Focusing on a wide array of themes such as the context of a rapidly changing planet, our evolving human / natural ecosystem, the growing global strain on natural resources, and the advancement of artistic methods on potential of technological infrastructures, the 10th edition of the FutureSonic festival spanning 14 years integrated a wide and impressive array of international speakers, workshops, exhibitions, and performances. Scattered around the bustling city of Manchester in the United Kingdom, the festival took into account both its local strengths and its global outreach to encourage debate and showcase a wide arrange of artistic projects that examined just how far we have come in these debates and how far we have to go to make sense of the evolving technological apparatus that surrounds us.
David Horvitz’s For 2009, Idea Subscription__ (2009) is an email-based subscription list and tumblr blog of “open source” ideas for art projects, updated on an almost daily basis. Readers are encouraged to, “…realize, change, steal (you can't steal something that is free!), publish, claim as your own, destroy, become influenced by (either because you like them, or because you hate them so much that they give you better ideas), appropriate, spray paint, or anything else with them.” The ideas are all whimsical and offbeat, such as leaving a pile of flour outside one’s door for visitors to step in and photographing the resulting tracks (April 4th) to flying a kite in an area with dense advertising, such as Times Square, in order to serve as a distraction (March 13th). One of the ideas, dating from April 7th, has taken on a life of its own. Horvitz suggests that readers take photographs of their head in a freezer and upload it online using the tag “241543903”. There is now a dedicated site for these images at 241543903.com as well as a flickr group, while a quick flickr search results in at least 80 photographs of people with their heads in a freezer. The emerging popularity of 241543903 is additional proof (as if any is needed) to support Cory Arcangel's statement from the March 2009 issue of Artforum that, "...you can put anything up on the Internet and there will be five people who want it, no matter how weird or obscure the information. The niche exists: someone’s going to find you, period."
This ongoing series explores significant developments on the internet, like this new hot thing called twitter that everyone's been talking about. We've culled the, uh, "twitterverse" to bring you some of the more curious and unique accounts out there (plus a few entertaining twitter spin-offs). Feel free to add links or suggestions in the comments section.
Each cat has a small RFID tag on the collar. When a cat is in the close proximity of the door, a small RFID reader reads the tag and if the cat is authorized, a servo will unlock the cat door. The RFID reader and the servo controller are connected to an old laptop. The software on the laptop is written in Delphi and for each "cat door event" is sending a Twitter message and a picture to twitter.com.
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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 ...
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.