Tagalicious

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The National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in Athens, Greece, has committed itself to curating a number of recent exhibitions of internet art. Their current show, "Tag Ties and Affective Spies," features contributions from both net vets and emerging surfers, including Christophe Bruno, Gregory Chatonsky, Paolo Cirio, JODI, Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, Les Liens Invisibles, Personal Cinema and The Erasers, Ramsay Stirling, and Wayne Clements. The online exhibition takes an antagonistic approach to Web 2.0, citing a constant balance "between order and chaos, democracy and adhocracy." Curator Daphne Dragona raises the question of whether the social web is a preexisting platform on which people connect, or whether it is indeed constructed in the act of uploading, tagging, and disclosing previously private information about ourselves on sites like Flickr, YouTube, and Facebook. Dragona asks whether we are truly connecting and interacting, or merely broadcasting. While her curatorial statement doesn't address the issue directly, the show's title hints at the level of self-surveillance in play on these sites. Accordingly, many of the selected works take a critical, if not DIY, approach to the internet. The collective Les Liens Invisibles tends to create works that make an ironic mash-up of the often divergent mantras of tactical media, culture jamming, surrealism, and situationism. In their Subvertr, they encourage Flickr users to "subverTag" their posted images, creating an intentional disassociation between an image's content and its interpretion, with the aim of "breaking the strict rules of significance that characterize the mainstream collective imaginary..." JODI's work, Del.icio.us/ winning information (2008) exploits the limited stylistic parameters of the social bookmarking site. Using ASCII and Unicode page titles to form visual marks, a cryptic tag vocabulary, and a recursive taxonomy, their fun-to-follow site critiques the broader content of the web ...

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ItSpace (2007) - Peter Traub

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ItSpace creates a network of pages within the social networking site MySpace. Instead of featuring people, the pages feature everyday household objects. Each page has a photo of the object, a description, and most importantly, a 1-minute piece of music composed of recordings of the object being struck and resonated in various ways. All the pages, or objects, are 'friends' with each other, so that visitors who discover one object may jump to the others by clicking on the 'friends' pictures at the bottom of each page.

-- EXCERPT FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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HEXA_FLEXAGON_F_EVER (2008) - Anna Lundh

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Image: HEXA_FLEXAGON_F_EVER Myspace page (Screengrab)

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Image: Installation with information station, 3 computers,
display of hexaflexagons, Anthology/Manual, reading area

The hexaflexagon is a strip of paper, that has been folded into a hexagon. This two dimensional shape can then be turned inside out, flexed, so that a number of faces that were previously hidden will appear. In theory, it can have an infinite number of faces, although in reality, the thickness of the paper sets the limit. It was discovered 1939 by a British fellowship student at Princeton, who started to fold the strips he had just trimmed off his American "letter-size" sheets to fit his A4 binder. It had a revival in the late 50s, when it first became popular among magic buffs in New York, and after an article in Scientific American, it became something of a craze.

To investigate which connections that can be made between the ideas and the people associated with the hexaflexagon, I use the digital network Myspace as my tool. A some-what old fashioned and analog phenomenon is applied to something very contemporary and digital. Right now, HEXA_FLEXAGON_F_EVER is trying to become friends with Alan Turing, Lewis Carroll and Katherine Hayles. It’s an exponentially growing mapping, where more dimensions will uncover, for an unforeseeable future.

-- EXCERPT FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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Bicycle Built for Two Thousand (2009) - Aaron Koblin and Daniel Massey

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Bicycle Built For 2,000 is comprised of 2,088 voice recordings collected via Amazon's Mechanical Turk web service. Workers were prompted to listen to a short sound clip, then record themselves imitating what they heard.

-- FROM ARTIST'S DESCRIPTION

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Required Reading

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"But Dullaart's Readymades are more than a formalist exploration of the Internet at its most banal. They are also a study in the relationship of the index to its referent, an issue that Rosalind Krauss connected to the readymade in her 1976 essay "Notes on the Index, Part 1." Krauss defines indices as "the traces of a particular cause, and that cause is the thing to which they refer, the object they signify." She offers footprints and shadows as examples; the domain name would be an analogy to such indices in the internet, since it marks the online location of the site that appears in the browser window below. In Readymades, Dullaart has selected sites where the URL's content occupies the position of the referent, rather than serving as a place marker. They are domains that someone has staked out as an empty lot, or that generate a metonymic web of sponsored links. His Readymades are sites where footprints come before the feet."

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Status Symbols

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Joseph Del Pesco is over caffeinated. from lee Walton on Vimeo.


Beth O'Brien is dancing to her alarm clock. from lee Walton on Vimeo.

Lee Walton's use of Facebook in his most recent video series continues his habit of publicly displaying what we often think of as private moments. The artist calls himself an "experientialist" and his performances, videos, and participatory projects often merge situationism and instruction-art to convey or slightly tweak the experience of everyday life. He's created elaborate instruction sets that determine the marks made in his seemingly abstract drawings representing activity on a sports field or at a major street intersection, and, on some occasions, the lists of instructions themselves have stood in for these drawings. Walton's commitment to playing by the rules in his art have borne humorous results in projects like his season-long online free throw competition with Shaquille O'Neill, or his compilation video of strangers on the streets of New York following his instructions to lift ever-dwindling payphone receivers off their hooks. The artist's Red Ball project helped pioneer net-based performance projects that rely on distributed decision-making networks--of which MTAA's Automatic for the People is a more recent example. But now Walton is taking his friends' Facebook status messages as instructions and acting them out in short videos posted to his Vimeo account and (of course) his Facebook profile. It seems safe to say that none of the subject lines were originally intended as instructions, but seeing Walton act-out statements such as Joseph Del Pesco is over caffeinated, Marcie McAfee Carrier is doing late night Yoga and is so happy and peaceful!!!, Beth O'Brien is dancing to her alarm clock, or Andy Diaz Hope is wielding a knife calls attention to the public/private line often ...

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Facebook Retracts Modification to Terms of Use

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The New York Times announced this morning that Facebook would revert back to its previous terms of service. The decision comes in response to enormous outcry and protest about the modification, which would allow the site to retain and use one's content even after an account has been deleted. This is an unprecedented move, and it invites serious questions regarding one's ownership over material distributed on social networking platforms. (For a thorough comparison between Facebook's new terms of service and that of other social networking sites, go here.) While the decision by Facebook may come as a relief, the company still plans to eventually revise the terms again, which would "...reflect 'a new aproach' and would be 'a substantial revision from where we are now.'" Uh, vague! And creepy. While the company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims that Facebook users would somehow be involved in the revision process, he did not outline what this change might look like, nor the company's motive behind these changes.

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Brooklyn Museum 1stfans Interview from Museum 2.0

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1stfans: An Audience-Specific Membership Program at the Brooklyn Museum on Museum 2.0


Museum 2.0 interviews Brooklyn Museum's 1stfans managers Will Cary, Shelley Bernstein and An Xiao. 1stfans is a new membership initiative, launched only last month, which utilizes social media platforms to build and target specific museum audiences. They plan to incorporate a number of different groups in the future, but in its current iteration, they gear the program toward web-savvy museum-goers who frequent their free events, but don't opt to purchase high level memberships. (1stfans is only $20 a year.) It's an interesting venture, and they've gone far and beyond simply managing a Facebook profile for the museum. In an effort to build a more dynamic and two-way relationship between the museum and the community, 1stfans offers creative perks such as a private Twitter Art Feed maintained by a revolving group of artists and invitations to offbeat 1stfans events, like a talk by conservator Lisa Bruno on animal mummies.

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Contemporary Semantics Beta

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Arti et Amicitiae
Rokin 112 Amsterdam 14-02-09 t/m 22-03-09
opening Friday the 13th at 8pm

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Out of Context: Artists and Web Inventories

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On any given day, the average web user may log into as many as a dozen different social web services. Interaction with these sites could involve any number of activities including browsing photography, commenting on blog posts, planning trip itineraries, looking for a lover or updating a resume. While the sequential (or parallel) manner in which we navigate these databases and the generic aesthetic of the web 2.0 interface might suggest these sites form a unified network, that is simply not the case. In engaging the social web we voluntarily fragment our interests, social ties and demographic information in order to make them "machine readable" and allow us to participate in these communities. With these rules of engagement in mind, several recent projects speak to these conditions and explore the notion of web inventories in relation to identity, aggregation and as binding legal agreements.

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