Sean Capone
Since 2003
Works in Brooklyn, New York United States of America

PORTFOLIO (3)
BIO
Sean Capone is an video artist and design professional based in New York City. He is an MFA graduate of the School of the Art Institute Chicago.
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DISCUSSION

Re: FW: RHIZOME_RAW: On 8-Bit Aesthetics: Hackers or Hacks?


Patrick:
Thanks for your considered & frank response. This is the type of answer I was hoping for when I capitalized 'Art'; in other words, "why is this work relevant as objects within the system of production of the art world," quite a distinction from 'art' as a personal creative act..

However I remain unconvinced on several fronts.

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>...he had an interesting slogan: "Do as little as humanly possible"...

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Yeah, it shows.

The question is, is this in itself an ironic statement against 'operationality'? Or does it demonstrate that the chosen method of production doesn't have that much to offer in the first place? I do believe that to be a self-styled new media artist or critical practioneer relies on a built-in sense of technological determinism to begin with. I mean, it's just naive not to assume some measure of complicity. By this I mean that, technology is a craft, culture and society is heavily invested in it, these objects are a source of fascination and a means of production and to some extent we acknowledge that we all 'understand' technology and that the genie is not going back into the bottle. While the line from Duchamp to Warhol to Arcangel et. al. is somewhat legitimate, it is not smooth or reliable. To put it bluntly, Duchamp and Warhol were actually doing pretty different things at key moments in art & cultural history. You can't merely replicate their 'automatic' processes at this point. And Warhol was many things, but he was certainly not lazy about his craft. He did cast an unfortunate spell across future schools of art practice, however: by appearing to do nothing (by becoming purely automatic), one can become as big a celebrity as the celebrity culture one's images are about.

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> Both are really good at what they do, they made the contacts, people
> believe in what they're doing, and there you have high art.

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Yup. Until the collectors realize that they aren't *just* purchasing 'affability' or a personality but objects. This seems a good place to insert a discussion on the ephemerality of New Media Art collecting..

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> They want to get something that both
> exploits its media and methods deeply and fits lock-step with the
> progression of the Western art historical tradition.. For example,
> Murakami cites classical Japanese culture, colonized by American pop
> culture.

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Yeah, but unless I'm mistaken, Murakami samples it & injects his own exhuberance/cynicism and artistic labor (or that of his 'factory workers')--& does not simply tweak someone else's manga characters? I hate to get into a discussion about Originality vs. Creative Paucity but, well, there it is.

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> Back to the self-referentiality of the computational process, except
> for bitforms, who cares about that in an art context, and still Steve
> presents very formal pieces from his artists, which gets the
> collectors... Forgive me if I'm not making the connection; but I get the
> feeling that you're looking for recognition for works that deeply
> explore the computational process as method, and I honestly think
> that's
> outside the context of most of the contemporary art world.

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That's actually not what I was suggesting (a la Casey Reas, Bitforms et al). The quote about 'artists involved with computational process' was from the Paul Davis quote on Rhizome's front page. But out of context with the art world? I don't know about that--Arcangel's work is heavily invested in its own process and presence as a (at the time) cutting-edge piece of consumer electronic culture. The art world has accepted this process-oreinted model within Media Arts, I do believe. But the production is a less-than-mordant cut-and-paste approach (slacker postmodernism?)as opposed to the lineage of past practicioneers of hack/electronic/computation art, since the sixties at least: Nam Jun Paik, the Vasulkas, Dan Sandin, etc (or more recent artists & theorists like Alan Rath, George LeGrady, Lynn Hershman & other 'New Image' artists)...this seems like a more relevant pre-to-post digital lineage to me than that of Warhol, Duchamp etc.

HOWEVER back to the discussion, as far as their currency as 'Art' within the system of objects within the art world, these aesthetic experiments seem wholly relevant to the degree that much Art operates with fairly open ends anyway. Installation, conceptualism, Media Art left the question of 'Art' hanging open, dangling, questions asked but unanswered, art as process, flow, social experiment, event...art that moves beyond representation, in other words, into the experiential.

> ***********************************************************

> It limits your discourse. Reassures people where you're going
> to
> be in ten years, and gives them some reassurance in investing in your
> objects.

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Would seem to be the opposite to me--a limited discourse seems less reassuring lest it reveal itself as a micro-trend. Ehh, I'll take your word for it.

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> It
> has nothing to do with the art community, it has to do with the mass
> community, because that's what more people are going to identify with.

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Sure. Curators & gallery owners fill their shows with the mass community, but that's not their target audience, is it? It has everything to do with the art community. The art community (purchasers, collectors) seem to rely on that sense of youthful zeitgeist, as distanced from it as they actually are, because that's the narrative of the art world since the 80's (at least definitively).

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But, is repurposing a game platform as an art one like
> calling a urinal a fountain? I think there's a different gesture
> here,
> but similarities worth watching.

> **************************************************

Yes, with apprehension.

> ***************************************************

> Exactly, context and intent go hand in hand and each of the artists
> has
> them. Cory, Paperrad, Paul, and that clade just clothe their work in
> a
> poppy irony and slacker package that fits with the current obsession
> of
> youth and the crossing of nostalgia for the early gen-x'ers youth.
> It's
> all pretty tight.
> It's a pixilated landscape you can put on your wall made by a
> sl/h/acker
> kid who wants to mess around with the stuff he grew up with while
> being
> cognizant of contemporary art politics.

> ***************************************************

Yup, it's that great "I can do that too" feeling that engenders a cuddly feeling of tribal belonging...but without actually doing it, or doing it poorly, because the "youth-obsessed" codes are easily recognized and recapitulated without inquiry. (Now I feel like a bit of a reactionary, like one of those critics who didn't get Action Painting or whatever). It's all pretty tight, indeed...to the point where it almost reads as a contrived authenticity, and already seems a bit dusty...or maybe I just wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member. There goes *my* art career...

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> But this isn't what they're doing. They're playing with art history
> and
> cultural effects/affects and weaving it into a contextual praxis. In
> many ways, it goes back to Duchamp, Nauman and high modernism,

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Yah, although I think the lineage starts a bit later, (see above) or at least the line isn't so smooth from Duchamp's act, taking place during manifesto-oriented High Art Culture (Dada, Surrealism etc) during the swing of Modernism from Europe to the States, to those taking place in contemporary culture, adrift on an ocean of techno-consumer waste instead of historical European tradition...
Bla bla bla. In the visual arts, "static art objects are a historical given...Does [interactive art] even have a place within the art world? The grand historical narratives have come to an end, now, 'to be a member of the art world is to have learned what it means to participate in the discourse of reasons of one's culture."--Regina Cornwell.

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> In my opinion, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that you're looking for
> an art that operates under a different operational framework than what
> you're looking for, and that puzzles you. I think that what you're
> looking for is something that's more likely in an ISEA or SIGGRAPH,
> which are niche cultures.

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While I *do* work regularly in the field of 'high-tech' graphics, I am less invested in this world than you might think. I haven't attended Siggraph in almost ten years. I *am* looking for an electronic art that, quite the opposite to your suggestion, does not exist solely to pose statements or congratulate itself about its own techn(o)ntology. (How's that for a great artword?). To this degree, making a piece of self-conscious, visibly low-tech Nintendo art has a closer resemblance to a glamorous HDRI rendered Pixar creation than might appear: both are hopelessly enamored with its own reflection, and exist as little more than surface affectation.
I *will* cite one of Cory's pieces that I adore: his Quicktime visualization of the contents of his hard-drive as multi-scalar pattern noise--that piece definitely got to me as a piece which was...well, an Object, conscious of but transcendant of it own Objecthood--you know what I mean?

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> What do you think?

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I think you are on the effin' money but could try to place this genre more within a critical context of digital, video & moving image arts, especially within post-80s New Media discourse...it's time to let Warhol & Duchamp off the hook as justifications for torpor and naked theft, or as Dan Clowes satirized it, the old 'tampon-in-a-teacup' trick. Why shouldn't artists have to work?

:sean capone

DISCUSSION

On 8-Bit Aesthetics: Hackers or Hacks?


Hello. Without being *too* confrontational, I would like to hear some opinions weighed in about the 'scene' of 8-bit, hack-art & machinima art and why it's worthy of so much attention. Honestly, I've tried to wrap my head around it and I'm just not getting it, especially in response to a) the recent front-page post on Rhizome on Paul Davis and b) Cory Arcangel's recent show at Team Gallery. While I won't say that 'most new media art is crap' like the recent post-discussion, my reaction to these works is dismissive at least, negative at worst. I'll ask the worst question one can ask: "Why is this 'Art'?"
These works seem a bit more of an exploitation of an existing technology platform in order to fetishize a certain in-vogue nostalgia about this time period (the 80s) rather than anything about "computer art which is aesthetically aware of both its own identity and the underlying process which supports it." This seems to have a very limited agency. Why the Nintendo in particular, why not, say, the Amiga, which was a platform more widely embraced at the time by videoartist-programmer-demoscene people during the same time period? The urge to "(release) bits from their imprisonment within the restrictive, limiting boundaries of corporate software applications" is amusing but ultimately not very creative, is it; perhaps even reactionary? While these systems may certainly have potential as A/V devices, they *were* designed as video-game platforms; to invest it with liberatory hacker activism (activision?) is to give it more importance than it perhaps deserves, and serves only as a circular, self-legitmizing exercise.
The gimmick, in other words, seems to come before the concept. I feel compelled to compare the silliness of the wholesale sampling and re-presentation in these works with, say, the Japanese group Delaware's highly entertaining, beautiful and original installations and performances that are inspired by the limitations of low-resolution electronic displays. Or on another level, Paul Chan's engaging, poetic and politically conscious animation video works. The difference being, something new is being created, not as nostalgia, not as a prank, but as a creative praxis.
So basically, what do we take away from this work once the nostalgia factor seems too distant or antiquated, or not really that clever to start with? Davis speaks of the "intentionality of artist(s) who seek to engage the computing process at a fundamental level", you mean, like artists who write their own code to create their own electronic spaces without the safety net of pre-digested consumerist codes and signs, or at least is engaged in some type of dialogue with them on a critical or aesthetic level? Sampling/hacking culture and re-presenting it is not the issue here...or not the only issue anyway.
Thanks for letting me rant--hope for productive discussion.
:s

DISCUSSION

Monkeytown going OUT OF BUSINESS!!


Monkeytown, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY, has served as one of NY's most surprising, fun-spirited and high quality new media performance/video art venues and restaurant lounges for the past year. However, due to a crippling financial situation, it seems likely that the space will close in early November. This was just announced officially by the owner, the fabulous but frazzled Montgomery. So please, if you have a way to support Monkeytown, do so, even if it just means coming out (if you haven't already) to enjoy the final couple weeks of programming.

Here is the text from Montgomery's full post:

GOING OUT OF BUSINESS!!??

Yes. A mere week after celebrating our one-year anniversary and now it looks as if we will be CLOSING sometime around November 6th.

However, since discussing this likelihood, I have received hundreds of horrified emails and phone calls ("That can't happen."; "What the fuck."; "We love Monkey Town, please stay open!") and offers of support. But the reality is that we need a large amount of capital (around $300K); and while, many people are now working to find such capital, we are also preparing to shut down by early Novemeber.

Question: So what can you do to help...?
Answer: Come eat and drink for the next 30 days! We need to pay our remaining bills and this may be your last chance to taste your favorite dishes

I love Heather's (our new chef) cooking so much that we've agreed to keep adding the new items she had planned to our menu, in the meantime. And while delayed a week, we will have our Chipotle-Gorgonzola-Black Bean Lasagna back on the menu this week.

All of that said, we would love to stay open. And in many ways it WOULD be stupid for us to close. Our two major issues have been:

1. original cost overruns and debts associated with an incompetent contractor
2. a lack of operating capital that has kept us in a constant cycle of poverty

Despite these many challenges, we have done decently for a first year restaurant. We've even showed a "profit" during several months. But our debts have been crippling and they must be addressed. With the new capital, we would make many long overdue physical improvements and take care of our debt issues.

So. If you know of any person who would like to support our enterprise in a very big way, by benefaction or investment, please have them contact us at our main email: monkeytownhq@aol.com

Thanks again for all the words of encouragement and support.
Cheers,
Montgomery

DISCUSSION

Re: what exactly IS new media?


Plasma Studii writes:

>> we are now in silverism, which will be followed by shiny silverism.

Sorry mate, silverism peaked in the 80s already. New media is 'post-Silver Age':

http://www.moma.org/education/openends/guide/overview/12koons.html

DISCUSSION

Loco Motion: comments on Ryan Griffis' review 'Walking as Art in LA'


From the recent Rhizome Digest, Mr. Griffis writes in his review of 'A Walk to Remember':
"The language used to describe LA¹s paved circulatory system belies the indifference to the space that lies between points A and B. On the one hand, there is the web of interconnected freeways that allow one to move from destination to destination, as if in some kind of congested time-space portal, and on the other are the ³surface streets,² existing at ground level, where daily life plays out."

I thought I would share a writing I did last year upon becoming a fulltime resident of New York City (following a stay in Los Angeles), a city which pretty much represents the antipode of LA's culture and aesthetics of mobility...

(text follows):
As an artist who has lived in several American cities over several years, I characterize New York City as maintaining a distinct pedestrian culture in contrast to (or, in the case of Los Angeles, opposition to), other major urban hubs in the U.S. This observation comes about through the way in which the city fabric--its architecture and flow-- enfolds about and interacts with the infrastructure of personal transport and mobility--specifically, the public transportation system.

It is no joke that New Yorkers walk and climb more, compared even to other pedestrian cities such as Chicago and San Francisco. In these cities, however, the transportation systems maintain high visibility and contribute to the overall character of the city. The 'El' in Chicago contributes vast tracts of industrial (and highly aesthetic) architectural topography, a multiply-layered vertical (above-ground) surface of transportation to the city which invites a passive, filmic observation of the cityscape. The web of suspension power cabling and street rails which stretch across the streets in San Francisco, on the other hand, overlays a visible 'network' of junctions and flows upon which the fixed routes of bus and charming cable-cars move people about, an ironic ('wired' vs. 'wireless') concession to the city's historical character. By contrast, the subway system in New York (the most depended upon, and reliable, method of rapid transport here), have zero impact on the visual urban identity of the city, designed solely to move and re-integrate people as quickly as possible onto the street again. The metro lines run entirely (sometime several layers) underground, the portals into which are indistinct and unmonumental (unlike, for example, Washington D.C.), and have an overall non-modern edginess which relies less on distinct signage and comforts and more upon the physical activity and wits of its passengers.

Within these 'portal' areas, a subterranean transitional city exists--ranging in sophistication from tedious and labyrinthine to those more akin to an airport terminal (the most highly evolved modern interstitial 'zone') with shops, restaurants, and services such as barber salons. An interesting subset of public 'space' exists here, marked by the continuous flow of passenger traffic and subway arrivals and departures. New York subways are also distinct in the vastness of their terminals, some spanning entire blocks, obviating the need to expel oneself onto the street at all in order to transfer to other lines, or to exit in a range of locations other than that prescribed by the actual station. The train rides themselves do not offer even a suggestion of scenery of any type (until one passes over into Brooklyn); journeys are unmemorable, inactive 'non-events', rarely interpersonal, the relief of which is enjoyed upon conclusion and expulsion from the tunnels.

The Manhattan subways occupy more of a psychological than architectural territory-- an invisible sub-strata of the urban environment, the deep sleep between distant arrivals and departures, rendered with a gross physicality which makes the experience the more embodied of public transportation methods of American cities. Indeed, the intricately threaded and weathered layers of graded catwalks, stairways, and concourses seem more akin to the experience of myths, dreams, or the symbols of the subconscious; the journeys themselves are so psychologically mundane they border on catatonia.