VideoWear, (2003), Mixed Media Sculpture and Performance
Given your interest in revealing electronic circuitry and conduits as a symbol of the body, do you feel that your wearable pieces like Coat of Embrace are extensions of your own body's natural electric currents? Also, reflecting on early sci-fi and cyborg culture, what is your future vision of human interactions with electronics?
All of our instruments, wearable or not, act as extensions of our bodies. Our tactile relationship with the technologies that we use includes building our instruments by hand and designing them around our bodies. Despite or as a result of their origins, these instruments modify how we move while we play them, in ways we cannot predict in advance. They change not just our use of technology, but also the communication between us and our audience during the performance. In some of our work, we amplify natural electrical signals from the human body when we invite our visitors and audience to touch exposed electronic components that are connected to our instruments. This allows the live signals from their bodies to affect the final audio/video. We like creating this circuit between natural and man-made signals as it fits with our vision of a conglomeration of media/technology/electricity with natural and organic systems. In terms of past/future visions, we tend to think in terms of alternate possibilities for both present and future. We envision co-evolution of natural and man-made systems where interactions are innate and automatic.
Many of your pieces include live performance and video that feed into each other. When creating these types of pieces with feedback loops, do you start by searching for a particular visual you are trying to achieve or ...
Still image from Cory Doctorow's Keynote speech at SIGGRAPH 2011
When Cory Doctorow started his Keynote speech at this year's SIGGRAPH conference he started bravely by granting the audience "unequivocal permission to record video, audio, and to use those recordings ... in all media now known or yet to be invented throughout the known universe." This past Wednesday, two days after the speech, the Keynote was available on YouTube.
In the speech, Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing, outlined copyright and digital rights management's current state of affairs by providing details and examples that took the conversation far beyond the typically polarized copyright debate that divides the analysis into two mutually exclusive parts - either bad or good. In warming up to a proposal of his own set of laws he outlined an important issue that affects those experimenting on multiple portable platforms such as the iPhone, iPad, Android, and other emerging devices. Apple worked as the central example because of their sophisticated management of DRM, supported by the fact that they are generally good at what they do. Doctorow's concern about Apple's proprietary restrictions on transferring purchases from iTunes or the App Store were compounded by a recent announcement in the Guardian that German patent court has granted Apple a preliminary injunction that would prevent any import of Samsung's new Galaxy tablet into the country. This is certainly a concern for consumers and adds to the importance of Doctorow’s speech - but it’s an even bigger concern for artists who are experimenting on these platforms. As more artists make apps for the App Store they are opting into a restricted environment. If a consumer buys their app, and wants to transfer it to another device, they have no recourse except to ask Apple for permission ...
Often the smallest image files on the internet and sometimes created by truncating a much larger image to the 32 pixel by 32 pixel format, the favicon acts as a type of superscript icon hinting at a websites content or intention. If you're an avid bookmarker of sites, like myself, favicons are familiar and offer guidance but rarely get a closer look or the more detailed consideration as a work of art. Fabian G. Tabibian has rescaled favicons from their restricted pixel widths to large-scale desaturated C prints.
His prints cull from a number of sources, but most notably the websites for branches of the United States Government. Somehow the polite vertical American flag favicon on the Senate's website takes on more ominous tones when converted to black and white and printed poster size, confronting you with its deficient resolution. The collection of prints, which were simply mounted on the wall at the Wassaic Project where I encountered them this past weekend, have also been shown in lightboxes mimicking their original screen-lit existence. In either format they present an eerie portrait of a typically unconsidered element of the internet.
Flag (#Senate), C-Print, 2011
Lightbox versions of Tabibian's favicon series
Eagle, Duratrans in Lightbox, 2011
Hi Tom, and all
First off, the purpose of Required Reading is to point to compelling articles relevant to new media. We're not always endorsing them 100%, but also often sharing them with Rhiz readers for the purpose of discussion. (Its a column Rhizome has been running for 2 years.) I thought Davis' article was worth inclusion because its an attempt at defining the field, and its a proposition: The first five sections draw lines between what Davis describes as social media art and other forms of new media. But in his final section, he closes his analysis with some self-criticism: "It’s not a frame to think within. It’s a box that needs to be escaped."
With that in mind, Salas makes a good point about it including traditional definitions of art, and the absence of participatory art, including contemporary practitioners like Miranda July and Harold Fletcher. In my opinion, I appreciate a non media art critic calling for a deeper and broader research of social media artwork - but I agree, to some extent, that an attempt to form definitions at a point of emergence can prove to be problematic, and boxes art in inappropriate ways.
Thanks for writing.
Again, a great initial resource is the Rhizome list of New Media Programs. We have programs listed and linked in the States and Abroad. I think there is a good school in the south of France. If I find the link I'll post here.
Definitely check the New Media program list with Rhizome first. I'm in the MFA program at RISD right now and can say that it offers a lot of flexibility and resources to students. As a note, we're in the middle of an international search for a new department head which should end at the end of this academic year. Feel free to email me if you have any extra questions. The programs website is here: http://dm.risd.edu
You can also cruise this mega list of national new media programs:
It's not exclusively MFA but it's a good starting point for broader research on schools.
I know SVA just started an Interdisciplinary MFA program that might be worth checking out:
I've had a few friends who have gone to ITP too that had a good experience. The RISD program is geared more toward Fine Art and you can take courses at Brown - ITP is more technically focused. At least that's my understanding.