New Media, New Modes: On "Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media"

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Humorous and surprising, smart and provocative, Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media (MIT Press, 2010) jumps from opposing viewpoints to opposing personalities, from one arts trajectory to another. The entire book is a dialectic exercise: none of its problems or theories are solved or concluded, but are rather complicated through revelations around their origins, arguments and appropriations. Overall, the book adopts the collaborative style and hyperlinked approach of the media and practice it purports to rethink. In other words, it is not just the content of the book that asks us to rethink curating, but the reading itself; by the end, we are forced to digest and internalize the consistently problematized behaviors of the “media formerly known as new.”

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Post-Cursor: Talking with Eric Fleischauer from Bad At Sports

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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.

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Mute at its Meatiest

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In 2009 the editorial team at Mute (in association with Autonomedia) published a collection of past magazine content under the title Proud to be Flesh: A Mute Magazine Anthology of Cultural Politics after the Net. It was an exercise in content curation, but not, as they point out, an attempt to assemble a greatest hits album. Rather, it reorganises a body of Mute’s diverse output around a selection of themes that are perhaps more apparent (up to) fifteen years later.

In many respects - through the early newspapers, magazines, websites and recent print-on-demand journals - Mute has long engaged in providing content navigation systems for internet-inspired knowledge and the darker side thereof. And they have been doing so in an era defined by its obsession with charting and re-charting the information landscape. What Proud to be Flesh does, therefore, is offer up yet another entry portal to Mute’s rich and important net-knowledge while, in its very book-i-ness, commenting on the current upheaval in text interface products.

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Screening Screens

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Kate Mondloch’s first book, Screens: Viewing Media Installation Art (University of Minnesota Press), is a welcome study of the cathode ray tubes, liquid crystal and plasma displays, and film, video and data projections that “pervade contemporary life” (xi). The author reminds us that screens are not just “illusionist windows” into other spaces or worlds, but also “physical, material entities [that] beckon, provoke, separate, and seduce” (xii). Most importantly, however, Mondloch’s approach is that of an art historian. She does not merely use art as a case study for media theory, but rather makes the contributions of artists her central focus in this, the first in-depth study of the space between bodies and screens in contemporary art.

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Interviews from netpioneers 1.0

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The following interviews were sourced from netpioneers 1.0, a research initiative active from 2007 to 2009 that was devoted to early net-based art, organized by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Media.Art.Research. in Linz, Austria. All the interviews were conducted by Dr. Dieter Daniels.

Interview with Wolfgang Staehle

Interview with Helmut Mark

Interview with Robert Adrian X

Interview with Konrad Becker

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Required Reading

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AskJeeves201.jpg

This loss of trust in humanoid media is accompanied by a new silence in the dialogue between master and servant. The language that is directed at the servant becomes terse. The previously still cultivated courtly official style gives way to short commands. The example of these commands reveals what has becomes apparent: communication has become machine language. William Thackeray even brags about this in 1850: “We never speak a word to the servant who waits on us for twenty years.” After its high point in the eighteenth century, communications between lords and servants seem to have come to a standstill. “In the Victorian household, there is an impression of increased silence.” What causes this silence? Something bisects the old human-human interface. The transition from listening to dumb waiter hints at the cause: the nineteenth century is a time in which the most varied services are transferred to technical media, which in their telematic, indirect, oblique communicative abilities replace the personal conversation with a depersonalized understanding. In this gradual but nonetheless comprehensive process of transferal may lie a reason why the corporation AskJeeves ultimately decided to abandon the imagery of the servant.

But why are these functional characteristics of various facets of domestic service relevant? Within those facets of the servant that elevate him or her to be the center of information gathering and dissemination is hidden a comparison with the service portfolio of a search engine. Thereby one may demonstrate how thoroughly the knowledge of search engines as well as domestics can be assessed. On the other hand, the implicit juxtaposition of servant and search engine susses out Jeeves, forcing one to pursue the question of the plausibility of the metaphor. The privileged knowledge of domestics feeds not only off their activity as messengers but also off their roles as ...

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Required Watching

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In this talk, Prof. Coleman presents a cultural history and political analysis of one of the oldest Internet wars, often referred to as "Internet vs Scientology," which in recent times has witnessed a different incarnation in the form of "Project Chanology," which is orchestrated by a group called Anonymous who has led a series of online attacks and real world protests against Scientology. I argue that to understand the significance of these battles and protests, we must examine how the two groups stand in a culturally antipodal relation to each other.

Through this analysis of cultural inversion, Coleman will consider how long-standing liberal ideals take cultural root in the context of these battles, use these two cases to reveal important political transformations in Internet/hacker culture between the mid 1990s and today and finally will map the tension between pleasure/freedom (the "lulz") and moral good ("free speech") found among Anonymous in terms of the tension between liberal freedom and romantic/Nietzschean freedom/pleasure.

-- DESCRIPTION FROM THE INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE SITE

Originally via Networked_Performance

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Required Reading

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Mader, Stublić, Wiermann, Façade, 2007 (Electronic Projection) 2007

The received notion of the public sphere in fact melds an array of narrative and structural elements into a domain of expressive possibility whose center of attention serves both aesthetic and intersubjective concerns. This commingling entails two dynamic affordances that have been especially open to manipulation through new media art: the presence of architecture as sculptural object, and the use of projective strategies for pluralistic communication. The latter works as a new branch of street performance, not for actors, but for media. The sense of novelty here is more than mechanical; it compacts the distance between human and machine, the latter increasingly assuming roles played by the former, but organizes both in a new coordinate space that is neither entirely physical/real nor virtual/technological.

-- EXCERPT FROM "SPATIAL ENGAGEMENT'S CHRONOTOPE IN ELECTRONIC ART AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE" BY FRANCISCO J. RICARDO

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Interview with Isla Leaver-Yap

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Meredith Monk, 16mm Earrings, 1966, performance. (Courtesy The House Foundation)

THE VOICE IS A LANGUAGE, a film and performance program revolving around the work of Meredith Monk, kicks off this week at Tramway as part of Glasgow International. The event series will begin with a live performance of a newly commissioned work by artist Cara Tolmie on April 15th. This will be followed by daily screenings, through April 25th, of work by Sophie Macpherson, James Richards, Cara Tolmie and Sue Tompkins, as well as rare films by Monk. I had a chance to speak with the curator behind THE VOICE IS A LANGUAGE, Isla Leaver-Yap, about Monk’s career, the correspondence between her practice and those of the artists involved in the series, as well as the informative online reader organized especially for the project.



How did you first become interested in Meredith Monk's work?

Last year I was involved in a project at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, called Talkshow, which was a season of performances and events that looked at speech in relation to contemporary art. We were working with a lot of music/art crossover figures like Robert Ashley, Simone Forti, and Joan La Barbara. By way of Talkshow research, I came to see Peter Greenaway’s fantastic Four Composers television series, which was originally broadcast in the UK in 1983, and which included an episode portrait of Meredith Monk. Perhaps I wasn’t looking at it so closely at the time because Meredith Monk was less invested in the speech act and more in the possibilities within the human voice. When I moved to New York in October of last year, I watched the Greenaway film again out of a kind of local interest - a lot of the performances Monk was talking about in ...

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Required Reading

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But, also in 1977, David Bowie releases his single “Heroes.” He sings about a new brand of hero, just in time for the neoliberal revolution. The hero is dead—long live the hero! Yet Bowie’s hero is no longer a subject, but an object: a thing, an image, a splendid fetish—a commodity soaked with desire, resurrected from beyond the squalor of its own demise.

Just look at a 1977 video of the song to see why: the clip shows Bowie singing to himself from three simultaneous angles, with layering techniques tripling his image; not only has Bowie’s hero been cloned, he has above all become an image that can be reproduced, multiplied, and copied, a riff that travels effortlessly through commercials for almost anything, a fetish that packages Bowie’s glamorous and unfazed postgender look as product. Bowie’s hero is no longer a larger-than-life human being carrying out exemplary and sensational exploits, and he is not even an icon, but a shiny product endowed with posthuman beauty: an image and nothing but an image.

This hero’s immortality no longer originates in the strength to survive all possible ordeals, but from its ability to be xeroxed, recycled, and reincarnated. Destruction will alter its form and appearance, yet its substance will be untouched. The immortality of the thing is its finitude, not its eternity....

What happens to identification at this point? Who can we identify with? Of course, identification is always with an image. But ask anybody whether they’d actually like to be a JPEG file. And this is precisely my point: if identification is to go anywhere, it has to be with this material aspect of the image, with the image as thing, not as representation. And then it perhaps ceases to be identification, and ...

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