EAI in Times Square

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Takeshi Murata, EAI 40th Anniversary Intro 2011, 1:04 min, color, sound

From April 13 - 19, as part of their 40th anniversary programming, the Electronic Art Intermix (EAI) will organize a special project in Time Square. Partnering with the Times Square Alliance and MTV, EAI will be showing a program of video works on MTV's MTV 44½'s large-format LED screen. The selected pieces by Vito Acconci, Dan Asher, Phyllis Baldino, Dara Birnbaum, Gary Hill, Shigeko Kubota, Takeshi Murata, Nam June Paik, Martha Rosler, Stuart Sherman and William Wegman span EAI's 40 year history and are only a fragment of EAI's vast archive.

The videos will play at the top of each hour, between noon and 4pm and between 6pm and 11pm. On Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17 the complete program (25:16 min) will also play at noon.

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Terminal Convention Takes Flight

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Exterior of the Cork International Airport (Credit: Mike Hannon Media)

What is an airport? There are few buildings as strictly controlled, commercially exploited and emotionally embedded in the contemporary word. Junctions of humanity, they are sites of equal boredom and threat. Airports are dynamic spaces, with flows of people and capital yet they are as susceptible to the effects of socio-economic and political changes as they are to extreme weather changes. Filled with ubiquitous surveillance, continual identification and suspicion, what happens when they loose this function and just become buildings again?

Terminal Convention was a contemporary exhibition and symposium housed in the decommissioned terminal building of Cork International Airport in the Republic of Ireland. The old terminal stands in the shadow of its new, bright, open and airy, off-the-shelf 21st century airport successor, and the decommissioned terminal has remained a virtually untouched unknown wonderland for international artists to transform.

What is striking about this particular airport ex-terminal is its friendly persona, at times more akin to a bizarre extended living room than an airport, with its fireplaces and fish tanks in the baggage reclaim area. Striped of its function and control, the space is deadened and immobile without the continuous hums and flows of international travel. The description ‘decommissioned’ implies something more than simply the staff moving out and locking the door – the building has been stripped of all its symbolic authority. The new freedom to roam, unchecked, through the once tightly controlled spaces provides a small thrill, the ‘no entry’ signs remain in place, but are now rendered obsolete.

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The Fire Theft (2010) - Isabelle Hayeur

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This video explores the themes of dispossession and repression. It was produced using sequences broadcast on the Web and scenes filmed in an abandoned house. It includes shots of the Olympic flame relay (Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics) and the Keith Sadler Foreclosure Resistance. These were taken from a live stream off the Ustream website, then re-worked. The low definition and strong compression of the images creates a somewhat sombre atmosphere, which is accentuated by a sound track with strange and discordant noises. The degraded video signal mirrors the difficult social conditions evoked in the work, especially in the shots of dilapidated interiors. The Fire Theft reminds us that major sports events benefit a handful of corporations, and often are used as a pretext for real estate speculation and gentrification.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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Pruitt-Igoe Falls (2009) - Cyprien Gaillard

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The video 'Pruitt-Igoe Falls' takes its title from Pruitt-Igoe, a large urban housing project built in the 1950s in Saint Louis, United States; quickly facing decay, its demolition by implosion started in 1972, 18 years only after construction, and was the first of this kind on such a scale. Designed by American architect Minoru YAMASKI, also responsible for the World Trade Center twin towers, Pruitt-Igoe has become an emblematic icon often evoked by all sides in public housing policy debate, and its destruction was claimed by Postmodern architectural theorician Charles JENCKS to mark 'the day Modern architecture died'.

Under these auspices, Cyprien GAILLARD's video consists of two static and silent shots, linked through a subtle crossfade plan. The first part captures the demolition, at night, of a building in Sighthill housing estate in Glasgow. A city favoured by the artist, the capital of Scotland has the highest number of high-rise housing projects in the United Kingdom, some built in the middle of ancient cemeteries and many now bound to be demolished as part of a large urban rehabilitation plan. The video starts with the striking and fraught with meaning vision of a concrete monolith rising from tombstones, under a powerful lighting that makes the whole scene look like a cinema set. When the grey block implodes and collapses, a thick cloud of dust rises slowly to the foreground and eventually covers the audience and the lights, plunging the image in the dark, out of which only emerge shadows of tombs and vegetation.

A faint light appears in the center of this nocturnal romantic vision, before intensifying and outshining what remained of the first scene: the second shot is a sight of Niagara Falls when they 'light up' at night, illuminated by spotlights that transform them into a dreamy show ...

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Transom (2011) - Sara Ludy

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Originally via Computers Club

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Ulrich Fischer: Walking the Edit: Innovative System to "Walk a Movie" / Interview on VernissageTV

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VernissageTV interviews artist Ulrich Fischer on the occasion of the presentation of Walking the Edit as part of Image-Mouvement at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève. More on the project below from VernissageTV:

Conceived by Ulrich Fischer, the system allows the user to create an individual video using already existing images that are connected to a certain place via geotagging. Depending on which route one takes and how fast the user walks, an individual movie is created.

Technically, “Walking the Edit” is based on GPS, geotagging, iPhone app and iPhone. By walking through the streets, the iPhone reveals and collects the audiovisual memory of the place. While walking you hear the movie that you are just editing. Once the movie is finished, you can watch it online on the website and share it with other people.

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Storefront for Art and Architecture Archive

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Photos above from the Storefront for Art and Architecture's inaugural show Performance A-Z in 1982

Thanks to iheartphotograph, I just discovered the online archive of downtown non-profit art space the Storefront for Art and Architecture. Founded in 1982, their programming examines the intersections between architecture, design and art. The archive provides press releases from previous exhibitions and scans of printed documents from those shows, as well as photo documentation. Very cool!

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Required Reading

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Marina Abramović, view of The Artist is Present at the MoMA. Photo: C-Monster.

Inevitably, the fast pace of consumerism is accompanied by the tantalizing promise of slow time—Allen Ginsberg once complained of a heart attack en route to his weekly meditation.

Just as the arts were reinvented in the age of the camera, so too must they be in the age of accelerated time. If the internet and the touch screen represent the apparatuses of our age, then the material and the prolonged have become a niche for the discursive and formal role of the arts. Much like a spa, the arts play host to a malnourished subject eager to experience something nostalgically other. Slow time and tangible bodies become so rare experientially that their aesthetic value finds a home in the cul-de-sac of scarcity that is art.

Since the advent of mechanical production, the arts have been the space in which the hard-to-find seeks refuge. And while the art market has been much discussed, we now find another form of scarcity in forms of experience. At times in tension, at times in collusion with capitalist scarcity, the scarcity of experience encourages forms of art that are not as easily distributed as—and thus more distinguishable from—the mass produced goods of the broader market. Massive installations, sculptures, performance, civic institutions (the museum), time-based relational aesthetics all find value in their experiential distinction from larger markets. Museums offer special opportunities to experience the body in space. In this spasmodic era, we find the arts recalibrated as a temporal, spatial, and bodily escape.

This kind of shifted aesthetic disposition resists not only the pace of the information economy, but, perhaps more importantly, our very ability to consume our experience. If we are frantic, it is only because we need to ...

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Plywood City (2008-2010) - Ujino Muneteru

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Ujino Muneteru transforms mechanical sounds into complex rhythms. Bored by the technical limits of his instruments, the guitarist and bassist experiments with new sounds. Different sounding bodies widen the spectrum of resonance; simple mechanical motors produce new tones. In particular domestic appliances, tools, and large machinery from the fifties to the seventies play a significant role here because of their mechanical simplicity and haptic palpability. Points of reference to the Japanese "Noise Music", a type of sound movement from the eighties rooted in John Cage and the Fluxus, can also be seen...

Plywood City refers to a part of Tokyo, in the vernacular, built from wood. Inspired by it, Muneteru constructs a model city, which is animated by kinetic objects and sound. The basis of the city is formed by art-transport crates, whose misappropriation cites socialist flagstone buildings with irony.

-- EXCERPTS FROM THE PRESS RELEASE FOR UJINO MUNETERU'S EXHIBITION "CROSSBAND" AT PSM GALLERY

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Required Reading

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This rich pamphlet grew out of The Internet as Playground and Factory, a conference organized at The New School and held in November 2009. In this seventh pamphlet in the Situated Technologies Pamphlets Series, Trebor Scholz and Laura Y. Liu reflect on the relationship between labor and technology in urban space, where communication, attention, and physical movement generate financial value for a small number of private stakeholders. Online and off, Internet users are increasingly wielded as a resource for economic amelioration, for private capture, and the channels of communication are becoming increasingly inscrutable. The Internet has become a simple-to-join, anyone-can-play system where the sites and practices of work and play, as well as production and reproduction, are increasingly unnoticeable.

Norbert Wiener warned that the role of new technology under capitalism would intensify the exploitation of workers. For Michel Foucault, institutions used technologies of power to control individual bodies. In her essay “Free Labor” (1999), Tiziana Terranova described what constitutes “voluntarily given, unwaged, enjoyed and exploited, free labor on the Net.” Along these lines, Liu and Scholz ask: How does the intertwining of labor and play complicate our understanding of exploitation and “the urban”?

This pamphlet aims to understand “the urban” through the lens of digital and not-digital work in terms of those less visible sites and forms of work such as homework, care work, interactivity on social networking sites, life energy spent contributing to corporate crowd sourcing projects, and other unpaid work. While we are discussing the shift of labor markets to the Internet, the authors contend that traditional sweatshop economies continue to structure the urban environment.

The pages of this pamphlet unfold between a film still from Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer on the front cover and an image by Lewis Hine on the back. Set in the near ...

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