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


Have a Nice Day: Hannah Perry and Bubblebyte Take Over Create London


This week, online art mavens Bubblebyte and artist Hannah Perry launched a "takeover" of the website of Create London, made in collaboration with 25 teenagers from South East London as well as a range of contemporary artists. The takeover will only be on view until 13 September.  

Bubblebyte and Hannah Perry's takeover of the website of Create London.

As takeovers go, it was of the friendly variety. A row of colored, numbered buttons appears at the bottom of the site; clicking on each button brings up a song and a visual response by an artist. The visual responses appear as transparent overlays (sometimes still, sometimes animated) on top of website content. A rotating humidifier (perhaps an oblique reference to cloud computing?) is paired with ominous industrial audio by Paul Purgas. Menna Cominetti splashes a pair of blue tinted shades over the page, set to the ethereal tones of Paul Flannery. For the most part, these works have no explicit relationship with the site's content, but some strange juxtapositions emerge, such as when Andrew Norman Wilson’s images of Martha Stewart appear on top of the words "create jobs." 


Software Takes Command: An Interview with Lev Manovich


Lev Manovich is a leading theorist of cultural objects produced with digital technology, perhaps best known for The Language of New Media (MIT Press, 2001). I interviewed him about his most recent book, Software Takes Command (Bloomsbury Academic, July 2014).

Photograph published in Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg, "Personal Dynamic Media" with the caption, "Kids learning to use the interim Dynabook." 

MICHAEL CONNOR: I want to start with the question of methodology. How does one study software? In other words, what is the object of study—do you focus more on the interface, or the underlying code, or some combination of the two?

LEV MANOVICH: The goal of my book is to understand media software—its genealogy (where does it come from), its anatomy (the key features shared by all media viewing and editing software), and its effects in the world (pragmatics). Specifically, I am concerned with two kinds of effects: 


Sketching Bradley Manning


As the Bradley Manning trial presses on at Fort Meade, Maryland, artist Clark Stoeckley (of Wikileaks Truck fame) documents the proceedings in sketches. So far, the artists tells us he has compiled over 300 drawings from both sides of the gallery, the jury box, and the live video feed. The renderings are set to be published by OR Books in September as a graphic novel, which is an appropriate format for an epic conflict between good and evil. The previews of Stoeckley's graphic novel look very exciting, but what we find most compelling about the project is Stoeckley's commitment to the trial and to Manning, and the mundane details of the process that he captures through his daily practice of drawing and observation.

Day 1 of the trial

 

Captain Hunter Whyte, David Coombs, Bradley Manning

Courtroom observers wearing shirts that read "truth" have been mandated by officials to turn them inside-out.


Email Before PRISM: Miranda July, "We Think Alone" (2013)


There is a scene in the movie Airplane! (1980) in which a young boy suddenly recognizes the real-life actor who is playing the character of co-pilot Roger Murdoch. "Wait a minute!" he exclaims. "I know you! You're Kareem Abdul-Jabbar!"

The scene breaks the "fourth wall" to comic effect. Most viewers in 1980 would have recognized Abdul-Jabbar instantly, but the conventions of performance dictate that we try to pretend that he is just an ordinary schmoe in the cockpit. By "recognizing" Abdul-Jabbar, the boy calls attention to these conventions, and breaks the tension for viewers who were probably struggling to see the six-time MVP of the NBA as an airline employee.

Such an acknowledgment is missing from a more recent project involving Abdul-Jabbar, Miranda July's We Think Alone.


Cory Arcangel, "GAO" (2013)


Cory Arcangel, "Clinton," 2011. Pencil on paper (produced with Mutoh XP-300 series printer), edition 1 of 3, 11 x 8.5 inches. 

Last year, critic Alix Rule and artist David Levine suggested in a much-discussed article in Triple Canopy that the dense, quasi-theoretical writing found in contemporary art press releases should be reformatted as meter and appreciated as avant-garde poetry. This week, Cory Arcangel took the next logical step and used the email press release for his forthcoming exhibition at DHC/ART, which was circulated on the e-flux mailing list, as an opportunity for a sly text-based intervention.



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DISCUSSION

Rhizome Today


Hey Charles! It will be interesting to see if this comment will stay on your profile after the post disappears, and if the link to it will work, and if some kind of vortex will open.

DISCUSSION

July 2: NYC poetry event with Kev, Bunny Rogers, and Brigid Mason


Hi Tom,

I feel really good about the event. I'm not really ready to write about it, but I feel like I have to say something...

You used the word "ironic," which means saying one thing while meaning another. But Kev often said one thing while *also* meaning the opposite, which is something different. You call it confusion, I call it an interest in paradox.

I wrote of the spiritual dimension of Kev's work that "Taoism is as much an aspect of contemporary culture as it an ancient philosophy, translated and refracted as it is through the Transcendentalists and the 60s counterculture and numerous scholars. Thus, Kev, who has always played the role of the quintessential American, does so even in his seemingly un-American disavowal of the consumer internet." In other words, a "mishmash" sounds about right.

DISCUSSION

July 2: NYC poetry event with Kev, Bunny Rogers, and Brigid Mason


In summary, I think it's OK for Kev to think about Taoism and the internet, even though I'm not interested in that in particular. But I am interested in his gesture of radical semi-refusal and its limits, and where he will go next.

DISCUSSION

July 2: NYC poetry event with Kev, Bunny Rogers, and Brigid Mason


I'm not particularly interested in the spiritual aspect of digital art, hence our recent emphasis on infrastructure and labor and materialism, mundane afrofuturism and internet realism...

It strikes me as patently ridiculous to disallow the possibility of "spiritualized computer art." Sure, that's a premise that has been used in lots of dubious ways, and maybe you don't buy Kev's version of it, which is fine. But that doesn't make the premise itself categorically doubtful. No aspect of our lives can really be considered outside of the digital, spirituality included.

I am interested in Kev's ideas, because he has spent the last five years thinking deeply about the internet while attempting to stake a position outside of this. I think others are interested in his thoughts on this, and his reasons for finding this untenable.

Tbh I have no real idea what Kev is going to do tonight, which is scary, but I certainly don't think that Rhizome should only stage events the outcome of which is known in advance.

DISCUSSION

Solidarity after "Sharing:" Notes on Internet Subjects #1


Hi Abe, thanks for your feedback. Our intent with this particular panel was to articulate a position that we felt was missing from the media narrative around the sharing economy. To this end, we felt that including a sharing economy proponent would stall the discussion before any first principles could be established. I did feel, in the end, that Rob Horning's polemical skill in particular was a bit wasted without a real opponent to wield it against...

As you may know, Rhizome works quite closely with many individuals in the tech business sector; in fact, my co-organizers Nathan Jurgenson and Kate Crawford are both researchers with roles in the tech industry. I'd imagine that future Internet Subjects panels will be structured more as debates, when that seems most appropriate, and will feature not just researchers, writers, and scholars, but business people and artists as well.