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

Interview with Graham Harwood

Telephone Trottoire is a publishing system for communities to share news, stories, and opinions over the mobile phone. The system dials members of the Congolese community and plays them a recording in the Lingala language. The recording might be a story, song, or joke, or it could be a discussion of a serious issue. The recipient of the call has the option of leaving a comment in response or forwarding the call to someone else, allowing the system to grow virally. It was developed on behalf of Congolese communities in London by MediaShed, a 'free-media' organization based in Southend-on-Sea, England.

At 01SJ 2008, three artists Graham Harwood, Richard Wright and Matsuko Yokokoji (formerly Mongrel ) presented Tantalum Memorial, an art installation based on Telephone Trottoire. This same installation will be on view at the art and digital culture festival transmediale in Berlin this week. Tantalum Memorial is one of eight projects to win the transmediale 2009 Award. I met up with Harwood at a Peet's Coffee in San Jose last June to discuss these two projects. He wore a hat with the word 'ADDICT' emblazoned across the front (his son's) and ordered an herbal tea. - Michael Connor

01SJ Diary: Day 3

Santana Row in San Jose is a kind of holy grail of large-scale property development, combining dining, shopping, and living space in a complex the size of several city blocks. Yesterday at lunchtime, it was bustling with row upon row of restaurant-goers sitting at tables on the sidewalk in the June sun. Imagine, if you can, Paris in the springtime with cheerful waitstaff and ample parking.

For the next few weeks, this terrestrial utopia will play host to RainDance, an outdoor installation by artist Paul DeMarinis. The piece, which somewhat resembles a shower facility, consists of five jets of water streaming downwards onto a raised walkway. Visitors walk under each stream while holding a plastic umbrella supplied by the attendant on duty. When the water hits the taut plastic, it creates a musical composition, generating different notes as the speed of water flow varies. Because the piece is inaudible until a visitor enters, it has a magical quality which was not lost on the shoppers and passersby who happened upon the piece.

Paul DeMarinis, RainDance, 2008

I left Santana Row for the Tech Museum of Innovation, where I saw 01SJ Global Youth Voices, an exhibition produced by Liz Slagus of Eyebeam. Inspired by 2007 Nobel prize-winner Muhammad Yunus' approach to micro-finance, the program had offered $500 grants to artists all over the world aged 11 to 21. Interactive artworks made by 12-year olds from the Nueve School in Hillsborough, CA sat alongside a video tour of Kibera, Africa's largest slum. "It's an impressive amount of work for twenty grand," Graham Harwood commented to me. It's true -- except according to a quick calculation ($500 x 17 artists), the actual figure was much less than 20. In the micro-finance model, even a small loan can change someone's life ...


01SJ Diary: Day 2

Rubén Ortiz-Torres, High n' Low Rider, 2008

Day two of my San Jose experience began with a visit to MACLA to see High n' Low Rider by Rubén Ortiz-Torres, co-director of the 1995 film Frontierland. Using low rider-style hydraulics, Ortiz-Torres has customized a platform lift (normally used for high-level work on construction sites) so that it can not only be raised and lowered, but also unfolded, tilted, and spun like a pinwheel. Today, the High n' Low Rider merely sat still in the gallery space, but on Wednesday it came to life for the 01SJ opening night festivities, spinning wildly in the midst of a throng of people. I could only hope it wasn't a Decepticon.

From there, I continued on to Space 47, an independent project space that featured Floating Chronologies, a solo show by Jesus Aguilar. I last saw Aguilar's work at 01SJ in 2006, where he presented some promisingly clever pieces, including an instructional videotape that offered lessons in how to speak in binary language. For Floating Chronologies, the artist trawled the Internet to find other 'Jesus Aguilars.' Alan Berliner explored a similar line of inquiry in his 2001 film The Sweetest Sound, for which the director invited twelve other Alan Berliners from around the world to join him for dinner, but Aguilar approaches the concept in a different way. In this body of work, information about other people who share the artist's name is assimilated into a single hybrid character. We learn that this composite character earned a bronze medal at the 1980 Olympics, won the 1978 World Cup, earned a Ph.D. in philosophy, and shot a police officer in the leg. By combining these stray online facts under the umbrella of a single identity, Aguilar's piece creates a ...


01SJ Diary: Day 1

Editor's Note: Over the next few days, curator Michael Connor will report from the 01SJ Festival taking place this week in San Jose, CA.

When I arrived in San Jose yesterday for the opening of 01SJ, I couldn't help but feel that this would be a defining year for the biennial festival of "Art on the Edge." The festival was launched in 2006 alongside the itinerant ISEA conference, and I was eager to see how 01SJ would take shape without its more established partner. For 01SJ, based in the heart of Silicon Valley, building local audiences depends on presenting programs that resonate with the tech-savvy, while cultivating their interest in contemporary art.

Last night was the official opening of the Superlight exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art, a central component of the 01SJ program. In his opening remarks at the exhibition, Artistic Director Steve Dietz addressed this challenge explicitly, reinforcing the point that the festival is bringing together the "so-called contemporary art world" with the "so-called new media art world." This relationship was played out in various ways through recent artworks that offer political and personal responses to a world riven by seemingly intractable problems.

Genevieve Grieves, Picturing the Old People, 2008

Talented newcomer Genevieve Grieves addresses the history of Indigenous representation in Australia in her piece Picturing the Old People. For this body of work, Grieves researched 19th-century photographs held in the collection of the State Library of Victoria. She identified particular motifs that ran through many of these photographs, such as romanticized images of the "noble savage" to the allure of the "exotic woman." She created five video portraits modeled after these archetypal motifs, in which the subjects occasionally come to life to enact their suppressed desires. In the video entitled Warrior, a man ...


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Birth Rites Collection Bi-annual Award

Sat Feb 07, 2015 23:59

London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Submissions for our Birth Rites Collection Bi-annual Award are now open!

Artwork can be submitted in any medium.
DEADLINE 7th February 2015.
Entry fee £10

The winner will receive a residency at the Women’s Art Library, Goldsmiths University, London plus a stipend and winning work to be included in the Birth Rites Collection, The University of Salford. Shortlisted artists will have thier work screened digitally at Media CityUK in the Egg Suite in March 2015.

The Birth Rites Collection is the first and only collection of contemporary artwork dedicated to the subject of childbirth. The collection currently comprises of photography, sculpture, painting, wallpaper, drawing, new media, documentary and experimental film. It is housed between the Royal College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians in London and Salford University Midwifery Department.

Judges: Helen Knowles BRC Curator & Althea Greenan, Women's Art Library, Goldsmiths University, London.
For more info:



Bodies on the Line

I fully agree about etiquette w/r/t social media being needed! I think in this case it's particularly complex because no one seems really clear on the object boundary - i.e., whether the social media response should be considered "part of the work."

It's hard not to read "monitoring social media channels" without an Orwellian spin.

Of course, that is exactly what we did by archiving Amalia Ulman's Instagram feed, although everything captured on it is "public" in the sense that anyone can see it, without logging in. In that case, we made the specific decision not to capture her Facebook feed, which has a greater expectation of privacy attached to it. Such archives undermine the contextual integrity of social media, and the balance between this and various arguments for the public value created by non-profit digital archives requires further analysis.


Bodies on the Line

I'm dismayed by your suggestion that Ryder is currently being subject to harassment tactics. As we and you and others have pointed out, Ryder is far from the only one of us whose practice has ethically unsound aspects at times, and to continue to demonize him is too easy, and unproductive. To harass him is certainly unconscionable. As Heather said above, we all feel sorry for the distress that we caused Ryder.

I'm also a bit dismayed by your attack on closed Facebook discussions. To argue that every viewpoint, however unpopular, must be expressed in full public view is in effect to advocate for censorship.

Also, two factual corrections.

First, saying that we planned to "monitor" social media is a distortion. We are working on archiving social media, but we're working through the ethical implications of this; I anticipate that this will take the form of working with communities and users and putting tools in their hands rather than "monitoring" them.

Second, you say on your blog that this "started" on private Facebook groups. Maybe, but from my perspective the conversation about 'Art Whore' get going on Ryder's own Facebook thread, not on a private group. (That's the thread that would have been most useful for Rhizome to archive I guess, if the tools had been ready at that time, and if it met our still-evolving ethical guidelines to do so.)

Ryder deleted that thread, and many of the extant criticisms of his project were gone by the time I began writing my article.


Rhizome Today: A critic, with opinions about postinternet art

The internet does have a short memory, and we are always struggling against this. But I find the constantly enforcement of indebtedness equally destructive to the idea of the internet as a "vital and contested site for artistic practice." Not only does this obscure the specificity of emerging practices, it also locks the older generation in a time capsule. People like Harwood/YoHa, Olia, Ubermorgen and JODI have all made really exciting work over the last six years that isn't just a rehash of their early careers. I think discussions of the fallacies of digital dualism and web objectivity, the idea of the internet as practice and not medium, questions of digital materialism and labor, and ideas of posthuman, networked cultural production--these ideas may have been present in net art and its precursors, but they have been elaborated in recent years in ways that may be in conversation with the past, but should be appreciated for their specificity, not written off with a world weary sense of deja vu.


Rhizome Today: A critic, with opinions about postinternet art

Hi Ed! That's a very, very useful clarification. Mail forwarding hasn't routed my November issue to the new address yet... And plus, the print version is so heavy.

I have a foot in both camps on the deeper roots issue. But, it's so great to see Guthrie get his due.