GIF extract form Hito Steyerl, How Not To Be Seen. A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File , 2013. HD video file, single screen, 14min.
How Not to be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File is the title of Hito Steyerl's new work, included in the Venice Biennale exhibition Il Palazzo Enciclopedico. (It is installed at the far back corner of the Giardino delle Vergini behind the Arsenale; to reach it, Steyerl joked, one must swim two canals and climb a wall).
The video is partly inspired by the photo calibration targets in the California desert, which look like giant pixels in the ground. As described by the Center for Land Use Interpretation, these targets were used in the age of analog aerial photography to test the resolution of airborne cameras, like a kind of optometrist's chart for the ancestors of drones.
Three Tri-bar targets at Cuddeback Lak. Photo: CLUI.
Partly shot on location at one of these disused targets, How Not to be Seen begins as an instructional video informing viewers how to remain invisible in an age of image proliferation. Various possible strategies are outlined. One suggestion is to camouflage oneself (to demonstrate, Steyerl smears green paint on her face and is chroma-keyed into invisibility). Another suggested tactic is to be smaller than the size of a pixel. For this demonstration, several people appear on camera wearing pixel-like boxes on their heads. Wearing a box on one's head may seem unpleasant, but in Steyerl's video it seems quite fun, imbued with some of the techno-human spirit of Bauhaus theater costumes.
After these tactics are outlined, the film crew making this educational video also disappears. In their absence, happy low-resolution pixels take over the production. Digital rendering ghosts dance in the desert landscape as The Three ...
Jon Rafman at Palazzo Peckham, Venice Biennale
This week, I am in Venice for the opening of the Biennale and its satellite program. If you are also here, please join us on Thursday 5/30 at 4 PM for Definition I: Low-Res, a conversation between Hito Steyerl and Oliver Laric, moderated by Yours Truly.
If you aren't in Venice (or if you are!), we will also be hosting a massive "surf party" for people to try out Jonas Lund's collaborative Web browser, We See In Every Direction. Click here for more info.
Without further ado, here are the week's events and deadlines, culled from Rhizome Announce.
Lorne Lanning worked for Jack Goldstein in the mid-1980s at a time when the artist began to create highly detailed paintings of technological and scientific imagery that foregrounded the visual artefacts of computer vision. In this interview, Lanning discusses the thinking and the process behind this body of work, which is represented in several works (completed after Lanning's tenure with Goldstein) in the exhibition Jack Goldstein x 10,000, on view through September 29, 2013 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Lanning also explains how his work with visual effects for Goldstein led him, via the aerospace industry, to a successful career as creator of the OddWorld video game series.
Jack Goldstein, Untitled, 1988, acrylic on canvas. Courtesy Vanmoerkerke Collection, Ostend. © Estate of Jack Goldstein.
MC: How did you begin working with Jack Goldstein?
I met Jack--he was teaching at School of Visual Arts--I believe it was ‘85. I started working with him in maybe late ‘85 or early ‘86…
I was an illustration student at School of Visual Arts--I had seen his paintings at the Whitney Biennial, and at various museums, and I was just blown away. I showed him my work and I was making all these comments, you know, "I aim to improve this way and that way," and he goes, "You paint just fine, you just have no ideas." And that's Jack in a nutshell.
Here are highlights of this week's events and deadlines, culled from Rhizome Announce.
Andrew Healy, Augmented Reality Lower Receiver
3D-printed Guy Debord action figures (2012). Produced by McKenzie Wark, design by Peer Hansen, with technical assistance by Rachel L.
The figure is part of a limited edition run of 200 made by Wark, who was inspired to delve into maker culture because of Debord's own investment in craft as evidenced in the twelve handcrafted issues of Internationale Situationniste. (You can read more about this in Brendan Byrne's recent interview with Wark on Rhizome). It's important to note that you can also make your own Debord figure based on Wark's 3D model, which will be released under a Creative Commons license.
The questions, which were supplied by Verso, are after the jump. They are not to be taken lightly...