[Plaster cast heads, video projection.]
While influenced by the technique of other video artist's such as Tony Oursler, I projected Plato's ancient dialogue, 'Crito', onto casts. The dialogue refers to obedience to the law. When Socrates receives the death penalty by the Athenians, Crito, a friend of his, powerful in Athens, tries to convince him to save his own life and avoid the punishment. The dialogue lasts 40 minutes.
The Dying Gauls are plaster casts of Hellenistic sculptures on which video interviews of young men from Lahore are superimposed. The men are asked about their view of heaven, hell, death and dying.
The casts used here are Dying Gauls. The Dying Gauls were commissioned in commemoration of the victory of the Greek over the Galatians, Celts from Asia Minor. They are part of a larger group of defeated enemies made up of Gauls, Amazons, giants and Persians. Unique in the representations of these Greek enemies is that they are depicted without a triumphing victor.They are seen as defeated but heroic warriors.
Homebrew Electronics is a new series on the Rhizome blog. For these posts, I will be conducting studio visits with artists and inventors who create unique electronic instruments.
Last week, I met with cousins Brian and Leon Dewan of Dewanatron at Leon’s apartment/workshop in New Rochelle, NY. I first encountered their whimsical, one-of-a-kind instruments at a solo exhibition at Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn a few years ago. Not only do they produce and exhibit their own instruments, they use them in performances and in recordings as well. They split the labor evenly - Leon builds the circuits for each instrument, and Brian crafts the consoles that contain them at his home in Catskill, NY. Despite their jetlag from a recent trip to Los Angeles (Brian had screened his film strips at the Museum of Jurassic Technology’s theater), the Dewans gave me a thorough walkthrough of their work, patiently explaining how each of their creations functioned.
The Dewans use the Dual Primate Console quite a bit in their performances; it also made a starring appearance on their album Semi-Automatic. Built for two operators (or “primates”), each side provides four rhythmically independent voices, which can be programmed using a rotary telephone dial.
They got the idea to use a rotary telephone dial in this fashion from antique Language Lab Machines, which also integrate telephone dials into their interface. The rows of switches control the voices, and Nixie bulbs lining the top of the instrument indicate the different voices selected by the telephone dial. These bulbs were produced from the 1950s through the 1970s and were a precursor to LED displays.
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This disjunct between reality and its illusory other, the world of privileged consumerism, was at the heart of the 6th Berlin Biennial. In the exhibition catalog, curator Kathrin Rhomberg wrote that there is a growing "gap between the world we talk about and the world as it really is." In an effort to close this gap, the Biennial wrestled with contemporary issues and realities far beyond the gallery walls - an all-too-rare impulse in the hermetic field of visual art.
Unfortunately, this Biennial may well have convinced many of its visitors that artists should stick to the studio; too many of the works lacked any nuance in their portrayal of external realities. There was a highly unpleasant video of a horse being knocked off its feet, subtly titled Problems with Relationship. There was Bernard Bazile's inept installation of shouty protest videos from Paris. There was Sebastian Stumpf running into private garages just as the doors closed behind him, Indiana Jones-style.
Yet there were also moments of brilliance along the way. At its best, the Biennial yielded keen insights into the conditions of contemporary capitalism and the relationship between the personal and the political. Without further ado, here are some of the highlights.
[3d image in 80 cm x 120 cm format.]
[Previzualisation. Sculpture created using a prototyping technique. Size: 15 cm in diameter.]
In logic and computer programming, a Boolean operator is a type of variable between two states. In computer-generated imagery, Boolean operations enable us to subtract, add or create an intersection between two objects.
In this series I subtract a sphere from a landscape. The latter becomes hollow. It is sterile, it lacks something, the breath of life. It is a morbid image: a Boolean nature.
A sculpture completes the image by representing the missing part.
The sum of the image and the sculpture forms the landscape in its entirety.
A system of sculptures that is constantly on the brink of collapse. My intention was to capture and sustain the exact moment of impending catastrophe and endlessly repeat it.
Nicholas O'Brien has produced another killer interview for Bad At Sports. (We posted his previous one, A Conversation with Jon Rafman a few weeks back.) This time, he speaks with artist Eric Fleischauer about his work and his current exhibition "Post-Cursor" at Chicago's threewalls. Fleischauer is keenly interested in the process of obsolescence in recording technology, and its importance for storage and archives. It seems fitting then, that the entire interview is recorded on videotape.
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.