Something Fishy on Pelican State Beach

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Public Access is an art project produced by David Horvitz in late December 2010 and early January 2011. For roughly two weeks, he drove along California's coast from the Mexican border up through the Oregon border. Along the way, he stopped and took pictures of himself looking out at the beach and other scenic vantage points, his stance recalling the iconic romantic painting Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich from 1818 and Bas Jan Ader's 1971 Farewell to Faraway Friends. He then uploaded these photographs to the Wikipedia entries for these locations, adding new images or replacing existent images. This action produced a flurry of discussion amongst the Wikipedia community, as its members tried to figure out his identity and the purpose of the photos. Many of the original photos were cropped or deleted entirely. This post assembles documentation from Public Access. Graphic designer Eric Nylund has created a PDF publication for the project, which includes a text written by Ed Steck. This text and many of the photos taken for Public Access are now on view in the exhibit "As Yet Untitled: Artists and Writers in Collaboration" at SF Camerawork in San Francisco.

DOWNLOAD PUBLIC ACCESS PDF



A Selection of Photographs that were placed on Wikipedia:
- Border Field State Park. (The fence is the Mexican-American border.) - Silver Strand State Beach. - El Segundo. (The town I grew up in.) - Davenport.

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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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Click Through This

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Image: Becket Bowes, Alan Turing, 2009

Hypertext fiction was proclaimed at its inception as the literary genre of the future, but now it already feels like a relic of the past. Ironically, nineteen years after a software company published the first hypertext story, Michael Joyce’s Afternoon, fast internet connections and popular reference sites have made habits of fragmentary, non-linear reading common enough to prepare a wide audience for tackling hypertext fiction (who clicked on the link above before finishing this sentence?), but hardly any artists and writers are making serious attempts at it. Becket Bowes is one exception. His project [sic]ipedia, conceived for and developed during SculptureCenter’s "In Practice” program, takes the form of an evocative description of an arcane curio cabinet, with backstories of the items it contains.

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Image: Becket Bowes, Social Isolate Club, 2009 (Installation View at SculptureCenter)

Bowes’ installation in the back of SculptureCenter’s basement was composed of those items—two Ships of Theseus, a Comfortable Chair, a simulation of Alan Turing’s death mask and a model of his bust spinning on a computer monitor, to name a few. [sic]ipedia began as a simple site, with a gray sphere and blank prompt in a stripped-down variation on Wikipedia’s home page. But over the course of the “In Practice” exhibition’s run at SculptureCenter, Bowes gathered his friends—members of the Social Isolate Club, or SIC—inside his installation, to talk out the histories and significance of the objects there. At each meeting, Bowes would take notes in composition books, and then convert the notes into pages on [sic]ipedia. Taken together, [sic]ipedia (the web site) and Social Isolate Club (the installation) suggested parallels between reading hypertext and viewing an installation: both give the viewer a degree of autonomy in ...

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Wikipedia Art

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Nathaniel Stern and Scott Kildall "Wikipedia Art" project, which was deleted by Wikipedia users soon after it went live, was intended as an artistic intervention in the open yet closely regulated space of Wikipedia. Considering the context, it is unsurprising that the project was so short-lived. In the artist's statement, Kildall and Stern claim that the work "MUST BE written about extensively both on- and off-line" and, indeed, it did generate ample debate. Check the Rhizome Discussion board for a conversation related to the function of truth on Wikipedia, as well as the discussion section for the Wikipedia Art entry itself, where users consider the place of an art project of this type within Wikipedia.

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The Shape of Things to Come

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Video: Superstruct: the Final Threat

"We are living in interesting times," science fiction author Charles Stross observed on his blog last week. "In fact, they're so interesting that it is not currently possible to write near-future SF." The makers of Superstruct, a new project created by the Institute for the Future, would disagree. The IFTF has launched what they're calling "the world's first massively multiplayer forecasting game;" in it, players are asked to imagine themselves ten years from now, then flesh out the details of that near-future world through posts to a wiki, discussion forums, Facebook, Superstruct's own site, and elsewhere. But players won't be creating this collective vision of tomorrow from scratch: the game provides a core set of hot-button issues that need to be addressed in 2019 -- couched as reports from the Global Extinction Awareness System -- which include a growing pandemic, the immanent collapse of the world's food supplies, power struggles over energy sources, and the "diaspora of diasporas" of displaced masses. Using a speculative fiction to ask thousands of users to cobble together potentially useful solutions to very real problems, Superstruct can be seen as an online variant of alternative reality gaming, juiced up with elements of crowdsourcing, prediction markets and the collaborative authorship of expanded universes. The very premise of this new mutation in science fiction writing says a great deal about what we think about our own life now in these interesting times: the future is not so much a brave new world to be explored, but a complex problem to be solved. - Ed Halter

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Interview with Sarah Cook

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Image: JooYoun Paek, Not Bicycle Cover, 2008 (Image courtesy of Eyebeam)

Sarah Cook kindly took a moment to speak to me this week about the exhibition she curated, "Untethered", which opens tonight at Eyebeam in New York. The group exhibition, which takes the form of a sculpture garden and explores "everyday objects deprogrammed of their original function, embedded with new intelligence, and transformed into surrealist and surprising readymades", includes 15 artists, many of whom are current or former Eyebeam fellows or residents. "Untethered" will remain up through October 25th. - Ceci Moss

Ceci Moss: How did you first begin working on "Untethered"?

Sarah Cook: Preamble: I am an inaugural curatorial fellow at Eyebeam through my work with CRUMB (Curatorial Resource for Upstart Media Bliss). My position was enabled by a three-year grant received by CRUMB, which allows me to use Eyebeam as a site for research into curating new media art, the question of how collaboration works through international networks, and how curators can work in lab environments. I arrived in New York in April; before that Amanda McDonald Crowley and I had been discussing whether I should take advantage of an opportunity to curate an exhibition as part of the Fall program as one way to put my research into practice, given that exhibition practice is my strength. Eyebeam was interested in challenging that and allowing me, through my fellowship, to think about curating in a different way.

Together with Liz Slagus, Director of Education and Public Programs at Eyebeam, I visited with all of Eyebeam's resident artists and fellows (I had participated in the juries which had selected them) and got to know what they were working on in the labs. At the same time, I tried to learn about Eyebeam's exhibition history, its use of its ...

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Raising the Bar in Singapore

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Every two years, the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) lands in a different world city, drawing thousands of new media scholars and artists together and engaging the local community. Two rounds ago, in 2004, ISEA started on a cruise ship that sailed (ok, partied) from Helsinki to Stockholm before delivering participants in Tallin, Estonia. In 2006 ISEA came to San Jose, California, where it both gelled and collided with the Silicon Valley scene, inaugurating the annual Zero1 festival. This year the events leapt across the Pacific to Singapore, a small country with a huge media culture. From July 25th-August 3rd, the "world's premier media arts event for the critical discussion and showcase of creative productions applying new technologies in interactive and digital media" will present a range of exhibitions and public programs on five official themes: Locating media, Wiki Wiki, Ludic Interfaces, Reality Jam, and Border Transmissions. The panels and keynotes within this theme--delivered by many of the biggest names in the field--consider the current state of new media production and reception, and cast an eye toward the role of Pacific Rim participants in driving this field. A cornerstone of the festival is the main exhibition, installed at the National Museum of Singapore and called simply "ISEA2008 Juried Exhibition." This year's show provides a glimpse into contemporary media art practices not only in the work selected, but in the process of it's organization. The exhibit includes sixteen artworks, many of which were made by international collaborative teams, that were curated via a competitive open call. The selected artists were invited to Singapore for residencies, where they began to flesh-out their ideas and work in new media, technology, and science labs on the campus of the National University of Singapore. The result is a collection of works ...

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Search Terms

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Artist Paul Klee once described drawing as "taking a line for a walk," though he could have just as easily been referring to ASDF's A Wikipedia Reader (2008). Assuming two forms - a limited-edition printed book and open-edition .PDF - this project stems from ASDF co-organizer David Horvitz's invitation to a handful of predominantly Los Angeles-based artists to play a "small game" with Wikipedia's navigational structure. The advent of digital information systems, Horvitz argues in the project's introduction, has made heretofore standard methods of categorization "almost irrelevant." Indeed, a virtual user's mode of accessing information relies upon the contingencies of a given search, a vastly less hierarchical mode of navigation that broadens the associative potential of a topic, instead of whittling it down. Horvitz invited eleven collaborators, such as Uta Barth, Laurel Nakadate, and Emilie Halpern, to choose topics reflective of their artistic interests and document their paths through related links. What ensues are relatively straightforward yet frequently lyrical journeys into the web�s collective memory hub, as Barth travels from "Dusk" to "Dawn" and, eventually, reaches "Polar Night"; Halpern grazes "FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" and "Fibonacci" in a search that originated with "Esperanto"; and Horvitz, in a rather appropriate summation of the project's enterprise, encounters "Dérive" and "Flâneur" on a stroll that began with "Boredom" and ends with "Balloon Mail." Given the amount of time we spend in the virtual sphere, it's fitting that ASDF would deploy the methods of Situationists and psychogeographers to generate a permanent archive of a specific moment, topography and state of knowledge that, by the nature of Wikipedia, will continue to change and evolve. - Tyler Coburn

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