, C4, etc. The rooms themselves operated much like sets, and in many cases, IKEA furniture was used, mostly beds and couches for lounging. The house was illuminated by black lights, red lights, projections (some of the dump.fm chat room), and videos from the other rooms, giving the space an overwhelming feeling akin to Trecartin's delirious videos. An impressive amount of work went into #hi11. To name a few of my personal favorite details: the chandelier constructed out of Brita water filters, the herbal sexual enhancement pills freely distributed at the bar, the professional Diva wearing a headset connected to the PA on the dance floor, who would break out into song while walking around the party, the one water cooler (out of 4) in DIS Magazine's "refresh_forum" room which contained solely vodka (quite a surprise!), a small room off the dance floor which was intended as a secret Nine Inch Nails sex chamber, where participants could wear headphones (with flashlights attached to the top) blasting the band on repeat while ...
(from Circuit Lausanne's collection on Collectionof)
Collectionof went live today, a new online platform that allows artists and art spaces to exhibit special objects that speak to their creative production. Perusing Collectionof, many of these "special objects" are not keepsakes or personal items, which one might assume from the site's title, but artworks and editions, like Alan Vega's crosses or an infinity room designed by Tauba Auerbach and Hannes Hetta. (Both very cool items, I might add.) There are a few exceptions, like Scott Ponik's section which includes some of his idiosyncratic book finds such as The Making of Kubrick's 2001 and Vicious Circles and Infinity: An Anthology of Paradoxes. Judging from the stellar list of participants so far, which range from Istanbul-based independent art space Marquise Dance Hall to Miami's Bas Fisher International to artist Cory Arcangel and musician C. Spencer Yeh, it will interesting to see how Collectionof develops.
Over the past year or so, Nicholas O'Brien has been contributing a series of very original interviews with new media artists to the Chicago-based contemporary art blog Bad at Sports. (I've posted a few of them already to Rhizome, here and here.) For each one, the interviews take place within the medium which the artists works (such as Second Life, video, or tumblr). O'Brien posted another interview this week with Nicolas Sassoon, in which they trade 3D models in between a discussion about architecture, copying/pasting, and site-specificity.
The thorn lodged in your swollen thumb is matter; the thought lodged in your mind is not. Yet that discrepancy can be troubled by any admission that thoughts are the outcome of, say, electrochemical impulses, or even (to borrow a medium-inspired tripe) the effect of synapses within a neural network. No matter how immaterial you understand your thoughts to be, you can't help but grant that they have some neurophysiological ground. Which is simply to say that the process of thinking has a materiality of its own.
This hardly means that you should abandon the original distinction (phenomenological or epistemological or ontological) between thoughts and thorns. Rather, it's a way to begin recognizing how, both in ordinary language and more specialized language, materiality can refer to different dimensions of experience, or dimensions beyond (or below) what we generally consider experience to be. Like many concepts, materiality may seem to make the most sense when it is opposed to another term: the material serves as a commonsensical antithesis to, for instance, the spiritual, the abstract, the phenomenal, the virtual, and the formal, not to mention the immaterial. And yet materiality has a specificity that differentiates it from its superficial cognates, such as physicality, reality, or concreteness. When you admire the materiality of a sweater, you're acknowledging something about its look and feel, not simply its existence as a physical object. When you complain of another sweater that it lacks this materiality, you're not asserting its immateriality. And if, after machine-washing the first sweater, you allow that you have witlessly destroyed its materiality, you mean that you've altered some of its physical qualities, not that you have eradicated the object tout court. Nonetheless, the obfuscation of an object can be the requisite result of gaining greater access ...