Michael Connor
Since 2002
Works in Brooklyn, New York United States of America



Caitlyn Jenner and the Facebook Real Name Policy


 

Protesters in Menlo Park yesterday. (Photo by Gareth Gooch).

Yesterday, Caitlyn Jenner introduced herself to an eager public via a magazine cover, a Twitter account, and a Facebook page. The Twitter account gained a million followers faster than the previous record-holder, Barack Obama, and the Facebook page garnered hundreds of thousands of likes in its first day. Coming a week after the news that IMG had signed Hari Nef (onetime host of Ed Fornieles's NY NY HP HP for Rhizome), the news heralded a new level of public visibility and acceptance for transgender people.


The irony of Caitlyn Jenner's Facebook popularity is that the social media site has such an unsupportive official stance toward name changes in general. The policy not only forbids creating profiles under stage names or personas or alter egos, it forbids profiles under any name that can't be backed up by a legal document, such as identification or a piece of mail. (The rules are different for Pages, such as Jenner's). Facebook is like the right-wing uncle who deliberately misgenders you, on principle. 


Now you can finally experience what it's like to commodify yourself on the internet


Last year, Rhizome awarded a $500 microgrant to Lena NW and Costcodreamgurl to create a game "that parodies celebrity status games (i.e. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood... but focuses on the concept of becoming an internet celebrity via social media." Their game is now here, and it carries with it one hell of a trigger warning: "graphic sexual violence, cultural appropriation, scat, bestiality, feminism, patriarchy, sexualization of school shooters, inconsistant use of fonts." Click here to play.

From the artists' statement:


Required Reading: Empathy & Disgust


 

Distaste or disgust involves a rejection of an idea that has been offered for enjoyment.

—Immanuel Kant, Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, 1798

For the first time, this year's Seven on Seven will have an overarching theme offered to participants as a provocation: Empathy & Disgust.

Scene from Her

We chose this theme partly because of recent discussions about "affective computing," which aims to detect and respond appropriately to users' emotions. The field gained some visibility after the release of Spike Jonze's Her; writing for Rhizome, Martine Syms argued that the film could be read as "an elaborate product spec" for intelligent agents that can replace human relationships. Recently, a new crop of apps that function as "Intelligent Personal Agents" bring us a step closer to this future, while a more speculative app from Blast Theory offers a fully-fledged emotional relationship with a virtual character who gradually reveals herself to be "needy, sloppy, piteous, and desperate."

Some of the real-world research underpinning emotional analysis was discussed in New Yorker piece earlier this year, focusing on the work of Affectiva and scientist Rana el Kaliouby. The company is developing a tool called Affdex that can "make relable interences about people's emotions" based on video monitoring:

During the 2012 Presidential elections, Kaliouby’s team used Affdex to track more than two hundred people watching clips of the Obama-Romney debates, and concluded that the software was able to predict voting preference with seventy-three-per-cent accuracy.


Grappling with complexity, women in tech, and Leonard Nimoy: Perry Chen's Y2K


Screenshot of Leonard Nimoy in Y2K Family Survival Guide (1999). 

In December, Perry Chen organized a panel discussion at the New Museum (copresented with Rhizome and Creative Time Reports) exploring the phenomenon and legacy of the Y2K bug, as part of his ongoing project Computers in Crisis. Along with a presentation of books and video clips from the time, he assembled three Y2K experts to share their own experiences of preparing for 1/1/00, at which point many computer systems were expected to interpret the two-digit date as "1900" rather than "2000," with harrowing results. 



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DISCUSSION

Shia LaBeouf: Is there genius in his endgame?


Hi Tom, it seems we erred too far on the side of subtlety with this one, sorry about that :P

Coincidentally, I'm going to be in LA this week for a show I curated at a commercial gallery, and we do also have some research ongoing that might open up this discussion in a more interesting way for you.

Pure promo hype just makes everyone feel bad in the end...But, I like a lot of Harmony Korine's work, and I'm glad to hear he's collecting art.

Thanks as always for your thoughtful comments.

DISCUSSION

The Possibilities and Pitfalls of the Video Game Exhibition


And (also monologuing) the other question: is "firsthand gameplay of otherwise difficult to experience titles" the central attraction that an exhibition might hold for most serious gamers, or is Nicholas unique in this regard, as in so many others?

I can imagine that it is an important attraction. It seemed like he really wanted to play Quadrilateral Cowboy.

DISCUSSION

The Possibilities and Pitfalls of the Video Game Exhibition


Hi Jason, Thank you for the thoughtful responses! And thanks for making your comment here on the site. A lot of people chose to respond on twitter.com, a for-profit website that sells user data to advertisers.

I'm interested in this statement: "Just creating a space where visitors can encounter these games and be exposed to the story of the independent game is a success by those measures."

There is, for sure, some level of tension between the needs of general audiences and sophisticated visitors. But--and now I'm speaking more generally, not about your exhibition--I'm curious if this is the standard most larger-scale video game exhibitions are held to. Which video game exhibitions have worked especially well for more sophisticated gamers, like Nicholas?

And have any worked especially well for both the novices and the sophisticates? Like a Kubrick show, for video games.

DISCUSSION

CREATIVE 2 PROFESSIONAL: 7 Things to Think About


Hi Tom,

I'm going to make a note to come back and star this comment if we ever introduce that feature at some point in the future. So relieved that someone got upset by our use of a listicle.

But, I also disagree with your characterization of Mike's perspective; examples 3-7 are all focusing on companies (not users/"pathetic little people"); all of these companies want to sort of structure people's desire to express themselves in more truncated ways than those available to Scot Halpin or the punks.

I think the point of putting these two facets of amateurism (celebrated amateurs v commercial structures designed to enable amateur creation) in dialogue would be to suggest that there was some element of punk and the celebration of the amateur which has fed into the emergence of these rather depressing structures, and maybe Mike's recent practice has involved trying to identify more with the pathetic user than the Scot Halpin or the Ramones, because in our current context these kinds of figures have been so thoroughly instrumentalized in support of the creative class system of digital serfs and vassals (to borrow Jesse Darling's terms).

In contrast with Jesse, though, Mike seems more specifically interested in the implications of tools and structures offered to the "pathetic little people" rather than the people themselves.

michael

DISCUSSION

Art Criticism in the Age of Yelp


I found this comment funny and cool.