Tomorrow night, erstwhile Rhizome contributor Tom McCormack will present an illustrated lecture at Brooklyn's Spectacle Theater. Titled Netsploitation: The Internet Through Movies, the talk will explicate the history of the Internet as depicted in big-screen Hollywood fare.
The inspiration for the talk came from McCormack's realization that many of biggest movies of his childhood — movies like War Games and Hackers— were thrillers that toed the line between ominous, ridiculous, and realistic anxieties about the Internet. He added that presenting an illustrated lecture now seems relevant and not forced: "With YouTube, a lot of my hanging out time is spent interspersing segments of whatever's being talked about throughout a conversation." Netsploitation will try to mimic that feeling while providing moments of revelation between humor and analysis.
Psyche River by Jonas Lund
Since the launch of Jonas Lund's Paintshop project at the end of June, three paintings have been sold and over 2,000 have been completed. The Paintshop allows users to collaborate on paintings and complete, or sign, whenever they consider a work to be finished. Once signed, paintings are on sale in an edition of one. Prices are determined by the trademarked Paintshop Rank algorithm, calculated daily.
Lund explained the algorithm's inner workings via email:
The Paintshop Rank™ is calculating the price by analyzing a set of criteria, such as Artfacts ranking and Google Ranking of the author, the quality ranking in relation to the amount of views, the amount of Facebook likes and Tweets. The underlying assumption is that two general things matter for the price, the reputation of the artist and the popularity of the painting itself.
The project is somewhat reminiscent of Aaron Koblin's Sheep Market. Where that project crowdsourced its drawings via Amazon's Mechanical Turk and used a flat-rate payment, The Paintshop hosts a collaborative form of interactivity to create works with apparently arbitrary authorships. Collaborators who choose to complete and sign a work, though, will recieve the algorithmically determined value of any sold work, minus production costs and gallery comission.
CLOOOOOWN by Systaime
This year, Abandon Normal Devices, a festival of "new cinema, digital culture, and art," commissioned artist and Critical Engineer Julian Oliver to create Border Bumping, a self-professed work of dislocative media that utilizes the contradictions of cell phone signals and networks to rework national boundaries. Housed within a caravan known as a mobile cartography bureau, Border Bumping puts location data into a feedback loop with its visual representation, creating new geographies out of technical necessities. The project traces the terrain of an Earth imagined by communication technologies. It's an Earth where the map destroys and redefines the territory. As described on the website:
As we traverse borders our cellular devices hop from network to network across neighbouring territories, often before or after we ourselves have arrived. These moments, of our device operating in one territory whilst our body continues in another, can be seen to produce a new and contradictory terrain for action..
Running a freely available, custom-built smartphone application, Border Bumping agents collect cell tower and location data as they traverse national borders in trains, cars, buses, boats or on foot. Moments of discrepancy at the edges are logged and uploaded to the central Border Bumping server, at the point of crossing.
For instance: a user is in Germany but her device reports she is in France. The Border Bumping server will take this report literally and the French border is redrawn accordingly. The ongoing collection and rendering of these disparities results in an ever evolving record of infrastructurally antagonised territory, a tele-cartography.
The Border Bumping application can be downloaded and used on your own phone to visualize the new boundaries of your own movement through space.
Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick, Aliens & Anorexia, Video Green, among other titles; writes novels, criticism, and essays fluently addressing a range of subjects from from film to philosophy. Her forthcoming novel Summer of Hate is a love story that investigates recent American history all too eager to be forgotten on its own. We talked about her new book, its relation to other facets of her work, and other ideas.
Giampaolo Bianconi: Let's begin by talking about the beginning of your new book, Summer of Hate. It’s very different in tone from the rest of the book, very thrilling in its combination of sex, money, and fear.
Chris Kraus: The first two chapters set up each character’s situation before they meet—first Catt and then Paul. Catt is immersed in terror and flight: sex, murder, and delusional thinking. She’s panicked, hysterical. When she finally lands in Albuquerque in the third chapter, she re-enters real life. The movement of time changes once she gets there. The book settles into a more normal, real-life progression. She’s driven into the story by her delirium. Paul enters the story with remorse, fear and shame. When they meet, the story continues on a different plateau.
GB: In relation to their meeting, I was struck by the fact that before Paul meets Catt he’s totally lost. Their meeting is so unexpected, and he’s so isolated and his possibility of interaction and collision is so small—especially in terms of their class differences.
CK: Right, it’s so farfetched. But given where she’s coming from, is it any more farfetched than meeting these lunatics online? She takes herself out of this delusional world and lands someplace else, where pretty much anything can happen. For Paul their meeting is improbable, but he’s already so far off the grid. This happens in life all the time! When people take themselves out of their normal, expected routines, other things can happen, and that’s what happens to these two.
GB: In one of your previous books, I Love Dick, there’s some discussion of the creation of a hybrid form of fiction and cultural criticism. Summer of Hate is a novel, but it fills a void in contemporary discussion about the incarceration industry.
CK: Yes … In I Love Dick, Dick has been charged with creating a new MFA program along those lines. “Hybridity” was one of the funding buzzwords at that time. But really, that is the definition of literature. If you look back to the great texts over the centuries, they’re hybrid forms of fiction and criticism. The great adventure stories: Moby Dick, Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders, and then Balzac’s novels, the list goes on. The definition of literary fiction has become so incredibly narrow: domestic dramas based on the romantic and career ambitions within the upper middle class, but it wasn’t always that way. The agenda of fiction used to be to describe the whole world.
GB: The world that you describe in Summer of Hate is so regularly overlooked, not only in fiction but also in art and other forms of cultural production.
CK: It’s true; it’s not very sexy. Narrative hinges on subjectivity, and we’re accustomed to a certain kind of subjectivity...
Red Rock Cigarettes Newspaper Body Wood Lycra Bottle
Your Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: series makes inventive use of the male nude. Many of the images seem to have a humorous consciousness of the history of the female nude in painting and photography. Can you talk a little bit about your use of the male nude and the context in which you place it?
When I decided to start working in way that combined the nude and the still life genre, I quickly found I wasn’t comfortable treating women as objects, so within that series I worked exclusively with men. Using male bodies has the advantage of the fact that the male is the agreed-upon neutral subjectivity for our culture—a “default” setting. The male body therefore can be a blank slate in a way the female can’t.
As for painting, in Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: I was primarily focused on the nude in popular media and not really thinking about the history of painting. Of course painting has informed photography throughout its history, so a certain dialogue between the two is built in.
What's the process behind your Recent Work (2012)? Do you consider these a post-camera form of photography as opposed to a more traditional collage?
In the pictures you’re referring to, about 10% of the elements in the pictures are appropriated or solely generated by computer, without a camera. Examples include the grid backgrounds in Reverse Wallpaper and Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: and the two appropriated images of football players in the latter picture. What appear in the rest of the series are things I photographed specifically for this body of work or for the previous series--I appropriated my own work. What I did here actually questions what “postcamera ...