Visual Foreign Correspondents is a "monthly series of audio-visual artworks for a number of screen-based platforms" which invites an international selection of artists to provide a local visual view onto their location. The platform is currently showing Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries' remake of their work Morning of the Mongoloids. Formed in 1999, Young-hae Chang and Marc Voge of Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries make dramatic text movies in a standard Monaco font. High-paced and set to an upbeat soundtrack, the works demand the full attention of the viewer/reader. Morning of the Mongoloids follows a white man as he wakes up after a night of heavy drinking to discover that he looks Korean, speaks Korean and lives in Seoul. The work is accompanied by an interview with the artists, conducted by Petra Heck.
Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries' "Morning of the Mongoloids" currently screening on Visual Foreign Correspondents
Familiar objects double, stretch and twist in "Manufacturing Flaws," Mexican-Japanese artist Hisae Ikenaga's current exhibition at Praxis, in New York. Large wall sculptures of a helicopter, plane, motorcycle and car, made with brightly colored carpet felt, hang on pins throughout the gallery space. Adopting a playful take on "the possible physical anomalies developed in mass-produced objects," Ikenaga has distorted each rendering: the helicopter sprouts two propellers, for instance; and, in a potentially sobering turn, an airplane sprouts twin heads. Unfortunately, small, paper collage replicas of these artworks, also included in the show, detract from the novelty and material charm of their big brothers. More interesting is Ikenaga's Aislados (Isolated) (2007), a three-dimensional island topography created within the pages of a Spanish telephone book. The book sits open on a pedestal, its right side holding the island elevation, and its left side the relief. The winner of the Generación 2008 prize, Aislados (Isolated) creates an interesting overlap between population and geography, in building an island out of a book of names, while also offering a funny amplification of the antisocial, labor-intensive process its creation entailed. A similar agenda informs Siamese Book, a hardcover copy of Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude that the artist has torqued at its binding and seamed, page-by-page, at its center. Books and solitude, it would seem, are excellent materials for self-reflexive art-making. - Tyler Coburn
Image: Hisae Ikenaga, Aislados (Isolated), 2007
In their 2005 project With Respect to Residue, the Raqs Media Collective printed a theory of residues on disposable placemats, which were then distributed to various restaurants. Defining residue as, "that which never finds its way into the manifest narrative of how something (an object, a person, a state, or a state of being) is produced, or comes into existence," the placemats demanded that diners consider why and how "residues" were left out of history, as they themselves consumed. Raqs Media Collective's latest endeavor, co-curated as a portion of the nomadic biennial Manifesta 7, resides much in the same vein. From July 19th-November 2nd, they will be presenting an exhibition entitled "The Rest of Now" which includes many net art pioneers as well as other artists and non-explicitly artist-practitioners in addressing historic residues in the present tense. Set in an abandoned aluminum factory in Bolzano, Italy, the show works "to see what can be salvaged from the oblivion to which the residues of Modernism are normally consigned." In other words, both the site of the show and the works presented explore the ideas, qualities, and realities that have been swept under the rug in the process of European industrialization. The layers of self-reflexivity are piled high, here. The curators acknowledge that Europe is known for hosting many art spaces sited within old industrial spaces and their show works to juxtapose "remembered industrial energy and a more current melancholia of abandonment" to explore what the cultural embrace (or even coddling) of these spaces means. Their suggestion is that it is "symptomatic of Europe's unwillingness to come to terms with aspects of its own difficult path into, and through, the 20th century." So, in a sense, this show will work to retrace these footsteps of so-called progress, with the almost ...
As if taking a one-man stand against the alleged decline of bibliophilia in the digital age, Charles Broskoski read 356 books in 400 days, ending his own personal Reading Olympics in early 2008. If that doesn't sound grueling enough to you ADHD types, consider this: the books he perused were a collection of O'Reilly tech-guide e-books downloaded as a single torrent in late 2006: fat tomes with such alluring titles as Linux Device Drivers, XSLT Cookbook, Essential System Administration and ASP.NET in a Nutshell. Conceiving the daunting task as an endurance performance entitled Computer Skills, Broskoski took notes on every book he read, and later posted them to his website in both .txt and .pdf formats. Perhaps inevitably, his notes begin as detailed commentaries, but later devolve into sketchy exasperation and sideways minutia: "the photo for the chapter on DVDs is an image of a title screen for a movie called El Masko" reads one of only three comments Broskoski made in response to Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Second Edition by David Pogue, thumbed through as volume number 212. Last month, for the Parsons School of Design show at the Chelsea Art Museum, Broskoski mounted further physical evidence: 356 physical copies of the books he read, happily donated to the show by the publisher. Seeing the multicolored monolith of paperbacks assembled together makes for a humbling monument to the sheer amount of information available online. Broskoski's super-sized 400-day book-binge, after all, comprises only an infinitesimally small portion of the networked era's ever-expanding universal library. -- Ed Halter
Image: Charles Broskoski, Computer Skills (Notes from Performance), 2008
Have you ever noticed that sometimes spam emails contain the most interesting images? In an effort to encrypt their messages, thus bypassing inbox filters, many spammers will convert their text to an image format, and the pixellated camouflage of these images is very often very beautiful. This junk mail camo finds its origin in what artist Elizabeth Duffy calls "analog mail." She and the team at Purgatory Pie Press sifted through their mail to collect envelopes containing security patterns, images of which they've subsequently published in a hand-made book called Enclosure Exposure: Data Protection Patterning. The piece is the newest in PPP's "InstaBook" subscription series of DIY, folded, single-sheet books. There's something about the automation, the serialization, and the repetition of these patterns and even this book itself that make the project intriguing. The patterns are an institutionalized veil between what is and isn't meant to be seen, and like visually-encrypted spam messages, the banality of their simple, mostly monochromatic, repeated lines and overlapping patterns adds up to something much more formally interesting. - Marisa Olson
Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) Technical Coordinator